I've been constructing this post in my head for about 5 days now. It's a strange one to post. And, it's very real.
It's an enormously present topic - I see it everywhere, on every forum, on every Facebook group, at every conference. Every single person in the creative industry struggles with this. Every single person who has ever been an artist goes through these waves. And, to write about it welcomes the risk of looking all sorts of ways. Let's just wrap all those "ways" up into one simple concept - "pity party". (I don't want a pity party.) I am part of about 15 different small business/photography groups and forums where countless people, on EACH and every one, are posting, looking for guidance. They are saying things like: "I feel some days like I suck. Like I should give up. Like I have no confidence." I have written countless drafts on what I would say to them, and then deleted them because I'm just not that type of person to comment on random stuff. This is not just in social media groups. Oh no. This is at every conference, in every workshop, everywhere I turn.
Every single person has been to this place. If you're reading this and you're saying to yourself "wherever this is going, I might feel this way a lot of the time", then allow me to introduce myself - I'm Chelsea. And, I've been there. I've cried on my kitchen floor. I've hugged my dogs alone in my hallway and asked them if they think I'm doing well. I've stared at my computer screen, gotten up, flicked it off, and made a mixed drink. I've been there. The most talented and experienced people in the world have been there. The following is, I suppose, what I would say to all those people had I not deleted all the drafts.
*THIS IS NOT MY IMAGE OBVIOUSLY - FOUND ON GOOGLE.*
Someone posted this today...and I finally knew how to write this post. If you've ever seen "Parks and Rec", you'll know who Leslie Knope is. She works for her city's government and she is walked on, stepped on, trampled over, shut down, put down, and (at times) invisible. But, the thing I love about her is that she is her own biggest fucking advocate. No matter the situation she is in, she is always there for herself. Pulling her damn self through. I look up to Leslie Knope. She's a warrior.
As a creative, you can lose it. You can just lose it. You will sit there crying to "7 Years" by Lukas Graham, wondering how you even got there and for the love of God, wtf is happening to you. You will wake up one day to a gold mine of inquiries and feel like a queen. And then the next day you wake up, look at your work, your business, your pricing, your website, and say "God damn. I feel like this is all not right." Hey! I get it! I've been there. I go back to that place every once in a while.
Most of the time, creatives don't have a boss. They don't have someone telling them they're doing things right or wrong. They don't have someone breathing on their shoulder, looking at your edit, and say "that looks great, keep going" or "this, that, and that needs to be changed". You have NO ONE saying "uh oh...looks like this office is losing it's passion and drive a little bit. Let's pick it up here." There's no conference meetings. There's no company retreats. Artists have themselves. I have myself. I am my boss. And, you know what? That's some crazy shit right there. You've got to be tough as nails...for your own sake.
Confession: Want to know what's both tough as hell but also absolutely incredible?
You've got to find it in you...and you've got to find it YOURSELF.
You. Just you.
No one's going to do it for you.
You've got to roll out of bed on those days you feel like every single person around you is better than you and you've got to punch that day in the face. You've got to put on some pants, make like 6 cups of coffee, then run to your workspace and get that shit done. You don't like something? Change it. Not getting as much business as you hoped? Try everything. Wish you were more experienced? Take a workshop, go out and practice. I'm not saying don't get discouraged. That's like telling water not to flow. Get discouraged. Kick a trash can. Then march to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and tell yourself that this too shall pass. Tell yourself to be a mother fucking warrior.
You have to find that drive, that passion, that confidence, that creativity, and that kick in the pants. You have to be the one to pull yourself through every day. You.
Find that passion. Find that drive. Find that goal. Find the path that leads to it.
And for God's sake, be Leslie Knope.
Hey you? It's me. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.