At Syncreate, we strive to understand the common barriers to creativity and find ways to help people overcome them. We host a monthly Meetup in Austin to bring together creative people working in all genres to share ideas, inspirations, and artistic challenges, and to foster a sense of community. We recently asked a number of our friends and peers about the major obstacles to their creativity, and about what tools or solutions might enhance their creative process.
The response was very enthusiastic; people had a lot to say about this topic, which was quite illuminating, and certainly resonated with our own experiences of the creative process. We found that the most common barriers are self-doubt (including perfectionism, fear of failure, shame, and self-judgment), lack of time or time management, and distractions.
One friend, a professional musician, composer, instrument maker and tuner, answered “One word - doubt - what all other obstacles boil down to. The antidote for me is anything that eliminates that doubt and it most often comes in the form of simple, mindful recalling that the internal dialogue that often gives rise to doubt is simply chatter and only has the power I give it.”
Another respondent, a writer, exclaimed, “Intimidation. Sometimes the stories in my head feel bigger than me…Sometimes, the laundry needs to be folded, or the toilets cleaned, or the animals fed (including the human animals), priorities that seem like they are supposed to come first. But mostly, I can't tell when I have gone too far or not far enough. The vulnerable bits feel ugly, or embarrassing.”
The number one solution that people identified (and seemed most excited about), above even time management, accountability, money, and focus, was finding a sense of community, including support from others and feedback on creative work. Indeed, creativity and art-making can often be very solitary endeavors, which can lead to a sense of loneliness and isolation. At Syncreate, part of our mission is to facilitate communication, collaboration, and community in service of the creative process. We are actively developing new tools to both support individual creativity through time management, accountability, and inspiration, and to help foster creative communities and collaboration. Over the coming months, we will be sharing more of our discoveries and creative tools, so please stay connected with us through social media and our website, syncreate.org.