March 21, 2024

Prioritize Self in Creativity: The Audience Can Wait For Now

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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2 min read

What if we let go of the audience’s expectations? Does that doom us or liberate us?

I’m an advocate for creating first for oneself and then for others.

It’s a therapeutic experience. There’s an alignment with your nature to create when you’re not doing it for external validation but for your internal satisfaction.

You enjoy the process without worrying about other people’s opinions, and nothing gets in your way. No creative blocks are involved.

So, where does this leave the audience? In the background — for now at least.

I’ve always felt that an audience-first approach would suppress the enjoyment that comes from the act of creating.

How often have you started a project by wondering, “What does the audience want?” And if you’ve looked for answers to please an audience, did you enjoy it? For me, it wasn’t.

You’ll find more excitement in your work if you create the space to explore and express freely without seeking immediate approval.

This excitement is contagious and often enough to compel you to share your creation.

We might have to rethink how we prioritize in the creative process. Letting our curiosities guide us can make our work more attractive.

Austin Kleon is a great example of someone who creates and shares based on what interests him — assuming he can write well enough — others would find it interesting.

You might wonder if your work is worth it without knowing your audience first. But it’s okay if you don’t know because an audience can’t predict what they want until it’s right under their noses.

The focus is on attracting people who’ll resonate with what you create. That doesn’t happen by asking but by putting yourself in the open.

As William Zinsser highlights in On Writing Well:

“You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.”

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