Why Creative People Feel Restless

Yasmeen El Gerbi
4 min readFeb 20, 2021
Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

The creative force may be separated into two parts: the expressed, and the unexpressed. The creative process isn’t linear and it’s not like having an idea or a light bulb moment that then is simply expressed. Being creative for some can look like a constant stream of ideas, visions, and emotions that are waging storms in their minds. For others, it can look like visions and ideas that only reveal themselves at certain unpredictable times. The common challenge for creatives alike lies in expressing these unexpressed ideas, regardless of how they show up.

The creative process often leads to restlessness or tension, because tension is needed as fuel to propel creativity into expression, before the creative ideas disappear or lose their spark. The tension fuels the chase of these ideas, and then fuels the process of turning them into something tangible, full, and whole. The ideas are often just a base that you have to build on. This means you need to chase the first basic idea, then chase more ideas, and even more ideas, then connect them and shape them like dough, and the dough must be unique.

If you depend on creativity to a large extent, whether in your profession, or in any other area of life, you may be feeling restless. You may feel like you can’t rest until you fully grasp the ideas you have and turn them into something touchable, seeable, workable. And since this takes time and patience, restlessness can easily become a permanent state of being.

The restlessness becomes unhealthy when you are too attached to perfection in your creativity. If you constantly expect yourself to produce perfect “doughs”, then you will become emotionally tied to the outcome. This will cause anxiety or a sense of constant unease. It’s important to know that it’s not wrong to feel restless. Though if you are a restless creative, understanding how you relate to creativity may be a good step to take. Do you expect to have constant great ideas? Do you expect to be constantly productive? Do you feel disappointed when you fail to meet your creative expectations?

Healthy amounts of restlessness are normal, but unhealthy amounts cause burnout, anxiety, and even depression. If you are constantly feeling restless, then you probably have nervous energy running through you, or stress. This means that your body is…

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Yasmeen El Gerbi

I like exploring the complexity underlying our ideas, emotions, stories, norms, and lives.