A common misconception I’ve noted as of late is that creators, writers, musicians; any form of the arts and entertainment are there for the sole purpose of its audience.
Yes, it is a form of expression.
No, creators are not machines pumping out work constantly for your approval. Most do it because they must. For varied reasons such as building a history, getting over their self-reservations, making friends, and even as a therapy. Each creator has a different story, but one thing is constant. The drive to better ourselves. That’s how a joke works:
You tell one, that person either gets it and laughs or the joke goes over their head. A laugh fills the teller with accomplishment.
The common misconception leads to burn out; the creators spread themselves far too thin to appease their impatient audience, readers, fans, etc. The creators are seen as property and told what they should do and what they should think. It shatters self-esteem and in some cases the creator shuts down. They stop doing what they love and what they feel is special to them. They shut down their blogs; leave the stage, they disappear…
Misconceptions, expectations, and demands are what kills the makers of dreams. And it starts from a very early age. School. Outside thinkers are crushed. forced to comply to a certain mindset. Everything is dictated, when they nap, when they take breaks, when they eat and what is focused on. Rarely is that focus on the arts once an elementary kid reaches junior high. And then, miraculously, the focus curves towards creative arts. And at this point, the students are lost. The creator never had time to hone their skills and outside thinking. It’s cruel to penalize them, yet again, for something out of their control. If you’re not beaten down, there are peers and friends to help.
We all grow at our own pace, and the ones that master first are targets of jealousy, passive aggressive feedback, and social slavery. In order to “fit in” and “keep friends” they whore out their craft on demand, and are expected to for free. They do what they love, post it online, and the anonymous tell them hateful, hurtful things, whether true or not. “I hate this pairing.” “Go kill yourself.” “Your music sucks! Play something we know!” “Copycat.” “Sellout.” and many horrible messages and words are exchanged.
Is it small wonder that when you approach a creator they are wary of you, ignore the praise/criticism, and/or hide? They wonder: “This person… is being nice to me, what do they want?” That is how the creators MUST perceive the world or be swallowed whole.
It gets even worse if you’re popular or a celebrity. Certain contracts and legally binding deals OWN you; they use and destroy you once the money, power, and fame stops rolling in. Your life is not your own and everyone find fault in everything you do. Who in their right mind would WANT that life? Once you’ve been drained of every last drop of magic, they cash in on your death. Reimagined, they forget who you were. And your family suffers your mistakes long after you’re gone.
The life of a creator is fragile, fleeting, and one of the most beautiful things about the human condition. Do not take dreamers for granted and they will show you new worlds; take you to planes of light, sound, and bring a tear to your eye with a stroke of the pen.