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An Intense Inner Pressure to Create

“I started out as a painter, and then painting led to cinema… Then cinema led to so many different areas…” David Lynch

In her book, Mary-Elaine Jacobsen quotes some insightful comments by Annemarie Roeper (founder of the Roeper School and The Roeper Review, a professional journal on the gifted) about the intense inner pressure to create as a characteristic of high ability people:

“Gifted adults may be overwhelmed by the pressure of their own creativity. The gifted derive enormous satisfaction from the creative process.

“Much has been written about this process: how it works, the pressure of the inner agenda, the different phases it involves, the excitement and anxiety that comes with it, and the role played by the unconscious.”

She adds, “I believe the whole process is accompanied by a feeling of aliveness, of power, of capability, of enormous relief and of transcendence of the limits of our own body and soul. The ‘unique self’ flows into the world outside. It is like giving birth.

“Creative expression derives directly from the unique Self of the creator, and its activation brings inherent feelings of happiness and aliveness, even though they may be accompanied by less positive emotions, such as sadness, fear, and pain…

“Just as the creative process creates a feeling of happiness, the greatest unhappiness can occur if it is interfered with or not allowed to happen. In that case the inner pressure cannot be released.”

Jacobsen notes, “Beyond producing objects of value, the gifted create for the sole purpose of creative expression. They need to create and are rejuvenated by it. They often do so whether someone asks them to or not, regardless of payment or recognition, chiefly because they enjoy solving their own puzzles independent of external influence.”

From The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius, by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, PsyD.

David Lynch is one well-known example of a multitalented creator, and has commented about being a creative polymath: “I started out as a painter, and then painting led to cinema… Then cinema led to so many different areas—it led to still photography, music . . . Furniture is also a big love of mine. I started building these kind of sculptural lamps. Then I got into lithography… And I’ve always been painting along the way, as well as doing drawings and watercolors . . . There are just so many things out there for us to do.”

[From Interview magazine – quoted on my Facebook/TalentDevelop page.]

Creative passion and intensity can be part of a complex blend of emotions for many creative people, with strong impacts on emotional and spiritual balance, vulnerability to anxiety and depression, disruptions in relationships and more.

The photo is Charlton Heston as Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) – from my post Agitation or Not – Eric Maisel on Calm and Creativity.

Of course many creative people do not have the level of fame of a David Lynch or Michelangelo or Madonna – but can still experience the kinds of intensities and pressures that often accompany being gifted.

And creators are often solo entrepreneurs developing creative projects in small home offices, like the image at top from a Right-Brain Business Plan page of Artizen Coaching, founded by Jennifer Lee.

Learn more about her free Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit, with multiple presentations on being a creative entrepreneur and “connected to your creative gifts but struggling with the nuts and bolts of business.”


An Intense Inner Pressure to Create

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2012). An Intense Inner Pressure to Create. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Jul 2012
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