I always taught that this was a key question when analyzing a script for action, as in: What does the protagonist want? What happens if he doesn’t get it? In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus wants to raise the plague on Thebes, in Bob Le Flambeur, Bob wants to rob 800 million bucks from acasino, and in The Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy wants to go home. The stakes are high in each, the characters have a lot to lose.
My theory on why some people become artists is that the tension of not creating work is so tremendous that they cannot bear it, and so the artist will rush off, often against all reason, like some kind of junkie, and make work. People are not driven to become artists because of politics or out of some intellectual predilection or even by the desire to do good works, but because of some unbearable tension which may only be relieved while the artist is at work. This tension exists in all people, but for the vast majority it can be satiated by consuming some form of art (reading a novel, listening to music, watching a movie etc), and for some others the tension may be a little stronger and so they take up some form of art as a gentle hobby, but it is only a small minority for whom the tension is so fierce that they must immerse their lives in work, giving up the comforts of a regular life. This also explains why the drop-out rate is so high (certainly it is in acting); when the young hopeful sees that regular work (let alone fame) is not forthcoming, they quit and pursue something less arduous and more routine. For an actual artist, quitting is not an option, their work is their life. For the artist, creative rythmn is everything, as is the sense of a repression being lifted at the close of a piece of work, these are the moments an artist lives for, along with his new, thrilling discoveries.
So what happens if you don’t get it? The “it” here meaning work. Well, the true artist will find a way to work, he’s driven to do so, otherwise he’ll go mad. The ones who sit around moaning will soon fade away, and perhaps that is for the best.