Being a creative person is such a fantastic thing. There is honestly no greater feeling than showing people work that you’re proud of, or hearing great feedback that others actually like your work too.
But if you’re creative, you also know all about the pitfalls. The feeling of pouring so much into your work that you feel emotionally drained. The feeling of doubt – “Am I really good enough?” – or the inevitable “Everyone else is so much more talented that me.” thought. They sneak in and toy with your feelings. Unfortunately, unlike with other jobs, there is no formula for creativity, you need to be bold and brave. (I like to joke that I’m fearless with a pen or a paintbrush.) Yet when we put our work on the line, whether it be presenting to a boss, lecturer or even friends, it’s incredibly hard not to take their criticism of our work personally.
In this fantastic speech by Liz Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love’, she unpacks the idea that we have collectively accepted this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish. “We writers, we kind of do have that reputation, and not just writers, but creative people across all genres, it seems, have this reputation for being enormously mentally unstable.And all you have to do is look at the very grim death count in the 20th century alone, of really magnificent creative minds who died young and often at their own hands, you know? And even the ones who didn’t literally commit suicide seem to be really undone by their gifts.”