Success = Roadblock to Creativity?

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I know for a fact that my creative hindrances mainly stem from fear. But not the typical fears of failing and looking like an idiot in front of other people. In all honesty, I think it’s the exact opposite; the fear of success is what freezes up my creativity.

When you first think of “making it” as a writer or in any creative vocation, you picture being admired and respected by others for your work. But there can also be pressure: the pressure to keep up the success and do even better next time and all the other times after it.

That’s what author Elizabeth Gilbert faced after publishing her novel Eat, Pray, Love.  Gilbert describes in her Ted Talk below how she had to make sure her creativity “survived it’s own success” when she sat down to write her next book. Check it out!

2 thoughts on “Success = Roadblock to Creativity?

  1. Her TED talk has interesting ideas about creativity but my question is what is the perceived importance of “even better next time”? When I apply that question to myself, it would be a fear that others think I have somehow failed or fallen short (of my capabilities).
    As artists, we learn and hone our craft from experience. Sometimes those efforts succeed and other times, it may not appear that way. No doubt what others think has a bearing on that measure of success but if we give it our best efforts – during that creative period – how we think about it ourselves should be the ultimate measure of its success.


    1. I totally agree that our self-perception of our creative work is important because it is what ultimately compels us to put it out there when we feel good about it.

      And yes, it is so important to give yourself the benefit of the doubt during the creative period because then we’ll never finish anything (actually, I think this is one of my biggest problems, to be honest)!

      Good points, John. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      However, the reality is that if we want our work to succeed in the larger scheme of things once the creative development process is over, it is also important to consider how to best capture an audience and convey your work’s message meaningfully. That, in my opinion, is what makes a work “successful” 🙂


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