Taming the Creative Drive

The creative drive often suffers at the restrictions of jobs and other responsibilities. Society functions on a different level than does the human soul. With so many constructs in place, many of us find little or no opportunity to release creative energy. Job descriptions throwing out “creative thinker” as a qualification mean it in the most restrictive sense. There is rule and there is instruction, and creativity comes last among a list of social and professional protocols. In reality, these types of thinkers are not what employers seek. The phrasing has just become a standard for differentiating companies from one another. But many of them end up sounding all too similar to one another.

You may have periods in your own life when you induce self-inflicted creative slumps. This is not to say that you mean to do this, but it happens. If you’re a fiery creative soul, as I believe all of us are deep down, the functions of this society may frustrate and even harm you. Having little or no command over your creativity can leave you feeling jilted, even if you can’t quite pinpoint why you feel that way. The creative soul doesn’t just exist in proclaimed artists, writer, and others in similar fields. It lives in all professions and all modes of human communication and expression.

Autumn photo by Jesse Gardner

So, what does this all amount to? Where you find confusion and suffering, you find taming of the creative drive. That creative part of your soul doesn’t go away, even if you try to repress it. The reason why creative thoughts may be so painful is that those who think them find no way of letting them out into the world. You’ve probably had an idea for something you wanted to create – whether it’s a cake, an algorithm, a friendship, or a book of poems. But it’s daunting to think of substantiating your impulsive urges to make something. You may stumble over negative self-talk or get caught up in the lack of equipment and money required to complete your idea.

That’s because we’ve set rigid criteria for creation. You’re told you can’t be a photographer because you don’t have the lighting and proper camera. Each creative sectors comes with a list of rights and wrongs, many of which serve against your creative impulses. You’re told you can’t build your own kitchen table because you’ve never done it before. At every turn, you need an expert, a professional, a mentor. Countless self-help books tell you to talk to someone, and seek out advice. But what if you could imagine for a minute that all of your answers lie in communion with yourself? Listening to those very creative urges could facilitate the communications that you have with yourself and bring you closer to your core.

The drive to create is fundamentally human. When we ignore it, we only do ourselves a disservice. And that’s exactly why we ignore it – it doesn’t suit how we are taught to think. We have a narrative of ideas, timelines, and other restrictions by which we are told we must live our lives. Our urges rest in direct opposition to society’s inclination towards dismantling those parts that could feasibly extend the joy and wholeness that humans feel. These drives are ingrained in us, and failing to address them brings discontent. As thinkers and creators, we stand to gain much more by refusing to tame the creative drive.