Why create a work of art? Especially if there seems to be no demand (or great demand) for the product. I was asking myself this as I composed today. I'm working on a double concerto for violin and cello with orchestra and it's a massive amount of work. Somedays, like today, it seems to be as difficult as pulling teeth. I focused in and out of the project, eventually just getting a couple of hours in at the drafting table before punting and moving on to something else. Would it be any better if I had a fixed deadline? I don't know. Perhaps. As it stands I want to get the piece finished mid-spring in order to let the soloists have a year to work on it.
But I think we are often dogged by the reasons or non-reasons we work on a piece of art. For me it's really a matter of habit. A habit of daily application that goes back over thirty years. I used to have a teacher who used to say that "the most progress is being made when it's hardest to push the pencil." I think he meant that if it was hard that one was considering things carefully and making many decisions which, on some level, impedes a quick flow of ideas. It is often true that a quick flow of ideas means that I'm relying on past ideas and techniques. Newer ideas take time.