Why do you create?

I have always created, from the time I was a little girl making dandelion chains and  “soup” from salt, pepper, and river stones (my special recipe). So I was surprised when I first realized that some people actually COME to the world of creating. They see creating as an activity separate from the other activities they do in their lives. I’ve even known people who feel/believe that they have to stop “being creative” when they realize that perfect creations don’t come easy. (How sad!)

Types of Creatives

This realization taught me that other people’s experiences around creativity are not the same as mine. And that led me to consider why people choose to create and what that might mean for them. Here are some (of many).

“I like things”

I’m a results person. I like the outcome. I am led by my desire to see the finished product. I might tend to rush through the steps because I want to see what it will look like when it’s done. Because my focus is the finished item, I tend to finish most things. I enjoy looking at and having the finished items. They make me happy.

“This is fascinating”

Like Spock from Star Trek, I love to explore and see what will happen. I’m likely to try a million things, sometimes forgetting to write down what I did because I was too busy trying things. I love the material. I love seeing what will happen. I’m happy as a clam when I’ve got new clay, tools, or techniques to explore. I’m not too fussed about perfection and struggle with the boring parts like sanding. You’re not going to see me do repetitious or delicate processes like bargello or embroidery. Well, maybe I’ll try it once. I tend to forget about things, and completing stuff is a chore. I’d rather start something new.

“I love learning new things”

Closely related to Spock, you’re is a novelty seeker. The act of learning holds magic. You voraciously read, absorb tutorials and techniques (often without doing them) and love the little “aha” that happens when you see how something is done. You likely enjoy helping others in Facebook groups. Getting bored easily is your nemesis, and you might find yourself spending a bit too much time exploring social media or Pinterest, looking for new things to try, think about, and learn. The drawback is that I sometimes struggle with finding my own voice or knowing what’s truly “me.”

“I like to stay busy”

My hands are always doing something. Even while watching TV, I’ll be sanding, conditioning, drilling, etc. Or you’ll find me with an ongoing knitting project. I do like to finish things, but I already have the next project lined up as soon as I do. I’m definitely not one to sit staring out the window. My weakness is that I tend to avoid complex conceptual pieces. I also tend to pile up many projects and finished pieces that don’t have a place to go.

“I love to make things”

I’m a process person. I love how I can start with basic materials and transform them with my own two hands. I find that my hands ache to create. It’s almost like I’m driven. I MUST create. I usually find that it’s easy to create because I do it so much. My fascination is with the actual process of translating the idea to the hands. I usually have no trouble coming up with ideas. I might be reluctant to try new things, and I tend to stick with what works.

“I have a story to tell”

I have a rich imagination, and my artwork is created to express what I have inside me. I might consider something for a long time until I have worked out exactly how I will translate this story into a physical artwork. To me, process and technique are merely tools that help me do what I want to do.

“I love all the tools and stuff”

Oh dear, you know who you are. You buy it all. Having “all the things” means you have endless possibilities. You have a million plans and ideas, and “someday” you’ll find time to do all of them. You appreciate having your materials in order and probably find satisfaction in having them all in order. Or not. 🙂 I pride myself on having whatever it takes to make whatever I want. And, I’ll make it when things get caught up.

“I appreciate feeling competent”

I value self-mastery and want to make sure that everything I do is the best that I can do. I do love learning, but the most important part, for me, is to be able to apply it to something and do it well. Yes, I know that I can be a hard master, but I’m also quite proud of what I can do. My work must look great, and I’ll work as long as it takes to get it right. I struggle with working too slowly and sometimes wonder if all this effort will pay off when selling my work. Self-doubt and perfectionism can be a struggle.

Which Are You?

Of course, humans are far more complex than can be summed up in some pithy comments. You’ll undoubtedly find that you relate to several of the types that I spelled out here. Or maybe you’re someone entirely different (tell us about it!). But the important nugget I want us all to remember here is that we’re all different and we all have different reasons for what we do. That also means different challenges, strengths, and weaknesses.

One of the nastier sides of our connected modern world is that it’s oh-so-easy to compare ourselves to others and wonder why we’re not, for example:

  • creating new things every week
  • finishing things easily
  • able to afford lots of tools
  • interested in repetition
  • able to stay focused
  • talented in making X or Y
  • full of ideas
  • and on and on

You’re you. And that means you get your “juice” from creating your way. You’re in this for your own reasons. What are they? Being aware of them can help you immensely. There are many reasons for creating and with each of them comes strengths and challenges.  Being aware of these will help you be more forgiving with yourself and can even help you overcome your struggles more easily. (Which is not usually that you’re lazy, untalented, boring, or any reason we often assume when we’re not happy with ourselves.)

Did any of these resonate with you? Did this help you understand your shadow side, too? What are some other reasons/motivations? Discuss!

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