If You're a Creator (and We All Are)

It takes about 45 minutes for a baker to make strawberry shortcake. 

It takes about two minutes for an eater to eat it. 

A journalist can spend months investigating a piece. A reader may take about 15 minutes reading it. 

It can take months, sometimes years for an artist to make a painting. A painting that will hang in a gallery or museum where most people will spend well less than a minute looking at it. 

On the seesaw of creating and consuming, if we create something, we will almost always spend more time - often much more time - creating than consumers will consuming or engaging. 

And we as creators will often care much more about what we're creating than consumers will about what they're consuming. 

Which can be a painful dichotomy for creators: so much time and so much care put into something that is often received in so little time, with so much less care. 

But I think that pain comes if we creators create for the outcome, if the reason we're creating is for the response to the final product. We set up expectations to make our effort worthwhile. And if the response isn't what we hoped for, that pain can be big and strong. 

But if we create for the sheer process of creating, for who we are as we are making, designing, building, then how our creation is received is much less important. Because our care is for the experience of creating, not for the outcome of it or response to it. 

It's not easy to put myself in this mindframe. We live in a society that values products over process and outcomes over experience. So for me, it has to be an intentional effort to sidestep these societal values.

If we can, though, there's delight, discovery, freedom to be found in the creative process. Which is, after all, a process and not a product. 

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