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Creative Career Advice: Let Go & Do What You Want

Were you ever enamored by the idea of becoming a creative entrepreneur or pursuing art full time? Were you searching and searching for a short cut? Here, I'm sharing my experience with desiring all those things, what that got me and what I'm doing now.


My Story

Over the past few months I've learned some really great ways to look at life and my art and I wanted to share my experience. In the past few years, I have wanted to get rich, I've tried my hand in hustle culture, by buying planners, taking courses, and starting businesses. I thought that by doing all these things, it was going to guarantee financial success and it did not. I became so obsessed with money and my lack of if that it effected by mental health. Not only was I obsessed with money, I was also cared about how I appeared to others, namely my peers. The truth is I was unemployed trying to start a business so I could be a success and show everyone I had made it or was on my way. I was unemployed in the latter part of 2019 and got a job in March 2020 and as we all know the pandemic happened and as it was a job in a school, the offer was rescinded. I was unemployed since then until the end of last year living off savings, unemployment, and living at home with my mom and brother. I was ashamed, felt stagnant, and like a failure at times. Here I was in my late twenties with a bachelor's and a master's degree, unemployed and still living at home. Not at all like I thought it would be. Anyway, someone said the time you let go, is the time you things open up for you and I did it changed my prospective. Besides, when your checking account hits $80 and you've been ghosted by job interviewers and the one place you did get an offer has problems with the paperwork so you couldn't work there for months, there's nothing else you can do but let go. I surrendered and that very week, I got a check from when I worked an Election Day that fall and I was called in for jury duty (some $$), and the paperwork finally cleared for the job. From that moment forward, I decided to let things go; to not want things so badly and to take things a day at a time.


Before I used to want to be a successful artist and what that meant was having my own studio, and making a lot of money off of my art. I thought using social media and creating content was the way for a normal person like myself to gain success (it's what everyone online said). I kept looking forward thinking about what I wanted (i.e. what I didn't have) and occupied a lot of mental energy with how I was going to get there. It sound like the right thing to do if you listen to the hustle gurus but it was in reality disheartening.

I felt like I was failing or wasn't having an upward trajectory.

In the last few months I realized that I kind of had the wrong mindset. I happy to say that now I am actually happy with who I am now. I am not a wealthy artist with a huge studio in the country and I don't really have that desire anymore. I am open to that but I'm also don't feel incomplete or a failure without it. Or like I'm lacking. I've had dreams melt away and beliefs shattered and it feels great. I love it.


Today

Now, I have a job that pays me enough to get art supplies and my other general needs, I still live at home and I have carved out a studio in my bedroom and set time aside for art making and it's feels wonderful. It is the first time where I truly feel happy about where I am and I'm open whatever is down the line.

Advances can happen in my creative career next month, in 10 years, or never and I'm okay with that.

It actually feels good to not have a particular goal in mind. I realize some of what I'm saying might sound defeatist or like I've given up on something but it is quite the opposite. I look to the future with bright optimism, I'm just not trying to control it. There are wonderful things that can happen that I can't even imagine. Overly researching and planning has led to me feeling anxious and like I'm behind and in reality how can I be behind myself? I say all this to say, in my experience, it's been great leaving more up to chance and doing what I want along the way.


I have found that there are a lot of motivational speakers and gurus who tell us how to get rich fast and if you not rich, you're a failure or not working hard enough. That didn't work for me. I was wanting success and the desire to succeed did not get me any closer to it. All I was left with was feeling like life was better somewhere in the future, never now. I watched videos like "I make $5000 a month as an artist - here's how I did it" and none of it was for me. They all say things like have an online store, sell stickers or merch, grow your social media following, etc. I tried some of it and learned that a lot of that wasn't for me. Now that I've taken some time away and from it I decided that I would do this the way I wanted to, and if it feels like work, I wouldn't do it. I'm doing it now and it really feels like a good pace for me.


There is no blueprint or game plan to follow that will guarantee financial success. I watched those videos with the tens of thousands of others who might have been in the same boat as me - wanting success and searching for the answers. There are no answers. I won't tell you the cliché of "its takes hard work" either because hard work does not equal success. In my experience the answer is do what you want how you want and maybe something will happen. You also have to accept that fame and wealth may not happen. Basically don't do your craft solely for the possibility of money or fame. Do it because you love it. Money may come, but it may not. So keep you day job (or get one) so you can eat and keep a roof over your head and make time for your art. Let the rest happen on its own.

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