The Burden of Creativity

space-exploration-43327We creative types have a difficult job. Essentially, our job is to create something out of nothing. Our job is to be original. To stand out. And eventually, to not only find fulfillment in our creation but fulfill others with it.

For most creative-types, we strive to guide our audiences through an emotional journey. . .

I take that back.

We strive to control our audience’s emotions. Through our creations.

And the fact is, we cannot live without creativity. Creativity turns the wheels of the world.

The reason people go insane in jail cells or on deserted islands? Many will say it’s because of a lack of community and communication. That’s true to a point, but I’d like to add a third option to create a holy trinity of functionality: There is also a lack of creativity being given and received.

When we’re not creating, or thinking organically, or processing, we go stir-crazy. When we’re not being stimulated by other people’s creativity, we get bored, we lose interest in things, we lose focus of life in general.

After all, a single life is a creative force in process, is it not?

So back to us creative-types. We are more than just wayward wanderers, or left-filed players. We are shape-shifters, world-changers, earth-spinners.


We are the inventors of existence in that we create something out of nothing. We storytellers guide and influence people’s thoughts, actions, and decisions. We decide what is relevant and important.

But being born centuries late into a creative world, we are faced with a problem. We’re torn between exposing ourselves to creativity for inspiration and shielding ourselves for fear of the temptation to mimic.

As serious storytellers, we are charged with the task to explore uncharted territories. We don’t have the luxury of recreating a school for wizards, a son-hunting fish, clashing superheros with differing powers.

I see serious storytellers as space explorers, forced to venture further than anyone has gone before. The storytellers before us have claimed the nearest stars, those stories have been told and many have been well received. But now we must go further, push ourselves deeper into the darkness and uncertainty of space. It can be scary because what if we waste too much time on an idea, or a star, that’s going to burn out?

That’s the risk we take. But we’ll never know unless we test it. And if we let one story go untested, that just may be one less the story the world, or a life, can be influenced by.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

18 thoughts on “The Burden of Creativity

  1. Well said.

    The part about being born centuries late struck a chord. How many great stories and story ideas were published from the 19th and 20th century? Millions perhaps, but the crux of it is that much like music, there is little truly original left, we’re scavenging off a heavily picked carcass, but that in itself is the challenge, to create as much original material as possible given the constraints.
    I think the earlier writers were damned selfish, they could have left us all some topics to work with that haven’t been done to death 😀

    1. Perhaps that’s what makes creativity so spectacular. I’m sure that 20th century authors thought the same thing about their predecessors. But what made classic authors so classic was that they created new genres, new world-building, and new voices. That is such an incredibly difficult job, and one that, like Andrew said, is a huge burden for those of us who attempt it. We just might be crazy to choose this life, but we do.

  2. A thought provoking post Andrew. I agree with the comments made by LionAroundWriting in originality is difficult to find. I sometimes think that in trying to be original, or different, we can lose touch with who we really are. The most creative work comes from finding our true self and following that journey.

    1. Very true. I’ve learned that you first write what you want to read. And then as you refine it, you figure out what the people want to read, and through that is an organic revision.

  3. Wow! Beautiful post! I remember leading my friends on mitten paw polar bear adventures through the snow and revelling in my role as sage. Still today, I find the power we have as storytellers intoxicating. We are the creators of worlds…that so often feel far more real than this one 😉

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