Do you consider yourself to be a creative person?
If you’re reading this blog, have an interest in technology or stumbled across this post because of some creative and witty tweet then chances are that you’re a very creative person/thinker. For those of us who create, be it in visual media, drama, music, writing or anything else, there are certain modes of living that bind us all together. I suspect that you are very in touch with your creative side at least to the degree that you know when you’re “in the groove” and doing what you love to do. Unfortunately there is a downside to being a creative person. There are traps and mistakes that we are more prone to make and weaknesses that we tend to struggle with that are unique to our breed. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common weaknesses that creative people face.
Time and Deadlines
Creative people often feel restricted or constrained by having to fit their artistic project into someone else’s deadline. Part of that comes from an “it will come to me” way of thinking where we believe we can’t force our art to materialize; it simply has a schedule of its own. The other side of the coin is that creative people often are just not good managers of their time, struggle to plan ahead and tend to orient their lives based more on feelings than facts.
Releasing Creative Control
Creative people often have a vision in their minds for what a project should look like yet react defensively and protect it when others want to enter the process, contribute or recommend changes. Creators guard their intellectual property like investors guard their stock investments. Creative people are often wary of allowing well-intentioned assistance because we secretly fear others derailing our artistic vision, holding up the process, “not getting it” or just plain hijacking the project to make it their own. Most times if we would just let others help and communicated the goal up front we’d be less stressed out and things would get accomplished faster!
Perfectionism is a distortion of excellence. Excellence is the true goal of creating. Perfectionism is the idolization of a project and assimilation of the creator with the created. If you can never finish a project because of a constant fear that it won’t be “perfect” then chances are that the issue is not with the actual task but with your self-identity as a creator. Perfectionism often rears its head in the lives of creative people, turning what could be an extraordinary and powerful artistic vision into a joy-less never-ending nightmare.
Inability to Communicate
Creators and artists often have trouble communicating what’s going on inside their heads. We know when something is artistically compelling or when we’re having “writer’s block” but often can’t get the words out when we try to talk about our work with others (especially others who are not right-brainers). We are used to “just feeling it” and “being in the groove” but have difficulty telling non-artists why we don’t have something finished or why a certain idea just wouldn’t work. We are oriented towards our work emotionally which is often tough for us to communicate verbally.
Distrust of Goals and Organization
We all know the stereotype: Creative people, while profoundly talented, are sloppy and unorganized, living a life of total chaos and disarray. They make great art but don’t know what month they’re living in. This stereotype is partly true although often exaggerated. Creators often distrust linking time and art because we feel that you can’t put limits and deadlines on our creations. Somehow we feel that it cheapens the mystery of the creative process. We also have difficulty getting organized simply because order and linear thinking resides in the left side of the brain and artists are driven by the creative right-side.
Take it from G.I. Joe: “Knowing is half the battle.” Be aware of your weaknesses and pick a couple of these areas to work on in 2011. Take a deep breath, see where your weaknesses are and make a commitment to stay one step ahead of your most nefarious weakness. You’ll be glad you did (and so will your clients).