The hypocrisy of creativity

The first definition I came to of creativity was “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something”. People say that they crave new ideas, something different, a unique perspective, something out of the ordinary. But what quite often happens when you give it to them is… they hate it. It’s too different, it’s too out there, it’s unexpected, it’s “wrong”, it’s too hard to consume.

The problem with being “unusual” is that quite often people don’t get you. They just write you off as being “unusual”.  I sometimes feel like a bad comedian… like I’m having to explain the joke and in doing so I’m admitting defeat. Sometimes. Other times I think I’m the only person who gets it.  And then there are those times when people tell you what they think and you realise they get it too. Or they’re brave enough to ask the question, and then they get it.

‘That started out so passionless and immature, why would you do that on purpose?’ 

Hypocrisy – “the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.”

Two tips – 1. If you want something different, try not to be surprised that it’s different. 2. Don’t assume you know the answer to a question you never asked of the only person who truly knows the answer.

And so I say, create. That’s why we’re here. All of us. We’re all creations and we spend our lives creating. Creating new humans, creating structures, creating art, creating technology, creating environments, creating havoc … always creating. People can love it, they can hate it, they can be indifferent, but if it’s your creation- own it.



6 thoughts on “The hypocrisy of creativity

  1. I think most people don’t actually want something “out of the box.” Look at blockbuster movies – retold stories and serials, same old stuff with a new look. Break out books may get critical acclaim, but they don’t necessarily appeal to the masses. An artist, I believe, will tell the story that is bursting to get out, and as you say, people will love it or hate it. The important part is the creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, when I wrote “Flattery or Fraud” it was very much about remakes and people stealing ideas. It appears that people want a level of familiarity while seeking something different. Obviously it takes work to build an audience and have them “trust” you. I’m enjoying the creativity and the journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wander round bookshops frustrated because 99.9% books fall into three categories:
    1. So very not what I’m interested in.
    2. Looks interesting, but it will make me think instead of relax.
    3. Oh dear, yet another variation…

    Human relationships is very problematic. Your average reader (or viewer in the case of Film/TV) identifies very quickly with potential romantic pairings and will react negatively to conflicting romances. Which is why shipping is so popular on the web. If I’m reading about a female protagonist/heroine, I generally get annoyed with romantic subplots; if she falls for a woman rather than a man, I don’t mind so much, but if it’s some gorgeous stereotype of male perfection then it puts me off the story immediately.

    (This week, I got a 1-star review that began, “This started out so well. I expected Zara to come back and help him and add depth to the story.” Clearly the reader connected with Zara in a way that I never expected. I mean, she’s nice and all, but she’s a minor character whose interest in the main character is explicitly sexual and not romantic. The reviewer makes no mention of the deeper relationship that the story ends with.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So they gave a lower review only because the story didn’t go the way they wanted it to go? I did have someone write to me asking if the relationship was going to continue down the path it appeared to be heading in the first book because if so they wouldn’t continue the series. I made a note of it on my Facebook page. I think it’s positive that the readers have that level of engagement with the story, and feel so passionately about things, but it’s disappointing that their view on how it should have gone motivated a low review for you.

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  3. You say: ‘People say that they crave new ideas, something different, a unique perspective, something out of the ordinary. But what quite often happens when you give it to them is… they hate it’.

    The assumption here is that what you are offering to a reader IS a new idea. This assumes that you know the total experiences of your reader better than they do. Is it not possible that what you interpret to be ‘new’ is not ‘new’ to your reader? Also, audiences are very perceptive at determining when an artist ‘needs their work to be liked’. I think this is a pretty effective way of inserting a chilly distance between the work and the audience.

    But regardless of this: All people are beautiful, whether they choose to read a book (or engage with any other creative work) or not. I don’t believe judging or making assumptions about your audience leads to anything helpful. It certainty won’t help the artist finding any kind of personal satisfaction in what they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your considered response. Hence the hypocrisy. For the audience to assume that that there is nothing new in a book that they haven’t read based on a blurb or a sample would be a false assertion. Due to plagiarism and other issues faced by a foundling author, the best parts of a story are not in the blurb or in the first few chapters (as these are “given away” by ebook providers). The blurbs and chapters have to be enough to draw you in but shouldn’t give it all away. While I don’t purport to undertake the experience of all readers, or any readers for that matter, they also can’t assume to know me.
      My point is largely that people often compare and judge a book based on something else rather than allowing it to stand alone. They seem to want something different, but also familiar, and that’s the creative bind – real or not.
      In terms of being “needy”, I think that all authors want, or possibly need, their work to be liked because their aim is often to reach people, change people, entertain people and while you can do that being “un-liked”, it’s much nicer to hear people say that they like something you created. It’s not essential, but it’s nice. I want people not to give up on creating things just because it’s not liked, and to be proud of themselves and not feel compelled to change to please a majority. Self-promotion should be shameless. There should be no shame in it.

      Liked by 1 person

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