Discussion | Losing Creative Freedom

The Free English Dictionary defines freedom as

The condition of being free of restraints, especially the ability to act without control or interference by another or by circumstance

Now when it comes to creative freedom, be it writing or art or music I guess everyone’s definition varies.

I would define creative freedom as total self expression without being restrained to fit social norms or to serve a purpose other than being true to oneself.

I recently read Afterworlds which I reviewed here and as you may or may not know the protagonist is writing a novel and towards the end of the editing process, she is asked to change the ending of her story because a “happily ever after sells better” (correct me if I’m wrong)

Isn’t that just commercializing the story though?

If I wrote a justifiable ending to my novel and someone told me to change it for sales purposes I would feel torn.

So I finished reading Afterworlds and the next book I pick up, Little Women has a rather long introduction which spoils the book but that’s besides the point. What this intro also discusses are the changes and alterations the author had to go through to please the audience.

Louisa May Alcott had to “tone down” her writing and replace slang words with finer prose to make it more “ladylike”. Not even that, she had to write a sequel to Little Women where she had to marry them off

BECAUSE THE AUDIENCE DEMANDED IT.

She even said herself she didn’t want to write a sequel and why couldn’t people let the Little Women be just Little Women and not things that had to be married off.

So what do you get at the end of all that?

A literary classic which lacks the author’s originality cuz creative freedom ain’t got nothing on money making.

The other side of the argument is, books are a means of business after all and musicians and artists probably have restrictions too, I just feel like books go through so much editing and there’s so much pressure on the author to “impress the audience” instead of staying true to themselves.

No one probably agrees with me on this but that’s just what I’ve been thinking lately about creativity and freedom and yeah.

So tell me your opinion on this. What’s your take on creative freedom?

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8 thoughts on “Discussion | Losing Creative Freedom

  1. Blaise @ thebookboulevard says:

    I think that writers have significantly more options nowadays. If an agent or editor tells you to change the ending, you can refuse and eventually self-publish, an area where your restraints are much fewer (I don’t know if there are any, in terms of content).

    Liked by 1 person

    • infinityreads says:

      There’s always self publishing! I doubt that was an option Louisa May Alcott had in the Little Women days. But I do find self-publishing much agreeable for the freedom it gives 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Panda says:

    I guess that’s really the discussion of is an artist still an artist if it becomes a brand/buisness. My Dad harks on about this all the time that boy bands and pop singers alike nowadays are brands, not artists. I do understand that sometimes changing aspects of the book, big or small, can be vital. And if you’re a freelance writer with no day job, you’re going to have to either do that or have no money. I’m personally torn on this as I want to go into music or writing in the future but I don’t want to change my ethics or work-style just to suit audience’s demands – but would that get me anywhere in the music/writer’s industry?
    It’s a great discussion to post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    This is a hard one to answer, I know when books go through the editing process they have to change quite a lot to be able to be “marketable” for readers to pick it up. I mean definitely having the freedom to expressing yourself is ideal, but that’s not always going to bring in readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thebigfatf says:

    Aha, great discussion! I also found that part of Afterworlds a bit iffy. I was like, “huh, that’s weird.” I think the writer’s world has more than it seems. There is that undeniable aspect of selling books that may collide with you creative freedom. And yes, I really don’t like it at all but it exists and in some circumstances its right. But an insightful post! Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

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