Feeling Behind in the Work You Want to Be Creating?
Things to do right now to fix that!
Feeling behind is not a feeling strictly felt by young creatives starting their career. It’s something every human experiences at multiple points of life. One reason is because we’re constantly growing, changing, and tackling a unique set of obstacles as we evolve. We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do well and be the best. So, let’s get you caught up.
Online Classes A.K.A. Learn More
We all know the competition to land your dream job is insane right now. Well, why do you think the competition is so high? Is it because people are born knowing exactly what to do with Adobe Photoshop or a Canon 5D camera? You think children crawl out of their mothers’ wombs knowing how to publish their own book, play the guitar, or open up a bakery? Of course not! Your competition took the time to learn how to do the things they know how to do. You probably just need to take the time to develop your skills further. You chose the wrong major in college - so did everyone! Now you’ve got to learn what college never taught you.
Have you heard of Creative Live, Skillshare, Masterclass, Shaw Academy, Meetup, or General Assembly (and by the way, so many more)? Look for the free or cheap classes on any of these websites - they’re here to help you. Go to each site, search for whatever skill it is that you want to develop, and then watch those videos (maybe even take notes and practice). Set a routine and treat it like a real class, because it is. Pretend it’s like another minor that’s going to assist you in investing in your personal development and career.
Networking A.K.A Collaborate More
So you already have some of the skill and talent, you just need to find ways to put it to use? Guess what? We have the luxury of being able to cheat the networking system and start by reaching out to people online. Start by doing a shit ton of research on the industry you want to succeed in. There are communities for every single industry. And the creative world? You couldn’t count how many there are. Find Facebook Groups and request to join. Find people on LinkedIn and request to connect. Get those fingers typing away on Google and search things like, “How to join a Videographer Community” and “Creative Groups Near Me.” Browse Meetup, General Assembly, and the like - take the time to dig into anything that pops up. Spoiler Alert: You’re not the only one who wants to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Once you’re a part of those groups and communities (yes, even Facebook), introduce yourself! Tell people why you’re there and ask them why they’re there. Ask them if they want to collaborate or get (virtual) coffee to talk about your goals and inspire each other. Throw them your ideas – maybe they know someone interested. Once you’ve introduced yourself online, it’s time to actually show up and see humans in real life (after COVID). This is exactly how I found PieFace by the way.
Fake it ‘Til You Make It. A.K.A Manifestation
If you’ve ever found yourself in the pattern of coming up with great ideas over and over again, but they somehow die before they even have a chance to become something, that’s because they’re technically still just ideas. Ideas stay ideas until an action is put to them. Ideas only happen in our brains and they can easily get trapped in there if we let them. The simplest way to ignite an idea into action is to talk about it. Tell your friends and family what you’re doing or going to do. Tell strangers at the grocery store you’re an artist. Post about your work on your social media pages. The moment I started pretending I was a photographer, I started booking photography gigs. Clients find you one of two ways: online or in person. How can someone hire you if you never post or talk about what it is that you do?
The first few times you say ‘I’m a ____________” when deep down you know you’re just a novice, it’s terrifying. It feels funky and the person hardly believes you. But after a while, it sounds more natural and then you even start believing it yourself.
Fail Early and Fail Often. A.K.A Cheesy Quote
Someone important told us to fail early and fail often because very few people are good at something without failing. It’s like walking, driving, surfing, sex, or whatever it is that you do … you probably got a lot better at it with practice. In other words: If you aren’t making bad art at first, you’ll have a much harder time making good art. I remember hearing about a famous artist who forced themselves to create 100 bad paintings just for the sake of getting comfortable with their bad art. They knew it was necessary in order to get to the good stuff. Try not to be ashamed of the work you aren’t in love with. Not every piece of art you create will be a bestseller.
Start Somewhere. A.K.A What’s the Holdup?
Tried all of the above and you’re still not getting any sort of offers for the type of work you want to create? Seems like you’re going to have to start yourself. You don’t need someone else to pay you in order to show off your skills. Sometimes we have to get scrappy. In the photography example, build a portfolio by asking your friends and family to let you take photos of them. Put a call out for models or anyone that is looking for some photos of themselves. Everyone wants to be famous on Instagram, it’s easier than you’d think. Want to be a blog writer? Start writing blogs. Yes, pick topics and start writing about them. That’s your portfolio. This equation really works for any industry. Videographer? Start making videos. Post them. Fashion designer? Start designing clothes. Magazine creator? Start the magazine. Take photos and save everything. Then start reading this article from top to bottom again: Learn more, collaborate, manifest, fail, start (again). Work for free until you have the killer portfolio that showcases just how unique your work/art is.
Remember that everybody feels behind.
Especially at the start. Nobody knows what the hell they’re doing until they’ve done it enough times to start getting comfortable. We’re humans so we’re always judging ourselves. We always wish we knew more, did more, or did something better.
Nobody starts with experience. We get experience from showing up to whatever we just said yes to, being scared shitless, but showing up anyway. The confidence of mastering your trade only comes with time, repetition, and swinging at those curve balls. Sometimes you miss, but now you know how to nail it the next time. That’s life baby.