I think a wake up call probably many artists and creatives encounter early in their careers, myself included, is that up until this point we’ve gotten away with creating and functioning relatively well within a mentally and physically chaotic landscape. I’ve always taken a somewhat twisted pleasure in the romantic mayhem of life, knowing that whatever happens to me will no doubt fuel a raw/maybe good (if I’m lucky) piece of content.
Until now, I managed fine with scattered schedules and disorganized routines. I found comfort in my illogical and often time-wasting habits, and for whatever reason, was inexplicably attached to some of my most nonsensical systems. I enabled and even relished procrastination—so long as I still somehow got things done.
Like many others before me, I defended these systems. I would consciously not change useless habits out of principle. I believed structure and coherent organization was blah, and I didn’t want to lose those excitingly unpredictable, though infinitely more annoying, parts of myself in the name of fine-tuning.
But in reality, I’m just attached to my systems because they’re mine. And even if they were, and sometimes still are, largely ineffective, they kept me afloat for so long, so I stubbornly held onto them as long as I could.
But I’m realizing, more and more, that I think the gap between making it from fantasy creative to someone with the drive and masterplan to actually realize a creative vision, is a lot bigger than I thought.
I think I found a safe habit in romanticizing my work so I could keep my ego from acknowledging the thought that I could genuinely fail at what I love if I committed to it fully. I wonder if this is where the tipping point lies for many creatives.
I've decided that the potential for a creative masterpiece probably lies in the vast limbo that separates a mere love affair with one's creative capacity from sharing with it the deepest, most intimate kind of bond.
I’m still in the very early stages of getting my head out of my ass and and sitting down to make a real “adult" plan about how to ensure my own potential eventually moves beyond just being potential. For my more stubborn side, it was difficult to accept at first that changing my work ethic and some creative habits might be the only way I’d ever achieve what I’m really trying to do here.
But, the first thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find, is that deciding to take the steps necessary towards changing my ways hasn’t actually taken away from who I am as an artist. Which, can really only mean that not doing so was hindering me from being a better one all along.
I’m still learning, just like everyone else, that my way isn’t necessarily The Right Way, even when I’m sometimes convinced it is for me. When you’re hesitant to take tips and suggestions from people you respect in your field with regards to what it is they do that makes them successful, that’s when you know you’ve probably still kind of got your own head up your ass like I did. In those situations, ask yourself if you might accidentally be resisting change out of principle, ego, and fear alone.
Finally acknowledging your habitual shortcomings is a fantastic place to be in, because what might feel like surrender in the moment is really just the feeling of you getting out of your own way.
And when you commit to your fullest capacity, it’s hard to fathom just how much you might be capable of.