As a creator one of your biggest concerns is whether the well will ever dry out. To understand whether or not it will one needs to understand what the well even is, its function, and the function of creative work. As the kids say: THREAD.
Elizabeth Gilbert says the well never dries. On the other hand her claim to creative fame is Eat, Pray, Love. Maybe the kind of commercial success we're after but not the auther sensibility. So let's study others.
Serious Artists have talked about the Muse and the muse leaving them and the suffering they experienced. Serious Artists are also tortured. Why? Why this correlation?
Creativity comes from, it is the literal byproduct, of dealing with psychological entropy ( First you're tortured then you choose whether to let the torture win or to win over it (become an artist).
To deal with the sense-breaking world-making object you're required to refactor your world. The way the world is experienced, what you think the world is, what it is for, what can and can't be done in it. Creative output is a by-product of this process.
Ultimately this is what you're selling your fans. They to dealt with a similar world-breaking event. You've pieced together the world for them but in a way that is much deeper and more elegant. You're them, just a million steps ahead, and you're selling to them being you.
You generate a world with your creative work, a Heideggerian mood, a Stimmung, an existential emotion. You give them the world already live in but more profound, more precise. Why do people listen to sad music when they're sad?
People talk about egregores but I think that's the wrong way of thinking about it. Too much lovecraftian monsters. More like moods that you can live in or inhabit. Depression is such a mood that feels the same to everyone in it. Very similar phenomenological experience.
So instead of imagining possible worlds imagine possible moods. Everyone living in one which is why communication is terribly hard, why some can execute what others can't even fanthom. Why artists can feel and lead you to feels you'd get lost in a maze trying to find.
And in consuming your body of work your readers experience this emotion, they experience the world as you experience it, through your creative output they experience it vicariously through you.
What happens when the author has processed? When the author moves on from this subjective world they found themselves in?
Tension. The author lives ahead and eventually, if he's lucky, the process outputs. The original aggressor is digested and a new world is made. At this point the fan of the original more precise world feels betrayal. This leads to predictable conflict.
This is how you get Death of the Author and how you get Tyler the Creator going off on his own fans for chiding him for "being happy". The problem isn't being happy the problem is he left them behind. He created, they consumed. He processed, they didn't.
This is why artists face an impossible trillema: find new ways to traumatise yourself, but they'll be fake; keep living the trauma, but it's fake; leave your audience behind, but it's fake.
Or stop being an artist, go do something else in the world that's useful. This options doesn't even come to mind, how could it -- you've built your whole identity up to now not as 'I'm temporarily processing pain' but as 'I'm an artist'.
I have no solutions, just analysis, that is *my* mood. Good luck.
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