“I’m Doing This For Me,” and Other Things Artists Forget

Okay, as cheesy and great as that title would be for a longer article, or even a blowhard self-help book by artists for artists (sign me up), this is just a snippet of what I’ve been thinking about lately that falls under this title’s message.

A conversation with a friend recently made me realize something simple that I forgot. Sometimes doing a project isn’t for anyone but yourself.

At some unfortunate and tragic moment in life it seems that creative people stop having fun and exploring their craft and mostly focus on how it’s going to appeal to people, and how they are going to market what they create.

So instead of artists discovering new styles or just sitting down after a long day and having fun with the thing that has made them feel special since they were young, their minds immediately think of their creativity as work.
And for the most part…that’s the opposite of growth.

Speaking for myself, this is exactly where I am right now. When I was in college taking creative writing classes, I would play around with different story ideas and just write a story that I had fun thinking about. Sure it would need work, or it wasn’t the best thing I could turn out, but that’s just part of the learning experience! And at the end of the day I still had this piece of work that I created and valued on a personal level.

Now, out of college and having not taken a creative writing class in a year or so, I feel stagnant. Creative writing has always been something that came naturally to me, but with the pressure of trying to be great (whatever that means), and appealing to people, and rounding out everything that I do so that it’ll be liked more, I lost my passion in the process.
And I know this feeling is felt by the entire spectrum of artists out there, especially young artists like me dreaming of getting their own break.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, it takes a lot of effort to push through creative funks and high, unobtainable goals, and yet artists have to reach that point anyhow. But it’s important to know when to step back and try a different goal for the time being. Level up, do a side quest, talk to everyone about anything. There are more goals out there than having people see your work and liking it. We forget that a lot.

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