Sunday, July 1, 2012

Creatively Numb?

How long has it been since you gave in to your "calling" as a writer? Do you have to sneak up on it? Does it take meditation or medication to get you started?

If we constantly deny or avoid the creative urge, this power to make and break worlds can seep out through the cracks in our dreams and a constant feeling that we have left someone or something behind. (And you thought it was pure paranoia?)

First, a 2011 study at Cornell University found that wildly creative ideas often meet with resistance due to the fear of change, along with an inability of many humans to easily adapt to new situations. In a news release at, the authors of dual studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania reported that common reactions to creative ideas include resistance and prejudice against all the details. Four findings of the studies were that:
  • The novelty of creative ideas can lead to uncertainty that makes many people uncomfortable.
  • Tried and true ideas, considered practical, win over creative ideas.
  • Facts or objective evidence in favor of a creative proposal do not lead to acceptance.
  • The subtly of this anti-creativity bias works against a person even recognizing that a creative idea is valid. 
Take a few minutes now to look at how you react to creative ideas at work, home or at school. Think about how many times you might have thought to yourself or told someone else,"That's not possible." If it is within the last month or week, it's time to push back against any fear of the unknown to find the breakthroughs that get you beyond "creatively numb" to creatively active.

The fear factor involved in creativity has been studied from both sides: catalyst and roadblock. The next post will address how to harness common inner fears as a catalyst to kick-starting your writing creativity.

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