Do You Create Just for Yourself?

unnamedHow often do you create just for yourself? I know I don’t do it often enough. Usually when I have time to sit and create, I think about who I am creating for. It could be for a specific person like a card, or for a group of people like something free to give away on my blog.

Rarely do I sit down and think, “I’m going to write out that weird short story I’ve been thinking about, just to see how it turns out.” When I write it’s usually FOR something. To sell a novel, or a workbook for creatives, or anything else that’s specifically for someone else.

If we’re always sitting down with a plan in mind, we’re not leaving ourselves open to explore new ideas and curiosities. Maybe that weird short story I want to explore will turn into something bigger…something I can publish. But for now, wouldn’t it be fun to just write it without a plan in mind? (Yes, Rebel, yes it would.)

A simple way to remind yourself to create for just you is to schedule it in. I have a daily planner that I use for little tasks. I spend a lot of time sitting at my computer working and writing. If I don’t write down the ideas that pop into my head as they come, they’ll be gone. Writing in something like, “work on my short story” is trigger enough to get me to sit, even for five minutes, and write just for myself.

The photo above is something I made a few years ago. I suddenly got into drawing cirlces on a canvas, then coloring them in with Sharpies.  I spent night after night working on these canvases just for me. Then, because I’m me, I started thinking of ways to give them away. I ended up making a dozen black and white ones for kids in the cancer ward at our local hospital. I thought they could color them while having chemo. I contacted the hospital and brought them in.

I’m really glad I did that, but after I was done, I’d lost my mojo for creating them for myself. This is the only one I made for me that I kept, and whenever I look at it hanging in our bathroom, it reminds me of being in my own little world for those few days, listening to music, drawing, and coloring.

Do you create just for yourself? If not, why not start?