“To be sure, the intensity of creative pressure does ebb and flow, but like the tide, it always comes back.”
That quote from Mary-Elaine Jacobsen in her book “The Gifted Adult” indicates one of the qualities that many high ability, creative people share: the endless need to create.
Pearl Buck (winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938) also commented on this idea, writing:
“The truly creative mind [feels] the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off…
“By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.”
Director Kathryn Bigelow wrote in praise of her lead actress Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty” about that same urgency:
“Talent comes in many guises, but all original talents share the same quality: They’re unique, one of a kind. Totally unlike the rest of the crowd. Jessica Chastain, at least to my mind, is one of our original talents, a rare and gifted actress.”
She adds that with her roles in “Take Shelter,” “Tree of Life” and “The Help,” Chastain “was introduced to audiences and the industry. Suddenly, she was an actress that many filmmakers wanted to work with because she has real range and she gets lost in her characters, and also because she is an overall easygoing person.
“The other side of Jessica that not as many people know is that she is an utter slave to her craft and one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met, let alone directed in a film. Jessica strives in everything she does. She works and works, tirelessly, on a range of quality projects — large films, independent films, Broadway — she does it all.”
From First Person: Bigelow praises ‘Zero Dark Thirty’s’ Chastain By Kathryn Bigelow, Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2013.
Photo of Kathryn Bigelow directing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ from Facebook.
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Creativity Coach Lisa Riley writes about this aspect of creative intensity and drive.
“In the gifted person the calling to create can frequently be a relentless yearning. Innate characteristics of the gifted individuals such as seeking a deeper meaning and purpose; immense satisfaction in problem solving; constant curiosity and viewing a creative task from different perspectives, naturally urges them towards creativity.
“It’s as if all these traits merge together and become a compelling force from within to seek out creative challenges.”
She adds quotes from Mary-Elaine Jacobsen’s book “The Gifted Adult”:
“Everyday Geniuses need to create the best that they are capable of is not something that goes away with time. It’s not something we can excise, or a job from which we can expect to happily retire.
“Unless we are extraordinarily hindered, sooner or later we must comply with the creative spirit’s urgings, because it is more persevering than any attempt by our thinking mind to ignore our gifts. Living everyday with the need to create is like sharing a room with a hyperactive little brother who elbows you, tugs at your shirtsleeve, and tweaks your ear repeatedly until you give him your undivided attention.”
Riley adds, “Perhaps what fuels this drive is the tremendous satisfaction, the gifted person experiences during and after the creative process.”
From her post “Pressure to Create” on her site The Art of Mind.
Book: The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, PsyD.
Related post: An Intense Inner Pressure to Create.
For more about the highly talented actor, see my post Jessica Chastain on being sensitive and a loner:
That post includes comments by Jonathan Heaf, writing in GQ (U.K.): ‘While studying theater at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School [she had earned a scholarship], the actress was terrified that she’d be exposed as a talentless hack and sent home.
“It’s really why I never partied with the other students,” says Chastain.’