The Difference Between Creating for Yourself & Creating for Others
I do not create for myself. I create for an audience. I create so that I can grow a following, and eventually turn my creations into revenue-producing products. I treat creating like a business, because that's what I want it to become.
Do I genuinely love writing every day? Of course. It's like eating. I feel empty without it. Is one of the main reasons I write as much as I do so that I can become a better writer? Absolutely!
But in all of it - my love for it, and the work I put into it - the end goal is for creating to be my livelihood, ideally in a somewhat grand way.
My intent changes how I create. I'm creating to grow, which means I'm creating for others to consume. My growth comes from finding what others want to consume, creating that, and then scaling it.
Yes, I want to help others grow in their own lives. Yes, I'm trying to be a positive influence. But I'm looking for synthesis. How can I combine growth and positivity into a marketable product? All of this is entirely different than if I were creating for myself.
I have some friends and family members who create for themselves. They're really good, too. Far better than me. But they're intentionally avoiding any chance to profit.
Even if their work is public, they're creating based on their own interests, with no concern for what others like or care about. They're not paying attention to numbers and analytics. It's not about "the process" for them, it's about the act of doing.
They find fulfillment and benefit simply from creating. It's not their careers, it's how they find peace.
Both of these approaches are completely valid. On one side, everyone has to make a living, and it's best to make it doing something you love. On the other side, we all need something that's just ours.
A secluded spot in the city, a particular arm chair, a hobby. We all need that one little nook in our lives that's just ours, that we alone posses. But being on one side or the other also means something else.
I'm creating for others. I can't get upset about what I'm creating. It's my duty to provide something helpful, valuable, and positive. If I don't want to write about that stuff one day, tough toenails. It's not about what I like. It's about providing value for others.
If you're creating just for yourself, you can't get upset when nobody cares about your work. If you really enjoy, say, writing sci-fi romance novels, that's awesome! But you've got to get over the fact that most people probably won't enjoy consuming your work.
You can create for others, or you can create for yourself. Both are perfectly valid, yet both necessitate different mindsets. Really, the toughest part is coming to grips with which side you belong on!
I'd love to say I write solely about what I care about. I'd rather do that, but there isn't a clear path for growth in that. So I have to acknowledge that I'm writing to grow and bring others in. If you're honest with yourself, who are you creating for?