Purpose of creating

[Originally written in January 2010]

What have you created today?

No, I don’t mean just artpieces. I mean normal stuff – decoration for a cake, a flower from an old piece of paper, some cables in a funny knot or just a colorful pile of paperclips. Oh, yes, that too! So I bet you created something after all, right? Well, how did it make you feel?

For me, the feeling after creating something, even the smallest thing, is very intense. It’s the kind of feeling that puts a smile on my face and makes me more optimistic. For example, every time I leave a cafeteria or a café, I create a smile from the leftover food (if any). Two slices of onion for eyes and some spaghetti for mouth 🙂 One would ask: why do I do this? Does the waiter even notice that? Well the answer is that I simply don’t do it for them. I do it for myself. Yes, I don’t do it to make them happy, but myself. It might sound a bit selfish, but it’s not. How can I be sure if they’d like it? I can’t. But I know that I’ll like it, and I like the feeling after creating this smilie on my plate, so I just do it.

Back in Bulgaria, while I was studying Linguistics at University, I had a lovely course of lectures in Literary Theory. Basically, my colleagues hated it, because the lector made us think about letuce and pictures of letuce and compare which one is closer to art and why (this was part of the Semiotics course). For me, it was a chance to get familiar with some interesting concepts about art. After centuries of theories, some philosophers had developed an idea. It says: Creating doesn’t have a purpose and shouldn’t be purpose-driven. It is an end in itself: you need to create just for the sake of it; you can’t eat, drink or have sex with art—so you can’t utilize it, and it’s none of our basic needs. And if it were one of our needs, it’d probably never be satisfied.

A few years ago, when I got a camera and started using it, I would take pictures of everything that impressed me, and then wanted to share these emotions with others. But actually, what I was doing was capturing and creating primarily for myself. Other people didn’t need me to create, but I did. So I was just doing it. Most of the images people liked, were created when I was feeling very intense emotions. And ironically, these are mostly melancholic photographs. So I figured out, I was using the process of creating as a therapy. Whenever I was feeling very bad (or very well—in both cases it is ‘excess, unstable condition’), I was out with the camera or in front of the computer, post-processing the pictures I had taken. Creating.

Ever felt hopeless? I definitely have. Many times, actually. The reason: I hadn’t been creating enough. The worst thing one could do to their drive to create is not to create; supress your need to create and that would probably be one of the worst periods in your life.

So the purpose of creating? Creating for the sake of it. Expressing yourself. At least that’s why I do it.


3 thoughts on “Purpose of creating

  1. I love to create – new dishes for my boyfriend (because I believe cooking = creating), greeting cards with quillings or little things from plasticine.
    When I create, I put in all my soul to have the best results – like you – not for people, but especially for me.
    But creating for me is one more thing – that is my way to escape from the exhaustion and the daily troubles. Creating make me think only for that process, so I forget everything else and could rest.


  2. It is interesting how we approach creating when it is part of our ‘work’ – it is valid for both you and me, and, I think, most of the readers of this blog (if any…). I think it is still a different part of the process, maybe the most rewarding one (from our inner perspective). Do you agree?


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