I don’t think it comes as a surprise to say that I am a creative guy. I mean anyone who can write an entire article about pooping has to be creative, amirite? My creative pursuits are vast like an ocean, and nearly as good as my similes. I write and play music, I once did stand up, I do visual stuff (photo/video), and write for this fine site. And I’m good looking. And in great shape. In fact I once saved a child from a burning building.
I enjoy talking about my creative pursuits nearly as much as I apparently enjoy talking (or writing) about myself. When I was at my old job, talking about what I did was always a bit painful. As soon as you make the statement “corporate communications and training” you can see the eyes of your listener glaze over. Or worse, you see their eyes widen as they realize the grave mistake they did in asking about what you do, followed by darting they’re eyes around to desperately find an exit strategy. But when you say, “Oh me? I write for a website” people tend to light up. They want to know more about what you do and how you do it. You feel, for lack of a better word, cool. Which is weird because I wouldn’t really define cool as sitting in front of my computer in my apartment and typing. But in talking about what I do, the conversation will inevitably lead in one direction. The person I’m speaking with will say “You know what you should really write about…”
Now, I’m not trying to turn this into a b*tch-piece and ultimately say “Listen, I don’t go to your job and tell you how to staple pieces of paper” (plus I don’t know what you do). I’m just trying to understand the what the driving force is for people to do this. It’s a bit odd to me how quickly people will offer up ideas. Be they article ideas, or jokes, or interpretive dance themes (especially interpretive dance themes), there seems to be an innate desire to help contribute. I’m not sure I’d be so confident in contributing. But part of my problem is that then I’d have to already be in a conversation with people, which is something I tend to avoid.
In part it seems like that immediate contribution comes from a notion of vicariously living through someone. Look, I’m not being that presumptuous to think that I have this lavish or awesome life where I’m sitting in front of my computer right now with a glass of brandy (the most presumptuous of drinks), chuckling and thinking “ah yes, you commoners must really want to live my life.” But I think that if you’re not doing something that actively exercises your creativity, there’s a subconscious desire to be able to let some of that creative energy out.
Or it’s the challenge of being able to contribute something constructive to someone even though you don’t do what they do for a living. This is more of a general statement not revolving around creative pursuits. I know that if I were able to give stock advice to a broker I’d feel like the shizz. Or even if I were walking by a construction site and was like “Oh you’re gonna want a hex nut for that pipe” that would be pretty sweet (I don’t know how construction works). So maybe people are hoping that they can provide that killer article idea I couldn’t think of. I guess bonus points would be if they check the site and can show their friends and say “I told him to write about that!” Actually, I’d be happy to oblige in that regard. We can discuss the details *cough* pay me *cough* but I’m sure we can work something out.
I think at the end of the day the answer is simple. It’s Jung’s collective unconscious. They’re tapping into some of the similar experiences we’ve had which relay into what will be a great article idea for me. Just kidding, I wrote that for Carl. By the way Carl, you owe me that thing that we talked about (*cough* pay me *cough*). No, the simple answer is that it’s fun. It’s just plain good ‘ol fashion fun to come up with funny or interesting article ideas. Or jokes. Or interpretive dance themes. People seem to really enjoy suggesting ideas. Their face lights up when they think of the idea. And that’s a beautiful thing. So who am I to deny someone a little bit of fun? What, just because they told me I should write about doing the Dollar Menu challenge at Wendy’s (ya know, eat everything off of the dollar menu in one sitting)? Nah, that ‘aint me. Besides, every so often a good idea slips in. Which is why I’m about to go to Wendy’s for the first time in years.