What does creativity feel like?

What do we mean when we say we “aren’t feeling” creative?

If at the end of the day you don’t feel a sense of creative accomplishment, does that mean you haven’t been creative? I’d argue feeling uncreative might simply mean your belief of what creativity should feel like and what it actually feels like are two different things.

One of the most common examples is feeling of exhausted or lazy. We lounge around or stare at a blank screen or white sheet of paper and feel like we just don’t have a creative spark in us. Here we’re confusing the act of creation with the process of creativity. The first requires production (something written, or drawn, or played), while the second requires nothing more than thinking. Day dreaming can be a sign of creative thinking, yet how often do we allow ourselves to lay about when we want to play with our creative muse?

If we haven’t produced something, we feel as though we haven’t been creative, we focus on that point. But, in reality, creativity is more about understanding and exploration, two things that can occur entirely in the mind and which do not require any tangible results or byproducts.

There’s more here to think about as well: if we don’t feel some deep, warm feeling of insight within us, or the sudden shock of a spark in the back of our minds, we think we haven’t been creative. We feel like we must not be a creative person because we lack the sudden flash of a glowing idea in a regular lives.

But creativity can often be a long, dull process of attention, processing, and synthesis. It’s not all fun exploration and the sudden flash of an idea. Arguably the only part of creativity we ever really “feel” is the catch of an initial idea or curiosity, or the ping of a possible solution or insight. Everything between is just regular feelings of being and living.

It’s no wonder many of us don’t typically “feel” creative, while others mistakenly think they don’t have a capacity to be creative at all.

What we think creativity feels like is often some type of magical “aha!” moment. But the reality is that creativity feels like a more deliberate, slow understanding and exploration.

Photo by Sophia Louise.