What does Maslow tell us about writing?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
From wikipedia

At the time of writing (September 1st 2013) Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation has just turned 70 years old. If you haven’t heard of Maslow and the triangle that bears his name try this BBC article – Abraham Maslow and the pyramid that beguiled businessThe short form is that people have a hierarchy of needs from the most fundamental (food / water / sex) to the most complex (money/ fame / love).

Why is this interesting for writers? Read on and find out…

Self Actualisation

The category at the top of the hierarchy (or pyramid in most modern texts) is Self Actualisation. In this category he placed creativity, problem solving and spontaneity (amongst others). This is a higher level concept than Esteem which is all about confidence, achievement and respect and is where a lot of people derive career satisfaction from.

For a writer this is the source of an apparently illogical experience – the first payment for a printed article brings a sense of great well-being and success completely out of line with the amount in question. Once people earn a certain amount then they become used to the experience and even a very minor payment for an article is a moment to treasure; the reason is that this speaks to self-actualisation rather than esteem!

Does this experience sound familiar? If so why not get in touch and share!



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