The creative process can be broken down into steps, followed methodically, and achieve results every time. Occasionally, the creative person has a “eureka” moment when an idea pops fully formed into the mind. Most ideas are born of agony.
Even when you follow the process, you always have moments of self-doubt. Will your audience recognize the value of your concept? Or will you look like a fool? Will you be able to explain how you arrived at your proof so that others can see the brilliance of your solution? The more “out of the box” your thinking, the harder it will be for the people in cubicles to accept.
Sometimes you follow the process, but you just can’t come up with that spark that makes it fun. For any number of reasons, you lack the motivation. You fear the well has finally run dry for good. You consider applying for a cashier’s position at Target. Fear will kill your creativity faster than anything. This is the time to remind yourself that you are talented, you can solve this problem, and go do the things that renew your spirit. Take a look at creativity triggers. Then overwhelm the impasse with quantity.
Then comes the agony of the critique, where you witness your “baby” cut apart, watered down, and compromised for political purposes. Everyone on the committee will want to “contribute” by offering another suggestion that you’ll have to address. The best advice I’ve heard for overcoming the torture of a hundred little revisions is “Do better work.” Proofread, correct any obvious mistakes, look at it from different distances and angles, take a break and look at it again. I try to only present proofs that I am happy with myself. Never present something that you have to apologize for. I do not take criticism personally. I try to use every suggestion as on opportunity to make the project better.
Is the agony worth it? Do you have the inner confidence to present something that’s never been seen before? Are you comfortable with being the one who thinks differently? Everyone has to decide that individually.