Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the unusual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance– James Baldwin
Since 2014, life entailed me to work a 9–5 to do what I need to do while working 5–9, so I can do what I want to do.
Creativity is a desideratum. The recourse to creatively express myself ceased some time ago and feels like a survival tactic. Through self-doubt, writer’s block, envious moments, the need to create and get out all of my ideas is a matter of living or suffering.
I sprinted to find motivation from others — those who have seen long days and long nights — sometimes trudging on just to get the ideas off. Sometimes I do forget: Although I am the only one running this specific race, others also have their own race to run and face many of the daily challenges I am plagued with. There are MANY creatives I know — in different spaces — and I appreciate them all. I talked to a few.
“Being forced to work a day job while pursuing your passion in any field truly tests your will for how bad you want it,” Justice Gray says, Editor-In-Chief of The Demo Tape, a publication that focuses on music, sports, pop-culture, fashion, and lifestyle. “For me, almost every waking moment outside of my ‘9 to 5 is spent doing all that I can to put myself in position to leave my job.”
His moves are adjacent to those that I’ve seen come before his time: purpose-driven, dedicated, focus and talented. He moves adjacent to the editor he wants to be later in his span. His input on what his output should look like is insane and moving.
“As a creative, the idea of dedicating eight hours of my day, 40 hours of my week, to tasks where I can not be creative is mentally suffocating. I work all day to pay the bills and then come home all evening and create whatever I can to release the ideas I’ve had floating around in my head since I left for work that morning. A lot of them do not see the light of day. However, for me, the need for an outlet to express myself is a necessity.”
Based on Justice telling me about his need for an outlet to express, that displays passion and motivation that cannot be taught. Yes, it’s true that not everything created gets put out into the world, but the need to just get it out of the mind is important.
The challenges and the overwhelming feeling of not knowing what’s to come is a test of a creative’s faith in what they are doing. “What are we?” you can find yourself asking your goals. Another creative by the name of Yan Blaze(Yan Snead to others) is constantly blitzing through the doors of uncertainty, but she knows what her targets are and why she’s shooting in that direction.
As an A&R, Digital Strategy, Branding/Social Media Management for Dinner Land and much more, Yan sidelines her doubts and puts her strength and faith into the starting lineup.
“There is much to be said about being a creative working outside of your desired field. Many ups and downs to being in this “situationship” with the love of your life. The hardest thing I deal with is the unknown,” Yan explained. “ You don’t know exactly when your big break will come, if it will ever come, all you have is faith in God, your purpose, and yourself.”
Creativity doesn’t always translate into dollars. Bills have to be paid and money needs to be made, in order to get things done and survive. Kendrick Lamar battled impatience and doubt on his Untitled 8 track (Blue Faces).
“But ain’t no money like fast money. Even today, I’m considered a crash dummy. A rapper chasing stardom, how I can fast forward my accolades better than all them?”– Kendrick Lamar
There’s light to be picked up during blackout moments. No, not easy, but finding the light can get you through the turmoil.
“I can’t begin to describe the slumps I’ve found myself in when I see others around me getting picked up by labels and brands that transform their lifestyle and elevate their happiness, while I get hit with my sky-high Sallie Mae bill that has to get paid off of an almost minimum wage check,” Yan continued. “It makes you question your path sometimes… “should I really spend all this energy and time chasing this dream or should I find a 9–5 that will provide me financial security?” Then tack on your parents who do not understand the life of a creative, let alone the industry you’re pursuing, constantly down your back with their feelings of distaste towards the degree you chose and the “you need to find a new job” attacks. However, this “unknown” also doubles as a high.”
Most recently, for myself, a Kid Cudi piece I drafted nearly three years ago finally saw the light of day last month. It was a matter of timing, executing my ideas, and my energy level. Frustrations about rushing my process and comparing my process to others have kept me from reaching satisfaction and happiness with my creativity. Yes, creating is a part of my survival, but I’ve found a way to make eating food fun, so I can surely do the same with my projects.
“I’ve associated creativity with not being content for so long due to the fact that once I was accomplished with my creativity nothing was ever enough because If I wasn’t being creative or working on something I wasn’t happy,” Zayna Etheridge said, Co-Founder of BLUNTIQ LLC. “I am now learning that the beauty is in the patience of it all. & your work is never finished and that’s okay. We have to allow ourselves time to flourish and get inspired. Whenever I feel unmotivated I take myself back to the days I’d write on my own channel then I take myself back to the beginning of BLUNTIQ and then to pieces that have gotten so much praise. I remember that feeling and I’m back in it.”
One thing we all have in common: there’s a need for equilibrium. We love what we’re doing, we want to see what we’re doing blossom, but at times, we can become derailed with the process of letting the creativity turn from caterpillar to butterfly — we sometimes yearn to skip the cocoon and fly through the breeze with ease.
Everything is happening as it should. If it were supposed to be any other way, then, it would be. I know many creatives who work 9–5 and then 5–9 on their dreams, and, they work on their dreams some time in between their 9–5. I also know of creatives, for who whom labor is not a factor and they can create content as they so wish. However, they too can reach into the similar bag and pull out the potential doubt, impatience, and a lack of belief.
“I am not religious, but I am spiritual. I say that to say, I do believe in a higher being, and with that comes the belief that we are blessed with divine talent and a purpose,” Yan continued. “That is what motivates me to continue striving to reach new heights in the music industry. My purpose is to provide an opportunity for artists, shine a light on talent that gets overlooked, be a voice for the genuine, translate my divine talents into something you all can feel, and build great music.”
Award-winning writer, Jay Shetty said, ‘I don’t need to be pushed [to continue working towards my dreams], I’m pulled by my calling” and I felt that shit.”
What pushes you to continue on?