Friday, September 3, 2010

The Statue

My friend Taryn was chatting about an experiment she had heard on the radio to study job satisfaction. You'll have to forgive me if I get some of the details wrong. I had a few glasses of wine before she told this story. ;-) The study was conducted using two groups. Each member of the first group was asked to construct a tiny statue out of a kit. And after each statue was completed they were given $1.

The other group was also asked to make the same statue using the same supplies. After each statue was completed they were given $5. But once they finished their statue, the organizer disassembled it and asked them to make it again. When they finished it, the organizer disassembled it and asked them to make it again. And when they finished it...well, you catch the trend?

The second group walked out on the job much quicker than the 1st group, even though they were making 5 times as much money.

This story really made me think. I actually don't consider this a metaphor for writing or editing or querying or critiquing or any of that. Yes, as aspiring writers, there's a lot of getting knocked down and picking yourself back up again. But, unless you have some really mean critique partners, people aren't exactly destroying what you've created.

It just occurred to me that not every creative outlet is like that. There are jobs in which creativity is often analyzed and revised and ripped apart until none of the original intent is left. So I actually found it lucky that, for now...and I don't exactly know yet how this might change... writing is a creative outlet in which everything I build is 100% mine. That makes me happy.


  1. So, you said it's not a metaphor for writing, but I sometimes get the urge to walk out on a MS when I'm revising yet again. :) But, yes, the happiness quotient makes it worth it.