What’s Your Opinion: Is Creative Detachment Good for You?


idea conceptElizabeth Gilbert says that it is important to distance ourselves from our creativity because it will effect us when anything happens to it; for example, feeling insulted when our novels are negatively criticized or, conversely, feeling a sense of narcissism if it receives high praise. According to Gilbert, this is dangerous!

Gilbert often refers to ancient Greece’s creative “geniuses,” or Daemons, who were thought to be the cause of creative ideas. So when an artist’s work was criticized, it was their “genius” (their Daemon) being criticized and not them. Rational thought kicked in during the Renaissance and people took on the responsibility of their “genius”. What use to be a divine intervention was now something that was in the self. Now we’re no longer distanced from our projects; in fact, some of us may consider our writing (or our creativity) as an extension of ourselves.

This sounds awkward and weird, I know.

But I thrive on interesting thoughts like these. I believe that Gilbert has a message that needs to be shared and discussed:



Is it important for us to develop a mental detachment from our creative projects as Gilbert suggests? Is this healthy? Can you relate to anything that she has said? Share your thoughts in the comments!


4 Replies to “What’s Your Opinion: Is Creative Detachment Good for You?”

  1. She’s got a good point, it is hard to work on a book or piece of art for so long and then to have it criticised not to take it personally. I think having some distance form our work is good, but I have yet to achieve that! 😀

    1. Having a distance away from our work does sound like a good idea. Our projects becomes our “babies” (right?) and when they’re trampled on it really hurts us. But it’s also difficult to pull ourselves away from these projects because of the time we’ve spent with them. I suppose you could say that it’s the equivalent of breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, lol 😛

  2. I think that to make art that impacts, that means something, the artist had to dig deep into the core of his soul. Bringing such a work to completion is a lot of soul-digging. Detachment after all that I don’t consider possible.

    However, it is still possible to take a step back and realize that the end product isn’t perfect, and that people will criticize. Some will do it to do it, others will be helping the artist know what would work better, what would hit harder.

    1. So true, Emery.

      After months (and maybe years) of working on a project it would be hard to completely pull yourself away. Like Gilbert says, we’re in an era where our work is an extension of us. So when it’s criticized it’s like you’re being criticized along with it.

      What I took away from Elizabeth Gilbert’s TedTalk is that detachment may be important. I will admit that it’s impossible to completely detach yourself at the very moment of criticism. However, like you’ve said, it’s also important to realize that some critiques are only for your benefit.

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