Doug Waltman

The Creative

Many of the world’s greatest creatives lead lives filled with emotional turmoil. The “tortured soul” exists to an end. It does not take an art history lesson to see this.

Creative inspiration draws power in the intensity of emotion. The feeling doesn’t have to be negative. It can be positive or even neutral. Love, loss, anger, apathy — pick your poison. An artist will dwell on that emotion. They will latch on and ride it down to it’s deepest chasms. We will obsess. We will lose ourselves in it, investing tears and turmoil to come out on the other side, emotionally exhausted.

This process repeats itself ad infinitum. Each cycle can last several days, even years, or just hours. It’s like waiting for a wave to whisk you away on your board on the beach. The waves are unending, and each is unique.

The risk of riding the big wave is its undertow pulling you back in afterward. The depression phase following moments of intense emotion can feel like being inches below the surface of the water. You see the world around you, but it’s visually distorted, audibly muted, and you feel completely helpless.

Everything is ok, but we don’t feel ok. The intensity is gone, and we want it back. "Where did my passion go!?"

We feel broken. Worthless.

So when the waves come, enjoy them. Savor the intensity of emotion while it is present. Use it to fuel your creative efforts. And though the biggest swells are followed by the strongest undertows, know that they too, will pass.

Get back on your board and show us the world mired in your intensity, because you’re not broken. You’re not worthless, and the world desperately needs you.