“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can’t help it.” ~Leo Rosten
I came across this quote on another blog, and it struck a chord. It proved to be exactly what I needed to get me started on a topic that’s been trying to work its way out of my head and into a post.
Creative people – writers, artists, crafters, photographers – create because they have to. Okay, I can’t speak for all creative people, but I do know enough of them to speak for a handful or two. We can’t not create, whether we’re doing it with words, images, scraps of paper, or glittering beads – it doesn’t matter. Even if we’re not getting paid for our efforts, we are driven to do something.
Most people would term this “having a hobby.”
hob-by enjoyable activity an activity engaged in for pleasure and relaxation during spare time
But the creative process is not necessarily always enjoyable or relaxing. It takes sweat and tears, sacrifice, risk of failure, and can raise you up to the heights or send you crashing to the depths. Which begs the question, “Then, why do it?”
For the answer, go back to the beginning quote.
We. Can’t. Help. It.
We don’t wait for “spare time”. (Does anyone really have that?) We make time. We carve minutes out of our day that we could spend doing something else, like being with family, eating, or watching a movie. Not because we don’t enjoy those things, but because we’re driven to answer the call. Writers live in their heads, writing even when paper or computers aren’t handy. Artists will sketch on napkins or the backs of envelopes. Photographers frame images with their fingers even when their camera isn’t handy. We know no other way.
I sometimes wonder how the other half lives. I have a pretty good imagination but the one thing I can’t wrap my head around is not having that inner drive to create something. To do something. Oh, that’s not to say I don’t have down time where I try to ignore the characters running rampant in my brain pan. But never having the itch to get their story down? To paint an image of their world? I don’t know if I’d ever want to experience that.