Work Worth Doing

It doesn't take much as a creative person to fall into strange conversations about what kind of creative work is worth doing or making, beginning or finishing.  One comment from a well-meaning person pointing out the statistical improbabilities of our current project making its way into blockbuster-level production usually does the trick.  We start comparing different mediums and strategies, wondering if we have the right one, suddenly trying to beat some hypothetical odds.

What's worth it? we ask, and if we're lucky we ask one who knows.

Many career artists would say that their best work was never published, produced or displayed.  We create in a cloud of not seeing where the work will travel to in the end.  Will it live out its days in a drawer or a closet, or will it be welcomed, embraced, celebrated?  If you need to see how it all ends to justify the work of creating, you're not likely to begin and even less likely to finish.

The only remedy I know for this mental gridlock is trust.  Trust that every piece of work has a purpose to serve, and that every piece of work fulfills its purpose.  Sometimes that purpose is accomplished in the creator, in the act of its creation.  Other times that purpose is for an audience of five people, or the readers of fifty languages.  It may mean something big to a small number of people, or it might mean something small to many.  We don't know, and it's not our responsibility to know.

Our job is to tell the stories that are ours to tell, to make the work that is ours to make, and to let our creations have their way with us and the world.  To trust that our work will find its way into the hands that need it most.  To listen, to begin, and to finish, knowing that the work that emerges will be more pure and honest when it doesn't have to prove its worth to us.