Living a creative life isn’t easy.
If you’re a creative, you’ll know that first hand. And if you aren’t, then you’ll liking be rolling your eyes at the mere title of this article.
But let’s be honest – creativity is amazing. It comes in many forms and manifests in so many different ways, and no two creative people are the same.
If you’ve read Big Magic, then you probably have a strong grasp on what it takes to show up and create daily. It’s not an easy feat. It takes grit and commitment and the perfect balance of caring and nonchalance.
It can take over your life, and consume every waking thought if you let it. It will lead you down the paths you least expect, and invite along people and events that you never could’ve dreamed of.
It can also be incredibly testing and tedious and smash your hopes to smitherines. You will go further and bolder than you’ve ever dared to walk, all with no guarantee that things will work out in the end.
You will put yourself on a pedestal for the whole world to see, knowing that in order to create you have to be vulnerable and expose your inner workings.
You will often be questioned by those who don’t understand, and be given advice that you’d rather not hear. Remember: their opinions don’t matter. If they don’t benefit you, then they’re not worth your time.
There will be late nights and early mornings and irregular pay checks and moments of doubt. You’ll work yourself to the bone and sometimes have nothing to show for it.
Ideas will come whenever they please, rarely at convenient times. You’ll rush to find the nearest pen or sketchbook and scribble until you feel sufficiently empty. The idea is now on the page, it is safely materialised in ink.
There will be moments of doubt where you question your path and if it is ‘right’. Maybe you’ll try something new, maybe you’ll pursue something a little more ‘normal’ in hope that it brings a sense of calm.
If it does, good for you. I’m glad you’ve found a suitable lifestyle for what you need. But don’t be surprised if it never really satisfies the hunger that growls inside you.
Every so often, the stars align and our work is adored by many. The admirers far outweigh the critics, and you’re now thrust into a world where strangers know your name and recognise you from your headshot in that publication.
Sure, that’s the dream for many. To have our work recognised and celebrated, and for good fortune to follow.
But we have to be prepared for the other scenario. The one where the world doesn’t write about us and our follow count doesn’t skyrocket and the work opportunities don’t gush in.
A lot of creatives live that kind of life too. Silently creating; making for the sake of it. Keeping their passion to themselves. And that is perfectly okay too.
There’s no right or wrong path for creativity. There’s no cheatsheet or road map or short cuts. You’ll never find an efficient how-to guide, because the process is rarely the same for two people.
What matters is that you create. And you continue to until the day your soul leaves this earth.
That, is a creative pursuit.