We must check ourselves. Why are we really doing this?

Because here is the hard truth...
The arts come with no guarantee.
You could give everything you have to this pursuit and never get “success” So if you are doing this for ANY KIND of external validation or gold star... Best to check in.

In BIG MAGIC Liz speaks candidly about her knowing all along the way that “there was never any promise that any of this would work out.”

Too many of us decide to pursue a life of being a creator, yet our expectations and demands are stacked against our dream. So much pressure for it to find success or fame or fortune. If we know those things would never happen — how many of us would still pursue it?

If the motivating factor is to succeed then perhaps do yourself and creativity a favor.. stop.

Creativity as Liz describes doesn’t play by the conventional rules.
It the usual scheme of things you work hard and you get paid and you get ahead. Later you get a pension and get to retire.
The arts make no such promise.

“I always knew I might not get what I wished for. I knew that wishing wouldn’t make it so. Talent might not make it so either. Dedication might not make it so. Even amazing professional contacts — which I didn’t have, in any case — might not make it so.”

Creativity is not interested in rules. It’s why we love it. It’s why we hate it.

“In short, the goddess of creative success may show up for you, or she may not. Probably best, then, if you don’t count on her, or attach your definition of personal happiness to her whims.”

Yoga suggests that all suffering is caused when we link things together that do not belong together (if you have an ex boyfriend/girlfriend you know this well).

If we attach needing success, validation, fame, money or even making a living to our creative living we are setting ourselves up to suffer. We are not living creatively, we are creating expectations and resentments. We are asking creativity to serve us, instead of being willing to show up and serve it — without asking for anything in return.

Does this not sound like fun?

Are you asking then why bother doing it?

If so, then it may not be for you. And that’s ok!

Some people feel that way about having kids.
You have to give, give, give, you never sleep, they drain you mentally, emotionally and financially — they grow up to hate and rebel against you — and yet — many would argue it is life’s biggest gift.

We want to check our motives. What do we actually want? What is our goal with our creative process?

Psychology tells us that there are two type of goals.

Intrinsic Goals are the ones we pursue out of a deep personal conviction or strong interest or love. They come from a desire to express. These goals are internally motivated. These goals don’t need or give concern to impressing anyone or winning anything. They are process based. They are about who we become in the pursuing of them. They are about our connection to our own hearts and desires and to creativity itself.

Extrinsic Goals are the ones based on outer gain, success or others. They comes from our desire to please or impress. They involve things like social status and numbers in bank accounts. These goals are about measurable wins.

Psychologist Kennon Sheldon says, “people seeking greater well being would be well advised to focus on the pursuit of goals involving growth, connection and contribution goals that are interesting and personally important to them rather than goals they feel forced or pressure to pursue.”

If you are in the creative game for what it can give to you, you are setting yourself up for failure, placing an intrinsic process against an external goal. If you want sustainability in this field it must come from a new source. The never ending one. The one that needs nothing but the pleasure of playing the game. It doesn’t give a shit about winning.

Creative living is living for love.
Sometimes love hurts or alludes us, or acts in ways we can’t predict. That’s what makes it magic.
Don’t try to change it to suit a goal it wasn’t designed for.

Decide to love it as it is.
Whether it loves you back or not, and you will have a real, lasting relationship. Unconditional. Declare it. Journal about it. Recommit.


Jen Rudolph