When I talk about obstacles that hold us back from making our art, one that repeatedly shows its ugly face is the idea, “why bother?”
It’s an inner critique question that gets to the heart of so many of the obstacles we can face as creatives.
Hi, my name is Carrie Brummer and here on Artist Strong I help creatives like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today I want to talk about this question of “why bother.”
The idea of “why bother” is part of this messaging that everything we do has to be “productive” or “useful” and in a world influenced by the industrial revolution this stuff we do should be measurable and concrete.
Well, let’s take a stand here:
I refuse to be some kind of factory output.
I am more than the things I can check off a to-do list.
I am more than the art I sell, or exhibit, or have to “do anything” with…
Making art actually has measurable outcomes when you look at measures of physical and mental well-being, but that isn’t ever at the top of our cultural priority list. It doesn’t earn money to say you feel better.
There is research by Dr. Stuart Brown that found a correlation between lack of play as children and later violent crimes as adults. He interviewed multiple violent criminal offenders in prison and found most of them had little to no opportunities or permission to play in their lives, especially as children.
If we could truly understand the power of embracing the things we care about and give that permission and encouragement to others as well, we could literally improve the quality of life for many people, ourselves included.
And this, if we wanted to get technical and back to this priority of measuring outcomes, would have positive financial outcomes for our society. (Though I would argue that should never be the why, or why we think “why bother.”)
This is why I’m here, and why I show up with Artist Strong. I believe we ALL deserve our creative interests, however they show up in our lives and I want to help empower people to have that permission to show up and engage in their art!
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Now it’s your turn: how do you overcome those feelings of “why bother” to keep showing up for your art? Tell me more in the comments below.