I have a confession to make.
I haven’t been making all that much art lately.
In January I made an unspoken (even to myself) resolution that I would draw every day. I’ve always, ALWAYS wanted to be an artist, but from a very young age never thought it was possible. And I mean young. While other eight year olds still held onto their dreams of being astronauts or fire chiefs or artists, I quickly discarded my dream of being an artist and moved on to my much more realistic, more practical dream of being… an engineer. And like many of us, I started making websites when I was 12, and loved the act of creating and making pixel art and beautiful graphics so much that I went to college and majored in… computer science!
So yeah, not very good at actually embracing that artistic side. I think many of us wash out because of society’s expectations of us, and as women it’s hard to push past the idea that you’re supposed to be creative but only in “crafts”, never in the arts or corporate world (trust me, the art and design worlds are just as sexist as everywhere else), and also battling with impostor syndrome, and also I’ve just come to the realization that artists and designers are all just VERY good at pretending like they are perfectly creative and fine and nothing is wrong.
And I re-started this blog so I could provide a new and different perspective for people who are struggling with their creativity and how to make it work. So I’m going to tell you what’s going on with me even if it’s not the happiest (not sad, either! it just is).
So yeah, I haven’t been making all that much art. I’ve done a few big paintings and work for a gallery show that’s going on right now, that I want to share very soon. And I’ve been freelance designing. But I haven’t been drawing every day. And my new job isn’t a design job, it’s a day job to enable my art and design.
And I think it’s so important to talk about that, because I’m struggling with it too. I think there are problems with the tech industry that nobody’s talking about in terms of generalizing and specializing and switching careers and all sorts of junk, but I won’t talk about that right now. What I want to talk about is that I’ve been beating myself up for a long time for having a day job instead of quitting my job and devoting my life to my art.
See, everyone I know who is An Artist with a capital A or A Designer does it for a living. And everyone I read about does it for a living too. There’s an unspoken implication that if you don’t do it for a living, you’re not a Real Artist or Real Designer or Real Writer or Real Web Developer or whatever else. The implication is that if you’re not doing it for a living, you’re clearly not good enough. I thought I was past that mentality and yet I’m realizing I’m just not. I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking that I’m almost 30 and still not a designer or artist, and time is running out for me.
In between all these pep talks and “you can be anything if you just dream it!” and “everyone is creative!”, nobody’s talking about the fact that there ARE creative gatekeepers and there ARE people who shut you down and it DOES affect you, no matter how much you wish it wouldn’t. And I’m going to tell you, through my own insecurities and doubts, that you’re not crazy, it does happen, it makes you feel like crap and want to give up, but the world still needs what you have anyway. I’ve seen how incredibly talented and amazing everyone is who has commented on this blog – every single one of you. And maybe you’re more confident than me and don’t need a pep talk! But here’s one anyway.
So yeah, I’m re-finding my motivation, and putting energy into blogging and doing stuff on the side and my art and making this all work, while having a day job, instead of spending all my time and energy beating myself up over the fact that I don’t have “design” or “art” or “creative” in my job title.
I want to hear from you guys – do you ever have these kinds of doubts about your creativity? Have you pushed through it? Let’s have a conversation!