When people say "creative type," they usually mean an artist of some sort — a writer, musician, visual artist, hybrid artist, or practitioner of an original art form they've created (as creative types are wont to do). But it's really more of a mentality than an occupation. We're dreamers. We think in symbols. We value imagination over reality. We want to challenge the very concept of reality (and we can be kind of pretentious about it). According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist who studies creativity, the strongest quality all creative types share is complexity. "They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated," he said. "They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an 'individual,' each of them is a 'multitude.'"
In other words, there's just so much going on in our heads, and we often rely on our chosen art forms to express all these thoughts so that we don't explode into giant messes. This internal messiness is just one of the many problems creative types can all commiserate about but other people totally don't get. Here are a few more struggles that come up repeatedly for creative folk but rarely anywhere else.
1. Being snapped out of your creative flow.
I am about to have a breakthrough. Distracting me when I'm about to have a breakthrough is akin to waking up a sleepwalker. Please don't do it.
2. Inability to relate to totally sane people.
Wait, so you're not constantly plagued by the world's social injustices/intellectual impoverishment/spiritual shortsightedness/something of that nature? I don't get you.
3. Having to explain why you've rejected totally practical, reasonable career paths for the lifestyle of a starving artist or hustling writer.
Those whose passions align with financial stability or who don't feel the need to have a career they're passionate about will never understand our insistence on doing something that feeds our souls rather than our stomachs.
4. Having an emotion we can't quite describe and not having an instrument, art supplies, or laptop at hand to express it.
Not everything we want to say can be said in normal verbal conversations. That's what art is for.
5. Noticing things nobody else notices and everyone looking at you like you're crazy.
But guys, light just flickered in a way that reminded me of something from a movie I saw, and I didn't know light did that in real life!
6. When a brilliant idea pops into your head and you need to leave wherever you are immediately and get your idea down before you lose it.
Thanks so much for inviting me to your party, but I really need to head out before I forget the poem that's currently being written in the back of my mind and slipping further and further away as we speak!
7. When you can't help but compose something about an experience that's still happening.
Will I ever be able to just live in the moment?
8. Dating emotionally unstable people because we like their colorfulness and feel like they "get" us.
Fortunately, most of us realize at some point that there are colorful people out there who get us and don't break up with us every couple days.
9. Knowing we'll never accomplish all of our creative goals.
Because despite our best efforts to transcend all the laws of physics with our art, we have yet to create a time machine.
10. Feeling the need to devote ourselves to a pursuit and nurture as if it were our child.
Many people just have work, family, and friends. But our art is our baby, and sometimes it takes priority over these other parts of our lives. And sometimes all the attention it demands drives us crazy, but when we produce something we're really proud of, it's all worth it in the end.