Last year I realized that I’ve been approaching creativity all wrong. I wanted creativity to serve me. I looked at all of my creative interests that wouldn’t bring me lucrative returns as unworthy of my attention. I was intentionally being only part of myself and I could feel it.
I’ve always wanted to make my living from being creative. In truth a great part of my adult life has been funded by creative and creative-adjacent pursuits, but not in the capacity that I’ve really wanted.
I’ve always looked at the big players and said “I want to do that,” to have what they have; to not only make a living from creativity but to totally break out of mediocrity with it. To transcend the middle class and be known all over for the creative work that supplements my lifestyle.
So in my head, I compartmentalized my creativity. I focused on what I thought would have the best chance of bringing me career and wealth. And while focusing on one’s strengths is important,
creativity isn’t just a tool or a means to an end. It’s a necessary expression of the soul.
Many of the most successful creative professionals didn’t enter the business of creativity for business’ sake. They simply followed their passions and the business aspect of creativity found them.
There’s a lot to say for taking a measured and well-thought-out approach to building a creative career, but I think it’s important not to get caught up in that. Nowadays it’s easier than ever, but the level of ultimate success is oftentimes quite elusive. There are so many programs and courses, some of them legit, some of them scams, that prey on the hopes and dreams of the artist wanting to make his/her creative passion a career. When you look around and see all of the “He got discovered on youtube” or she blew up on SoundCloud stories, it may make you feel like you have to increase your hustle and grind, and do something in one particular way to make it. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in the process of working toward your creative career, don’t forget to pursue creativity for creativity’s sake.
What I mean by this, is don’t limit yourself by trying to only work on projects that are going to be your breakthrough. That song that you want to make doesn’t have to be a hit. That book you want to write doesn’t have to be a New York Times bestseller. That play you want to produce doesn’t have to go straight to Broadway. The Universe gave you a passion, a talent, a calling to pursue your creativity and art, so do that, regardless of your circumstances and regardless as to whether that project is going to be your breakthrough masterpiece. So many people just give up on creativity because they can’t do it full-time, that says that the focus was on the wrong thing in the first place.
Because let’s face it.Not everyone is going to be the next Picasso, Jay-z, Meryl Streep, or Kevin Hart. You may not ever star in a worldwide released feature film. Your friends and family may always be the biggest fans of your music. You may have to continue to work a 9-5 to pay the bills in a stable and predictable way. (I don’t necessarily believe this, but it is a very real possibility).
Does this mean you should give up on your passions? Because they don’t sustain you financially? That’s a decision you have to analyze yourself, but I say no.
Writing and publishing my work last year made me realize that the expression of my creativity sustains me in other ways than just financially. In necessary ways. It makes the daily realities of my life so much more bearable. Yes, I have made money from my books, I have sold several books in Germany, the Uk, and other places internationally, but looking at the numbers, I’m not on track to be a full-time author anytime soon, lol. I do it because I have to. Because suppressing the fire in my soul to create new worlds and act on my imagination is unacceptable to me.
Think about what kind of body of work and Legacy you could have if you fed into your creative dreams no matter what. Because after all, that yearning in your soul is never going to go away. Yeah, you may “grow up” and settle down with a family and the stable job, but you’ll never not want to continue your art. So don’t make it an all or nothing thing. Go for it. Feed your spirit. Pursue opportunities. But at the end of the day be an artist, not just an opportunist, and see how the money and the trappings of being a great artist soon follow.
That’s what I believe. Getting lost in your art, being consistent in your pursuit and in growing in your craft. That’s how you get to your “breakthrough”.
To clarify, I’m not saying to abandon strategy and abandon positioning yourself to make creativity your full-time gig if it isn’t already. Even if it is, I’m saying don’t forget to pursue those things that feed your soul. Even if you’re an “actress”, put out your music project that you’ve been hiding. Even if you’re a “writer,” film and release that monologue you’ve wanted to act out.
Don’t be pigeonholed, don’t limit yourself, and don’t put a stopper on your overflow of creativity just because it isn’t going to “save your life.”
I hope this resonates with some of you. Honestly, I feel like I wrote this one for myself. lol. If you feel me. let me know in the comments. And look forward to some different creative things from me this year. I want to be my whole self. I want to be free. That’s the best legacy I could ever leave for my progeny.
Until next time, Great things are on the Horizon for you. Take care.
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