Why ‘Gut Churn’ Helps You During The Creative Process

We’ve all experienced “gut churn”. It’s that feeling when your stomach seems to stop functioning while you wait for something to happen. It might be as light as a few butterflies or as heavy as a full gut churn. As Radiolab producer Jad Abumrad points out at a Bēhance Conference, that horrible gut churn feeling is more important to the creative process than you think.

When Abumrad was creating his show, he realised that the overwhelming “gut churn” feeling was one of the most important parts of the process. As he describes it, “the idea that your creation can be anything can be hard to grasp”. That fear then drives you along to figure out what exactly you’re looking to create. Abumrad also goes through the creative process at Radiolab as well, which includes “stupid, long meetings”, sticky notes and frustration.

The overarching theme here is pretty simple, creativity is often pretty brutal, and it requires a tough skin and a tough gut. Abumrad closes with this piece of advice:

You can take the worst feeling in the world, reframe it, and suddenly that feeling is the solution. We can run from that feeling, or take that feeling itself as the pointing arrow. “Okay, I feel like my stomach is going to explode, but maybe that just means I’m on the right track.”

It’s good advice, especially if you happen to take that “gut churn” as a sign to back away from a project. Listen to Abumrad’s full presentation in the video above.

Jad Abumrad: Why “Gut Churn” Is an Essential Part of the Creative Process [99U]

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