do we create what we need?

the hunter by hidenseek – click image for more info

I’m in the early stages of developing a workshop to offer through my coaching practice.

It’s something that I think will be a great benefit to others and is needed by the community that’s gathering around my business.

As I go along I keep having the thought, “I wish I could have taken this course a few years ago!” And so I’ve been wondering about the things we create. Our blog posts, products, services, artwork…

Do we ultimately create what we ourselves need?

I know, I know. We create what there is a demand for and what our audience wants to consume or experience. (Hopefully.)

But…Are the things we make for others serving a dual purpose?  Do they teach and heal us where we need or have needed teaching and healing? Or perhaps we just use our unique perspective to identify a void and then create to fill it.

What about you? As you decide what to create for others, are you also creating something you need?

17 thoughts on “do we create what we need?

  1. I like your take on “creating what we need.” This is something that I’ve thought a lot about. I’m still in the early stages of finding my niche, so my products are kinda all over the place right now. I like making things that have a “use,” but my most recent projects have been hang-on-the-wall art pieces. Since returning from my 2 year Peace Corps Service a few months ago I haven’t found a “day job” so I’ve been putting everything I have into my new business. Sometimes I feel very selfish by this and I wonder if it’s really worth doing because I could be doing so much more for the world at large.

  2. I haven’t so much created what I need BUT I certainly learn every time I teach. Often from the students, but just as often from what comes out of my mouth or the thoughts that occur on the fly.

    The goal of what I’m creating is something I’ve already attained – but within that goal there are always nuggets that serve me (perhaps better than those I’m teaching!).

    1. So if you aren’t creating what you need, you are creating where you are able to see need. And you past needs, experiences, etc, allow you to see it. Perhaps?

      And I do love teaching for the things I learn in the process.

  3. Interesting question. I’ve learned over time to create what I WANT. In doing so, I relate to my customer. When I begin to stray into the “maybe I should make this?” aisle, I center back to “what do I want?”. That keeps me centered and leads me, ultimately, to created something that is practical (need), appealing, and desirable to my market.

  4. I think the reason that the things we offer in life, (products or artwork) resonate so deeply within ourselves is because they are a combination of what we need and what experiences we have to share.

  5. I may not create what I NEED at the time, but create based on what I’m learning, or learned, and what might have been helpful at that time. I figure if it was something I was experiencing, there are others experiencing the same thing and could benefit from someone a little further on the path.

  6. For me it’s not just what I “need”, but instead what I “choose”. If I “choose” to create I am able to stay focused on the moment. That may seem like I am a control freak of sorts. And I do at times find myself wearing that label. However when I “choose”, I take responsibility for the way I approach. I participate with the creative expression that is satisfying to me and release the outcome. And then trust that this just might be what the observer “needs”.

  7. The products that have been the biggest hits for me have been things I needed myself. I do think we have a better chance of connecting with our target market if we share some of their needs.

  8. I have been contemplating this very idea this year. I have in the past created this or that because I had a particular skill and someone hired me for work and I needed the income. But, I realized at the tail end of last year that if I don’t start thinking about what I want to create and cultivate a need in the arena where I want to be, then I’m just spinning my wheels and not getting what I NEED out of the creative process to make me happy, passionate and at peace with my work. I think creating from your own need and passion is much more fulfilling for the artist and you the consumer feels that connection when they acquire your product/service making it more valuable to the creator and end user.

  9. I definitely think that we create based on ideas of what we’d like to have. At least I do. I started my etsy shop based on the idea that I needed a laptop sleeve for myself. Then I realized that if I wanted them, other people might want them too. I think we create things that we are interested in, so in a way it is serving a dual purpose – we’re creating to make something that we need to either get something accomplished or to feel as though we are helping others by filling this need for them.

  10. I think it could be both. I think I tend toward creating what I have needed and gained some understanding about it. I may still be in process with some things I create, but I’m at a comfort level with it examining and moving through it.

  11. Necessity is the mother of invention (or in this case, creating!) I definitely consider whether products or projects I work on meet a current or former need/want of mine. I find that I’m more enthusiastic about the projects when I have that type of personal connection to it.

  12. Hello,
    I definitely think we create what we need. Actually the best inventions and products were born that way. Someone needed something, didn’t find it on the market and created it himself. I call that ‘A wish is a niche’ (http://www.createandconnect.org/2010/10/a-wish-is-a-niche/).
    I definitely am creating what I need(ed). Currently that is a not for profit that connects the corporate world to charities and community building in a creative way. And it is a workshop for creative thinking because I believe (much like you and your workshop) that people would greatly benefit from it and there is a need for such a training.
    So here’s to us, creators of wishes!
    Mindful creating!
    Mimi

  13. Thanks for inspiring me with this question! Here’s my overly thought-out response (from my blog):

    The question of why we craft what we craft has been on my mind. I notice that sometimes when I’m telling my friends (especially my friends who are also criminal defense lawyers) that I make jewelry, I still feel slightly sheepish about it. Sometimes, I feel guilty that the time I’m crafting could be spent doing “more”: I could volunteer my legal services on another murder case, or I could learn a whole other legal practice to help people in need. (I’ve thought about learning asylum law, or arguing for benefits for veterans or other people who have been denied much-needed government services.) Or I could go do something else completely un-lawyer-ly to help those in need.

    I could do each and all of these things, I tell myself, but the truth is that without engaging the other side of my life, I honestly know I could not. I know for me, it’s about balance. I’ve watched with sadness, compassion and a great deal of empathy (there-but-by-the-grace …) as some of my criminal defense colleagues have taken self-destructive paths, whether by alcohol, drugs, serial philandering or worse, and it makes me realize the price we can sometimes pay for the incredibly hard work we choose to do, particularly when that work is criminal defense lawyering. I’ve been on that path myself, and I’m not about to judge any of those who have been down that road (or are still traveling there.) At the same time, I admire my criminal defense lawyer friends who have chosen and managed to carve out a life outside the law that keeps them balanced and sane (and I do use that term loosely, but with love.) One friend is a devoted member of her church and attends every week. Another rides horses three times a week. Another friend and her (lawyer) partner are devoted to each other as well as their world-traveling.

    Crafting my jewelry is my way of keeping my head above water when I sometimes feel like I could drown. It balances out the seriousness that comes with my other chosen path as a criminal defense lawyer and law professor. I sometimes joke that crafting keeps me sane — but as with most jokes, there’s truth below the humor. I do need to do something with my hands to balance out all the intellectual work I do in my head as a lawyer/law professor. But in particular, I create frivolous — and what could be more frivolous than jewelry and hair adornments? — and offbeat, but (sometimes) beautiful, quirky, vibrant and fun jewelry in order to balance out what’s hopeless, maddening and often humorless about being a criminal defense attorney. Crafting quirky, unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry that not everyone would appreciate or even like is my way of “blowing off steam.” When I make my jewelry — and when I wear what I make, which is rather often — I don’t take myself too seriously. And to answer Craftygirl’s question, yes, that is something I definitely, and ultimately, do need.

  14. i love this. Pretty much everything I create is stuff that also benefits me. I work with moms, finding that permission for us to explore our dreams and I NEED the reminders of what I am sharing with other moms for myself all the time! And often what I write about is directly parallel to what I am dealing in my own life and the pursuit of my own dreams.

    Without question, I always learn and get stuff out of what I am teaching. I think it actually helps me to be more effective, because I’m living it, you know??

  15. Funny, I started creating not to fulfill some external demand, but because I felt it was something I needed to do. I used to be a really crafty kid and sort of lost it somewhere along the way. So about a year and a half ago I started making jewelry, mostly because it sounded like it would be fun and I liked the idea of doing something that resulted in a tangible product. I decided to start selling my jewelry as much so I can support my “habit” as to make extra money. 😉

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