What does a creative mind face as much or even more than the quality of having empty pockets? It is criticism, and this two-edged sword, whether it’s meant to uplift or cast down the endeavors of the one afflicted, is quite painful. Its sting is that of failure, failure on one’s part to invest oneself in his passion and dreams. Or, at least, that’s how it may often feel.
I’m a young writer/photographer/video maker. I love creating things with these media, captivating people’s attention, and making them explore ideas which they’ve seldom thought of. Whether applying for the full-time gig of your dreams, attempting freelancing, or submitting work in the hopes that it might be published, you are constantly being met with closed doors, often accompanied with notes which “regrettably” inform you that “your work just isn’t right for us.”
A creative goes into the arena of competition and comes back with a deep, fresh cut almost every time. It may fester and destroy him as a potential outcome, one which the creative has the will power to control. The creative can let this ruin his work or let it purify and perfect it. He can give up in the dirt, or he can get up and fight another day.
Especially in the realm of reality, in regards to content submissions and job searches, I met with defeat more often than not. I have plenty of emotional wounds which I carry. But the fact of the matter is that I can’t win every single time. What the common failure teaches the creative is how to fully appreciate those rare and exceptional successes.
Even as I grow more confident in my abilities and performance, I find myself often becoming anxious over editors not responding to my submissions or queries. How can I push forward with the building stress and wonder regarding critical feedback? What are my trap doors for escape? Often, the answer lies with simplicity. My response is typically one of adding more responsibilities to my life. It can be in any department dealing with those aspects of my life including my faith, my career, my family, my society, etc.
Another element which lessens the overall anxiety I encounter is going “all in.” I won’t just ask one publication. I won’t just take on one editorial role; I’ll devote myself to several. It keeps me busy and helps my mind refrain from unnecessary worry. This is my little hidden set of stairs to climbing on toward my goal.
That said, this habit leads to a number of random emails with high potential popping up in my inbox every now and then. In the broad expanse of my submitting sprees and writing queries, I will often forget who and why I got in touch with some of these people. I mean, sometimes they won’t get back to you – for weeks – in regards to the simplest of questions.
Anyway, I find keeping busy and simply asking if your assistance might be appreciated in various business ventures is a nice method to adopt in keeping one’s stress levels low. What is that goal that the stairway leads to? Sometimes I’m not entirely sure. And that’s half the beauty of it, for I can almost certainly expect life to send me unexpected and beautiful surprises far into the future.