Being a creative is equal parts struggle and triumph. With a dash of doubt mixed between layers of relentless pursuit of your dreams. But although this is an incredible journey, it’s not one that you should enter into without understanding the realities to come.
It’s not all struggle and it’s for sure not all glamour. Go into this life prepared by embracing a few hard to swallow truths.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success
Viola Davis and Regina King accepted their awards and it seemed to most of America that maybe they appeared out of no where. What most don’t realize is that “out of nowhere” was years and years of taking roles that no one else wanted, roles that no one else noticed, and working relentlessly to improve. Those “big breaks” are culminations of smaller breaks that opened up through persistence and many big loses too. As a creative, it will seem that you “should” be to the epitome of your success by now. Don’t get lost in the “shoulds” of life and beat yourself down for not reaching the bar yet. The secret to overnight success is tot keep going every day, every night. Get feedback. Improve. Adjust. But never stop. Just keep going.
You don’t need to get a “real job” but struggle doesn’t have to be part of your story
Broke is not a good color on you. There’s nothing noble about being a creative who can’t feed themselves. Most people avoid a “real job” not in their creative field because it might drain their soul or take hours away from their creative project. However, you don’t need to be a martyr to your art in order to prove how dedicated you really are to the project. Instead you need to turn off the tunnel vision and broaden the scope of your talent. A true creative can make a Monet out of a mud hill. Use your resources to make money, still using some of your talent, so that you can fuel and fund your main project. If you’re an artist who wants to sell paintings that’s great, but if that’s not paying the bills right now what else can you do? Can you design tattoos? Logos? Don’t take your eyes off your final goal but take a moment to look around and decide where there’s money you may be missing.
Plot twist: Your friends are often not your biggest supporters
When I first started writing, I expected my friends to share my writing world-wide and to stand at the gates of my blog with pom-poms. Much to my surprise that wasn’t the case with some of my closest friends. As a creative, your work becomes part of your heart and it can hurt when friends don’t go hard for you. Friends support you as a person but some of your closest friends may not give two clicks about your work in the way that you THINK they should. Some of your friends may support the work quietly with congratulations and a thoughtful text. Other’s may not. Don’t hang your head and wonder if you work is all that great if your friends don’t turn into fans. Understand that close friends may not be your biggest fan and that is not indicative of your worth as a creative or even of your friendship. Friends play different roles and supporting you as a whole person may not always mean pouring 100% support in every area of your life. The same way that you have friends who are great supporting relationship issues but horrible at providing career advice. Be grateful for whatever way they do support and don’t get so focused on who isn’t supporting that you forget to be grateful for those that do.
It starts and ends with you
There’s no Superman to come rescue you Louise Lane. Along this path there will be mentors, peers, fans and supporters to help connect you to the right people to get to your big break. However, the thing that will get you to success – the work – starts and ends with you. People who succeed weren’t just born talented. Talent doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t willing to do the work. If you aren’t willing to write, work with an editor and accept feedback, how will you sell a book? If you aren’t willing to research other artist and learn technique, how will you create the best art possible? Masters are students first.
The success of your creative venture rests in your willingness to work, edit, start again, and try. No one can do it for you. It starts and ends with you.
Living your truth will change your life
There are a million ways to be a singer other than being Beyonce. Find an outlet for your creative roles. You were born a creative for a reason and no matter what anyone says, if it makes your heart smile, then you keep creating. Too many artists are locked up in cubicle prisons doodling masterpieces on meeting notes. They gave up long ago because they never made it to a gallery. Don’t be that person. Even if you’re an artist for 3 hours a day in your living room or selling small paintings on Instagram, do not let the creative part of you die. Do not choke the life out of your creative spirit because someone or something told you that it was a silly dream. Living your truth – that you are a creative – will change your life. Set your soul free and feed it the art, music, writing and whatever else it needs to thrive.
A creative is a life calling. Your moment will come if you keep going, keep improving, and don’t let the doubts take you over. Remember there’s no overnight success, you don’t have to go broke and it all starts and ends with the work you put into this life. This is your calling. Your moment will come. Rejoice with the people that support you and forget the rest. It’s time to let this change your life and live completely in your truth.
Welcome to life as a creative.