This week’s creative habit is for you who might not yet have your creative calling as your main source of income. Alternatively, you might already work in your creative field of choice – but you might want explore another creative path. For example you might be a designer who has an idea for a screenplay you want to write. Or you might be on the wrong path and need to redirect into what you actually want to do.
When I was younger and feeling ‘less-than’ because I hadn’t landed an amazing paid full time job as a knitwear designer I used to hate parties. Why I hated parties was because you always got the question “So what do you do?” when you meet new people, and I just felt like such a loser that had to respond that I worked in customer service.
I remember attending an event at my old University in how to succeed as a freelancer, and one of the panelists was this amazing and super inspiring photographer Mary-Jane Maybury. Someone in the audience asked her if you should get a job and then develop your photography career on the side or not. Her response where something like this (paraphrasing):
Even if you cannot see how you are gonna make money as an unestablished photographer straight away, and you might finically be better off to get a so called ‘bridge job’ she has a point. If you want to be an artist/photographer/designer/writer/whatever-you-desire you just need to BE ONE! Bridge job or no bridge job.
This was a huge mindset shift for me. So I made my own:
It is so easy to look at someone who does what you want to do and get overwhelmed and think you can never get there. Instead of looking at the possibilities you can only see the obstacles.
It is important to start where you are and keep on refining your skill no matter if you can make a living doing it or not. You can look for unpaid opportunities that you do, for a limited period of time, that will bring you closer to your goal. For example If you are trained as an actor you might be able to find volunteer opportunities in hospitals and if you want to do public speaking you can look for speaking opportunities at Universities and different organisations to mention some.
By being what you want to be instead of wishing you will start to think as a designer/artist/musician/actor/photographer/whatever-you-desire and when you do what you want to do – you will refine your skill, meet people, get opportunities that eventually will lead you to other exciting possibilities.
What I loved about Mary-Jane Maybury’s story was that she really saw opportunities. I remembered that she told us that she wanted to photograph out of the ordinary interiors and homes – but she didn’t have anything like that in her portfolio.
To build her portfolio she offered a high end estate agent her service – they didn’t really need a photographer as they did take the photos themselves. But she managed to get the opportunity as she could offer what the estate agents didn’t have – time – time to sit down with the people living in the houses/apartment, drink tea and chat.
Also another thing that helped me a lot was to read biographies and the behind stories of successful people I admire. I personally found those books more helpful than the ordinary business-books as you will learn how they thought and dealt with different situations. Best of all you learn that they did also, like you, start out small and worked hard to get where they are today.
I will also admit that I love the Katy Perry documentary ‘Part of me’ and I really recommend you to watch it if you need a little energy boost. You will learn that before Katy’s “over-night success” with “I kissed a girl” she actually already had been signed and dropped by a few record labels and written 100s of songs that never became a hit. But she kept on writing, performing and trying to make it as an artist – eventually she did succeed big time!
I am still always on the look out for inspiring book about and by entrepreneurs and creatives I admire, and would love if you left me a comment below with your favourite books and/or documentaries.
I would also love to hear from you if you have been struggling with the thought of ‘being what you want to be’ just because it wasn’t your main source of income? Have you found any other ways how to shift your mindset from ‘wanting to be’ to ‘being one’? Please leave a comment below and let me know!