Creation Versus Obligation

(I think that title’s so clever simply because it rhymes)

I write a new post every day, illness and exams aside, and have done so for a total of 402 posts now, over a period of about fifteen months. And the relentless repetition of this system has caused me to question whether this blog is more about being creative, or fulfilling an obligation.

First up, that question suggests the two things are mutually exclusive, or at least different enough to be unable to be combined effectively; and while I don’t think that creation and obligation are completely incompatible – this blog’s very inception was an attempt to combine the two of them – it must be said that I often don’t always feel particularly creative when posting on this blog. This goes beyond the grudging ‘fine, I’ll write a post today’ moaning, as writing has become something no longer inherently creative; this isn’t to say all these posts are devoid of ideas, but for me, writing used to be exclusively about escaping from daily obligations and the mundanity of human existence, but now I’m suffering through both of those things as I keep to my entirely arbitrary goal of posting every day.

This is why I’m branching out on this site; I started a collab blog to get the input of others, because it would be totally unreasonable to expect all of my endlessly-uploaded to get that kind of interaction considering that you readers have lives of your own, and I set up a writing blog, specifically for the pieces of fiction and poetry I wouldn’t feel as comfortable sticking here.

But that different format is important; has all creativity been reduced to obligation for me, as I edge ever closer to the insanely difficult and mind-crushing world of writing for a living, or is it just attempts at creativity that I dress up in this black-backgrounded theme instead of the white one over on the writing blog? There are qualitatively different thought processes behind writing for all three of my blogs, so if I say one is more creative than another, or creative in a different way, does that not suggest that ‘obligation’ in the form of busyness and having a shit-load of things to look after, i.e. three blogs, is influential on creativity? The other blogs don’t have the same rigid posting schedule as this one, and I’d argue they’re more original and entertaining to read, perhaps as a result.

I’m wary of mistaking correlation for causation here, though; this blog has always been centred around my life and, being written by someone who doesn’t care for politics or current affairs, has a rather more limited, and less interesting, array of subject matter to work with than either of the other blogs, which are limited by my imagination, and the imagination of two other bloggers respectively. So perhaps the ‘inherent uncreativity’ I’m looking for doesn’t come from scheduling, but the very purpose and origin of those attempts to be creative in the first place.

I don’t think I’m any less original or creative as a writer than I was when I started this blog (I’m probably more comfortable with various genres and styles after starting the writing blog, in fact), but there is certainly more mundanity. Before this blog, I’d write every other week, or make a comic every month, which is about as regularly as I wrote poems and short stories now, that I promise I’ll upload as soon as my crappy Internet is fixed, because I’m not even going to try to write iambic hexameter on an auto-correcting phone keyboard. The difference is that now, there is a platform – entirely of my own creation and responsibility – that demands content every day which, as I’m finding the hard way, is a demand not in line with how creative I’m actually feeling. When I started this blog, my Dad warned me against burning myself out on such a public platform, counselling that professional writers may write every day, but they don’t publish every day, nor do they hold themselves to publishing every day; now I’m seeing his wisdom, as there are a lot of posts on here, built out of the same words that could be used to shape galaxies and heroes, that talk about socks, or how I’m not gonna post anything that day. I’m not less creative, but I’m certainly more bullshitty.

But this is a cornerstone of making stuff; no-one can make a good thing just because they want to, I think it’s more about trying a variety of things over a long period of time, seeing what works, getting really lucky and, critically for my future employment, what people like to see and how they engage with it.

It’s like rolling a die: we all want to roll a six, but it depends as much on other factors as it does how you flick your wrist to roll it; all I can do is maximise the number of dice I’m rolling. And it’ll be tedious, and a lot of shite will be spewed out onto this site and on my Facebook Timeline, but if I’m chucking a million dice, I’ll probably get a six at some point.

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