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Creative Careers

Posted by on February 22, 2016

Sometimes I sit back and think: What am I doing? I’m sure many creatives struggle with balancing reality with dreams. Chasing desires of expression and art. How does art fit in with our world of jobs and bills and responsibilities? It’s an interesting contemplation. One, I think, circles forever and could very well make us go crazy. I try not to think too much on the topic, but last week I did.

I’m not sure what set it off. Perhaps it was Kristen Lamb’s article: “A Culture Addicted to Free: How Free is Poisoning the Internet & Killing the Creatives”. It’s a thought-provoking article. How do you put a price tag on art? Something I’ve been trying to figure out, especially now that I am branching out into graphic design.

You are not alone

And then I remember why. This. This is why.

Or maybe this reflection is a result of reading a really good book and I’m left feeling like a hack. Hey, look at this book; they are are doing it so. much. better. Why am I doing this again? Ha! And then I look at the sacrifice, my mortality, and the growth rate of my preciouses. *sob*

*Runs off and reads a devotional on comparison.*

*sigh* All better now. Ha!

(Or maybe it’s just hormones???)

I’m an introvert. I like to step back and re-evaluate to see how things are working. Are the words flowing freely? Do I have enough brain cells to plan the menus and grocery lists? Am I yelling too much at the kids? Am I being a good friend? And if it gets really deep, I start questioning my existence and why I am doing what I am doing. Because what sane person would submit themselves to such torment of a creative career? So much work and heart goes into creating art, and sometimes it just doesn’t look like much compared to “real” jobs when the bills are due and the sacrifices take a toll.

But these thinky thoughts fueled by temporal feelings pass on. Albeit they do anchor me in reality. And it is probably more or less my fuel gauge telling me I’m running on empty. Again. Ha!

I love what I’m doing. Every crazy detail from writing to revisions to polishing to formatting to cover design to releasing my project to the world. Sure, I have less hair and a few more grays, and a very tight schedule with not much room for television or free time. But I’m managing. I think.

Still, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And when the going gets tough or frustrating or insane, I just remember, I am living my dream.

What are you setting aside in order to pursue your dreams? Do your dreams involve creative careers?

What do you do to refuel?

8 Responses to Creative Careers

  1. Kessie

    A long time ago, I read this book called Margin. It talked about leaving room–in your schedule, your finances, your relationships, everything. You have to have those empty spaces in your day, the float in your finances, in order to handle emergencies, and in order to rest.

    I intentionally planned for lots of margin last year, because with a new baby, you just can’t do everything. No outside commitments, a light school year. It allows more mental breathing space for writing, and enjoying the life I’ve been given. I also make sure to smile a lot, and take daily naps. Also a really good multivitamin/mineral supplement.

    • J.L. Mbewe

      Oh yes, margins! I have read a different book, but it was talking about the same thing. I have been working on that for the past few years. I think I had forgotten about it though. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll figure it out one of these days, eh? I can’t even imagine trying to write with a newborn and homeschooling on top of that. You are amazing! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. mlynndonovan

    So true Jennette. It’s so easy to feel inadequate as a creative when the masters do so much better and the market demands more more more, but don’t charge much or it’ll be skipped over for the minimumly priced works. Like you graphic states, you are not alone. Your work is amazing and please continue to create because I, for one, love what you do.

  3. Kim Cleary

    fabulous post and I love the quote.That is inspirational 🙂

  4. DJ Edwardson (@djedwardson)

    Yep, I’m right there with you. Somedays it just doesn’t seem worth it. Francis Ford Coppola put it this way:

    “… there’s a hormone secreted into the bloodstream of most writers that makes them hate their own work while they are doing it, or immediately after. This, coupled with the chorus of critical reaction from those privileged to take a first look, is almost enough to discourage further work entirely.”

    But then when I’m just writing or plotting or world-building and I shut everything out, the work becomes its own reward. I also think it helps to take the perspective of a journeyman in a craft, of realizing that writing is something that is hard work and skill in the art comes through much trial and error, through stumbling in the dark until you find your way back on the path.

    So keep at it! As Matilda (and Dahl) remind us, “we are not alone.”

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