Creative Space with Jennifer Logue

How Too Much Freedom Can Be a Bad Thing In the Creative Process

July 02, 2023 Jennifer Logue
Creative Space with Jennifer Logue
How Too Much Freedom Can Be a Bad Thing In the Creative Process
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Given this is Independence Day weekend, the subject of freedom has been on my mind, and since this is Creative Space, I wanted to talk about freedom within the context of creativity and being an artist. 

The big idea? I think too much freedom can be a bad thing in the creative process.

Listen to the episode to find out why and let me know your thoughts.

You can reach out to me on social @jenniferlogue or visit my website at: 

If you like the podcast, be sure to show your support by leaving a review wherever you get your podcasts.


0:57—The excuses we make
01:37—Total freedom is not required to be creative
03:31—5 reasons too much freedom can be a bad thing for a creative

Jennifer Logue:

Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of creative space, a Podcast where we explore, learn and grow and creativity together. I'm your host, Jennifer Logue. And today, given this is Independence Day weekend, the subject of freedom has been on my mind. And since this is creative space, I wanted to talk about freedom within the context of creativity, and being an artist, and entrepreneur, a maker, whatever you're making the big idea. I think, too much freedom can be a bad thing for a creative person. And as we dig into the episode, I'll explain why. First of all, let's set the scene. I'm sure artists from all walks of life have made this excuse before, I'll get that project started. When I have more free time. I love to start reading again. But I have a family and life is busy. I have a dream to become an actor. But until I have financial freedom, I'm not going to pursue it. When I quit my day job, then I'll be able to fully commit to my art. And on and on and on. A lesson I've had to learn that I keep learning, because quite a few of those examples have resonated with me over the years is that total freedom is not required to be creative. Let me repeat that. Total freedom is not required to be creative. I'll give myself as an example. When I was saving for a house, I moved in with my family to save money. And I stopped working on my voice. I'd sing quietly, but I felt like I needed my own creative space to really train. Was that an excuse? Most definitely. Looking back, there are so many things that I could have done to keep singing during that time. I could have sang in my car, I could have found a cheap rehearsal studio somewhere. There were options available to me, but I didn't even bother to think about them. I was so fixated on what I didn't have that impossible ideal of complete freedom. I could have gotten creative with the limitation to keep growing. I may have met new people, I may have become more adaptable to different situations. But instead, I just stopped. I was so focused on the need to have complete creative freedom that I ended up limiting myself. Kind of ironic, isn't it? So I realize now complete freedom of any kind, isn't required to be creative or to do our art. Let's stop using our lack of freedom as an excuse to not create complete creative freedom is an illusion anyway, there will always be something you're pushing against, whether it's internal or external. But back to the big idea that I opened this episode with. How can too much freedom be a bad thing for a creative person? I have five reasons I'm going to highlight. Number one, when we have unlimited possibilities, it can make focusing hard. And focusing is required to make something the best it can be. As advertising legend, David Ogilvy once said, Give me the freedom of a tight brief. And for those of you who aren't in advertising, a brief is not referring to underwear. In this case. It's a document that outlines the goals and parameters for a creative project. Recently, I was given a brief for an assignment that was very vague, no concrete goal, just a budget. The reason it was so vague, I don't want to limit you. That's like getting into your car and driving aimlessly without a destination. You'll get somewhere eventually. But is that somewhere where you want to be? Is that where your passenger wants to be? What ends up happening in this situation, hopefully, is that a creative will end up limiting themselves by developing a point of view to start somewhere. If the creative doesn't limit themselves, they'll end up driving in circles and not getting anywhere with nothing but a bunch of half baked random ideas that aren't cohesive. Ultimately, unlimited creative freedom can only be put to use when someone starts focusing And focusing requires limiting other possibilities. Without focus, the work is never refined. Number two boundaries can provide a springboard for creativity. As humans, I think it's in our nature to crave complete freedom. But even in the wilderness of nature, there is a natural order to things. And boundaries provide that order to our creative projects. And they can even be a springboard for creativity if we let them. As an example, let's say I have a dream of becoming a published author. But I work a demanding full time job. I've also never written anything in my life, I've never taken the time. Well, rather than waiting to hit the lottery, I could use the limitation of time to my advantage, I can work within the boundaries to create short stories while I was working a full time job. It's a more reasonable approach than attempting something as big as the next great American novel. Because of the limited time I have working this demanding full time job. But when we let the boundaries be a springboard for our creativity, we get started, you know, and it helps us bring some of our life into the work, because we're working with those boundaries and limitations that are unique to us. Number three, boundaries also provide friction that makes our work more alive. To illustrate this concept, imagine we were making a movie without any conflict without any boundaries without any limitations. Our hero is a young woman in her 30s, who has unlimited amounts of money, and she can travel anywhere she wants to in the world. And every day is sunshine and roses is perfect. Her life is absolutely perfect. She never has any problems. She has no boundaries, no limitations. Sounds lovely, right? Well, I think that will make a really boring movie. And most of us would probably sub watching, you know, pretty quickly. Because life isn't like that all the time. The ups and downs, they help us grow, and boundaries are part of that. Number four, boundaries can make us more creative. I'm going to keep this short. But let's say there are things you want to talk about in your art, but you're not in a position to be fully transparent. In this case, you have to get more creative in how you deliver your message to get an idea across without being overly explicit. So in that sense, and that's just one example. The boundaries can make us more creative. And finally, number five, boundaries can motivate us. Okay, let's go back to the example of being an artist with a day job. Sure, you're not able to commit to your art full time. But if you magically had financial freedom tomorrow, would you be as disciplined in your art? My life coach once told me tasks expand to fill the amounts of time given to them? Would you be as disciplined I had a friend tell me about a songwriter he knew. She was super disciplined and prolific when she had a day job. Then, after years of working her day job and doing music at night, she finally gets a publishing deal. When this happened, her productivity actually went down. I'm not saying that's true of everyone, but boundaries on our time can make us more motivated. And that's just one example of how boundaries can be a motivating force. To sum everything up, too much freedom can be a bad thing when it comes to creativity. Without some limitations, we never fully focus we never fully commits, we never fully refine. So begin where you are within the limitations you have. And realize that complete and total freedom is not the answer to being the best artist, entrepreneur maker that you can be. The great artists are the ones who made the most of where they were, and kept building on that. Anyways, thank you so much for tuning into this episode of creative space. I'd love to know your thoughts on this topic. You can reach out to me on social media at Jennifer Logue or leave a review for creative space on Apple podcasts so more people can discover it. I appreciate you so much for being here in the beginning stages of this. My name is Jennifer Logue and thanks for listening to this episode of creative space. Until next time,

The excuses we make
Total freedom is not require to be creative
5 reasons too much freedom can be a bad thing for a creative