Saturday, 11 February 2012

I was thinking this week, when we create something, why do we do that? Is there a purpose behind it or are we just doing it because we can and we want to? It seems to me that the answer to this question is quite important as it will determine what is driving us to be creative and thus, to a degree, it will affect what we create.
      So, if the driving force behind our creative urges is no more than the inbuilt urge to create which we all have, in one form or another, doesn’t that give us the purest motive which comes from within us to create something with which we can be pleased. But then, why would we be pleased with what we create? Because it is beautiful, or useful, or tastes delicious or maybe it just makes our hearts soar to hold in our hands something we have created, on our own without anyone’s help.
      If, on the other hand, we are being creative because we want to please people other than ourselves, does that in some way sully our creation? Not necessarily because the motive to please others is a perfectly acceptable one if all that is involved is giving pleasure to one’s fellow human beings.
      But what if it’s a bit of both, i.e. a desire to create something that pleases us, but for reasons other than that the thing created is pleasing to us? What if, the driving force behind our expressing our creativeness is a desire to be well thought of or admired for what we have created? Or worse still, if our motivation has little to do with what we are creating and comes pureley, or largely, from a desire for something else, e.g. fame or money? What then?
      The downside of having a motive that is other than to create something that is purely and simply something in which we ourselves can take pleasure, is that our creativity very quickly becomes corrupted. Now, instead of making the most beautiful, useful or delicious thing we can imagine, we make things which are intended to please other people regardless of how we might feel about them.
      The advice given to creative people by those who are involved in making money out of the creations of creative people, particularly in the arts, often follows the following formula: research the market for the type of thing you are creating and then create what your market wants, i.e. what a lot of people will pay to own or enjoy.
      At this point, you become enslaved to market economics and what you create is no longer the pure outpouring of your creativity. In the world today, everything is measured in terms of money. A good book is one that sells millions of copies or a good film is one that packs in audiences at the cinema. Which is not to say that what you have created can’t be both your creativity at its purest and also hit the spot from a market perspective.
      No, what I am saying is that creative people, and that’s all of us, should try to make the things we really want to make, the things we feel driven to make, that we should not try to satisfy market demand but our own creative genius. Then, whatever the outcome is in terms of fame or money, it won’t matter because what we have made is exactly what we wanted to make, or as near to it as we could, given our imperfect abilities.

1 comment:

  1. Hear, hear! I am working on getting an agent now, so I have read the advice that tells writers to look for a market and aim at that in their stories. That seems so limiting, however. I'd much rather be proud of my own work than be published, even if that pride comes at the cost of never actually being published.

    Besides, I think an audience can tell when the author is catering to them. When someone writes the same basic thing over and over, appealing to their market, eventually they aren't respected anymore. In the end, therefore, I think it actually pays off to be true to your creative inspiration.