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Too Upset to Create

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It's not a making day
All of these tears are drying on my face
Someone take me back to all the times where I could feel okay
Doing all the things I wanna do

Earnest creation requires some sort of passion for what is being made, whether it's a child drawing something for the fridge, a professional journalist working on the big scoop, or a scientist Creating Life, an artist creating a masterpiece, and everything in between. When that passion is gone, so is the will to create.

So, when these creative types become emotionally wrecked, their passion tends to leave them. They don't want to work on their new novel or finish up that painting they've been obsessing over. They just want to do nothing— or worse, they want to destroy their creations. Their ability to create leaves them entirely, and even if they make an effort, they will find they just can't do it. Not in the way they could before, at the very least. This is especially likely if their breakdown was caused by something related to their creation.

Undoubtedly, this shift will worry those around them, who are used to this character being interested in their craft. They may try and help the character regain their creative spark, but it's not always possible.

This is Truth in Television. Depression can make people lose interest in things they once enjoyed, and this includes creative endeavors. That said, not every example of this trope is going through an actual depression; they may just be going through a rough patch.

Contrast Cope by Creating. This is one reason for a character experiencing Writer's Block. Often overlaps with O.O.C. Is Serious Business. For the real-life equivalent, see Creator Breakdown. Compare Too Unhappy to Be Hungry for another form of not wanting to do something due to low mood, and Forced Creativity, for another reason someone might not want to create.


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    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when Mr. Wonka goes into depression, his creativity goes downhill, and the chocolate factory faces harder times.
  • Inverted in the romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending — Jane's editor is convinced she's unable to write because she's too happy, and tries to make her unhappy to unblock her.

  • House of Robots: Robots Go Wild!: After having his contract for his Hot & Sour Ninja Robots comic series cancelled, thus losing his job, all Mr. Rodriguez can do is sit at his writing desk, staring at the blank piece of paper, not able to think up a single thing.
  • Yumi and the Nightmare Painter: Nikaro is a phenomenal painter but has avoided creative art ever since an incident where he drove away all his friends. As a nightmare painter, he banishes nightmare creatures by painting them into harmless forms, but just paints them all as bamboo because it's easy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation: When Maya's already fragile mental state falls apart after the bus crash, she's rendered unable to write anything at all for the school musical. Her friends end up replacing her.
  • iCarly: In "iHeart Art", Spencer becomes crushed after his art gets criticized harshly by his artistic idol. He gives up on art altogether and becomes a dental assistant, refusing to do art until the kids convince him that his art is good.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: In "Guide To Boys", Ned is left depressed after Suzy left the school, despite it only being temporary. His emotional state is so bad that he's unable to work on the Guide, falling into a deep state of writer's block, until his friends snap him out of it.

    Video Games 
  • Cataclysm has a morale meter that is affected by things like the food your character eats or the weather. If morale gets too far in the negatives, you are locked out of crafting or repairing items until you get it back up.
  • The title heroine of GRIS starts out so broken by grief that she cannot produce anything but weak gasping sounds when the player presses the button labeled as "Sing". Her ability to sing comes back later in the game, after she overcomes her initial depression and anger, and singing then helps her work through her grief.
  • Layers of Fear is centered on a Mad Artist who is struggling to paint his magnum opus, but has to search his house for items to do so. It's implied later on that his lack of will to paint stemmed from his wife's injury in a fire, and eventual death, and all the artist has left is trying to recreate her portrait. His skill returns little by little as the painting takes form, but 3 different endings vary on what the final result becomes.
  • In Hades, the in-game Encyclopedia Exposita was written by Achilles as a way to help Player Character Zagreus understand the world and its inhabitants, and entries are unlocked as Zagreus meets and interacts with new people or monsters. Should Zagreus encounter Patroclus during one of his escapes, his Codex entry contains only the sentence "...Forgive me. It is not my place to say much of him, now." Further interactions with said character (which normally adds more information to the entries) only adds a Madness Mantra to the end of the entry until you talk to him even more.
    • Orpheus starts out too broken up over Eurydice to even sing, much less compose, which is why Hades had him placed in solitary confinement shortly before the game.
  • Inverted by Olivia in Hidden City. Once a renown sculptress, she suddenly lost her ability to create while trapped in the fog. This drives her to depression and despair, and led to her turning her good friend Sophia into a statue after an argument. She then decides to turn herself into a statue in order to restore Sophia because she doesn't want to live without her talents, as well as to atone for turning Sophia into a statue in the first place.
  • In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, it turns out Hikari, the listless girl seen from the very start of the game, is an aspiring filmmaker who gets severely bullied by pretty much everyone in her life, causing her to stop making films altogether and then shut down.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • The Cry of Mann: Jack starts off as a completely obsessive artist, and though he was only painting one thing, his family still had respect for his talent and passion. That is, until his art show, where his chosen subject matter of orange phones sent everyone into a mass, unprovoked, fit of rage. After that, Jack became so angry at everything in his life that he destroyed his paintings, and lashed out at his family members and his callers. By the time he became "Jack Prime", his anger had consumed him, and his interest in art was gone.
  • Implied in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device. When their father is dying, blacksmiths He'Stan and Tu'Shan need to make a lot of money in a hurry. However, all they can make are funeral masks.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rarity suffers this twice:
    • Shown in a Yet Another Christmas Carol plot in "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" when Luna shows Sweetie Belle what the consequences of her actions in sabotaging Rarity's headpiece for Sapphire Shores will be if she doesn't fix things. Namely the headpiece falls apart when Sapphire tries it on during a dress rehearsal, Rarity loses her credibility due to it, obsesses over the mistake to the point she won't even speak to her friends anymore, and ultimately stuck in a fetal position while her dress shop falls into ruin.
    • Happens again in "Inspiration Manifestation", though this time due to Rarity not designing a cart for a puppeteer properly and getting chastised for it. Spike finds her in the dress shop suffering Heartbreak and Ice Cream, which prompts him to help her gain her spark back via an ominous-looking book he finds in the Castle of the Two Sisters.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Phineas And Ferb Get Busted", the boys are sent to a reformatory school after their mother catches their latest project. The program was designed specifically to stomp out creative, individualistic spirit in kids, led by a cruel Drill Sergeant Nasty. By the end of it, Phineas and Ferb are shells of their former selves, and can't create anything. Luckily, it was All Just a Dream.
    • In the "Summer Belongs To You" special, in which Phineas and Ferb travel around the entire world to have the longest possible day of summer, they end up stranded on an island. Phineas is so upset that he might fail that he starts snapping at everyone around him and his usual ability to think up insane solutions on the fly won't work. Isabella has to snap him out of it as he gets more and more desperate.
      Phineas: Look, a sponge and a starfish! There's gotta be something we can make out of this! [throws them away] Ah, no, that's ridiculous!
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants:
    • In "Pickles", SpongeBob gets so upset about forgetting to put pickles on a Krabby Patty that he is unable to remember how to prepare one. It gets so bad he can't do anything at all, even talk with proper syntax. Once he is able to relearn how to make a Krabby Patty, he returns to normal.
    • In "Artist Unknown", SpongeBob attends Squidward's art class, annoying his teacher with his unusual creative process. Squidward scolds him for doing art "wrong", and he gets so upset he quits the class and goes to live in the dump. When an art collector comes in and declares one of SpongeBob's artworks a masterpiece, Squidward tries to get SpongeBob to make some more. Unfortunately, SpongeBob has taken Squidward's criticisms to heart and is unable to recreate his previous work.


Video Example(s):


Drake Without Music

Still reeling from his painful breakup with Josh, Drake is too depressed to get his guitar to cooperate.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / TooUpsetToCreate

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