It ain’t easy being a creator

Some people never think of themselves as creators because when they were young they were taught that being “creative” meant being “artistic”. If they did not feel called to express themselves using an artistic medium such as writing, painting, or dance, for example, then they might have mistakenly labelled themselves as “not creative”. It was never made clear to them that there are limitless other creative mediums. In fact, everything we can perceive of in our physical reality is the result of a creative act.

A large aspect of my work is to help other people create their work. To do so, they must embrace their role as a creator. Many struggle with this, but one person in particular I work with stands out in my mind on the subject. The whole experience of creating evokes terror in her mind and sends her into a tailspin of self-doubt.

“If it’s this hard, I must be doing it wrong,” she said. 
“You’re not doing anything wrong,” I assured her. “It’s just hard.”

Ironically, she is an extraordinary creator, she just doesn’t perceive herself as such because she was never taught to honour her particular creative talents or understand her unique creative process. But after struggling to complete an important project in regard to developing her work, she returned to our next session with a question that made my head spin.

“If we are all born creators, then why is creating so hard?” she asked.

What a question! I had to take some time to really think about it. Upon reflection, it turns out there are plenty of reasons.


What is creating, anyway?

Before we dive into why creating is “so hard”, let’s define what it is. In a previous post, I wrote about how the act of creating can be separated into two distinct stages – the “dreaming” stage and the “actualizing” stage. To birth new potentials into the world, which is the basis for the evolution of all existence, we cycle through phases of ideation and action. To state it plainly, creating is the act of making ideas real.

Creating is the act of making ideas real.

So, how do we do this? The strange thing is, nobody knows exactly. We, as humans, are still learning the nature of the relationship between consciousness and energy and our role as a conduit between the non-physical and physical worlds. Here is my nonscientific account of how the process unfolds:

The human, in a state of allowing, receives an impulse from consciousness that the mind translates from vibration into thought form, what we call an idea. (When we do this intentionally, we refer to it as “daydreaming”). Then through our focused desire, we summon creative life-force energy, which aligns the necessary resources and moves us into inspired action, and through a progressive series of events, what previously existed only in the non-physical world becomes manifest in our physical world.

Easy peasy, no?

What’s interesting to notice is that when a person decides to start an artistic endeavour, such as writing or painting or dancing without any previous experience, most everyone accepts there is a learning curve and that mastery will come with practice and time. However, when it comes to creating their work, for some reason people believe it should be “easy” or that they should just know how to do it without having to undergo a developmental process. But new creations are not conceived in a completed state, they require gestating and nurturing before becoming fully realized in the world.

So, back to the question of why it’s so hard if we are all born creators. It’s simple. It’s hard mostly because we are hard on ourselves.


We make it hard

What I have learned over the 15+ years I have been helping people create their work is that we have a tendency to get in our own way. What can be a joyful unfolding can also turn into an arduous journey wrought with painful trials and tribulations depending on how much opposition we introduce. The following are some of the ways we complicate the process of creating:

We don’t trust ourselves as creators
Not many of us are raised as “creators”, be it artists or otherwise. Once we are old enough to enter into the traditional school systems, we are taught that our role in society is to be a good worker bee and we do that by learning information through a process of regurgitation. Anyone who dares to challenge the system or question established structures is penalized. From early on, we are conditioned away from our evolutionary creative impulses, and the trust with our creator self is broken. For some, they do find their groove later in life. Sadly, for others, they never regain their own trust.

We don’t explore to discover our natural creative mediums
There’s an assumption that our creative talents are supposed to be obvious, like we are born with them stamped on our foreheads. This one is a “poet”. This one a “pilot”. This one a “politician”. In actuality, for most of us, it requires a process of trail and error to realize the environments in which we flourish. We must permit ourselves a period of playful exploration to discover our personal modes of expression and preferred styles of communication.

We aren’t familiar with the creative process
As mentioned above, the creative process itself is mysterious. It cannot be completely grasped by the mind because it is not a function of the mind. It is more of a divine nature. It asks of us to open ourselves to realms beyond our comprehension and then with blind faith, act in a real-world way that brings about a new reality. You might even say it’s “magic”.

We don’t set up the conditions for creativity to occur
There are two facets to every person’s creative process – the internal conditions in how they translate energy into form and the external conditions that are conducive to the act of creating. Although our creativity is innate, it requires self-awareness to know our optimal conditions for creating. Everyone’s process is unique and their ideal conditions are also individual. Plus, it’s not enough just to know the conditions, we must actually immerse ourselves in them.

We expect perfection from ourselves
There is so much shame around our perceived “inadequacy” as creators. In a results-driven world, we are rarely allowed to be “wrong” or to make “mistakes”. So many get stuck at the beginning of their process because they are trying to create the perfect final version of whatever it is instead of creating the first crappy version of it. They expect it to come out of themselves fully-formed and “success-worthy”. The reality is that whatever we are creating will likely need countless iterations before it’s deemed “complete”. Some creations will never amount to anything, and that’s perfectly okay. 

We try to do too many things at once
It can take some practice to gain proficiency in opening to receive new creative ideas. However, once we get the hang of it, the ideas usually don’t stop. The challenge is that when we have so many potentials we are excited by, we tend to want to move into action and realize them all at once. I refer to this as the “common creators’ conundrum”. It’s challenging to focus on one place to start because we don’t want to “miss out”, so we flit between ideas. But when we attempt to split our attention into too many different directions, we become overwhelmed, and then we either shut down or stop taking action altogether.

We are attached to outcomes
When we create for the purpose of achieving an outcome – such as getting a specific result, getting accolades, or getting money – it stunts the creative process. We defer to our mind’s commands, but our minds are limited in what they can conceive. To fixate on an outcome might prevent us from realizing even grander possibilities that are available to us and that our creative process is wanting to lead us to.

We seek comfort over discomfort
In the creative process, energy is always seeking resolution, however, as already mentioned, it takes time and application of effort for creative ideas to become fully realized. Meanwhile, living in a suspended, unresolved state is very uncomfortable. Because we have been conditioned to seek comfort, we might try to push ourselves through the creative process to a premature result instead of gracefully withstanding uncertainty and accepting that it is an uncomfortable place to be.

We introduce resistance into the process
To create is to flow life-force energy through our being into the world. However, we each have subconscious behaviours driven by fear that inhibit the flow of that energy. The more we resist the embodied experience of our fears, the more we restrict our energy. Some repress themselves to such a degree they won’t even allow themselves to move into action, even when they are inspired by an idea.

We do not yet fully understand the relationship between consciousness and energy
At this time on earth, we humans are just barely beginning to grasp the nature of reality and our role as creators. Before, we presumed that the creative life-force energy existed outside of ourselves, and that our job was to “get it” and to “manipulate it” to our advantage. But now, we are becoming wise to the fact that energy is accessible within each of us and is here to serve. As we continue to create, we will come to further understand our own true nature.

Wow, that’s a lot! It seems more obvious now as to why creating can feel so hard. The benefit of knowing all of the above is that it points us to what we can do to make the process of creating easier for ourselves.


Let’s make creating easier

Creating is a natural process and we are all born with the ability. It is an indelible part of the human experience and has the potential of being a joyous endeavour. To have it be such might require us to reframe our perception of ourselves as creators and to be more intentional in how we go about it.

There are several things we can do to make the experience more enjoyable:

  • Build structure into the creative process. Creativity can benefit from having constraints and frameworks within which to work.
  • Flex the creative muscle. Build new habits around having a regular creative practice.
  • Free the mind. Let the ideas come forth with wild abandon and zero judgement.
  • Take small steps. Employ an iterative process to move ideas forward, one tiny step at a time.
  • Experiment more. Be curious. Use creating as a learning and growth process.
  • Embrace failure. It is a necessary part of the creative process. There is no shame in having tried and failed. In fact, every single story of success begins with failure.
  • Be playful. Be light with creating. Make it fun. To quote some of my favourite disembodied beings, “There’s nothing serious going on here, folks.”
  • Develop self-trust. This happens when we honour and follow our creative impulses.
  • Release attachment to outcomes. Allow the creation to reveal what it wants to become.
  • Get messy. Creating is a chaotic, unpredictable process. Just go with it. It can be cleaned up later.
  • Enjoy the process. The primary benefit of creating is to experience the joy of being alive.
  • Make creating a priority. Our commitment to birthing ideas is necessary to bringing them to life.
  • Find support. Even though we are each responsible for creating our lives, we definitely don’t have to go it alone. We can connect with other like-hearted creators and be supported on our journey.
  • Relax into the unfolding. The creative process is a long-game, one that never ends so long as we are alive.

As already stated, we are all born creators. Not only are we creating things and experiences in the world, we are actually creating our entire reality at all times, we’re just not always aware we are doing so. But when we claim our role as creators and consciously explore our relationship with creative life-force energy and apply it in an intentional manner, then the process of creating becomes much more fascinating and way more fun. I’m still not saying it’s “easy”, but when we become easier on ourselves, creating is a lot less “hard”.


If you’d like to be supported on your creative journey, join a community of your fellow creators here.
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