Why/what/how do you create?

Create for creating sake not to achieve an objective ~ The Minimalists

Don’t ya love it when successful writers/artists/performers/whatever tell you not to focus on creativity to earn an income, to just follow your bliss and you’ll never work a day in your life? Yeah, that… even though that’s exactly what they’ve probably done, it just feels so counter-intuitive.

Trying to force your creativity into making you a living is a bit like forcing someone to love you. But what if you want to build an income and a career from creativity? Surely there’s nothing wrong with that? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with it, people have been doing that for centuries. What’s new, I think, is the idea that it shouldn’t create an income.

There are three ways we can look at your art.

  1. As a pastime. My mum loved painting with Hobbytex. Do you remember that stuff? I believe it involved a stencil and velvet. (I remember Elvis on black velvet, but not in my house. Mum probably painted English cottages and Jesus.)hobbytex
  2. Therapy. Write it out. Paint it out. Just bloody get it out. Burn it like medical waste.

    from a facebook page called Sarcastic Reality
  3. Aspiration. You want to make out like a bandit from your hard work. And why shouldn’t you? We’re here for more than to pay bills and die. Why shouldn’t your work be gawked at/photographed by tourists in two hundred years time after you’ve moved on? I want to sell books. I want to write a book like the Da Vinci Code that makes people so excited about an artwork they line up like lemmings to photograph it, then walk away saying “It’s not a big as I thought it would be.”alicia-steels-327668-unsplash

Robert McKee asks would-be artists the following question.

Do you see yourself in the art or the art in yourself? Do you see yourself walking the red carpet, opening your new show, selling your work at the best space in town, holding your latest best-seller for the world media to celebrate, being invited to the latest Biennale? This is what he calls seeing yourself in the art.

Or do you see art everywhere you go? Do you have a story or some body of work that is bubbling inside you, distilling and marinating your organs?

It’s fairly easy to guess which one is the quality McKee feels signifies the best course of action and the best indicator of success.




  1. Janet Mary Cobb

    Ah – another thought-provoking post. I have a son who creates amazing charcoal portraits. When he was considering post-high school life, I thought he might pursue art — but as he explained it, creating a piece is so emotionally draining that he cannot do it for a living, it needs to stay a hobby. I thought of the ‘tortured artist’. As a writer, I’ve always wanted to see myself create the ‘great American novel’ – which I think is very much NOT the same drive and anguish that my son expressed – while my cooking is much more the creative therapy for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine Betts

      I found painting stressful when I was making money from it – As in when I was making art to a price and a brief. I definitely want to make a living from my writing eventually so I need to make sure that I am writing what I want to write and not giving in to the temptation to write to “market”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lilianaslopez17

    This is so true, it is ok to think and expect some compensation. After in this world we need money to be able to move through it. I also thought the Mona Lisa was so small the first time I saw her haha. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine Betts

      Haha 😂 reminds me of a blind date I went on once. He got upset because I said “oh I thought you’d be taller.” lol. I don’t even know why I said it but I’d say I dodged a bullet not pursuing that relationship coz he got really sniffy when I said it!! Hahaha


  3. D.A. Donaldson

    Whether it’s writing, a home improvement project, or building an occasional guitar, what drives me is the desire to be able to sit back and say, “I wrote that… I did that… I made that.” I’m not sure if the process itself is therapeutic, but the finished end result just gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I rarely get from another day at the office (a library). To get paid for it would absolutely be great! But I guess that will happen when it happens, if ever. It seems like there’s no end to the reasons why people create, but I wouldn’t blame anyone if they did it for money. Why not? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine Betts

      I totally agree. It is a dream for so many people. And when you think about what remains of past civilisations it’s always the art, the architecture, the poetry. I feel in my soul that our art is what makes us human but our drive to create perhaps is from something higher. Now exactly what that something higher is… ✌️

      Liked by 1 person

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