Deciding to pursue a creative career instead of securing a 9 to 5 office job does not mean you get to slack. It does not mean you get to mess around all day long. You have to put your heart and soul into your work. You have to take your art as seriously as you would take any other job.
When you become your own boss, it’s tempting to oversleep, to set plans with friends in the middle of the week, to check your phone every five minutes even though you should be working. However, you have to practice self-discipline. If you don’t take your creative work seriously, nobody else will either.
It can be difficult to keep yourself on track when no one is around to check up on your work, which is why you should create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Limit the distractions in the room where you create. Put on headphones to block out noise. Turn your phone on silent. Download a blocker for your browser to keep you away from time consuming social media sites.
Even though you could get away with half-assing your art, don’t get into the habit of rushing through projects. You should care about quality more than quantity. When you start to feel overwhelmed with stress, remind yourself you are doing what you love. You should be excited about what you are working on, not indifferent or unenthused.
When your audience sees a finished product, they will be able tell whether your heart was in the work. You don’t want to disappoint them by putting out less than your best — but you don’t want to disappoint yourself either. If you are taking a risk by doing what you love, you might as well put in the time and the effort to do it right. You might as well make yourself proud.
Living a creative life isn’t any easier than working a traditional office job. In some ways, it is more difficult. You have to put in effort every single day, even though no one is going to notice how hard you have been working until your artwork is finished and released into the world. You have to hold yourself responsible even on your roughest days, because when you slack, you are only letting yourself down.
When you work in a creative industry, you are going to have to treat yourself like a boss and an employee at the same time. You are going to have to develop patience, resilience, and a thick skin. You are going to have to take your art seriously if you want to reach success.
You should take yourself seriously, too. Stop selling yourself short. Stop diminishing your work in order to appear humble. You are allowed to call yourself an artist. You are allowed to post about your accomplishments online and mention them at the dinner table. You shouldn’t worry about being considered an imposter, a fraud. If you create art, you are an artist.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed about what you do for a living. You shouldn’t hide away your work out of fear no one will like what you have created. You already did the hard part. You created something out of nothing. Now you have to put your art into the world. Let it run free. See what happens.
It’s scary to take a risk, follow your heart, and create a career out of your passion, but you can succeed as long as you put in the effort. Remember: If you don’t take your creative work seriously, nobody else will either.