Creating anything is tough. Most people end up seeing the final product – either hating, loving or ignoring it – and never witnessing the creative journey you took to get it out there. Truth be told, the majority don’t care. Everything is disposable nowadays and how you get to your endpoint is your responsibility.
I see a lot of my friends bemoan the state of the creative industry, as well as the attitude towards creators. Unfortunately, it isn’t just the creative industry experiencing this wave of apathy; it’s the world in general. People are more dick-ish than they’ve ever been, and it’s unlikely to change until there’s a zeitgeist that enlightens us all or some plague that wipes out the a-holes. So, we can give up and pack it all in, or face the truth of the matter.
There comes a time when you need to put all the anxiety and self-doubt to one side and realise the reality: You create because you want to. While it’s nice to get a pat on the back or approval from others, it isn’t the alpha and omega of why you do what you do. Sometimes, things just click because of pure, dumb luck or being in the right place at the right time.
I’ll share with you an example. For those of you who’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I contribute to several entertainment publications. Naturally, in that world, it’s all about the clicks, because clicks translate into advertising revenue. I’ve written countless pieces that I’m exceptionally proud of, but you want know which is my most-popular article that has raked in millions of views? A bloody piece about celebrities who are more than friends – not a thoughtful, insightful analysis of the future of the film industry or a dissection of a franchise.
Honestly, it’s a hoot and made me realise something: You never know where and when your breakthrough will be so make sure that you give 110% in everything that you do. There are more factors at play than whether you’re good or not. The fact that one of the bestselling books in South Africa is a Kardashian picture book proves this.
It’s easy to get discouraged by this but don’t be. Adopt an attitude of what happens will happen, and you have no control over it except your art. Your creative journey might not be important to others, but it is to you. Create because you want to and without pressure. If no one buys it, who cares? The world proves over and over again that its taste is questionable, and that isn’t a reflection on you.