Ordinary people (if there is anything like this) will think you crazy. Insane. And being honest with yourself, you’ll also notice your craziness. But in reality, you haven’t lost your mind. You just have the heart of a creator. Here’s how you know:

1. There is a constant urge inside of you

We’re not workaholics, even if it might seem this way at times. No, in reality we’re lazy. We despise work that we think stupid, unproductive. We even hate working for money, at least in the long run.

But there is a certain restlessness to life, a certain feeling, a pressure. We wake up with this and go to sleep with it as well. Sounds familiar?

When it comes to creation, nobody forces me to work. At least, it seems so. Except for the constant urge that is pushing me like a madman. I hate routines, I hate discipline, but at the same time, I cannot live without it.

We know that creation cannot be done without discipline or hard work, so we push ourselves, make time, and sweat blood and tears to get our projects finished.

Ordinary people watch us with incomprehension. Why do you do it? You don’t get paid for it. Nobody is watching over you, forcing you to do work. Oh, if you knew, people. If you felt this constant urge, the pressure, you would understand. We have no choice, really.

 

2. In the middle of your project, you swear you’ll never do it again

I just finished a massive project, one that I’ve been carrying inside my heart for months. It was a stage show I wrote and directed for Easter. My feelings have been such a crazy mixup in the past two weeks of intensive rehearsal that it became hard to judge how the audience would react. It’s been an adventure. It’s been a travel through community and the creation of something a big amount of people have been part of.

But this will be another blog post.

Being responsible for such a great project, with so many people involved, is an enormous pressure. The same goes for all the short films I wrote and directed. But also with books, when I’m in the middle of my first draft, or revising it.

When the pressure rises and you don’t really know of this even works, when everything goes wrong, when you have to rethink your project, look for alternatives, deal with tired people and rising emotions, lack of sleep, you swear to yourself one thing: This is my last project. I’ll never do it again. I’m done. Finished.

You even start wondering why you ever signed up to do this in the first place. A neat workplace at the office might just be the right thing now. Yes, you hate your job.

3.By the end of it, you are already thinking about the next idea 

But then – you see it coming together for the first time. The first applause. The premiere. For me, it was just several days ago (and I was more nervous than at my wedding).  And guess what? I was already gathering the ideas for the next project to come.

Yes, it’s true, I AM this crazy.  And if you have a creative heart, you will instantly relate. While still rehearsing I was already gathering ideas and thoughts for the next project that would be even bigger. And now, the day after everything is finished, where every sane person would just relax and be content, I’m fighting this damn black hole.

The performers are happy to relax. But not me. As the creator, I have to fight a feeling of emptiness. Is this it? Are we done already?

Luckily, I am familiar with this feeling by now. And I know how to fight it.

I hit the gym to release all the stress that has been building up in the past weeks, I write this article to get it off my heart, and I gather my ideas for everything that is to come.

 

 

4. You juggle several ideas and/or projects at once

When you sit down for your creative time, you often don’t know where to start. Your head is so full of ideas that you need time to bring order to it. More often than not, you have several projects opened on your desktop.

As a creative, I find myself wanting to do everything: dance, sing, play piano, act, write, film. And don’t even get me started on the different niches inside the creative arts. What to write first? A blog post, a novel, a series pilot? Do a short film, or maybe a travel movie?

I love to watch other creative’s work (maybe with even a small feeling of jealousy), love to read books on those topics, can’t get enough of good YouTube tutorials. What to learn first? Storytelling, new editing techniques, color grading, or a new piano piece.

If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t be angry with yourself. Learn to control your inner creative child. Give yourself some focus by writing ideas down and prioritizing projects.

Very important: finish projects! If you have started something, see that it is also finished. Don’t allow yourself just to start tons of projects you are exited about.

This way, you will get discouraged very quickly. You need to be able to look back at the body of work you created, and of course, experience that satisfying feeling of having finished something, and given it to an audience.

5. You hate „status quo“ 

I hate doing the same thing all over again. Even in the gym, I have to variate my workout EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I’m not content with just writing another story. It has to be different, it has to be bigger, it has to change in a way audiences perceive it.

Yes, I need and like some routine, but I hate status quo. I can’t bear stagnation. Be it in relationships, travel, food and especially my creative work. I regularly have to reinvent myself and my life.
If that’s you as well, welcome to being a creative. This doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy some kind of routine, habits or places we feel secure in. But we have to challenge ourselves constantly. We change ourselves, and everything around us. We can’t help it. It’s inside of us.
If all of those qualities sound familiar, you are a creator by heart. Accept it. You’ll never be able to stop. Your heart will push your constantly, so you better stop resisting, and follow it to the next adventure.
Bring order to your creative life and start focusing on a project that is important to you. Finish it. Follow through with it.
One last thing of letting go:
In your heart, a project will never be finished. You need to draw a line, one way or the other. Let go of it. For me it’s hard. For you, it might be as well. But think about this: your next adventure might just be around the corner.
April 20, 2017

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