Understanding motives

“I am compelled to write because I have an artist’s personality, it is a psychologically-determined thing, one best not explored perhaps. But I write because I must. And frequently I do not know what I am writing, and can talk of what I’ve written only a long time afterwards.” ~ Howard Barker

And it’s not just Howard Barker. The desire to be creative is in most, maybe all, of us. It’s a basic human instinct – perhaps even a crucial survival characteristic, genetically programmed and impossible to ignore. And it doesn’t have to generate income to be worth doing.

“Getting paid for doing this is a bonus, not a motivation.”

Those people brave enough to try to make a career of their creativity have many struggles to face and, through turning their passion into their living, risk losing their motivation. When creativity turns from enthusiasm to obligation, problems can begin.

After a few years of facing the day-to-day difficulties of finding clients (and dealing with them), having to respond to unreasonable employer demands, delivering work that’s been emasculated by committee review, and seeing the best stuff ignored or misunderstood, it’s common for creators to question their motivations. That’s when they need to make some work just for themselves – perhaps even something they can exhibit or publish – to rediscover the reasons they create.

Artistic validation is in the heart and mind of the creator, not the audience or the client. Managers who only perceive the creative talents they work with as money-generating machines who must deliver ‘successful’ product, time after time, will find themselves with drained and desperately unhappy creators.

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