Creation is an end in itself

28 January 2016.jpg

Photo by Paul Harrison

I just wanted to take a brief moment to talk about creativity. I am a writer and musician but that doesn’t pay the bills. My day job does that. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to do what they love to do in order to make a living. A singer recently was devastated not to be on a radio station playlist and made a video message to express how disappointed they were. But radio playlists are not terribly extensive in proportion to the amount of songs being released, so why should a particular act feel hard done-by for not being chosen for a very small shortlist of songs? Certainly they should not feel slighted in any way. Many songs, few slots, that’s all that’s going on there. Simple maths. A tiny minority of musicians can make a living just doing music. For most it is a hobby. This may make some feel aggrieved. But how many people who love painting can make a living at it? How many people who submit the odd poem here and there can make a living as a writer? Extremely few. We create things because we love to create, and if other people love what we create then that is a bonus, but to have mass acceptance as our aim is unrealistic. We work hard at what we do and it is natural to think that hard work should be rewarded, but in art, music and literature, the things that we hope will enrich the soul, that isn’t always the case, no matter how talented or enthusiastic someone is. I have always been in the enthusiastic camp. I have always believed in having a go. The people who inspire me most believe in the same thing. Create it anyway because you feel it needs to be created. If anybody else likes it then that’s just a bonus. I know how dispiriting it can be when nobody seems to appreciate the talent you have and the effort you put in. But seeking success or approval on the internet isn’t always the right way. Taking your work to people live is often the best way. Internet people are not dependable. They say they will go to things they won’t go to and will support things they won’t end up supporting. But if you play in front of some real people in real life they will see what you have done, and the support and encouragement they give you will be genuine. They came, they saw, they might want your CD as a souvenir of a wonderful night out. I know many talented people who perhaps deserve to be able to make a living from the wonderful music they create, but they might not be able to do that. But it is truly a privilege to have the chance and the talent to be able to try to do that. People sometimes say “I couldn’t do what you do”. Standing up on a stage trying to entertain people is not something everyone can do, and that is why it is such a privilege to have the mind-set and confidence to be able to do that. It is a rare and precious thing. Hits on a website don’t really mean anything. How many people post an event on the internet which many people say they will go to and no-one turns up? The internet can be useful but it is no indicator of anyone’s talent or success. The people in front of you in the room are all that matters. You are there to entertain them and to enjoy yourself. As I have said before, anything else is just a bonus to the gift and the privilege of being able to do this at all.

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About paulcarden

I am a writer and performer from The Midlands, UK.
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2 Responses to Creation is an end in itself

  1. mark1408 says:

    Nicely put. I have no illusions about my talent so would never have a hope of making a living from it. (Plus, my enthusiasm also comes and goes!). But the world is such that even those who are good enough in principle may never get to do it because – that’s just how it is. By all means let folks try but, for most, the statistical reality is that it won’t pay. The joy of creating and performing has to be enough.

  2. Songmistress says:

    I get frustrated that I can’t make a living from what I am actually good at doing because I have failed so miserably at being able to hold down any other kind of work. My mental and physical health problems just don’t let me do it. I have given such things many, many goes… all to end up more ill and worse off because of it. So, I really wish I could make money from my talent. I go through cycles where I know – and accept – that it’s never going to happen, but then something will spark some sort of delusion and I try to make money from it again. I’m really trying to strike a balance… it’s difficult. I wouldn’t trade my talent for being able to do what other people can do (like make a phone call and hold down a 9-5), but sometimes, when money is tight and the rent needs to be paid, I’d like to be able to contribute. What I can do, is as you’ve said so well, focus more on live stuff and enjoying what I do for the sake of it.

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