Cultural Consumers Vs Creators

There are two types of people in a culture, creators and consumers. Consuming cultural products is a passive activity. Creating cultural products is an active activity. The reader is a consumer and the writer is a creator. I have made a considerable investment in my creative endeavors but I find that the writing is just not getting done. I have given some thought on why this is a persistent problem.

It is a lot easier to engage in passive activities than in active activities. I would rather watch a movie than write a screenplay. And I would rather read a play than write a play. However, it is more empowering to be a creator than a consumer. The writer gets to tell his story and may be compensated for his efforts. The reader is a consumer and must pay to read the story, if it is a book. So there are a lot of advantages to being the writer but I’m still not very motivated to do the damn writing. Part of the problem may be that I prefer vague daydreaming. I don’t like to give my fantasies too many details. I would rather leave many possibilities open. This works against the writer because creating a story is a matter of bringing something into being. The creator takes something that only exists in his imagination and he actualizes it, gives it some detail, so it can be put out into the world. One of the plays I’ve been planning to write actually concerns this reluctance to set out on a course because that destroys other possibilities. This was to be a play about a mother who agonizes so much over her son’s college major that she spends his entire college fund on campus visits and endless research into different careers. The psychological basis for this is a reluctance to give up one’s potential for an actual career. The mother would essentially be in mourning for her lost potential and tries to hold onto her son’s great potential. But ironically I have made no progress in telling that story because I don’t want to actualize its potential! I am reluctant to give the product of my imagination a final form.

I think my solution to this problem should be to value the writing process more. I have come to see the theater as more of a sacred space where something significant is brought into being. But I don’t see the process of writing for the theater as being a sacred ritual. In other words, I need to become more obsessed with writing than being a spectator. This is a difficult proposition since writing isn’t the sort of activity you can invest much real passion into. Writing lacks novelty because you are wrestling with conscious invention. It can gain some novelty when you tap into your unconscious, but you will still be dealing with the familiar. I could get exciting about writing if I thought it was going to get me anything. This would not actually be the case. Maybe the solution is to convince myself that writing will indirectly get me something more valuable than the actual rewards of writing. For example, writing can give you additional opportunities for travel when you become successful enough to be invited to a conference or festival. I could get excited by the prospect of intangible rewards. I will give this some more thought because I do have the power to invest something with the sacred, to give something a heightened significance subjectively. Writing itself is not very enchanting and it would take a considerable exercise of the imagination to make it more meaningful.

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