what are you doing it for? Finding purpose

What are you doing it for?

This post follows on from my last post on creative frustration. When I was writing about how frustrated we can get during the creative ‘process’, I thought to myself “why do we put ourselves through it?”

Why don’t we just stop… and carry on living our lives, frustration free? Because, quite simply – we can’t.

I remember when I was at uni one of our lecturers Seamus (amazing Irish man who smoked, drank and inspired us all) told us the difference between a true ‘writer’ and someone who isn’t. He said true writers write because they have to.

The words pour from them and the only way for them to exist is to get those words out on paper. Writing is as essential as breathing to true writers.

And the thing is, this is true of any creative past-time – painting, drawing, taking pictures, making music – we all do it because we don’t know any other way to get the *stuff* in our heads out.

What is it then, that possesses some of us to tell the world about it? To share it with everyone?

Another one of my lecturers, (whose name I can’t for the life of me remember… Ian maybe? Let’s call him Ian) raised this in a seminar, asking us why we were doing it.

Was it just for our own ego? I remember him asking and everyone in the room looking confused. No one spoke up and Ian walked out, disappointed in us all.

I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to find a job that involves writing and pays the bills. So why then do I feel the need to write outside of work too. What am I doing it for?

What are you doing it for? Finding purpose

When I wrote posts for my last blog, To Limbo and Beyond, I didn’t have a purpose. I was writing for the sake of writing. I was doing exactly what Ian hoped we wouldn’t. In his eyes, I was doing it to feed my ego.

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And I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with writing for the sake of writing, and that we can share our work without it being anything to do with our ego.

Blogging is an outlet and we should all feel free to use that outlet however we want.

All I will say is that once I found a purpose for my blog writing, a purpose for my creativity… everything snapped into place.

I have a huge list of content ideas. I’ve managed to post twice a week every week for eight months without feeling pressured or overwhelmed. I’ve rediscovered my love of photography. Words have never flowed so freely from my fingertips. 

This purpose has shaped more than this blog, it’s shaped my dreams for the future. It’s shaped the way I want my life to be.

I think this is because it isn’t about me anymore. I mean, of course it’s still about me a bit – it’s my voice, my opinions etc. but the drive behind all of this isn’t me, it’s you – the reader.

It’s about helping others struggling and reassuring them that they’re not alone. It’s about speaking up and saying ‘I struggle with this too, let’s figure it out together’.

It’s about building a community, making connections and attempting to make a difference, even if it’s in a small way.

I’m not saying that in order to write/paint/draw/take pictures you need to have a ‘higher’ purpose or want to save the world.

I’m saying that figuring out what your purpose is, what’s driving you, could unlock a whole new world of creativity for you.

It could be as simple as wanting to entertain someone. Wanting to be a port in the storm, something lovely to look at/read when everything else is falling apart. It could be as complex as wanting to help them change their life.

Sometimes, we’re even talking to past versions of ourselves with our work. I know some of the posts I write are for past Kat, the Kat that hated herself. I write what I wish I could have read back then.

I’ll end with some questions for you to think about:

  • Who do you hope will see your work?
  • How do you want them to feel after seeing it?
  • What change do you want them to experience?
  • Do you want them to experience a change?
  • What are you doing it for?

Have you ever given your creative ‘purpose’ any thought?

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