The Creativity Addiction

Why do we do it?

Why do so many of us spend a significant portion of our lives hunched over a keyboard shaping little pixels on a screen?  It can’t be for the money.  Indeed, Janni Simner said money and fame are incidental benefits.  She writes because she wants to tell the stories that are important to her, and she wants them to be read.  While there’s no guarantee of the latter, the former is always within reach.

I asked this question in my critique group the other day.  One, a best selling author, joked, “It beats working a real job.”  (Which he has done.)  The other (also a best selling author) said he did it as a creative hobby.  Game generation fulfills that need for him too.  It’s the same need his former occupation as an engineer met:  the need to create.

Jill Knowles echoed my own thought:  she said she gets twitchy when she doesn’t write.  And that brings me around to something my critique partners suggested:  that creating is an addiction.

Every kid is creative to some degree, but not everyone continues to exercise that part of their brains.  For some of us, playing “let’s pretend” is a gateway drug.  We may think we can stop anytime, but if we do, we tend to just substitute one addiction for another.  Writers and artists, architects and designers.  We spend a lot of time in our heads imagining how things might be.  And then we make it happen.  We create something where there was nothing.  And if we go too long without it we go a little crazy.  (Oooh, there’s a story idea there. . . .)

I once said on a panel, “I don’t think I’m god.  I create the gods.”  In some ways, writing is the ultimate power-trip.  So perhaps it’s only fair that the traditional publishing helps to keep our egos in check.

So why do you do it?


Filed under writing

2 responses to “The Creativity Addiction

  1. I like the writing process. I love making new characters, seeing new places, answering over and over the restless question, “What if?” Once I finish a piece two my satisfaction, I might as well just throw it away.

    • “The restless question.” I like that.

      I take it you’re more of a “Pantser,” a writer who enjoys the process of discovery, rather than a “Plotter,” who plans things out in advance. I’ve heard other “Pantsers” say that if they know too much about what’s going to happen in their story there’s no point in writing it.

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