Creating to be Consumed

Today, and really for the past few weeks, I have asked myself why I continue to keep this blog up on the internet. I do not update all that often (though the past few weeks have felt more productive) and I really have things I need to spend the energy on that might suffer so I can create for this “pointless” project.

I realized that I write to be consumed. Much the same way I cook to be consumed and I preach to be consumed. I do these things, offering parts of my heart and soul for other to take and read or hear or eat, to find nourishment or healing or comfort or conviction or whatever I created to offer.

I do not sit above the capitalist fantasies of wide audiences and incomes, but really I just want people I love and respect, or strangers in want and need of what I have to offering, to receive my creations and consume them. I do this so my thoughts can leave my head and maybe touch folks beyond my usual circle of influence — especially those things I might want to include in a sermon but know do not fit the Word of God the Holy Spirit and my position tasks me to give.

I do it because, when it works, I know I did exactly all those things. Writing about not knowing how to continue ministering, writing about losing the most innocent of us to a virus that would ultimately kill millions, writing about how I stood still and received a different political identity over the course of a couple of short years all did its purpose of touching, feeding, and healing, and writing those things just for myself would have never allowed others to consume them.

I write to be consumed, which means I ultimately write for a reader other than myself.

I realized, even while writing this, that plays out in my thinking. When I say I write to process, I realize I write to process because I have to say what I will say in a way someone else will understand, and that “someone else” does not have my internal thoughts and experiences. It makes me speak the details and think about them when I might think I already have it all pieced together.

But it needs to be a person, not a rubber duck. I do not deal with coding, and our hearts and souls do not function like computers.

That is all well and good. I actually think creating to be consumed can be valuable (if you keep greed and selfishness away from it). And frankly, I really enjoy it.

But creating to be consumed can create frustrating discouragement when other do not consume your work. Or an unintended audience consumes it and misinterprets your work.

Again, it still annoys me that the now fourth-most viewed and absolutely most “Liked” piece on my blog is a throw-away piece about trying to get back into physical fitness — and that physical fitness was not supposed to be the primary topic, just the vehicle.

But that would sting less if the next two real posts, an Ash Wednesday reflection and thoughts about ignoring and acknowledging trauma, did not become two of my the worst performing posts ever. And the garbage vent post between them did better than both (even if not well).

I write to be consumed, and not being consumed hurts. Putting your heart out there, even a tiny, little fragment of it, and having it not taken hurts.

To the eight people who probably read both and the couple of read one, I am actually quite thankful for you. I know at least a person or two received it.

But today, I am thinking about if creators should continue to create to be consumed if no one consumes their work, or if my ego should take the blow from the internet and just move on.

I think I wrote this for creatives, and not to encourage but to say, “I get it, and my livelihood is not dependent on the success or failure of anything I do here.”

I create to be consumed. When I am not consumed, I find it hard to create.

Do not know why this exists, but it does now.

– Robby

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