I’ve been a part of the creative industry for over a decade, ever a since I was a teenager, my hand has always been involved in producing art in some capacity. Whether it be music, videography, photography or even something as small as designing PowerPoint presentations. I have always found delight in creating, but unfortunately, the path of a creative can not only be challenging but quite daunting as well. If I was to do a consensus with a number of creatives in different fields, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the majority of us along the way have felt frustrated and in many cases, still do. As a creative we face the huge task of navigating a saturated but also thriving industry. Whether you are someone who has been in your field for a long time or simply a beginner trying to get his foot in the door, you’ll find the journey is one that can leave you tired and fed up.
What I’ve found to be the most common feeling is that of inadequacy. That sinking feeling that no matter how hard you try, you are well and truly not good enough. At this point you begin to compare yourself to your peers. In turn it creates a feeling of jealousy and envy, which in effect births this negative energy that has a damming effect on your creative process as well as your mental health. You can feel overwhelmed with the thought of trying to almost ‘compete’ with your fellow creatives. You work your socks off to create art that you’re considerably proud of, and yet sadly no one appreciates it the way you do. When i sat down recently and considered all of the above, I fell into a bit of a slump. The reality was, this was actually me. I didn’t adopt this mind-set on purpose but rather over a period of time it was cultivated. I started to realise what damage it was doing to me and how it was affecting my mental state, it was at that point I knew something had to be done. Welcome to the diary of a frustrated creative.
Chapter 1: The frustrating process
The process itself, is a path in its entirety that is never-ending. There isn’t a point when you have reached. Even when you receive all the praise and accolade, you still crave for more. When you look at where people are and compare it to your current standpoint, you feel as though it’s taking too long to achieve your goals.
Eventually, I learned I have to savour the entire process and not confuse achieving realistic goals with creating unnecessary burdens like trying to get to where another creative currently is in their career. We often forgot that those who are now considered great or people that are simply experts in their field without the adulation, have spent hours, days, months and years to become who they are today.
The process is the most important cog in the entire machine. You cannot cut corners to complete your goals, that would simply be a waste of time and energy you could be using to be better at what you do. You have to embrace the path and every loss and victory that comes with it.
Chapter 2: The frustrating time
Working a 9-5 and attempting to maintain some sort of business or career outside of your full-time job is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The reality with trying to be a creative or even an entrepreneur is that you need as much time as possible to get better and do better, and working 9-5 as well as studying full-time can be one of the main hindrances. It’s important to remember that everything you do is about an end goal. There is a pot of gold at the end of the tunnel, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be rich and famous but if you set your goals and a clear plan of how to achieve them, the world is well and truly your oyster. However, it must be said, if you want to taste these scared oysters, you need to organise your damn life.
The fact that you have a full-time commitment is simply resistance, which you can overcome if you use your time wisely. From waking up early to going to bed late, every second, minute and hour is precious. Sometimes you have to say no to that night out just to work on your skills or in some cases use your annual leave to get ahead, but you do have the tools at your disposal to progress.
The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it.
Chapter 3: The frustrating Joy
With all that I mentioned, there was one invaluable lesson I needed to learn, I had to actually be proud of the very art I created. I would spend so much time criticising and critiquing my work that I didn’t even appreciate the achievement itself. I wouldn’t pat myself on the back because I just didn’t think it was up to scratch.
Do you know there are millions of people in the world who would give anything to achieve the feats you have? They would give their right arm to have even half of the talent you have. This is why it’s so important to have a balance. Criticism is simply to help build a foundation that has already been established. Take a step back and ponder on that which you have already done, this doesn’t mean comparing your work to others but simply being grateful for what you’ve managed to do with the talents and skills you have.
As strange as it might sound, you should look yourself in the mirror once in a while and tell yourself ‘You are dope’.
“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”
– Roy T. Bennett
Being a creative is doing what you love in spite of the failures and setbacks you face. No one can ever take away the talents and abilities you have and with over 6 billion people in this world and a plethora of opportunities at your disposable, there is an audience for you. My career in almost every capacity has been filled with frustrations, from being overlooked, overworked and underpaid to being employed in dead end jobs, doing dead end tasks, in a dead end company. I’ve used all my time and energy working on what I would consider great art only to be told it was ‘Meh’, but I refused to give up and you shouldn’t either. Don’t let your frustrations get the best of you, but be patient and continue to work hard.
We learn from failure, not from success!
– Bram Stoker