What It Takes Pt. 1: The Big Decision
One of the hardest decisions you can make for your creative career is to do what it takes, rather than doing what you feel like when you feel like it.
What do I mean by what it takes?
Building a space for yourself from the ground up, and being patient when you feel like no one gets what you’re doing. Asking for help, advice and feedback. Doing your research. Seeking out and saying yes to opportunities that seem daunting. Saying no when it’s not for you, even if it’s tempting. Tackling the subjects that scare you. Spending time on whatever you’re not good at until you are.
It’s not easy.
It means constantly existing outside of your comfort zone. Persisting when times are hard, trusting other people, making uncomfortable decisions, delivering on deadline, wearing rejection and disappointment lightly, investing in yourself, being professional with everyone you work with, and the list goes on. Every. Damn. Day.
Perhaps the hardest decision of all, is deciding to be in charge.
The truth is, ultimate responsibility lies with you, and there is no one you can hand it over to. You’re the decision maker. You get to revel when there’s glory and claim it when there’s failure.
Other people can advise and work for or with you, but you’re responsible for helping them to succeed. They will think differently to you, which is why you need them. They will have differing opinions about what you should do, and you’ll need to decide what’s right from a place of clarity instead of fear.
Make no mistake, once other people are invested in you, you will have to confront your self-sabotaging or career-limiting behaviours. If you can’t, don’t ask other people to invest their time, money or energy in you.
Creative independence isn’t about doing everything alone or doing anything you want.
It’s about being brave enough to trust that you will make the best decisions for your own work and career, and that you have the commitment to see them through.
That’s if you want a creative career, rather than a hobby (which is a decision not to be made lightly - it might not make you happy). If so, you have to treat it as seriously as you would any other major commitment.
This is your baby.
Make a list of all of the tasks you’re either avoiding completely or should be doing more of, but you seem to be getting away with. It’s probably not as long as you think.
Dedicate 15 minutes to one or more of those tasks every day for a month. You can do 15 minutes.
It will probably seem hard and uncomfortable at first, but by the end of a month you’ll be used to them, and they’ll seem as commonplace to you as paying bills or brushing your teeth.