In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert warns about creating to help other people. To be exact she writes:
You are not required to save the world with your creativity…I would prefer that you made your art in order to save yourself, or to relieve yourself of some great psychic burden, rather than to save or relieve us. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
She goes on to give multiple reasonings behind this warning citing the misguided notion of living for others, the joy in creating to entertain yourself, and most notably pointing out that she wrote a travel memoir in order to make sense of her own journey. And we all know how that turned out.
For some time now, I’d say at the very least the past year or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been running around in circles when it comes to figuring out what to do with all these things I have inside. The thoughts, the ideas, the stories waiting to be told. And I don’t think I’ve realized (as clear as I do now) that the trying to connect the dots, the trying to make meaning of what I’m doing, and figuring out what I can do to ensure it can help someone, is the very thing that has been holding me back.
Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words; it also doesn’t have to be important. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
I’m certain I actually discovered this before but, I’m not sure it ever took root in my mind. The reality that I absolutely can (and should) blog, and journal, and create, and write that book simply because it’s something I want to do.
I sat down today to write a blog post that I wanted to be helpful. I thought to myself: I’ve been writing a lot about my personal life and lessons I’ve been learning so let me write something that can be really informational and helpful to others. But the reality is (I already do that in my freelance work) BUT more importantly…I write to save, understand, make sense of, document, and discover myself. And:
If what I’ve written here ends up help you, that’s great, and I will be glad. That would be a wonderful side effect. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
So tell me, why do you create?