How to Kill Your Creative Voice

I’ve got a problem:

I have a terrific job that is both rewarding and creative. 

Wait– that’s not the problem, that’s fantastic. Here’s the problem:

It’s killed my creative voice.

This is an issue I didn’t discover until I started trying to create more original work on my own, outside of my work life. My job is wonderful. I teach/coordinate a high school digital media pathway. Not only do I get to help students in a thousand different ways every day, I also get to work in creative environments, meet interesting people, and take on a wide variety of challenges. 

Over the years I’ve created and helped to create countless projects that have been well received, earned awards, and even been shown in theaters and on television. However, this has all been done under my position as an educator in the public school system. 

Understandably, the public school system seeks to avoid controversy at all costs. When developing creative work under the name of a public education entity, remaining objective and removing any remotely questionable content is critical; and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. Public education is funded with public money and needs to serve everybody equally. 

What I didn’t realize was that this style had overtaken my own creative voice. When developing projects for my job, they have to take on a certain polish and tone that ultimately comes off as generic. After 6 years of this, when I began to try and regularly create more of my own original content, I found that my personal work took on this same (uninteresting) tone. 

This was both terrifying and hugely helpful. 

At first I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to escape this beige dilemma, but I quickly realized that it was an opportunity to understand why this had happened and to find a way to figure out how to overcome it. 

So with that being said (and speaking from a solid background of firsthand experience), I present to you 5 Tips for How to Kill Your Creative Voice!