How to Deal With the Loneliness of Creativity

Creativity is Lonely by Jann Alexander © 2014


Why is creativity so lonely, even when we’re part of a team? 

Creativity is pre-destined to be lonely. We are all alone with our ideas, creating, making something from them. We might be part of a creative team for a design firm, or assisting a photographer, or working with an ad agency to create a logo, or a member of a rock band. When we’re part of a creative team, we might feel less alone. But we’re exposed. The ideas we express to our colleagues can be ignored, rejected, or morphed into something we don’t recognize. They’re our ideas alone, and we’re the ones taking the risk in putting them out there. We may be rewarded for our courage. Or not.

Why is creativity such a struggle for solo artists?

It’s just as lonely for artists working alone. We’re all alone with our ideas, good or bad or nonexistent, with no one to bounce them off. There’s no one to praise them, but us. There’s no one to diss them, but us. We artists can be pretty accomplished at our initial enthusiasm for our ideas, only to later dismiss them as wretched.

Our self-talk will ultimately rule what we make and what we make of it. Tweet: Our self-talk will ultimately rule what we make and what we make of it. http://ctt.ec/REAI3+ #creativity #art

We might be painters alone at our easels, photographers looking alone through our viewfinders, musicians alone at our pianos, writers alone with our journals or at our Macs, sculptors alone with our chisels. Bottom line: we’re alone with our creativity, we’ll struggle with it alone, our self-talk will ultimately rule what we make and what we make of it. It’s our risk, with or without reward.

The naked risks we take make us the bravest people on earth.

Don’t ever forget that. We are the risk-takers, and that takes bravery. Lots of people show up for work each day, do what’s required and what’s asked, and never feel the risks—and the rewards—that people do who are creating something. When you’re one of the people who’s taking risks by creating and boldly putting out your ideas, day after day, there will be plenty of days where things won’t work, and that won’t feel so good. So what will we do? We’ll just keep on doing what we do, what we must do, if we have any ideas left in our souls at all. We must take the risks, along with whatever comes. We must. Because we are the brave ones. 

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken lately with your art? What’s your reward for taking risks?

HERE’S WHERE I SHARE THE RISKS I TAKE, HOPING FOR REWARDS, BUT EVER ONWARD.


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8 replies

  1. I know exactly what you mean. My online blogging experience initially started with something I felt passionate about (sailing) and I simply wanted to share my thoughts and experiences with my far-flung family and friends.

    Then the photos I was including in my posts began to get noticed, and after a while I was asked to join a team of content providers for US Harbors (http://chesapeake.usharbors.com/users/mitch-zeissler). However, I realized over time that the arrangement wasn’t mutually beneficial, nor was I receiving any compensation for it. Even worse, I was being firmly requested to provide content that was akin to actual media production, complete with deadlines — *and* my photos were being altered without my knowledge or consent.

    That soured me on providing any further content for them; however, the experience got my photographic creativity juices flowing again, and I really began bringing my “A” game to the table. This brought about a slow change to the content of my website, as I wrestled with the risk of switching it over to something I hadn’t been involved with in almost 20-years — public display of my photographic chops. Would people like it? Or reject it? Jeers or cheers?

    I finally took a deep breath and plunged into the deep end. I left Blogger (where my prior site had been hosted) and migrated all my content over to WordPress (I’m still picking up the pieces from that fiasco!). However, the move was a good one for me; it allowed me to make a clean break from what I had been doing, and delve far more deeply into photography — which is a longtime love of mine.

    I’m building on that switch as well; I now have two images that have been published, I have a growing following, and my work is ever improving. For me, the risk was well worth it, though I feel my daily postings still aren’t to the same consistent level yet.

    Good topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mitch, thanks for sharing this about your experience. I think bloggers like to know the nuts and bolts of what’s working for people. From what I see of your blog, and your photography, you made a really good call. Your work is often stunning and always interesting. I used Blogger for awhile too. It does frustrate me a bit that committing to one platform over another dictates the following you’ll have, and the ease with which you can follow others.

      Glad I chose a topic that stimulated some back and forth—which is always my goal, but hard to make it happen. Sure helps with the loneliness part of creativity, sharing ideas! Thank you for your insights.

      Like

  2. I haven’t done any art for past few 5 months. But blogging is the next thing to my “art”, I guess. Switched over to another theme which I half like and may switch again. We’ll see.

    Yes, there is loneliness in creativity but it’s necessary for channelling energy and focus. Strangely blogging actually allows loved ones to see photos of my real art since they live thousands of kms away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an important topic, and one a bit misunderstood by some of the digital utopians who believe all creativity now emerges through online collaboration and crowdsourcing. The solo inventor is not a myth, and most certainly the solo artist is not either.

    And yet…

    When I would attend an MFA residency and spend ten days with other writers as obsessed with creative process as I was, I would feel recharged. When I was in a local writer’s group, I valued the feedback I received on my work, but I valued even more a sense that I was part of a community. And I would say my blog gives me that as well.

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing to create alone, as long as when you’re not in the act of creation you have some other connection out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve added some valuable insights. I, too, am very much refueled when in the company of a creative community. In fact, that makes working alone afterwards wonderful. What’s difficult for those who work alone on our endeavors is that the company of our creative community can’t be summoned up when we need it. For that we have to rely on our online connections. But at the end of the day, what we each make is our own alone, and it’s important to own it, whether it needs improvement or is the Mona Lisa of our careers. Thanks for your input, always welcomed.

      Like

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