IF NOTHING ELSE I HAVE THIS
“If nothing else I have this” is what I constantly tell myself when I feel like giving up writing. There are so many things I wish I could have told my younger self before I entered the creative field. There are so many factors that would make you want to leave the creative field all together. When you’re an outsider you wouldn’t always understand why we complain about certain things, or more of you wouldn’t be able to relate to what they are going through. But you know what they always say, don’t judge situations you have not lived through because it could become yours in a nanosecond.
You will receive a lot of rejections, sometimes it feels like when you finally take 1 step forward the world pushes you 20 steps back. You have to build a thick skin and know the value of your craft because so many things in life will push you towards doubting something you were once so sure about. You have to get used to being knocked down, magazines telling you they can’t publish the work you’ve been writing for months. There’s also a sense of rejection from social media, it’s very easy to feel alone when you post your work and there is a lack of interactions.
Don’t allow this to translate into a lack of talent. One of the worst forms of rejections is when people try to manipulate you into giving them your craft in exchange for exposure rather than money. It’s almost insulting, don’t you think my work is good enough for me to make a profit off it? I believe working for exposure is only worthwhile if that exposure will reach a larger audience than the one you have. Always know your worth as a creative.
People will dehumanize you to the point they assume you are robotic simply because you are talented at something. The will romanticize your pain in any way they can, you could be writing about the most intimate and frightening moments of your life and readers would still find a way to link it to beauty. It’s so painful when people want to be involved with you simply to boost their egos when they think they could serve as inspiration for your next project. When you give advice as a writer, people will always come and ask for help, which is completely normal, however next to none of them would even think to ask you: “how are you?” or “are you in the right mental state to be able to help me?”.
Its lovely being a safe space for strangers all over the world, but it’s awful being emotionally drained to the point you can no longer help yourself. These unrealistic expectations put so much pressure on writers to constantly uphold that facade of perfection when in reality, you’re hurting as much as everyone else. I wish I had known it was okay to take a break, because most people don’t care about your mental health, it is okay to deactivate your account or your blog for a while until you’re in a better space mentally, at the end of the day you have to out yourself first or else the quality of your craft will never be up to par.
People get so upset and resentful when they find out you don’t stick to one creative field and want to explore other options, especially people closest to you. There is no creative rulebook, you can be a dancer as well as an artist, you can be a singer as well as a writer, don’t ever limit yourself to one field, talents aren’t mutually exclusive to each other. When you pick up a new interest, people will mask their jealousy with snarky comments like “when were you ever interested in singing?”, stay far away from people who doubt you, this will also serve as motivation to want to prove these people wrong. Some people will never accept that you’re growing and leaving them in the same place you both started. If you see someone picking up a new interest, always encourage them and push them to better themselves.
A lot people will never support you, it’s almost shocking the extreme lengths to which certainn people go in order to post and support celebrities rather than their own friends. I always used to support other creatives whatever the path it is they chose to follow, but in 2017 when I entered the creative field, I could count on one hand the number of people who supported me without me having to nag them to post my craft.
Most of all what I wish I knew was that writing will free you from all boundaries the world has set for you. I think when you start as a creative it’s always more of a hobby you do in your free time then it becomes an Elysian feeling to excel at something that isn’t the norm. Take your time and cultivate this hobby because it will bring great things in the future. When you’re a creative, you always have something to look forward to, a lifeline to hold onto when nothing else makes sense.
Article by Queen of thick thighs (Damilola Toriola)