The Importance Of Creating For Yourself
Often times we have this habit of creating for others. I find myself falling victim to this behavior far more than I can admit. It starts with the simple notion of wanting to create — be it a poem or picture or video or article — but suddenly we’re doing so with the opinions of others in mind, rather than doing so with our heart. What begins as an artistic endeavor becomes something far less unique.
I’m of the belief that this is a product of the age we live in. Near everything we put into the world is quickly absorbed by the minds of millions, and judgments are cast upon our work. Over time our creations shift and sway, tailored towards our audience rather than ourselves. What once began as a personal project turns slowly into what works — be it the most likes, comments, views, money, etc.
Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity. — Mahershala Ali
This issue rests largely in the mindset we have when a project begins. If you start a YouTube account with the grand ambition of becoming a star, you’ve already started creating from a place of ‘other’ as opposed to yourself. If you’re creating Instagram posts based on which picture will receive the most double-taps, you’re selecting what satisfies another’s eye. If you put a paintbrush to the canvas and create with the audience in mind, what once began as a creation of ‘yours’ is now ‘theirs’. This principle applies across the spectrum.
The greatest thing you can do when creating is to do so for yourself. I’ve made it a goal to write one article every single day for one year, and chances are high I’m not going to love every single one that I publish (I’m struggling to publish this one now). I can’t expect each one to be a personal winner. But the point of creating is to do so because the act in itself gives you joy. Writing and sharing my thoughts are what bring me that joy, regardless of who sees them. If they help the world, I feel warm and inspired to do more. But I expect no praise nor notoriety for such work, as it still remains authentic to me.
If you find yourself suddenly creating for others, take time to reset and remember why you started creating in the first place. Remember the joy creation brings you, the emotion it evokes, and the sincere gratitude that comes when your creation is complete. Remind yourself of such wonderful things whenever your mind wanders to that of another’s.
Create for you.
It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. — Herman Melville