It takes a tremendous amount of courage and effort to do creative work and share that work with others. And I’ve touched on some of the potential barriers and bottlenecks we’ll have to overcome at various stages of our creative journey.
But there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned yet because it can be such a messy and complex thing.
Our creative work is only a small piece of our lives.
While we’re at our desk or in the shop working and honing our skills, life is flowing around us. The majority of us aren’t sitting in solitude in a cabin in the woods working on our novel. We’re surrounded by responsibilities and news, and email, and opinions, and all the things that make up the components of our environment and lives.
Our creative work isn’t isolated—it’s part of an ecosystem of ecosystems.
Some good—like your significant other, your pet, your friends, etc.
Some bad—bills, past mistakes, information overload, traffic, etc.
Plus we have to balance making time for loved ones, friends, work, health, rest, happiness, spirituality, while not neglecting our creativity either.
There’s a lot of things that aren’t ultimately in our control.
You’re learning animation and working on a short film—meanwhile, your back start’s killing you from all the hours leaning over a table.
You’re choreographing a new dance—meanwhile, you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend and you’re dealing with the emotional aftermath.
You’ve finally started exercising and cooking healthily means—meanwhile your friends are inviting you out to pizza and drinks and egging you on for not joining.
One of the biggest creative barriers we’ll face on our journey is the opinions and expectations of others on what you should or shouldn’t do. There are a thousand and one reasons for it (a topic for another day). Ultimately, while you’re working on your art, you’ll also likely experience pushback from people around you.
Push back is different than feedback. Feedback is you asking someone for advice—potentially harsh advice—so that you can improve. Push back is you stepping up for yourself and making the decision to change and do something new/different with your life and then others around you trying to rubber-band you back to where you were.
But is that what you want?
There’s a reason you’re passionate about programming or music or typography.
Are you following your gut/instinct/intuition or following someone else’s desires and fears?
The solution is clear, but never easy to do:
- Let your life inspire your creativity.
- Don’t let your creativity be the only thing you have.
- Say yes to what matters to you—not what others are expecting of you.
Life is bigger than you’re creativity, but that doesn’t diminish your need to do it. If you’re not choosing what makes thrive and feel alive, then what are you choosing instead?
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1128