What is the Cost of Being Creative?

What is the Cost of Being Creative?
4 minutes read. September 5th, 2019.

Lack of Originality

Every creative person sets out to produce something meaningful and original, but sometimes it’s hard to escape the feeling that it’s all been done before. After all, nobody wants to tell the same story as the last person. When it feels like any ideas that come to mind have already been done over and over, frustration starts to set in.

Put to bed the idea that a lack of originality is a flaw – it’s almost impossible to create anything without prior knowledge or inspiration. Virtually every creative decision ever made was inspired by something or other, so try thinking of originality as a spectrum rather than in black and white terms. We’re all unique, and ideas are the product of our own individual experiences. Interact with people, read, travel, take in everything you can. Before long, you’ll begin to incorporate bits of each experience into your creations and generate ideas that stand out from the norm – that’s originality.

Too Many Ideas

Making a creative choice when there are so many potential options available is an unenviable task which, if left unaddressed, can lead to both a cluttered mind and projects being left half-finished. Creative people can be fiercely protective of their ideas – having to destroy or abandon the things we’ve dreamt up can be a bitter pill to swallow. For similar reasons, it’s not always easy to step away and accept that an idea has reached its final iteration.

Try to establish a specific timeframe in the day to allow yourself to sort through your ideas – allocating a set time to try and get things in order can be an effective way of training yourself to switch off during other periods. It can be difficult to prioritise and make creative choices, but knowing when to let things lie comes from developing the ability to judge your ideas dispassionately.

Too Few Ideas

To follow up the above point with the complete opposite may seem a little puzzling, but it’s a testament to the fact that creativity works in such mysterious ways. Creative block affects us all from time to time – when the ideas simply won’t flow, the imposing figure of uncertainty looms in the doorway. This can cause anxiety when time is of the essence.

Anticipate that creative block is going to happen – it’s nothing to beat yourself up over. Take a step back, set some small goals and complete them. It’s invaluable to have a set of resources to refer back to for inspiration too – write your ideas down, take photographs, compile Pinterest boards… whatever you find most effective. Treat uncertainty as a blank slate for exploration, using it as a chance to travel in any creative direction that you wish.

Fear of Judgement

Creative people are judged on their ideas – it’s as simple as that. When braving others’ opinions, it can often feel like you’re putting your pride on the line. Those who take criticism to heart can often feel discouraged from sharing their ideas or, worse still, start to play things safe by setting the creative bar lower.

Of course, simply becoming thick-skinned is easier said than done, but we must accept that being critiqued is a major part of life as a creative person. Everyone is different, which means that everyone will respond differently to your work – although other people’s reactions are beyond your control, the vast majority of criticism (in creative circles at least) is given in an attempt to be constructive. A creative world without criticism would become complacent, and only through talking collectively about our creations can we push them further.

As for dimming down ideas due to a fear of criticism, perhaps it’s worth keeping in mind the following:

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde idea quote


Anyone looking to become more creative should be aware that, whilst there are costs that accompany creativity, none of them are worth getting hung up on. How do we know? Because there’s always a solution to any given problem, and the payoff for finding it makes being creative worth the effort every day of the week.

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What is the Cost of Being Creative?

Paul Hough

Creative Director

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