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The Problem With Creativity…

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… is that it takes too long.

It also requires too much repetition.

Think of a time when you heard a tune that you really liked!

So you listened to it again.

And again.

And again.

In fact you may listen to it dozens of times, but then, as time goes on, something curious happens. You get used to it. It doesn’t elicit the same joy after a while as it used to. Your brain compensates and the endorphins no longer flow as they did, which is likely a good thing. Because if you found something that would make you happier than everything else and keep you that way then you might forget about necessary tasks for surviving. So the novelty effect wearing off and even something you used to like very much becoming humdrum after a while is probably quite necessary.

But the problem is, if it happens too fast your life gets boring easily. That’s your own problem.

It may also keep you from being prolific, which is the problem of everyone around you, who might otherwise profit from the fruits of your labor, your productivity.

That’s because if you actually want to create something as great as a tune that would rivet you if you heard it from somewhere else you have to spend a long time composing it, refining it, practicing it.

And that means repetition — the very same repetition that kills the novelty effect in your brain, the very positive feedback loop you need in order to stay with something.

I know that’s what keeps me from being creative and preferring the consumption of what others have created instead. Some people ask me, “wouldn’t it be great to have made something by yourself rather than having it dished out to you from someone else?” But unfortunately the answer is, often, “no.” That’s because when I hear or see or read something that was created by someone else I see it for the first time in its finished state. Yet when I create something then by the time I see it finished I’ve heard or watched or read it maybe a hundred times already — at least if it’s something that really needs refining. Even if it’s something that doesn’t require a lot of correcting and fiddling, I already know what it is by the time I see it. Because it’s me who did it. It’s not the same. Even though it may be tailor-made to my taste, I cannot be surprised.

It would be nice to be able to make something, wrap it as a gift, and then erase all memory of creating it, so the next day I could find something that’s right up my alley and that I didn’t expect to find. If that were possible then just maybe I would have the incentive to write that great short story that’s been floating around in my mind or to draw that great picture or to compose that piece of music. But since I cannot the best hope of pleasure is always to find something by someone who has talent, approximately my taste, and the incentive to be creative with those qualities that I just don’t seem to have most of the time…

Written by ulrichschreglmann

April 1, 2010 at 4:53 am