Stop worrying about impressing strangers on social media who will never be fully satisfied with your work. No matter how much effort you put into giving your audience what you think they want, there is always going to be a nameless face on the internet who disapproves of your final product. That is why you should forget about impressing others and focus on creating work that would make your younger self proud.
Even though you might be in a completely different field of work than you planned on entering when you were younger, you can still ask yourself what the teenage version of you would have wanted to read from authors, hear from musicians, and view from artists.
Create art for the kids like you, kids who have gone through hardships, kids who have never had it easy. Speak to them. Inspire their growth. Remind them they are not alone on their journey. Make the world a slightly easier place for them to live with the help of your art.
If your work is not kid-friendly, then at least become the kind of person a younger version of yourself would have looked up to as a mentor. Become someone with integrity, someone who sticks to deadlines and puts their heart and soul into every project.
Avoid making any decisions you wouldn’t want your younger self to witness. Do not take the easy way out, allow yourself to get lazy, and rush through your work. Do not put in less than one-hundred percent into each project — and do not force yourself to engage in projects outside of your interests. Check in with yourself every once in a while to make sure you are still doing what you love to do, because it’s tempting to follow the crowd and forget what makes your art unique.
Avoid giving into trends for the sake of popularity. Avoid trying to impress anyone other than yourself. Create the art you want to make. Work on projects that you are passionate about completing. The work will be easier if you enjoy yourself. You are already taking a risk by pursuing a creative career, so you might as well continue doing what makes you happy. Pick ideas that excite you, not ideas you assume will draw the largest audience. Follow your heart.
The older you get, the easier it is to become cynical, but you cannot let your dreams die. Even when the world is throwing obstacles in the way of your goals, you should never give up on yourself. You have already come this far. There is no point in turning back now. Whenever you are tempted to quit, remember how much faith your younger self had in you. Remember how badly you wanted to make a living doing what you do now.
Try your hardest to avoid disappointing your younger self. Make them proud by doing the best job possible. Take your art seriously. Put all of your effort into your work, even on the days when you feel untalented and unmotivated.
At the end of the day, you cannot control other people. You can never predict how they are going to respond to your creations. You could put months into a piece of art, do everything right, and still get criticism across social media.
That is why you should stop fighting to make your parents, your crushes, and strangers across the internet proud. No matter how hard you work, they might never approve of your art and that is okay. As long as you are creating work that would make your younger self proud, then you can consider yourself successful.