I must say, it's very stressful (to say the LEAST) being a full time creative person. As I approach my third anniversary of working for myself and actually surviving, in one of the most expensive cities on the planet, I can't help but be amazed at the fact that I'm actually doing it. Sometimes I'll pay my rent and wonder where the heck I even managed to come up with the money. A pure miracle! As Thanksgiving last week marked the beginning of the holiday season, and subsequently, the biggest shopping weekend of the year, this cyber Monday my discounts can't go any lower than free, so I hope you are all taking advantage! I'd like to think that people read this blog for many reasons. One of those reasons being looking at the world through the eyes of a different perspective. Most of the people I know, while they have some creative bones in their bodies, are working regular jobs on different rungs of the corporate ladder. For those who don't know, the life I live may seem carefree, easy going, or even glamorous! Oh but darling, let me give you a glimpse...
First off, with anything a person creates, there is a great deal of vulnerability attached. If you've read my post about my recent public speaking experience, you'll know I was completely nerve wrecked! One of the main reasons was because I was sharing a very intimate moment of my life with a bunch of strangers! Would they get it? Would they take it out of context? Did I explain it well enough? Would they hate it? Guess what though, this happens every single time an artist puts ANYTHING out into the world! Of course I can be cocky at some points and think my work is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the truth is, there will always be that uncertainty in the back of my mind. New or unpopular artists may never get that validation. Each new creation is opening us up to criticism from the outside world.
On the opposite end, I spend so much of my time, energy, and what little money I DO have on creating new things, be that my writing, videos, or stuff that I make. Every single Monday I tell everyone in my life that I'm not available to do anything or go anywhere...because I'm dedicated to writing on this day. It's like a job that I don't get paid for (at least not consistently, and definitely not what it's worth). That's not to say that it couldn't pay off eventually, but all of the upfront costs are completely on me. All of the risk is on me. The little profit that I do make at this point goes right back into more supplies, web hosting, camera equipment, etc. This is the case for most artists. Just keeping our head above water until a big breakthrough comes and we hit our stride. The first of the month is always a stressful time for me. All I really wanna do is go to Michaels on a thousand dollar shopping spree, but every dollar I scrape up from doing odd jobs, Airbnb'n my apartment, or working an event goes toward stupid rent...the ultimate bane of my existence.
As far as normal working hours go, hectic is a word that comes to mind. Every once in a while, people will ask me what my schedule is like, and I really don't know how to answer. Technically, I make my own schedule, so I'm "free" all the time, however, I have to be open to whatever random monetary or creatively advancing opportunity comes my way... at all times... so I'm never REALLY free, it's like I'm permanently on call. One time I was planning to go visit my sister on the west coast, but then got a call about a modeling job worth a couple hundred dollars. I had to rearrange everything at the last minute! Also, I've written for my blog while out of town many a time while struggling to find wifi in remote areas, and making my friends mad that I'm working instead of partying. I've made videos and had photoshoots for my site at almost every single hour of the day and night. Nothing is ever consistent, so I'm usually always awake, or find little times to sleep during the day (which apparently is frowned upon by society, but I get my best sleep when the sun is out!).
I must reiterate, that all of this tireless effort goes with little to no recognition. Creating something from nothing (that isn't a gimmick), will take a bit of time before it matures into something that the rest of the world will see the vision for. I may get a few likes on social media here and there, but nothing exuberant or noteworthy. Every comment I get however is actually a pretty huge deal since it's much more rare and personal. I reread them over and over, proud that I moved someone enough to take the time out of their busy internet usage to actually comment on MY post. I can count on one hand the number of items that I've actually sold in my lifetime so far, but I relish in that particular glory for AT LEAST 2 weeks. Once in a blue moon, I'll get an encouraging email or message from someone telling me they appreciate what I'm doing, and honestly things like that have the power to make my entire year!
You may ask yourself why a person would ever choose to live such an uncertain lifestyle. 'Why not just get a regular job? Or at the very least, a part time job to support some of your own endeavors and ease the financial burden? Who can live their life completely off of faith alone? All that risk for such little pay off, if any? There are a million other people doing what you're doing, what makes YOU so special? What are you gonna do 10 years from now? Aren't you worried about the future??' All of these questions and more are what I'm constantly subjected to living the life that I live. Telling people I'm a creator for a living is generally met with a lot of side eye action. All in all, it's hard! May not seem hard in the same sense as working a 40 hour per week desk job, but don't think that it's a stroll through the park with birds singing and flowers dancing all around. I walk a lonely road! But it's a road I'm more than willing to take. At the end of the day, I love every minute of it. I love sharing a part of myself with the world and inspiring others, even in the smallest way. If I don't make another dollar for the rest of my life, I'd still be happy doing what I love. It's a choice that I made, and I'll stick by it. Sure people will have something to say... or even worse, people might have nothing to say at all, but that shouldn't discourage me to keep going. I'm sure I will have bad days ahead of me as well, but the hope of BETTER days certainly helps to brighten it all up. Don't stop creating fellow creatives!
P.s. So the inspiration behind this particular post comes from a pop up holiday shop that I agreed to be a part of this week. I have been stuck in the house crocheting products like crazy (and also spending all my rent money in Michaels for supplies). I have no idea if anything I'm making is even good enough to sell, I probably don't have enough merchandise anyway, and my hands are freakin tired! Alas, I'm going through with it! Even Apple, Windows, Disney, and Amazon started in a garage, ya know? (**Update: You can now shop for all the items HERE!**)
P.p.s. I always thought it was interesting that celebrities had the power to merely "like" a certain persons post and it literally is the hight of that persons existence. I actually saw an instagram page where, in their bio, they had "post liked by @selenagomez 8/13/2015" or something like that. Don't underestimate the power of a "like" or comment! Even if you can't support all of your creative friends financially, letting them know you are watching (or reading) can be just as meaningful. Trust me, I'm keeping track of all of you who do support!
P.p.p.s. I will also note that surrounding yourself with like minded creatives is crucial for the journey. 9-5ers won't understand everything, so it's good to find a group of people doing what you're doing. Even if it's a simple Facebook group. There is one I'm a part of that's quite uplifting and very resourceful. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you a group invite! Let's all help each other do this!