How To Escape The Creative Abyss

The Chaotic Creative
5 min readJul 28, 2020

Why 99% of ideas remain unfinished

Source: Taken by me at the Cliffs of Moher

Finishing and refining in-progress ideas.

I consider this the biggest roadblock in the creative process, particularly when it comes to writing.

In my first post, I defined what I think constitutes creativity and who can be considered creative. Today, I’ll be diving into what I call the “Creative Abyss”. This is a concept I came up with that captures the process by which ideas are formulated, developed, and manifested.

To best illustrate this concept, paint this picture in your mind:

Imagine that your most creative ideas are gathered at the edge of a cliff, peering into the abyss below them. All of them are initially eager to grow and aware of the vast expanse beneath them. Over time, one of three things will occur to each:

  1. The idea will jump into the abyss, never to return
  2. It will remain at the ledge and never develop
  3. It will leap off of the cliff with conviction, grow wings, and soar to the heavens

Simply put, your idea(s) will either kick ass, kinda “just exist”, or amount to nothing.

Naturally, this raises a few questions:

Why does this happen?

Why do the majority of good ideas NOT kick ass, fail to develop, and remain in the abyss?

How do I get my ideas out of this Sarlacc of failed ambition?

I believe the explanation (and solution) can be boiled down to two key factors:

1. Risk:

Creative ideas begin in the abstract realm, but are easily diluted with rationality and flairs of convention. In other words, our “inner child”, wildest ideas often morph into more grounded ones. As a result, an idea’s initial authenticity and intent may be easily diminished as time progresses.

Let’s take SpongeBob for example.

Yes, that’s right.


I went there. One of the best shows in history. There, I said it. Still one of my favorite shows. No shame.

Nothing about the show is conventional in the slightest. Imagine if Stephen…