Is Creativity Finite?

Traditionally, we think of creativity as endless. It’s certainly something I’ve believed for a long time.

It makes sense in a way. After all, creativity is integrated into everything we do, from what clothes we put on in the morning to what we cook for dinner. In the creative industry, where you crank out idea after idea after idea, you pretty much count on your creativity being endless.

The essence of creativity implies an infinite nature–that there are endless solutions to any creative problem.

However, we, as human beings, have limits. We are finite. Thus, inevitably, our creativity is finite too … or at least our ability to channel it.

I want to believe in infinite creativity. I’ve built my life around this idea, in a way. I come up with an idea I love, and I make the leap to pursuing before I’ve considered if I have the resources in me required to do it. I just trust them to be there.

Has this worked for me so far? Yes. But when I’m constantly caught up in an endless cycle of fiction writing, blogging, full-time work, outreach for wordhaus, and so on (not to mention engaging in life outside my projects), I eventually hit a wall. I get to a place where I can’t do any more creating.

I’m coming to realize that there is an important difference between “infinite” and “infinite possibility.” There are endless different ways to go with creativity. But we are limited in our ability to harness it. We’re limited by the resources of time, energy and focus.

It’s freeing to finally accept this, really. I can stop being so hard on myself when I feel tapped out and can’t crank out the same amount on one day as I did in the days prior. I can just accept that I need space for rest and other things in my life. I am more attuned to my needs, so I can take better care of myself.

But it does pose some critical questions for us as creatives. How do we make the best use of our time? When and where do we carve out the space to create? What projects merit putting our creative energies toward?

What do you think? Do you consider creativity infinite or finite? How does this shape your creative choices?

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One thought on “Is Creativity Finite?

  1. How might your conclusion change if your underlying premise changed? All of creation sings out that love and beauty and joy is everlasting…. that goodness prevails and that we are indeed infinite through the God who created us. These constructs are captured in the countless masterpieces of renaissance art…. and written in our hearts/minds as well!

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