Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

Why You Are Not At Your Most Creative (and how to be)

There’s a self-limiting myth that I used to believe. It’s a myth books, movies, and songs have propagated for the longest time.

The myth: To be your most creative self you must suffer considerably ever day, you must be sad, or, better yet, depressed, and you should never, ever be happy.

If you fell for this myth, as so many before you have, and you’re stuck, wondering why you are not as creative as you know you can be, here’s why:

Provided by Dreamstime.com

Being sad is not the answer to your creativity. (Tweet This)

It is true that many productive creative people have been through bouts of sadness and depression, but most of them became their most creative when they finally discovered that the answer is something else entirely.

Think about the last time you were feeling down and your esteem was suffering considerably. How much did you feel like doing?

The odds are ice cream, movies or your pillow became your best friend. Or maybe you went into a more destructive state (I hope not, but it’s not uncommon – I know).

I am willing to bet you did not feel inspired and motivated to seriously create something that you could put your heart into, and if you did try to start it’s likely you wrote a few sentences, maybe a few pages or painted a few strokes, and stopped with very little desire to continue.

Most of us when we don’t feel well move from project to project never really completing any of them.

And you know why? Because none of them really seem good enough and they certainly don’t feel satisfying, much less special.

The desire just isn’t there and we’d rather do something else that doesn’t require so much agonizing effort.

Don’t fall for the myth, because it’s not true.

Even if you are fortunate enough to create something in such a state of melancholy, it may only serve to help you remember those dark days or reinforce your belief in the myth, and keep you where you don’t really want to be.

I speak from experience.

For years I lived through stress, anxiety and depression from a troubled childhood, but it wasn’t until I discovered how to be happy that things changed and my creativity began to blossom!

Sadness is not the answer. Happiness is.

Happiness is the one true muse. (Tweet This)

What does a muse bring to you that drives you to create with boundless enthusiasm and passion?


When you are happy life seems so much more alive and beautiful, you become filled with inspiration and motivation.

That’s when you become your most creative. That’s when you start and complete projects, ones that will fill you with joy.

Think about it – when you see someone frowning, how does that make you feel?

What about when someone you care about gives you a bright, welcoming smile?

You know the joyous feeling you get when something great happens for you and suddenly you’re on top of the world accomplishing things left and right.

Isn’t everything easier when you’re happy?

How you feel has direct influence on you in so many ways, both beneficial and not so beneficial.

If you want to be your most creative self then you must find ways to be happy. I don’t mean silly happy as if there are no cloudy days – I’m talking about real happiness by knowing even if today isn’t your best day, tomorrow will be better.

Although a muse is something, or, someone, you give credit to for inspiring you to become creatively productive, the real source and power of said muse actually comes from within you.

People finally find a muse only when they’ve reached the dawn of their own joyfulness and become open to what has always been there.

The real credit belongs to you, not anything or anyone else.

You have it within you to create your own happiness. (Tweet This)

What if you could find specific, simple, and realistic ways to create happiness for yourself every day?

That, my friends, is what my new book “Happy Every Day – Simple, Effective Ways to Better Days” is about. It’s filled with strategies I have used to find my way, and I still use them every day to maintain my happiness and be the productive, prolific creative person that I am.

When people ask me how I maintain my websites and write every day, rain or shine, I tell them the truth:

I’m happy.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

~Anaïs Nin (Tweet This Quote)

This doesn’t mean I don’t have down days. I’m still human, but I know what it takes to be happy again because I’ve been on the other side.

Happy people are the most creative people. (Tweet This)

Place this affirmation on your computer screen, nightstand and bathroom mirror:

I deserve to be happy every day. (Tweet This)

Because you do.

If you start small, admitting and affirming this truth every day, then nothing and no one can keep happiness from becoming you.

If you’re happy, truly happy, your creative passion will rise like the fiery phoenix and you will become the productive, brilliantly creative artist you know you are.

Life is meant to be lived happily. Don’t you agree?

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”

~Jim Rohn (Tweet This Quote)

If you’re not at your most creative, if you’re not at your most productive, and if you’re not who you want to be as an artist and as a person, then ask yourself if you are happy.

Are you?

Keep in mind that I am not asking if your circumstances are good, or if bad things have happened to you, or if people treat you well, or if you blame yourself, or if you’re lucky, or if your smarter or dumber than others.

You know why?

Because those are the type of things too many people focus on (but not you), and those things keep them stuck.

The good news is, even if you have focused on those things:

YOU can be happy. You! Yes, YOU, deserve to be happy.

Happiness is a state of a mind, and you alone have the power to decide how happy you can be. You just might not know it yet.

You already have your muse, because it’s within you. (Tweet This)

I wrote “Happy Every Day” so you, too, can learn what I learned, and how it helped me become who I always knew I could be. I am still becoming that person every day.

You can design your own happiness. (Tweet This)

Excerpt from the foreword:

Fortunately, this isn’t a book telling you to try harder. It’s a manual for life, for how to live with more significance and greater satisfaction. And as you step into this journey of purpose and passion, you may just find yourself happier than you’ve ever been. I truly hope so.

~Jeff Goins

Author of: Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life

Have you noticed how you feel when you are at your most creative?

What do you think holds you back from being your most creative?

Tell us in the comments.

“Happy Every Day” is available now, get it on your Kindle.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Ashley

    This is such a great post because many people, including myself, have believed that the only way to become productive and accomplish things is to be in a depressed state. I think people believe this though in order to make themselves feel better about situations that they cannot help or change. Maybe I would call it a coping mechanism. Therefore, they didn’t suffer for nothing, they suffered and accomplished the world (at least in their mind as an after thought)!

    • I know, Ashley. The problem is that they don’t really accomplish much while depressed and it’s not a good coping mechanism. And it’s a good thing it is not, then we’d all want to stay depressed.

  • Agree I am most creative when I have a clutter free house and mind. Being depressed does not generate creativity, not for me. Being positive is the key for me. Thanks for sharing Bryan

    • Hi Kath, so true about the clutter! Actually, I wrote a post about clutter on another blog. I think I’ll find it and repost it here on Positive Writer. Hope you are doing well and finishing some projects? I look forward to reading your work so feel free to link to some of the posts you are most proud of. I’d love to read them.

  • Maryse

    I agree! I stopped writing for a quite a while because I thought that my creativity would feed my anxiety. Not so. Not so at all. i write best when I’m in a state of deep connection with who I am as a happy, on-purpose human being. We believe the myth that unhappiness feeds creativity because we are taught that suffering, pain and sweat, produce the best work. It takes courage to take a good look at this belief and throw it out our mind’s door. The best work may take some hard work, but it can be happy work, passionate work, compassionate work.
    Great post, thank you!

    • I totally agree, Maryse: “The best work may take some hard work, but it can be happy work, passionate work, compassionate work.”

  • Cathy

    So true that we’ve been led to believe that we must suffer for our art. I haven’t found that being in a depressed state helps my creativity at all and in fact it puts me into a state of negativity and self doubt. I have a pity party and the Inner Critic comes for a visit and won’t leave.

    I find when I’m in my most creative state is when I totally lose myself in my projects, whether it’s writing, playing music, baking, or making scrapbooks. The Inner Critic can’t even penetrate my state of euphoria when I lose myself totally in what I’m doing. It’s the best feeling and doesn’t happen all that often so when it does, I savour every moment!

  • You burst my balloon, Bryan. I wanted to be unhappy like Ernest Hemingway, furiously typing away under an olive tree in Tuscany, with spectacular views of the ocean, a cat laying sleeping in the meadow, studded with wild flowers, a rickety wooden, blue painted table, a cold pitcher of Mojito’s at my elbow, and Me.
    Now you say I must be happy, doing this? 😉

    • Uhm, Patricia, if you don’t mind me saying your description is that of beauty and happiness, and not sadness and despair 🙂 Ah, you got me!

  • Good post Bryan. Sometimes though when people go through times of being sad because of grief for instance. Then we need to let them work through it. To weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I’m sure you experienced caring people being patient with you when you were hurting. One thing that especially resonated with me was the point about hope. Thinking tomorrow may be a better day. I believe that wholeheartedly.

    I guess i’ve been fortunate because even when I’ve gone through difficult times I’ve been able to successfully write about them. Some of my happiest times are with my three little favorite people, Jude, Charlie and now Ruthie. Then try and take my smile off of me. You won’t be able to do it. 🙂

    • I agree, Anne. There’s a study out that found that depression is more of a necessary human response for the brain to work through grief and that means it is helpful, even necessary for one’s well being. The problem comes when some believe grief and pain is necessary to produce and to feel alive, and therefore choose to remain in depression purposely hoping it will give them some kind of motivation for whatever it is they might need.

      • Bryan,

        So you are talking about an addiction to being low. A high on being low. Got it.

        • You know what I love about your comments, Anne? You always give me ideas on how to improve future posts.

  • This is a really hellpful message, Bryan. We can be fooled into thinking we must suffer for art’s sake. But the truth is, though sad and bad experiences can shape and inform our writing, it is usually with the benefit of hindsight that they do so. Being in a low, depressed state is not conducive for productivity in general. Having said that, there are rare times when we produce great work because we are going through a tough time.
    One of my best poems was birthed in a season of more severe M.E symptoms and it has resonated greatly with those who can connect with how it feels. Life, art and creativity are often inextricably linked but don’t necessarily fit a predictable pattern. It varies from person to person.
    I’m looking forward to reading your book now that you’ve whetted my appetite here! Blessings 🙂