I was reading a wikipedia article recently about Graham Gouldman, one of the founding members of 10cc and perhaps one of the most successful British songwriters of the past half century. What was interesting was how Gouldman told of a time when he worked in New York in a song writing factory. Although he had had several million selling songs, he was in what was effectively a desk job. The discipline of writing every day was probably very good for him, but the pressure he was under to produce song after song after song eventually had an effect on his creativity and health. He was overworked to the point of exhaustion. All the joy of songwriting was taken from him. He describes that period of his life as a creative low point.
How stupid were his employers? Graham Gouldman went on to pen many more million sellers. He writes songs of wit and charm, but with undoubtedly catchy hooks. Because his employers were greedy and unconcerned about his well-being, they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs and effectively opted themselves out of his future songwriting earnings.
It occurs to me that there must be millions of people in jobs, doing the things they love to do, but who are under so much pressure that even their favourite activity has become a chore and a bore. We see the effect all the time with rock stars so exhausted from their time on the road or under pressure from their record companies, that they turn to self destruction. Few things can seem as hopeless as having the one thing you are passionate about and love to do turn into a living hell.
The answer, of course, must be to remove yourself from the pressure. The stress is the problem. Why should anyone have to withstand and deal with unlimited pressure? Often, the simple move away from the source of the pressure is enough to rejuvenate your creative powers.
Ask Graham Gouldman.