Can environment kill creativity?

Have you noticed that you feel different in different environments? I’m sure you have so you probably wondered how is that impacting your life, besides your mood, thoughts and emotions.

As for everybody, this pandemic had a huge impact over my life, especially since I’m working from home since March. Because of this and the fact that I’m very comfortable in my environment, I concentrated more on work, which involves a lot of coding and tech stuff and this is pretty different than what writing involves.

I dare to say that my environment killed my creativity. The good part is that it can be revived somehow. To do this, I think about changing my environment when I want to write something.

If you remember, a while back I wrote a piece about the up side of driving. What I also noticed about myself is that when I’m in my car and the traffic is light, I get all kind of ideas, therefore, my creativity lives in my car. And thanks to this, I’ll transform my car in my writing environment. I’ll go there and have a chat with my creativity about my thoughts to find something other than “if’s” and “for’s”.

I must say that this piece is not written in the car, but I had a short conversation with Troy that made me realize I haven’t wrote anything in a while. And I remember I used to love writing so what happened? A change in my environment happened. Work came in and threw creativity out. And poor old creativity had to live in the car for so long without any company. That needs to change!

What kind of environment do you have? A creativity enhancer or a creativity killer?

41 thoughts on “Can environment kill creativity?

  1. I think environment is a big part of facilitating creativity, but it’s also the associations with that environment. For example, now that I’m back at work, working from home, my space I’ve used for writing has become my office space, and now I struggle to write there because I associate that space with being at work.

    Thank you for this thought provoking post, it’s making me think I need to seek out a new place to be creative in.

  2. Yes environment can kill creativity. Since working from home during pandemic verse working at office with and open layout, I can say my creativity is much higher working from home.

  3. Lol. Disagree to some extent. I believe som much in how balanced your mental state is. You can actually cope in any environment against all odds. I’ve also been working remotely for some mths now. Infact,I really find it fulfilling being within my walls than the usual distractions when you are at the office.xoxo

    1. That is awesome! It is balanced with the mental state. The interesting part for me is that my mental state seems to be equally oriented towards work and creativity and my environment has the final word.

  4. An environment can kill creativity but it also enhance it. It all depends on the mind and emotions in whatever that setting is and what you’re personally enduring in that environment.

    1. This is interesting. I’m wondering if the same environment can enhance one person’s creativity whilst it kills another. I guess so since the most important part is the mindset.

  5. I write almost everything on my phone in the carport. I don’t typically write down here in the studio because I feel guilty for not playing or writing music instead. I’ve suffered a long drought for writing music, but when I do get ideas it’s almost always in the shower or doing dishes. Something about the white noise of the water sets my unconscious free.

    1. This is awesome! If you know what sets your unconscious free, you can use that to be creative wherever and whenever you want! If guilt is not involved, of course. I also feel guilty if I write where I’m supposed to work…

  6. I find that much of what we’re socially “guided” to engage with can make it easier for creativity to vanish, but i also find that it just means you have to plunge deeper, or work a bit harder to get there.. but definitely, environment has a substantial influence on it. Great post.

    1. Thank you very much for reading and for your kind words! Indeed, it is required more work to find the “lost” creativity. Maybe the level of energy has something to say as well…

  7. Such a great point – there is little doubt that the modern world has had an adverse effect on creativity. Since many of us were young creativity has been looked at as “nice” but not necessary for success. I believe the world is suffering massively from a lack of creativity. Creativity is an essential skill and like any skill it needs to be practised. I think you’re right that building the right environment is crucial as well – sadly part of the creative process is mixing it up – something this year hasn’t allowed much of. Great post – thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you very much for reading! I think it’s easy to not be creative nowadays because the people that are creative are somewhat exposed and this can have an inhibitory effect.

      1. Of course – It’s very interesting! Agreed, although I think when some form of normality resumes – it may be like a pressure cooker situation where so many people who have been deprived of expressing themselves creatively, suddenly let go! Thanks for conversing 🙏

  8. An interesting and timely read. I stopped smoking three weeks ago. This is a good thing, however, I used to get a lot of ideas when I’d sit in my chair outside to smoke. I could probably still sit there but I don’t think to and so I don’t sit and let my mind drift for five minutes here and there. We really are wedded to our patterns and habits in all kinds of ways.

  9. My environment was super toxic, it killed my creativity years ago. I used to paint and teach painting classes, now I can’t even doodle freely after teaching high school for 2+ years. Don’t get me wrong, I loved dealing with kids and teach literature, but the adults I worked with created a very unhealthy atmosphere, they just spoiled it for me. I was laid off in July but my creativity is still dead RIP

  10. In my opinion, yes, which ultimately a position that is only useful to me. In my Master’s Level work I had the opportunity to study Organizational Behavior, which I could easily describe as a way people and organizations learn. I learned as much about myself as I did about others. I’ve come to understand my own way of nurturing creativity, and it’s heavily influenced by environmental conditions. I live with my wife and son and nothing seems to phase them, but i require certain lighting, a noise level just above ambient cemetery, and uncluttered space. The beauty of humans, we are all different and similar simultaneously.

  11. I tend to define my environment as both an internal and external one. At present, my internal environment is not a good one. I’m anxious. I’m depressed and these two things have killed my creativity. As an ICU Nurse, my work environment has been all consuming as a result of the pandemic. This has affected my internal environment such that clinical demands and staying on top of the relentless updates from health authorities have killed my creativity. My wife was recently diagnosed with MS and this has affected us both in different ways. For me, my focus on her well being and care has killed my creativity. I’m looking for ways to change my internal environment in the hope I can find my creativity again.

  12. I work in Academia, which is supposed to be a beacon for ideas and creativity, but the last year or so has been a miserable slog. It has sapped me. I am trying to finish my masters too, which doesn’t help. At this point, I want to read and write for me, not promotion and tenure, or the next level of certification. This rat race is not a good environment for creatives.

  13. That is a really good idea. I have recently found it hard to blog because I do online school. I taking hard classes which drains my creativity. This post is really helpful thank you.

  14. Great point. I do not always think about my environment directly. I think about my environment from the perspective of the people in it. In other words my environment is my relationship to people. I forget that our physical environment does have an impact on us. I recently bought a reclining chair. The sales person said that they are doing well as many people are redecorating or redesigning their environment. We spend so much time at home. It’s important to create physical environments that enhance our life. It’s also important to get out in nature for inspiration and stablility.

  15. Creativity can strike anywhere. It’s about harnessing it healthily and making it part of our everyday life, as best we can.

    Thank you for sharing.

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