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Feeling Pressured To Create

Chuck CloseOne kind of pressure is feeling an intense urge to create; it is probably an inherent part of being a creative person.

But other pressures can lead to stress and overwhelm, and being pulled away from the joys of creating.

Annemarie Roeper (founder of the Roeper School and The Roeper Review, a professional journal on the gifted) wrote about this intense inner pressure to create as a characteristic of high ability people – but you may experience this even if you are not “technically” gifted:

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

“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.”

But, she added, “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.”

From my post An Intense Inner Pressure to Create.

Creativity coach Eric Maisel notes that even if we are able to produce “enough” creative work but it is not received well, we may feel unhappy: “When we fear that we do not matter or that our efforts do not matter, we get depressed.”

He cautions that the term depression “has virtually replaced unhappiness in our internal vocabularies.”

From my article Eric Maisel on investing meaning in our life and art for mental health.

Learning differences

Many artists have struggled with learning disabilities such as novelist Richard Ford (dyslexia) and painter Chuck Close (prosopagnosia, or face blindness) – yet create, often prolifically, in spite of those challenges.

[See quotes about and by both these artists in my post Your Creative Mind with Learning Differences.]

The photo above is Close at work; a spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed and wheelchair bound. From post Chuck Close on the blog How Creatives Work.

Striving in everything

Jessica ChastainDirector Kathryn Bigelow praises her lead actress Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”:

“She has real range and she gets lost in her characters, and…is an overall easygoing person.

“The other side of Jessica that not as many people know is that she is an utter slave to her craft and one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met, let alone directed in a film. Jessica strives in everything she does. She works and works, tirelessly, on a range of quality projects — large films, independent films, Broadway — she does it all.”

From my post Working Tirelessly to be More Creative.

Being creative and productive can include multiple kinds of pressures.

In her CreativeLive post The Real Fears of Creatives: Money, Making Stuff, and Staying Current, Hanna Olsen agrees that “Being a creative — in whatever sense you may be, even if you choose not to use the adjective as a noun — is deeply satisfying.”

But, she adds, “According to a new report released by Adobe — which is full of really interesting information and statistics — creatives lie awake at night, worried about our ability to keep pace with others, to make enough stuff, to stay informed, and, of course, to support ourselves financially.

“The report finds that the top two concerns for creatives are the pressure to deliver great content and ideas faster than ever, followed narrowly by fears of being financially insecure. Other fears include being misunderstood (a legitimate concern) and not being sufficiently trained in new skills.”

Read her article to see links to the Adobe report and other helpful information.

All this urgency and pressure can lead to stress and overwhelm, if we aren’t careful.

Writer and entrepreneur Emilie Wapnick articulates how we may go “too far” in pushing the boundaries of our capacities to keep achieving, especially as multitalented people:

“It’s a collapse. Complete mental exhaustion. While most people experience burnout from time to time, multipotentialites are prone to hitting this point more frequently and more intensely. It makes sense, considering how passionately curious we are, and how easy it is for us to lose ourselves in our projects.”

Entrepreneur coach Molly Gordon suggests thinking of “too much to do” as, instead, “living in a world of abundant possibility as opposed to one of temporal scarcity.”

That seems to me a helpful re-framing – one that has reduced my stress and pressure, at least when I can remember it.

From my post Multiple Talents, Multiple Passions, Burnout.


Sprinting to stay on top of it all

Writer Nadina Lupu comments,

“Productivity is about doing the best job and still have energy and room left for other activities.

“There are numerous techniques that promote dividing your workday into sprint-break cycles. Some people find it efficient to work for an hour and then take a 5-minute break.”

From her article 5 First-Hand Tips To Become A Productivity Star.

Also see my pages with multiple articles and programs:

Emotional Health Resources

Self Care For Your Creative Life

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Do you have strategies to stay creatively productive without too much pressure and stress?

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Feeling Pressured 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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Some excerpts from The Creative Mind are included in his newsletter .
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Emotional Health Resources - Programs, books, articles and sites to improve your emotional wellbeing.

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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2014). Feeling Pressured To Create. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Jul 2014
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.