And any other creative for that matter.
From the moment it becomes the life you seek to live, you will fight. You will get better at your arguments even as you lose friends and family.
You will refine your thoughts, you will embrace the stop. You will seek mentors far away because none live in your city — or country. You will relish each moment spent with similarly minded humans no matter where they come from.
You will hoard books, replay videos, and catch yourself as you’ve learned that sharing the joy of your discovery may oft meet glass eyes and surprised smiles.
You will deal with parents whose understanding of a job is inflexible and relentlessly stubborn. In fact, even when you do make money from your art, it will take years before they acknowledge you are living your dream.
For your own sake, I pray you to find it in your heart to let go of acknowledgment and validation. I can’t say it would be easy — it’s never easy when the people we love judge and misunderstand us.
Trust me on this, I have the tears to prove it.
You may have to keep your dreams secret because they’ve been battered too harshly during family gatherings and your delicate core may not stand the sneers any longer.
You may have to take a pen name and keep doing your work under the guise of shadows so that you can grow free from opinions paved with jealousy.
I didn’t use a pen name. But I have benefited from the obscurity of starting from zero. You can do the same.
You will have to guard your opinions jealously. You will have to fight for your dreams. You will have to keep the faith, connect with others, and find your tribe.
You will have to go deeper, every time you fall. Because you will fall.
Your plans will fail. The economy would tank. Your job will encroach. Family will delegate.
You will face so many forks on the road that you will learn what your instinct sounds like.
You will refine your voice. You will refine your wardrobe too as you discover that you can’t trust your eyes, that at our core we’re all scared, anxious and pretending to be people we aren’t, so you won’t bother to dance the worldly song.
You will learn to ignore the news, the advertising, the timelines, the retweets, and politics. You will have to.
Because you will learn that no matter how you explain what you are going to do, nothing beats: “here’s what I made”.
Remember that this is the life we are called to.
You can either be the merchant and choose to stay in your crystal shop, knowing that your personal legend will never be discovered. Or you can be Santiago, the shepherd boy and go the pyramids even though all you have as a clue is a dream.
“Here’s what I made” beats every explanation you’ll ever give.
There’s power in proof. There’s courage in patience. There is diligence in doing the work. There’s discipline in showing up, knowing your reward requires you to sit and let the muse meet you at work.
My dear creative, our calling is a beautiful one. Like the butterfly, we must crawl the earth, wait silently and shed our cocoons.
All we must do, all we must pour your energy on, is doing.
There’s nothing else.
Write that draft. Make that call. Send that email. Take that shot.
Answer your call to create.
“You can’t build a reputation on what you say you’re going to do.”
— Henry Ford