April 02, 2008
The Romance of Creativity

slow dance and romance icon 300.gif

If you trying to bring something new and original into the world, know this:

The creative process is very much like a relationship.

And like most relationships, it usually begins with fascination -- that curious state of mind (and heart) that keeps us spellbound, charmed and aroused.

Bottom line, whenever a person gets a new idea, a kind of romance begins. We become absorbed. Intoxicated. Smitten.

Indeed, for many of us, just thinking about a new idea is an aphrodisiac. It turns us on, psyches us up, and otherwise makes it very hard to eat, sleep, or obsess about cash flow.

While some people involved in a new relationship are able to sustain the accompanying excitement for months, most of us are less fortunate. It's the rare person who knows how to savor and expand upon this feeling for years.

Ditto with the creative process.

After the intoxication of the initial encounter wears off, a less-than-incredible reality sets in.

Where once we saw only beauty and possibility, now we see only blemishes on our high ideal. To make matters worse, some people, at this stage of the process, begin to experience a crippling kind of performance anxiety.

"Will I be good enough to achieve my goal?" they ask. "Do I have what it takes?" "Can I really pull it off?" Call it doubt if you like, but any way you slice it, the honeymoon is over.

What routinely follows (as it does in most romances) is a painful period of re-evaluation.

Long-buried fears of being consumed by the "other" surface, driving us into withdrawal and self-analysis. Instead of enjoying the outpouring of creative energy that accompanies a new idea, we study it. We talk about it. We control it. Anything but let go to it.

Before you know it, the ever popular approach/avoidance stage is upon us. On Monday we're totally absorbed in our new venture. On Friday, we're sure it's a humongous waste of time.

But that's not all. The plot soon thickens. Instead of maintaining our commitment to our new idea, we begin having flings. We flirt with other ideas, other possibilities, and other new loves. We get into everything and anything -- whatever it takes not to sustain our ongoing relationship with our original inspiration.

Is there hope? Is there any possibility for all the creative thinkers on planet Earth to actually manifest their inspired ideas?

You bet there is. And something a lot more powerful -- awareness. Simply by paying attention to the games you play to protect yourself (from failure or success) will go a long way towards making magic happen.

To begin with, understand that all romances, no matter how inspiring, are temporary. The trivial ones simply end. The good ones mature, often growing into committed relationships -- even marriages.

If you are really serious about your current hot idea or venture, be willing to get closer to it. Be willing to go from the romance stage to an intimate relationship. Understand what the creative process is -- an impossible-to-deny encounter with yourself -- your fears, your power, your vision, and what drives you to play the game of life.

Be willing to see your new venture as it is -- with all its blemishes, quirks, and vagary. Know that you will have your falling out periods and your disagreements. Know that you will sometimes feel like a fraud. Know also that the fuel for many creative breakthroughs has not only been passion, purpose, and power, but also confusion, conflict, and collapse.

It's normal. It's human. It's part of the process.

So please, be gentle with yourself. And above all, do whatever you can to put the elation back into your relationship to creativity.


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at April 2, 2008 07:09 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

Who Are We?

Idea Champions is a consulting and training company dedicated to awakening and nurturing the spirit of innovation. We help individuals, teams and entire organizations tap into their innate ability to create, develop and implement ideas that make a difference.

Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
Authorized Reseller Logo – GoLeanSixSigma.com
Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

"In tune with corporate America." — CNN