How to Discover Authentic and Marketable Life Theme?

As creatives, we get so many confusing and conflicting pieces of advice, causing us to fall into one of two very dangerous creative traps.

  • Creating solely for ourselves, absent of marketing concerns.
  • Creating solely for the market, absent of personal convictions.

While creating primarily for ourselves isn’t necessarily bad, when we are done, we often find that no one is wanting to buy what we are offering. This often sends us into depression or forces us into the other camp where we create for the market, regardless of if the theme is true to us or not. Creating for the market may make us successful, but will then catapult us on a path that is inauthentic and challenging to maintain. This article will offer a third option and find the convergence of where your authentic theme meets your marketable theme.

How to Discover Authentic and Marketable Life Theme?
How to Discover Authentic and Marketable Life Theme? Photo by bruce mars

Table of contents

Authentic Theme
Marketable Theme
Convergence

“To create something you want to sell, you first study and research the market, then you develop the product to the best of your ability.” ― Clive Cussler

“Remember to write for yourself, not a market and give yourself time to develop your own style.” ― Michael Morpurgo

While creating primarily for ourselves isn’t necessarily bad, when we are done, we often find that no one is wanting to buy what we are offering. This often sends us into depression or forces us into the other camp where we create for the market, regardless of if the theme is true to us or not. Creating for the market may make us successful, but will then catapult us on a path that is inauthentic and challenging to maintain. This article will offer a third option and find the convergence of where your authentic theme meets your marketable theme.

At Above The Sun, this is what we do. We believe each creative person has a unique special theme given to them by God and are on a mission to release that theme on the earth. We believe when creatives finally find and understand their true theme, they can then create from a place of authenticity and transform the world around them.

Our creative organization has helped dozens of creatives successfully find their life theme and we are now excited to help you through this article. While this process works best in an intimate one on one method, we boiled down the basic parts of our method into three easy steps that you can do on your own. The first step is to find your authentic theme, the next is to find your marketable theme, and finally, the convergence of the two. Let’s start with your authentic theme.

Authentic Theme

We are going to do a quick survey of your life to mine out your authentic theme. As you go through these three sections, past, present, and future, answer honestly. These sections don’t in and of themselves have all authority in your theme, but they are designed to pull out elements that will be brought into the last section.

“If you don’t know who you truly are, you’ll never know what you really want.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Your Past

As children, we have a powerfully raw insight into who we are, before life comes to steal it away from us. For these next three questions, think back to yourself at a younger, pure, unadulterated age and answer honestly.

What did you love to do and why?

Think back to a few activities you loved to do as a child and figure out why. For me, I loved to make maps and create games. I later realized this is because I love epic adventures and overcoming obstacles. Now when I write, I know my heart comes alive when the characters go on epic journeys. Take some time to think about your passions as a child and write down why they made you come alive.

What does your name mean?

Often the names we are given have an impact on who we are. Research the meaning of your name in different languages and ask your parents why they named you what they did. Write down what sticks out to you.

What is an experience that you would like repeated?

Think back to a moment of bliss when you were younger where you felt in your element and fully happy. This moment could be a perfect day at the beach, or a birthday party when all your friends came over and had a wonderful time. It needs to be a moment that you would love if it was repeated again and again in different forms throughout your life.

Present

What are your current most important emotional needs?

Identifying your current emotional needs give great insights into who we are as people and how we relate to life. If we need to feel secure, we may create things that feel safe and make others feel safe. Be honest with your emotional needs here.

What are your current emotional fears?

As much as the good things in life can help us identify who we are, our fears can do so also. If we fear being alone, oftentimes we are drawn to community, if we fear being hurt, we may value protection. Keep in mind, the inverse is true as well. Fearing being alone may mean we are to face that fear in life and help others find serenity in loving themselves. Take some time digging deep on this one and write what comes out.

What burden do you have to carry through life?

Just as Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings was given the ring to take to Mordor, we too have things that we have been given that make our lives more difficult. This could be a disease, an emotional burden, or a limitation of any kind. This forms our identity and theme because pearls are formed by overcoming adversity. Our greatest theme often comes out of what we had to overcome.

Future

What have you always dreamed of doing?

This could be something you dreamed about as a kid or something you are currently dreaming about.

What would your Miss America wish to be and why?

This is a non-selfish, epic thing you would like the change in the world. (ie world peace, no hunger, clean water for all, etc)

Marketable Theme

Now it’s time to pull out themes you relate to that the world is already deeming marketable. We do this by looking at celebrities we really appreciate and movies we really identify with. This is surprisingly accurate. Why? Because we tend to be drawn to the things in others as we ourselves possess.

“What we see in others is a reflection of ourselves.” ― Joshua Jordan

Your celebrity heroes

As stated earlier, we tend to like things in others that are also true about ourselves, so it is perfect to identify the famous people you love. Don’t just write down their accomplishments, write down what you love about them, how they treat others, or traits that make others love them. We will analyze them later.

Who are the top three famous people you love and why?

Your favorite media

This is the most revealing which is why it is saved for the last. We are often drawn to movies and shows that have themes in them that are true to ourselves. We will get into this in the last section, but for now, think about your top three movies and write them down along with why you love them. Write down what you identify most within these movies, and why they make you come alive.

List your top three favorite movies and why.

List your favorite tv series or other media and why.

Same as before in the movie section, write down another piece of media you are drawn to and why. If it’s a TV series, try and pull out ongoing themes that reoccur throughout the series. Again, we will analyze the results at the end.

Convergence

Okay, this is where it gets good. As Orson Welles said, we do need to first find our own personal unique theme, but then match it to what the world needs. In this section, we are going to find the common threads between what makes you uniquely you and what the world is producing.

“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” ― Orson Welles

Your Authentic Themes

Go back to your first section and circle themes that really stood out. These could be themes that you feel are most important to you, near and dear to your heart, or themes that surprised you.

Write down your top three authentic themes.

Your Marketable Themes

Now circle the themes that really stood out to you from the second section and think about them. Primarily pay attention to the similarities between your top three movies. (For example if one of your favorite movies is Lord of the Rings and another one is Goonies, one theme you could pull out is that of community, a group banding together to overcome a struggle.) Then see if any of these themes mesh with themes you find admirable in your favorite celebrities. If so great, if not, still write down the overlap of themes you pulled out of the media.

As stated earlier, this works because we are often drawn to the themes that are authentic to ourselves. We identify with the powerful themes in mainstream media and this is the most powerful section because these themes we know are true to us as well as marketable.

Write down your top three marketable themes.

Your Authentic and Marketable Theme

Finally, we reached the final and most exciting step, finding the overlap between your Authentic themes as well as your Marketable themes. Keep in mind when looking at your two lists, they don’t have to perfectly match because it’s often in the analyzing and chewing that we find our deeper themes.

Take the example from earlier where we compared Lord of the Rings and Goonies to find the theme of community and overcoming as a team. If you also had a fear of being alone from your authentic theme, then one of the core themes you could use as a novelist or screenplay writer might be a character feeling like they are worthless, but meeting unique characters on their quest to teach about unity and family. But also since the core need is feeling alone, the character would most likely have to face the pain of being alone in the end and overcoming.

When we create from our authentic and marketable themes, we can be true to what our heart needs as well as hold onto the confidence that the world shares this same need. When we know our authentic and marketable theme, we create with the assurance that the world desperately needs what makes our hearts come alive.

Take some time to look over the last two sections and write down a few overlaps that you feel could be your authentic and marketable themes.

Published by Silvia Emma

, helps boost confidence, impact, communication and presentation skills and image to create positive change in your business and life.