Field notes: Creative? So?
Hi friends! Welcome to Field Notes, a collection of thoughts swirling around what it means to be a “creative” in this day and age. My brain lately has been on an orbit circling the idea of how do you live from, and at the same time fulfill, your passion to create. Is it possible to enjoy what you produce and also earn a living simultaneously? (More on that in future Notes.)
It’s easy to be caught in storms, shipwrecked on disappointment, or even compelled to turn back because of the feeling “every great work has already been created.” To be sure, sometimes it seems as though the internet is a din of content creations positioning for their voice to be heard.
So firstly, to combat some of those feelings above, I'd like to share some of my story, hopefully to serve as an encouragement. My name is Seth, Hi there! Ok, so I have in one way or another, been working in creative positions (some felt like it, others not so much) for about 7 years. To say that I was idealistic coming out of college would be an understatement. I had a lot of enthusiasm and excitement knowing that right out of the gate, being a creative person would equal jobs and opportunity (fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory). As many of you know, the world is a tricker and a more nuanced place than that, and the future paths that look straight forward, most likely will turn increasingly into a corn maze the closer you get to actually stepping into them. Quickly though, I will interject that I endeavor not to make this a depressing or somber post, but sometimes stating the reality of things helps set up the light on the other side of the cloud.
So, as many of you probably found out as I did, wanting to create, and having a skill to create, does not necessarily equal open doors of opportunity. I soon discovered, I was on an arduous course. In the first few years of this period, I was stripped of most of my enthusiasm and excitement. I had forgotten the joy that had propelled me out in the first place. Creating during this time became a chore, one that I did not look forward to, and in turn, my work quality suffered. I was passionless in a field that thrives off of passion for craft. That was the lowest point for me. Shortly after that, I made a clean break from all of that “creativity stuff” and got a “conventional job”, I made coffees for people. Now, hear me on this one, that career in itself is in no way bad or inferior, at all, to any others. I am a believer that if you feel called to a job, you go for that job! Fulfill the passion that has been placed in you. Some of the most exquisite artisans I have ever known have been baristas, taking pride in their craft, truly chefs behind the bar, pouring art into a cup. The difference is this, they had that passion inside of them to do that, and they took pride in their craft. I knew that I was running away from something, and that made making coffees miserable.
So there I was, at the coffee shop. Days turned to months, then years, before I even knew it. But during all that, after some time had passed, something funny happened. I started creating again, not for anyone or anything, but just to create for creation sake. As that went on, the passion started to come back. This time though, instead of young enthusiasm, I had hope.
I believe that the difference is this, enthusiasm is seeking approval, positive feedback that you are on the right track, good feelings that come from the exterior and soak into your soul. This is a dangerous game, because the outside world can be a fickle and tumultuous thing, winds can change and seas can turn in an instant. I believe hope is quite the opposite. Hope is the light atop the tower on the bluff, that keeps you off craggy rocks and guides your way to harbor. Hope comes from interior places and says, I’m not where I want to be just yet, but with a keen eye, and a little sweat, I’ll get there.
Now I wish I could tie a nice little bow on that whole story for you, but I cannot. I mean after all, I’m only 29, who knows what lays ahead. Whatever is out there though, that hope will abide. I am thankful for that storm season, because of it, I finally had the courage to set out on my own, and that’s how 1350 was born. If not for that season (and of course the support of my wife, which brings me to a point we’ll chat more about later, surround yourself with people that will tell you the truth, not just the words that you want to hear), I don’t think I would have ever begun this new path. All of that is to say, failing is completely, COMPLETELY ok and should be expected in life. Constructing far-flung future mental timelines can be more destructive than constructive, and yes there is a lot of content out there on the interweb, but the world needs true, hopeful, creatives: creatives who want to make each other better, who want to blaze new trails, and inspire others to pursue their hopes and dreams just a little bit more. The fact is, no two people can create the same way, so don’t give up, don’t stay down, we need your voice out there, your true voice. There is a lot more to tell about the ups and downs of being a creative, of starting a business, of trying something new even. Hopefully as this little baby blog matures and grows up, more of you will join in. I really want to hear some of your stories! Life and creativity is stunted by isolation, so lets get this party started!
Hope this little Field Note was helpful, let me know below in the comments!