Yesterday I was surprised by the number of ways by which people said they were motivated to create. Maybe motivate is not the right word, it was more about the methods they employed to keep themselves creating. Author Bob Vardeman wrote about writing by will. Others were very excited by a program that is called something like Write or Die. If you do not produce so many words on the page, the software provides negative feedback up to knowing it will start erasing your words. In thinking about why the others methods worked for them and why they would not work for me, I realized that I would do much better with a software program that provides positive feedback. For example, I love the little meters in Nanowrimo that chart your progress.
I also read an article that lists the five most common driving forces as Guilt, Resentment and Anger, Fear, Materialism and Need for Approval. (In the November 2010, Art Calendar, Living with an Abundance of Purpose. While the article was all about how to change those into something positive, it saddened me to see those as a given. I work for an attorney who practices family law, so I will not dispute them being common, but the most common is what disturbed me.
I create because I enjoy it. I teach and blog because I want to share it, and engage in a discussion about it. I started examining what motivates or drives people when creating. Bob is a full time author so making a paycheck influences his choice to write. That does not translate it into materialism in my mind. Those who were excited about the new software were motivated by avoiding the negative for a whole variety of reasons. It is my design to create on a regular basis. Taking advantage of the ebb and tide of creativity that I believe exists. Some of my best writing occurred near the end of Nanowrimo two years ago I was desperate to get caught up and achieve the goal of winning. Sometimes I catch shots like the one I used as an image today. Although it is blurry, I love the sense of motion it conveys. It was taken as part of a series of snapshots of my daughter’s dance recital, by chance.
I like to think of it all as being part of creating by design, to take advantage of the the desperation and chance. Where I think of design being different than by will as outlined by Bob is that I would look at his watching of the movie and analyzing the contents as part of the process of writing, rather than a break from it. This might be why he is a full time author and I am still working a day job.
What it all comes down to in the end, is finding something that works for you.