Whether you find creative people in remote little mountain kingdoms accessible only by mule or in big, modern, cosmopolitan cities, you will discover that they are surprisingly alike. The many traits they share are not all favorable; some are obstacles. Yet those traits–the worst and the best together–prepare creative people for fascinating lives other people look at with admiration and envy.
Feel deeply and are gifted. They are people whose ecstasies and traumas will be the raw material for their creations–never to be forgotten, but reflected again and again many times in the works they contribute to the world.
May be “overlooked” as school children. Their talents unrecognized, they may have undistinguished elementary and high school careers, only to be recognized for their significant achievements later in life to the surprise of everyone.
Are self-absorbed, concerned first and foremost with themselves, their own wellbeing and state of mind, their projects and their cherished and most private desires, needs, hopes. Their self-absorption can make them overly emotional, temperamental, and difficult. But self-absorption is a necessary feature of a creative personality.
Proud, may react defensively, angrily, bitterly to criticism.
Sadly, at times may be too emotionally ill to work, particularly poets and writers who may be victims of the high and inexplicable incidence of debilitating mood disorders affecting them.
Have a strong belief in, respect, and enthusiasm for their art.
Need confidence. Confidence grows exponentially with each success. The most accurate predictor of future success is past success, as “Since I have written a best seller before, I can do it again.”
Are often “seduced” by their art. There is no shortcut to the tremendous amount of experience necessary to become highly skilled in an art. It is hard for someone in the arts not to see their art taking over more and more of their time and possibly becoming their most important activity, finding themselves doing everything for their art.
Are rebellious, bold, and open to new experiences. More daring than the majority of people. Have no fear of risks.
Have an insatiable need to establish rapport with and hold an audience–followers, fans to applaud them. And yet, deprived of an audience, they will still work just as conscientiously.
May not seem to be but are competitive, ambitious, prone to envy and jealousy.
Will of necessity bloom late due to the difficulties of becoming established, overcoming a sequence of hurdles, and mastering their chosen art. Late developing, being “behind,” they needn’t despair because they often accelerate and “catch up” quickly after their first successes, often surpassing those who bloomed sooner.
Tend to “live in their heads.”
Consider themselves the best judge of their work, its “foremost authority.”
Are lucky to have the particular creative talents esteemed by society that make them ideal writers, artists, actors, dancers, composers, etc. as if they are people who have been ordered from a catalogue.
“Know who they are.” Are marked by a clear, unambiguous sense of identity, as “I am an historical novelist specializing in women’s roles in England during the Victorian era.”
Can be characterized as having heightened perceptions of the drama in the world and the beauty and importance of their art. In time they develop a “novelist’s mind,” or a ”painter’s mind,” or an architect’s, or dramatist’s mind, etc.
Can be perfectionists who are extremely hard on themselves and others (loved ones, associates, subordinates).
Are not driven by the same needs as even the people dearest to them. (That causes conflicts).
Hold sacred their independence (Will fight for it, don’t want to lose it) Hate having their freedom interfered with or restrained.
Are far more self-disciplined in their work than most people in other fields.
Can be playful, child-like, humorous, silly, fun to be with, and seem younger than their age.
Are committed to the development and refinement of their talents; motivated by “an urge to improve.”
Are exuberant, often boastful, about their achievements.
Love to work, work hard, sometimes harder than seems humanly possible.
Possess extraordinary energy and are excitable.
Must be patient and longsuffering because if they reach high-level mastery and become famous they will have persisted doggedly through thick and thin for years; many “rough spots on the road” appear in a creative person’s career.
Are strengthened by powerful needs to be competent and to be respected.
Benefit from a rare ability to focus on one object, problem, or task for extended periods without being bored or losing interest. (Facilitates completing “big jobs” like writing novels and painting murals.)
Strive to find “the one true voice” that expresses them vividly and accurately. (Doesn’t happen overnight.)
Generally find more pleasure working alone than working in groups; do not avoid, but relish, solitude.
Must quickly develop a capacity for mature self-criticism, objectivity, and judgment about their work and their abilities
Highly value authenticity, integrity, and sincerity.
For survival must become skilled at overcoming obstacles, of which there are many in the arts.
Have a practical problem-solving intelligence; prefer difficult to easy problems.
May show minimal interest in current events, gossip, and politics–not interested in discussing them, “tune them out.”
Creative people possess many gifts, many strengths, and many imperfections. As imperfect as anyone else, they nevertheless benefit the world in innumerable ways.
© 2022 David J. Rogers
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8 responses to “ The Worst and Best Traits of Creative People”
Good morning David,
Oh my goodness – this post hits so many nails right on the head….
I can imagine a book written by you on this subject being a best seller with the millions of creatives in the world plus all the people who have to deal with them…i.e. loved ones, friends, etc.
As an Italian Sculptor friend of mine used to say ‘E No Easy Darlink!:)’ being an artist that is……but at the same time – it is wonderful…
I agree with just about everything you say here…it’s fascinating to see them all written down in one place!
This is one I will print out and keep at hand…plus I will send to my children…..
Thank you dear David….Make sure to have a wonderful weekend and may your writing flow…..Janet 🙂
Janet, you have a penchant for making me feel appreciated–which means so much to people who write these posts, not quite understanding why they write them.
Hmmm, write a best seller! I’m about ready for another one.
Thank you for your kind compliments. I love it when you tell me you’re going to save my posts. It seems to me that you and I trade pleasures–my pleasures surely reading your remarkable thoughts in your posts and reveling in your lovely art work.
Thank you again for your comment.
My best, as always,
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You are most welcome….and I really believe that a book from you on this subject would be very well received. Enjoy a lovely weekend..:)
Thank you, Janet, for your confidence in me.
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Well… You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into this. Hugs.
Teagan, I’m glad you read the post. The older I get, the more I like to make the narrative dense, to pack in with information, whether it be nonfiction or fiction. I think you might feel pretty much the same.
This is a fascinating post. I apologize for not reading it until mid-January. I felt like you were describing me until the very end. I majored in political science. I follow current events and government issues to the point of irritating my sister. I’m not sure what that says about me. I never was one to follow the crowd or fit in a mold.
Thank you for the comment, Janet.
Being a fan of your blog, I am certainly aware that you were a political science major with a strong interest in history. But your personal characteristics are those of a creative person.