Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why Do We Do This?

If we really think about why we pursue any artistic endeavor? We write, sing, dance, paint, act and sculpt even when nobody is listening, reading, watching or viewing.  It's not as fun as relaxing by the pool or wandering the mall. There are half a hundred things we could do with our time that provide more immediate satisfaction than any artistic activity.

Seriously, why do we do it?
 It's not easy. It can be fun for moments. But the fun is preceded by long hours of practice, failures, solitude, angst, misery and frustration. Yet, we go back and we do it again. Are people with an artistic flair a bit sadistic? Perhaps we are more prone to such behavior but I don't think it is true in every instance. Do we creative types have some sort of genetic defect? Again, possible but still doesn't explain it all.

So why do we continue to slog through it all? I look at myself and am in awe that I still write. I have failed at completing more novels, stories and novellas than I care to admit. I still use the material from those tidbits but the whole is not complete. I have yet to get published but I write daily. I fear some of the stories in my head. I get bored when I stare at the page and force myself not to logoff and play XBOX. I struggle to get every follower on Twitter, Facebook and this blog. But I continue forward. There is no promise of fame, fortune or fun. Yet, I write.

Ask yourself why you write or any other activity that doesn't reward you with external value. Why do you do it? I do it for the internal joy of having a thing created. I form an idea as if from nothing and I find a small thread and from that tiny thing, I create worlds. In these worlds, people live full and rich lives. I create creatures that have never before existed. I put words together that paint a picture and once in a while I see somebody read a sample and the spark lights in their eye, a smile of familiarity paints their face and there it is... Satisfaction and joy. It is the joy I feel at creating something another person identifies with.

I think if we do it for the joy of having done it, then we are in the right place. If I had a day job that satisfied me without paying me, I would want to do it forever. But every day job I have ever had is solely for the purpose of making money and trying to help others. 
But writing - Writing I do because it fulfills me. If I never get published, I still have the things created. I still have the relationships with the people in these worlds. I can visit them any time I want. We can grow old and be refreshed and I can help them along.

So take a step back. Look at what you have before you. Did you find joy in creating the thing? Then you have found something you can do forever.

Until next time... WRITE!

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