Curse of the Creative Mind

May 14, 2014

Curse of the creative mind. Tortured Artist. Perhaps you have heard the term. It may even seem to be a bit dramatic, but it is complete and utter truth. There is something to be said for those that ‘deal’ with it. Constant inspiration, visions, dreams, plans, ideas… it can truly be exhausting. Sensory overload. It’s like you are walking through life with all of your wires exposed and you are constantly experiencing shocks and sparks by what you come across day to day. And there are millions of wires. And millions of sparks.

It’s the individuals who hear a song while a movie plays in their head. It’s those who dream dreams upon dreams and who are crazy enough to make them happen. It’s those who jump into new ideas too fast only to find themselves hanging on for dear life in the middle of madness. The work is never finished. The goal is never met. The idea is never big enough. There is always something more. Always another project. Always another something. And it’s a craving that can never be satisfied. So many ideas so little time.


Yesterday I came across a family who sold everything they had to live out an adventure on the road, seeing all there is to see in this great country all from their Airstream. Today I was searching local Craigslist ads for vintage campers and how-to articles on gutting and revamping said campers.

I work somewhere in the range of sixty hours per week, not including waking up in the middle of the night. I work sixty hours a week because there is too much I am thinking of. Too much I want to do. Too many ideas I want to get out of my head, too many photographs I want to create, too many goals I want to see become reality.

I’m shooting a commercial this weekend. I’ve never done it before and I’m diving in. We are currently planning a vacation up north to our family cabin in Idaho and I am already planning a few stops for photo shoots. The thought of fresh scenery and new people has my mind stirring. And the photographs I envision and will create have me swooning. Last week I wanted to live on the beach. This week I want to be in the mountains of the North West.

At night I lie awake in bed and after 45 minutes or so, I throw the covers off, step quietly downstairs, grab a notebook and start jotting, sketching, listing… whatever is in my head has to come out on paper. I registered for a still life and food photography workshop in Seattle this Fall because I want to know how to do it really well. I have no idea what I will do with it, but I have to learn it. Because if I don’t apparently I will spontaneously combust.

I have sat down and branded five different celebrities complete with logo and color scheme because I couldn’t get the ideas out of my head as I watched the Oscars. On any given day, I can imagine myself in ten different lines of work, all in the artistic field of course. Next week I have it on my to-do list to go pick up oil paints even though I have never worked with them before nor am I a painter.

My family is full of highly intelligent people. This gift was obviously not passed onto me for which I would like to flip the bird to the universe for skipping my number. My grandmother is a mensa, my mother is a CPA and my older sister tested into Harvard and was accepted because she ‘just felt like taking a class online and furthering her education’. It’s no surprise that they have never really understood me. Heck, I don’t understand myself half the time, but at least these zany ideas keep life interesting and those around me on their toes. Just ask my husband. Bless that man. And maybe life with the zany ideas and violent creative outbursts is better than none at all. Who knows. But there is a dark side to having a creative mind. And I have the circles under my eyes to prove it.

So cheers to all of you fellow tortured artists out there. I feel your pain.


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  1. Jeanine Rose

    May 14th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    OMG I am so glad you wrote this~ I feel like my head is going to explode as I jump from one passion to the other. I do get sick of people telling me that I do too much, or that I’m into too many things, but I can’t help it. As a photographer, dog breeder and teddy bear artist, I am totally overwhelmed all the time but can’t give any of those things up because I love all of those aspects of my life. Then add life, kids, home to the mix and all the other passions I haven’t pursued yet and UGH. I have taken up so many hobbies in my life and while not all stick, I have equipment and tools for all of them. Anyway, I love your creative mind am so excited for your commercial! Can’t wait to see.

  2. Christie Knight

    May 14th, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Love this post Kara! You are incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see your commercial and all of your creative ideas become tangible. Have you heard of Joy Prouty?( She and her family did something similar to the family you mentioned. It’s quite bold to simplify in such a huge way and just really ‘live’ life in the moment. It would be so amazing to be able to do what these families have done!

  3. Lauren

    May 16th, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Once again, you couldn’t have put it better.

  4. Steph

    May 16th, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    You were born to do this and are so incredibly talented. I can’t imagine my life without you, your creativity and what you’ve done for me (us). You’ve put your amazing talents to good use! Love you!

  5. Carla

    September 15th, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Ah yes the pain. I’m glad to know there is someone else out there like me, because sometimes I think I must be mad. I’ve had a week of lying in bed wide awake at 3am thinking about all the amazing and incredibly complicated projects I could be doing. Thank you!

  6. Kara Layne

    September 15th, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Miss Carla, I think we all must me a little mad to do what we do πŸ˜‰ The nicest thing is knowing that we aren’t alone in the craziness of it all! Thank you so much for reading!

  7. Nicole

    December 27th, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this!!!! I’m taking a week off from my design business between Christmas and New Years due to severe burn out. No one seems to understand how draining the constant need to express myself creatively is, and at times I feel it’s a curse. I’ve been searching for a way to explain this very feeling, and your words put it best. So glad I found your blog. πŸ™‚

  8. Kara Layne

    January 4th, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Always nice to meet a fellow tortured soul out there πŸ˜‰ And I am so sorry to hear about the burn out, Miss Nicole. It can be so hard and I have been there repeatedly. Hang in there because it will fade. And thank you so much for reading!

  9. Emmagoodgirl

    October 28th, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Well, well, there u are! I’ve been looking for someone just like you, because I do and do and do. I think and think and think. So many things catch my eye, a little here a little there, here, there, everywhere, ahhh my head, my head!@! It’s enough to make me cry. But no, not cry, sore and swish and swirl…Wheeee. Nope…read your post. Thank you, thank you..nighty night, I’m just going to go to bed:) thank you

  10. Kara Layne

    November 13th, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Thank you so much for reading!!

  11. Katherine

    January 20th, 2019 at 1:21 am

    I totally get you. Do you ever see some random person on the street and just think β€˜β€™can I photograph you?’ I am applying to art school this year which is a big enough task in and of itself, but I’m also setting up a small buiseness selling jewelry and planning my website and blog and I taught myself how to paint because why the heck not. I’m the same with a family full of intulectuals (I don’t even know if I spelt that right) yep. I’m a hot mess of creativity and I love it. Somehow the insanity of it all keeps me sane. If your interested at all, my insta is where I post my art (katherinemcnamarafashion) sorry for the sneaky promo but you know, it’s got to be done sometimes πŸ˜‚

  12. Kara Layne

    January 31st, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Yesssss… all the time! I totally get you, Miss Katherine πŸ˜‰ And thank you for sharing your account – good luck with all of your ventures and I will be cheering you on!