It’s been more than six years since I decided to become a full-time creative. To write, to self-publish, to blog, to vlog, to create all sorts of content, and work on all kinds of crazy ideas.
Six years ago I chose this because I wanted my words to change the world.
What happened along the way? How did this journey change me?
What are the struggles of being a full-time creative?
Well, let’s find out…
They don’t say pressure builds diamonds for nothing
Psychologists claim that uncertainty is the most painful thing we have to go through. How we deal with the uncertainty of life determines our success.
That being said, being a full-time creative means that you do not have a fixed income.
Sometimes you earn a lot of money, sometimes you don’t.
Balancing the fear of not being able to eat or pay bills is quite a challenge. This is something that people don’t usually take into account.
Fear oftentimes limits your freedom. You feel trapped by the desire to work as hard as possible in order to ensure a decent income.
It gets old pretty fast
Yes. It does get old.
Having to come up with ideas on a daily basis, having to sit at your desk and do your thing, whether you want it or not, this kind of takes the art out of artistic.
But it’s what has to be done, and no one ever became successful without massive action.
In time, it feels just like any other job.
And, yes, there are moments when you feel exhausted by it all.
Do what you love needs a bit of enforcing.
The joy of creating
It all comes down to being free enough to create. You can imagine anything into existence by sheer power of will. Each blank page represents a new adventure. Undiscovered possibilities.
Sure, it’s when others praise your artistic efforts, and money can be used for goods and services, but most of the happiness you feel come from the work itself.
In my teenage years I fell in love with the act of being a creator as opposite to being a creation. I wanted to forge my own universe with the use of words and ideas.
This is a unique kind of magic, and even though there will be trials and tribulations, even though there will be a lot of downs, the joy of creating will help you go through it.
Hard work trumps passion
Idealism is a terrible way to go through life. This is one of the things I learned the hard way. Always a dreamer, always a hopeless romantic, I found out that life does not work like that.
Being pragmatic goes a long way.
When you start out, there’s this distance between where you are and where you want to go. A gap. The only way to bridge that gap is through hard freaking work. That’s it.
You have to become a jack of all trades
We all dream about becoming rich and famous with our respective passions. Be it writing, artwork, music, acting or whatever. Such creative pursuits sound so much sexier than becoming police officers, teachers, attorneys or business persons.
But here’s the thing. Most often than not, you’ll also have to learn a few other skills as well.
In my case, it was all about cover design, interior formatting, and self-publishing. I also had to learn how to blog, how to market books, how to sell different products, so I wouldn’t starve.
Truth be told, you cannot spend all your time just working on your art. You’ll burn out pretty fast. There are other aspects that need to be taken care of anyway.
A lot of problem solving
Here’s the thing about 9 to 5 jobs that most people are not aware of: you have limited responsibility.
When you’re number 5 or 6 or 8 in a company, there’s always someone you can ask for help. There are other people who have to do the problem solving most of the time.
When you are a full-time creative, you are your own CEO. You need to solve a lot of problems. If you don’t like that word, use challenges instead.
But there will be a lot of time.
You don’t only have to produce your art, which needs a lot of creative power, but you must also market it, promote it, sell it, ship it, and a bunch of other stuff.
Replying to e-mails becomes a sort of part-time job.
When something goes wrong, you must fix it.
If someone does not receive their art, then you must figure out what went wrong, and fix it.
Yes, the best part is you get to be your own boss. But there’s a lot of stress to it, a lot of uncertainty. You need to figure ways to cope with them.
This is not an easy path to take, and do not blame anyone who tries it. As a matter of fact, you need to be a little crazy to attempt it.
But is it all worth it?