All my life all I’ve really wanted to do is be a writer and artist. Not always in that order. It’s always been a tough thing for me to accept about myself, since I’ve had resistance about it from those who I would have expected to give me the most support. After decades of trying to be something that I’m not, I finally made the plunge about a year ago and started really doing it. But I never knew how to be truly serious about it.
I lacked direction.
Getting serious about one’s creative work is something that any aspiring artist or writer needs to do as soon as the realization that this desire isn’t going away. Yes, we all hear about how tough it can be to be an artistic type. And it can! The why of this is more to do with how a lot of people are taught to work, though.
In school we aren’t really pushed. Let’s face it, grade school really is a playground to keep kids at and hope that they learn something along the way. No disparaging meant to teachers. But they’ve got a tough job, and the system really doesn’t encourage any real learning. Just enough to get by. Teaching in our modern system is done to the middle, and teachers are too damned busy to help those out who are exceptional – especially the gifted. Those who are lower than the average are catered to because they make the most noise and get the most headlines. At least with the administrative types. And that’s where decisions are truly made. That’s despite the efforts of many teachers. Or what they may want to believe. And so, the easy cruise of grade school doesn’t really encourage those who are smarter or truly more creative than the majority. It does not help the true outliers.
They must be pushed by an inner drive and a desire that is beyond anything the system has to offer. And that often means beyond their parents, partners, elders, and even their friends.
Our inner creativity must be our driving force!
But it’s not enough to use that only as a means to make a living. While creativity feeds the soul, it often doesn’t feed the stomach. Or those of one’s offspring. Thus we creative types actually have to learn about getting serious about our business, as well. This means learning to market. It means learning about administration. And it means learning about how to get help from others. And the last is often the hardest part!
We can procrastinate the whole week (or year) away while trying to avoid these things. Or simply muddling around with them, not really knowing what we’re doing. And that’s probably worse, since a lot of the former type of procrastinating at least there can be creative work done, thus adding to one’s portfolio. And so getting serious about it all is tough. For me I know this to be true!
I’ve spent most of my life simply dabbling in the creative works without any real direction. I’ve rebelled against those who tell me what to do, while actually doing things more for other people than for myself. And that’s a contradiction that’s hard to realize. Yes, I’m an accountant – and a damned good one, actually. But it’s not a passion. I would have lost my mind if I hadn’t quit doing it full-time. And for now I still do a bit to make ends meet. But it’s not my passion. Getting serious about art art writing is.
This means having a proper business plan in place. And, more importantly, it means following this plan. It means doing the production and marketing. It means getting all of the legal mambo-jumbo in place. It means getting the administration done (Yes, I’m 4 months behind on my books… crap!). And it means learning about what is truly important in your ambitions and creative goals. I’ll never get everything done that I want to. And so there are projects that I have to put aside for another day. And I know that other day may never come. And it means focusing on one thing at a time, rather than trying to get 25 pieces of artwork and writing done all at once. It’ll take 3 years to get one thing done in that manner. By then I’d starve to death.
Getting serious means prioritizing, even when I don’t want to. And it means working a lot of hours. And trying to make those hours more productive than I ever dreamed working for someone else.