Sunday, 7 April 2013

An open letter to myself (& anyone else who ever contemplated giving up on a creative career)

You know whats really really hard? Life.

Also learning to do really awesome cursive writing, taxes & adding odd numbers. But mainly life. As a child you're always told by adults just how tough it gets & you think "that's just something adults say" and in a way it is. Because you know what is totally awesome in equal measure? Also life. I've hit 25 (that was some months ago I'll be honest) & I'm being hit with these crushing truths every day. Living is expensive. Why is BREAD suddenly so expensive? Council tax is a total bitch (I've become one of those quietly seething British people, "The bins haven't been emptied again! What is it I'm PAYING FOR?!")

But the hardest thing? Trying to carve a creative career out for yourself in the midst of a really, really shit recession.

I'm going to admit, I don't really know what I'm doing. I often feel like I'm bodging through life - I am the poster girl for the phrase "flying by the seat of your pants" My tax return is half "I can do this!" & half blind panic. I make a lot of spelling mistakes. If you ask, I can't tell you how to improve a piece of work. I can say "Oooh, that's so nice!" & really mean it.

So for anyone like me, who feels a bit lost, a bit like quitting (but you're not a quitter). For the people who don't know where to go next, or who feel a little bit like they're drowning in a sea of other peoples awesome (ew, that sounded a bit gross) Lets work out some ground rules ok? Something that I (and maybe you) can come back to and read when we feel a bit low & everything's a bit quiet.

• Send that email now. Don't wait until you've got "perfect" work samples. Perfect will never happen. Whilst we're on striving for perfection, read Kim's article on that here.

• Plan & send that promo out to art directors & potential clients this week.

• Talk / vent to someone (hell, talk to me) There are so many people in this position and it's good to vent.

• Go on Pinterest. Pinterest is great. Look at some kittens. Then discover a really great artist & feel inspired.

• Remember your life, is yours. Although there are parts you can't immediately change, there are some parts you can. If you aren't happy, SORT IT.

• Learn a new skill.

• Having a serious work lull? Hone your old skills. Work on your cursive. Finally figure out how the hell to draw hands. Learn to knit.

• Don't compare yourself to other artists. You are both at different points on your path. Unless you're at the same point on the path. Then really just don't think about it. Secretly give them the stink eye, have a cup of tea & move on.

• Remember your life will be full of the most hysterical highs & much, much much more hysterical lows. Remember how you cry in the bath & convince yourself you're shit? Totally fine (this ones definitely for me. I have no idea if you've cried in the bath)

• You're not shit. No one is. Well some people are. So basically, don't be shit.

• I think part of success is down to sheer luck. Don't get me wrong you need to work hard and y'know, actually have some talent. But I honestly believe luck plays it's part. Feeling forever unlucky? Just remember - if that's the case, odds are that you can't be unlucky forever right?! RIGHT??

• And whilst we're talking about odds.. Why quit? If you quit you'll never make it, will you? I don't nuffin' about maths but that's not good odds.

• Just think about how sweet life will be WHEN you DO make it.

If all else fails, watch this. If you've already seen it, watch it again.
I originally found out about this brilliance from Ben O'Brien

Steph xo
P.S. Sorry for any spelling / grammar errors, I did my best!


Anonymous said...

This was great - your style of writing is really funny and engaging.
The content is spot on. I expect I'll need to come back and read it again in the future >_<

Steph Says Hello said...

Oh thank you so much Natalie! I do worry I sound a bit like an idiot when I write so thats lovely to read xx

Pavinee s said...

I agree with everything you said here!
I have just opened my etsy shop. This is my second attempt (the first one was in 2010). I thought I was more prepared than the first try but scary thoughts always came back to me. But just as you say, why quit? If I quit now (and again) I'll never make it forever. Doing it again already says to me how very important it is in my life. I have to just keep going!

Thanks for this post. It's nice to know someone who has the same feeling :)

Anonymous said...

You don't sound like an idiot - you're hilarious. I loved the post - more please!

Rebekah said...

Loved this! I just discovered your work and its fantastic :)

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