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The Ultimate Creativity Killer: Time

Time and Creativity

I’m here with a message from the future: We’re running out of time.

Out of time to experience.

Out of time to be passionate.

Out of time to create.

The idea that life is fleeting has always been a major theme in my creative life and work, but I’ve never known it as intimately and viscerally as I’ve begun to lately. Although I believe that today is always the best day, the only moment that matters; in the background, the clock is running out.

Whether we’re 20, 30, 40 or 80, only a finite number of todays remain and we all know there are no guarantees we’ll even have tomorrow.

Like many of you, I’ve accomplished much of what I’ve set out to accomplish creatively in many aspects of life. But certainly not everything and perhaps not even the most important things.

There are always new ideas calling. There is always potential wanting to be realized.

From this perspective, it doesn’t matter if we as creative beings have acted a lot, a little or not at all on our creative inspiration to this point. Our time on this planet will be gone, along with every creative spark we didn’t have time to ignite.

While it may give us comfort to know we’ve created, participated and even been recognized for what we’ve done in the past, at the end of the day there’s only, well, this day.

And being present, neither in the past nor the future, is a beautiful place to be. Yet the idea of presence becomes quite poignant combined with the thought that there’s never enough time. This is why the following line from the Smashing Pumpkins song, Tonight, Tonight, has been a personal mantra of mine since I first heard it:

The resolute urgency of now.

At a certain point, I think many of us get to know time in a different way. We’re not depressed by its passing, but we become wholly moved and motivated.

We feel the urgency.

We begin to prioritize our creative sparks, not as ideas that would be “nice to pursue” but as imperatives. If we can get there, we schedule the work we need to do on our most precious sparks and creations for today, for right now.

Because if not now, when? Usually, the answer is never.

To the resolute urgency of now,

Susan B.