Why You Should Stop Creating

posted in: Uncategorized | 25

March 22nd, 2012

There is a popular movement nowadays of artists, bloggers, and regular folks talking about themselves and the importance of doing. We encourage each other, and ourselves, to create, to write, to build, to do! If you’re not part of the creativity, then you are wasting your time. If you’re working a 9-5 job, then your life has very little meaning or at least, you are fully free to feel down about yourself.


For the most part, I’d like to continue encouraging one another to fill their lives with passion. I still believe in our golden age. I still believe that we owe it to all of human history  to do spectacular things with our days. Right now. But recently I’ve had a revelation of sorts. There is a secondary position we all must take too. And, in history, this space has always been held and fulfilled. And today, we need these people too.




Wait! This isn’t boring stuff here. This is perhaps more important than your own pursuits, your artwork, your music, your life. This is about the future of greatest sitting amongst our present.


We cannot have our Vincent Van Gogh without our Theo Van Gogh. Theo was Vincent’s brother, and arguably the only reason that we have the brilliant mind and art of Vincent. And let me connect the dots for you. Vincent Van Gogh is often considered one of the most important artists to ever live. He inspired movements that influence film and art still today. If you still need convincing, watch this short clip here.


Theo was Vincent’s emotion crutch, his greatest support. Vincent depended on the praise and enthusiasm that Theo provided. His unstable mental state was frail and constantly at risk of falling apart. Theo not only mentally kept his brother going, but he also financially supported Vincent too. Remember, Vincent sold only one painting in his lifetime.


Theo wasn’t just Vincent’s brother. He was well known and respected in his age for his contributions and work as an art dealer. So, you can keep your normal job and still play an important role in history.


We are often only interested in the immediate returns on our investments. Today, his investment is considered priceless, though if one had to put a number on it, it would be considered the highest price in art history.


So consider who you can and should support. Theres an artist, a writer, a musician who needs some support right now. Mentally, emotionally, financially. They may not even believe in their skills yet. So be that support.


Some folks are the mad artists, and some are the silent supporters. We all have someone to invest in.


Of course, that doesn’t give you an excuse not to create. But you know, now you have something even more important to do.


25 Responses

  1. Good words my friend. A good reminder for us all.

    • Thanks Matt! I thought of you when I was considering this piece because I imagine you to one day be a major financer of artists and inventors.

  2. I really like this! I especially liked ‘If you’re working a 9-5 job, then your life has very little meaning or at least, you are fully free to feel down about yourself.’

    Living differently is a huge privilege and I think many artists and writers are quick to damn the ‘9-5’ jobs. But without those people, they wouldn’t still be able to support their alternative existences.

    I really love the dynamism and diversity that keeps our society as beautifully textured as it is. Any way, this is a little rambly as I’m rather sleep deprived today.

    Regardless, really interesting and insightful post!

  3. The support of artists is what’s reigning in the new economy. The digital creative renaissance. Your support is changing the world.

    • Well Janet, perhaps it’s the only thing that ever did. I imagine every great depended on the support of others.

  4. Nicely blogged and too often forgotten. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Hey Dave,

    Nice post. You definitely hooked me with the opening statements about creating. I am a big, big proponent of constantly creating things you love and are passionate about. I believe that creation is the answer to this “mass boredom” we’re all suffering from.

    However, I do agree that the “creation” movement has been turned into a 9-5 jobbashing-party by some important players. They forget that people who work the 9-5 jobs are also creating something important.

    If you have a 9-5 job you like (or god forbid, love ) then do it. We need people to do those jobs too. However, the general sentiment in these circles seem to be “if you have a regular job, then I don’t wanna play with you.”

    The movement was started by certain few who absolutely hated their jobs and decided to work on their own, on their own dreams instead of someone else’s. That’s great! Now, they have given an avenue to countless others in the same position. However, I fear that some of these few have now gotten a sense of moral superiority, which can be harmful to us as a collective.

    Thanks for inspiring these thought in my mind. Hope you meet up with you soon.


    • Amit, I always appreciate your thoughts. Let’s connect one of these days. It’s our mutual support that lets us keep the creativity flowing.

      • I don’t have a car here so I’m kinda stuck. It’s easier to for me to meet someone in NYC or SF than 30mins away in Vero ha. We’ll make it happen though!

  6. It takes more than dirt to grow a garden that flourishes.

    We need the 9-5ers and general laborers to fertilize the soil us creatives grow in. Yes, we can do whatever we want when we ourselves are freed from the yoke of society. But the greatness we achieve would not be as relevant or meritous without an audience to bear witness to our deeds.

    • Charlie, brilliant line! I feel we can all partake in the support and creation processes. We just can’t get pigeonholed in one or the other.

      Thanks for that garden piece. Good quote!

  7. I think in the blogging community we are fairly good at being supporters, or at least I try to be. I like to comment on peoples blogs to give them feedback and usually praise. I think it feels good when you learn you have supporters in all aspects of our lives.

    I remember when I ran a 1/2 marathon in San Diego for my step father. He was in the hospital but he was tracking my progress on his cell phone through text updates. I didn’t need anyone holding posters and waiting for me at the finish line, just knowing he was supporting me from afar was all I needed. It’s amazing by having supporters and believers in your life can motivate your creativity and drive.

    Great post once again. 🙂

    • Thanks Meg! You have always been my strong support yet you always push to create and invent yourself. Blog comments are a kind way to support and connect, and I agree, it does help!

      I hope I support you like you do me!

  8. This is a thought-provoking piece, as you can see from all the comments. What it got my brain whirring about was yin and yang. It’s inspired me to write one of my own.

    In brief, though, people get on this higher-higher-higher bandwagon, and rightly get excited by the limitless freedoms available when you get outside the box and do the creative thing. But all yang and no yin is unbalanced. I don’t just feel we need ‘supporters’ and ‘creators’ to keep the balance, but we all need to find this balance inside our selves. Those of us who are lucky enough to have the energy and passion to be creative also need to find the time to go quiet, to be still, to be in winter, as it were.

    • Kit, this is exactly what I was going for. I need to learn more about the balancing act. Unfortunately yin and yang have become trite ideas for the western mind. But it has merit and our creation and support balance depends on it.

  9. Super smart post, David. We cannot do anything alone and that feeling of connection and support is what drives anyone through doubt, confusion and uncertainty.

    But even us creators should all support each other. That’s when it all feels worth it!

    • Bassam, your Nomadic Film Festival is a great example of the creative ones finding a way to connect and build. Together.

      It’s easy to think we can’t do one or the other, but on your site you say it yourself. We are all filmmakers.

      We just have to go do it now.

  10. I have always admired Theo.
    He did support Vincent. Great angle David to bring the never-so-glamourous supporters to light. Don’t they have an Oscar for the best supporting actor?

    Btw: Great post you’ve just created;)

    • Derek, of course! The importance of the supporting actor! How easily we overlook them.

      (and of course, thanks for your support and comments!)

  11. What a great sentiment. I had never heard of Theo. Honestly I don’t really like Van Gogh art either, but I recognize his talent.

  12. Andrew, the more I learn about van gogh, the more I enjoy him. It’s all about perspective and placement. And regardless, his impact on the world and art, and creation, is cemented with his tortured artist image.

    But yes, this is about the theos of the world. We need them!

  13. Cheeky title! I somehow guessed there was more to it. I will never stop creating and I support artists wherever I can – which when they are truly fantastic is certainly not a chore, so I hope that makes me a star pupil!

  14. David,
    Excellent story about Van Gogh to drive home the fact that often creators are supported by the very people whom they sometimes renounce. I’ve seen so much 9 to 5 bashing that I think it’s starting to create a bad name for creative types. I still remember that working 9 to 5 was just fine for me for a while. It’s what i wanted. Now it’s not ok and that’s fine too. Maybe one day i’ll want to go back to working a 9 to 5 job. Who knows. I just like to have choices and keep my options open. As far as supporting someone creative. Right now, it’s going to have to be my 3 kids. They take a lot of energy these days and i’m ok with that…

  15. Thank you so much for pointing this out! I am one of the creative folks, not because I’m trying to live up to a standard or keep up with a trend, but because I’ve discovered that if I’m not creating SOMETHING (writing, songwriting, playing the piano, knitting, crochet, photography, cooking, whatever) – I get sick. It’s that simple. The creative energy has to go somewhere, or I get sick. My sister’s the same way, so if it’s all in my head, we share the same delusion.

    I’ve turned one of the more marketable skills in my rather odd skill set into a day job as a classical pianist – I work at two universities accompanying their instrumental and vocal performance majors for their lessons, rehearsals, auditions, and performances. This blog entry reminded me immediately of the encouragement I give to audience members who come up to me after a performance.

    Audience member: That was so amazing! Your fingers go so FAST! I used to take lessons when I was a kid, but I quit.

    Me: Well, don’t give up on it – if you really want to play the piano, go take lessons! You’d be surprised at how fast you’ll pick it up as an adult, now that you’ve learned HOW to learn a new skill many times in your life.

    Audience member: [hems and haws about lessons and practice] Well, I always like coming to these concerts, even if I can’t ever hope to play like that.

    Me: Oh, but we NEED you. Everything I do, all those hours in the practice room, all the work for the performance – that’s for the audience to hear! If musicians just played for each other, we’d still enjoy the music but it would lose the whole point of having other people hear the music. Half the point of what I do is so that YOU can hear it!

    I always hope they take something home with them after these conversations – maybe the inspiration to go sign up for lessons, sure, but I hope at the very least that they come to value their own part in the musical process. I LOVE playing classical music for people who don’t know much about classical music. I love watching it connect and resonate in unexpected ways, and if they didn’t participate in the musical process by showing up at the concert, that could never happen.

    All these writers need readers. The artists need viewers. The musicians needs audiences. None of us who create can stand alone.

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