Maybe the best example is The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. What’s shocking is who wrote it, more than the story or plot or whatever. And what’s more interesting is that Rowling had the courage to write and publish such a novel.
And a lot of people got upset because of this. Because a lot of people mistake their part in the relationship they have with any artist. Somehow, some people think artists owe them for their success. In may ways, yes, they do, but ultimately, art is a selfish endeavor.
The act of writing a book, the act of reading one, deriving pleasure from these activities…
We, artists, make art for ourselves just as much as we do to please someone. Or everyone. And we also make art because we can, because we feel like it, because we’re bored or tired or we just want o make something beautiful. We make art for a million different reasons.
Sadly, I don’t write for you, whoever you may be. And even sadder, I don’t really give a damn what you think about my stories or essays or even blog posts. That’s how things go. I write for myself, I write because it’s the one thing that makes me happy, no matter how cold it is outside.
Let me tell you one thing. If you keep wondering whether people will like your art, if you believe that others have to validate you as an artists, you’ll never be free to do what you want. As an artist, of course.
It’s quite simple. Art for art’s sake, like they say. Art because it matters to you, not because you hope it would matter to someone else.
And yes, it’s never as simple as that, and I’m sure there are at least a dozen posts on this blog about the importance of finding an audience, of finding true fans, and all that. I remember writing that you can’t call yourself a writer unless you’re being read, I remember writing that we write hoping for our words to matter to someone other than ourselves, but in the end, we shouldn’t care and it shouldn’t be a requirement for one to be an artist.
“There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher. I was always, I think, completely honest. I’m a writer, and I will write what I want to write.” - J.K. Rowling