There exists for the creative three general modes of being: not having done, doing, and having done.
The first stage, of course, is the first; this is where we often stay the longest, where we struggle most, and where the greatest graveyard of all that has ever entered the human consciousness lies.
What has not yet been created is by definition not fully known and understood; what could be but have not yet been is described as potential.
Potential as such is chaos (the little of which we are conscious), a vast expanse of something that we experience and have not yet translated into the known.
As the limits of what we are conscious of widens to include more of what we have not yet grasped the meaning of, potential (as chaotic and vague realization) becomes apparent, begetting fear and a sort of paralyzation.
The realization of the possibility that something other than what already exists can be brought into being is thrilling. We realize that the sun total of what exists is malleable, and we as creative agents are capable of effecting change.
(Destruction is the negative power of creation, where something that exists can be translated into non-existence, and may to some degree engender similar psychological and emotional responses compared to those of creation. Thus the act of birth and the act of murder are in reality much closer in conceptual affect than we might often view them.)
Accepting this reality and being conscious of this power is what paralyzes us. Although we recognize that we are but secondary creators (that we cannot create something from nothing, that everything “new” we create is founded, in one way or another, on what has come before us, that we are unable to create something completely and fully original), the responsibility that comes with the ability to create can cause us to choose to not create at all.
Compounding this burden is our consciousness of the inescapable dilemma of potential—we know we are capable of creating (or being) more than what is at the present time, but we also know that by actually creating something, we have effectively erased an infinite number of other possibilities from ever being brought into being.
By choosing one idea to pursue, by placing one stroke of the brush on a particular area of the canvas, by choosing to use this particular word after another, we by default destroy the possibility of the countless other ideas, brushstrokes, and words held mid-air a moment ago, alongside that which we have done, in potential creation.
That this is the state of things by unchangeable, non-negotiable default is clear enough, logical, sensible even, and helpful to the creator in some way; but this sometimes holds us back from committing to that first point of no return. (Do realize that each subsequent decision and action that follows the initial action upon conscious potential is in itself a point of no return.)
Such is the tyranny of potential—that to create at all you must first step into chaos; that to think and act upon that chaos is to kill potential itself (this occurs as it is transformed into concrete reality; where what was once in chaos is at once liberated into, and incomprehensibly limited by, that same reality); and that this same potential, this expanse of the unknown and unclassified we are dimly conscious of, is necessary for inspiration and the inner life of the creator.
In this sense, it might be said that each act of creation kill many other unborn creations.
Thus potential becomes that which we draw life from, and which we murder.