Do you think Picasso ever sat down in front of a canvas and thought it would be his greatest work ever? That once it was finished he would never have to worry about the price of painting supplies ever again?
I just can’t see any of the historically great artists or writers sitting down to work and thinking to themselves: “This is it. This is the work that’s going to change my life.”
Even if that idea you’re working on now does change your life – maybe it makes you unbelievably rich, gets you 15 minutes of fame, or makes you known as an established and wildly successful artist – what then?
Say you make it big and that one idea turns you into an instant artist celebrity. Are you going to not work on your art anymore? Will you suddenly have some other grand purpose in life? If that’s the case, why even work on your art now anyway? Go do that other stuff instead.
Generally, creative work certainly isn’t going to make you money.
I think it’s important to regularly remind ourselves of why we do what we do. That each project or idea we undertake has nothing to do with making it big and everything to do with exploration and expression.
We do artistic work because it fulfills something deeper in us. Not a desire to become rich or famous. Not to see one of our pieces hung in the Louvre or to have our book number one on every best sellers list. Those things are nice, and undoubtedly any creative person would love to have those things.
But what then? The work doesn’t stop. The idea keep coming. The need to explore our thoughts and express our ideas, to solve problems and to make things, will always be there.
Enjoy the ride.