Why do I create?

Although I love writing, I make a living as a graphic and web designer.

I was at a local graphic designer’s social mixer last night. These gatherings occur semi-frequently to encourage networking and idea sharing. Since I’m always on the lookout for new clients and new ideas, I was handing out business cards and getting to know people.

My business card has a rather unique shape for a business card; it’s a 2.75″ diameter circle. I designed it to attract attention and it does its job well. I’ve grown accustomed to getting some kind of comment as people realize I’m handing them a business card and not a plastic-laminated coaster. I’m not ashamed to admit that I look forward to the attention my card gets. It’s nice to be noticed.

One of my encounters this particular evening was with a software developer. We exchanged handshakes, stole glances at each others’ name tags, and casually exchanged business cards. When I handed my card to my new acquaintance, however, I was surprised at his reaction. He turned it over in his hand and read the front and back. Instead of making a comment about the card’s unique shape, he looked me straight in the eye and asked me what I do.

I admit I was a bit taken aback. “What do you mean, ‘What do you do?'” I thought. “You just read my card. I’ve taken the liberty of printing it for you.” Not really expecting the question, I didn’t have a response. I mentally listed ways of describing what I do without making him feel like an idiot.

My response came unnaturally. “I design; I create.”

“Why do you create?” he asked; a second unexpected question.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I’ve never really thought about it. It’s what I love to do and it’s what I do.”

Not wanting to be rude (and not wanting to look like an idiot myself) I casually steered the conversation back on him and we went on to discuss the merits of web apps versus downloadable apps on mobile devices.

Our conversation was interrupted by a presentation and we went our separate ways afterwards – handing out business cards and shaking hands. Our dance was over and it was time to switch partners. But my mind lingered on his question.

Why do I create?



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1 Reply to “Why do I create?

  1. I could write a whole blog in response to this post, but I’ll try to keep it short!

    He asked an excellent question. Some people do things because their parents did them, or their parents expected it of them. Some people fall into a particular field by default – it was where the work was – and a lucky few get to do what they love.

    When you entered Stetson’s School of Music, the Dean told us parents that none of their children should be there unless they HAD to be. By that, he didn’t mean that, “My parents said I HAVE to study music,” but that the person’s own heart said, “There’s nothing else I want to do; music is my everything.” He also told us that the study of music isn’t the path to great riches or great fame, although he was certain that some of you harbored fantasies of being the next Billy Joel or Wagner! I’ve never forgotten his words.

    Technique, acceptable form, color complement can be taught; talent and passion cannot be. Even when you worked in fields that didn’t require creativity, you found ways to be creative.You create because it is what drives you, it gives shape and meaning to your life. That’s what I believe about you.

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