I am a creative. That’s the best way to describe me. The things that make me the happiest are all in the creative fields. Music. Film. Photography. Writing. And at one point in time, I thought that if I could do the things I loved for a living, I would never feel like I was working. Thus, beating the system and living a happy and fulfilling life. But over the past year, that belief has changed. I still enjoy freelance photography although I now know that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. Just because I take nice photos doesn’t mean I’ll have people lining up for me to take their family portraits or covering their small business opening. It takes time to build clientele and you have to know how to market yourself and your business.
Earlier in the year, I did some freelance writing. I found a client and stuck with them for a few months. At the height of the writing, I was turning out three pieces a week while also working fulltime. I was supposed to be working on my own book as well but all that other writing stalled everything else. And after coming home from work and working on someone else’s stuff, I was too burned out to work on my own labor of love. And so, even though I was very excited and proud that my writing was paying some bills, I realized that if I transitioned into full-time freelance work, I wouldn’t be able to write for myself. Yes, the writing did pay the bills but I also had another income that bought food and also paid bills. If I took away that other income and had to force myself to write for others instead of myself. I know that would have sucked the joy out of it. The thrill of making money would have worn off and I would have hated writing. That sounds horrible to me. Writing has been my stress reliever for as long as I can remember.
But when I was younger, I used to have another stress reliever. Drawing. I’ve been writing stories ever since I could pick up a crayon. I’m serious. One of my earliest memories was of me scribbling across my freshly painted white bedroom walls and rushing up to my less than thrilled parents to show them my story. And soon after the stories started, artwork followed. I would create posters, book covers, and character art for my stories. And I enjoyed it, deeply. I would spend hours in my room on my bed or laying on the floor, drawing and coloring. But the joy started to fade around middle school when I realized my art style was stuck at a certain stage. And although the writing continued into high school, my art pieces became few and in-between. My high school offered four years of art and so I drifted away from drawing and moved into pottery and then around my senior year in high school, my father taught an art class at my high school for a day. It sparked my interest in it again but after becoming frustrated once more, because I couldn’t progress… I gave up, until recently.
This resurgence in my art was sparked by my nephew and mother. My oldest nephew seems to be a promising artist and he draws for me often. And then my mother started buying adult coloring books to pass the time. I’d colored in adult coloring books in college but it was refreshing to see someone like my mother really enjoying the process of coloring. And when times became stressful, we’d all pull out her coloring books and take turns coloring a page. All of these things together made me open up to the idea of starting to draw again and maybe even try to learn the skills I didn’t have as a kid.
I’m not going to say I’ll never monetize my art but I know that in order to keep it as a stress reliever, I shouldn’t lean on it for extra cash and definitely never try to make it a career.