Woody Allen admits he has “a lot of neurotic habits. I don’t like to go into elevators, I don’t go through tunnels, I like the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle.” With so much psychology related material in the news and culture, we may be especially concerned with whether our behavior is a disorder, or normal - whatever that is - and if our eccentricities can help us be more creative somehow. What about all those "crazy" artists in history?
What emotions and thinking may hold us back from being more creative? The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence article "Creativity, Emotions and the Arts" quoted in Part 2 talks about students holding back from being creative out of concerns "that people might think original ideas are silly" - but this kind of retreating from creative work can apply to us at any age. An example might be Joss Whedon - one of my favorite artists, who has credits as actor, writer, producer and director of movies and TV shows including Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. etc etc.
Continuing her remarks for the Emotion Revolution Summit at Yale [see Part 1], Lady Gaga noted some of the approaches she has explored to deal with her anxiety and depression, and to enhance her emotional health: "I take anti-depressant medication for it. I have tried to get off of it my doctor always tells me not to, that it's not safe for me to. "Whenever I've tried to I've gotten very neurotic, manic, sick so I have had to study all different types of ways... I started looking into Ayurvedic medicine. I started looking into meditation.
“I am the kind of person that feels so much that if I didn’t have acting (and music), I would burst from all of the emotion inside!” – Actor Gloria Reuben “I don’t like emotions… For some reason I’m more comfortable in imaginary circumstances.” – Actor William H. Macy Do you remember how much you felt and thought as a child? Probably a lot if you are creative, especially if you are gifted or highly sensitive.
"Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses."
Being creative is not some kind of personality trait; you need to have more than just creative ideas or innovative possibilities, you need to actually do something in the world: record that song, write a book or article, put together a smart phone app. As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”
“Accessing your authentic message and writing your transformational book is one of the most powerful things you will ever do for yourself, your readers, your business and ultimately – the world.” A profile notes Christine Kloser "teaches spiritual guidance and intuition along with nuts-and-bolts writing, publishing and marketing expertise." In a post on one of her sites, she comments about a story contest for transformational authors to win a book publishing package with her publishing company.
Are creative people more likely to be highly sensitive? Writer Carolyn Gregoire in an article on the topic thinks one reason highly sensitive people may be so creative is an unusual depth of feeling - part of the personality trait of high sensitivity that psychologists and many creative people find supports creative exploration and expression.
"No matter what, I have a right to be in my studio doing this; it's good, it's good for my family, it's good for me." - Sculptor Janis Wunderlich Artists are creative people regardless of their gender, of course, but women may face particular challenges, especially as mothers.