I’ve been pondering the creative brain this week. What makes us crazy creatives tick? Why are we driven to create and why is it that we have trouble being happy when we don’t feel fulfilled by our creative endeavors?
This quote stuck out to me from the Huffington Post article “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently” by Carolyn Gregoire:
“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self ... Imaginative people have messier minds.”
Messier minds? Apparently yes. When I was a kid in school, my creativity was explained as “right brain dominant.” Apparently that term is now blasé. Researchers are saying that creativity actually encompasses multitudes of areas in the brain:
Gregoire and Kaufman are the authors of Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind. In an article on Quartz Media they write:
“Instead, the creative process draws on the whole brain. It’s a dynamic Interplay of many different brain regions, emotions, and our unconscious and conscious processing systems.”
As Mr. Spock might say, “Fascinating, Captain.” But it gets worse… or better depending on your viewpoint. As a creative I know I personally never stop thinking, feeling, sensing. This messy mind can be exhausting. And it’s worse when someone is unclear or unkind. The stress builds. Recently I had a really simple to explain goof up with receiving a payment from a client. I couldn’t get anyone to call me back as it over a weekend and by Monday the ulcer in my stomach was so painful I was in misery and I had lost my voice. All because my mind could not rest and was filling in the blanks with a thousand different scenarios including having to contact my bank because maybe my account had been hacked. The upside to feeling everything: compassion. When people around me are hurting I hurt with them and want to help them. I want to please and as long as I am being rewarded for my creativity I will continue to want to please.
So to bring this full circle, when I was at a low point of not feeling creative or fulfilled I reached out to a dear friend, Anna. Anna has been in marketing/PR her entire adult career. I talked openly about what I had been feeling and she suggested I "look for the need." So I started looking around me and what I noticed were others struggling too-- specifically women who owned small businesses and were dividing their time between home, family, work, volunteer activities, church... well, you get the idea. What was suffering was their businesses social media messaging. I thought, wow, this is something I love and if I could take a little stress off small business owners to help them then this may be a win-win.
Life Hack says, “The creative mind is a non-stop machine fueled by intense curiosity. There is no pause button and no way to power it down. “ Amen. When I wrote scripts for a nationally syndicated TV show I often found that I could knock out a whole show between 11:30 PM and 1:30 AM. If I have a big project, say a wedding I am coordinating, I find myself waking up on event day before the sun comes up unable to stop my mind from going through the day over and over.
Like most things, I think I have learned to harness my creativity as I have aged or at least I think I understand it better. I have a blank wall in my living room. Three years now that sucker has been a canvas in my mind. I stare at it, it stares back. I know what I want to do and when I moved in I told myself not to settle. Don't do what you would have done in your 20's or even in your 30's. Don't run out and buy something you will be stuck with or dissatisfied with-- wait. I can see in my mind what I want and need to be patient until I can properly execute the plan.
I'd love an opportunity to put my creativity to work for you. Let me put together a plan that will take some of the stress of maintaining your social media message off your plate.