5 Tips for people pursuing a creative calling


© Timek Life

There are a huge number of different creative callings out there that you might feel drawn to, and which may help you to effectively express yourself, and feel as though you are on the right track in life.

But whether you are drawn to pursuing filmmaking, want to be an author, or love to paint, pursuing a creative calling – especially with an aim to doing it professionally – isn’t necessarily a straightforward thing.

Inevitably, there will be difficult hurdles to overcome, there will be issues of motivation to contend with, and you’ll have to navigate the assorted struggles that creative people have faced since the dawn of time, such as a lack of inspiration, and the need to remain true to the art.

Here are just a handful of tips to keep in mind when pursuing a creative passion, in order to give you the best chances of performing to the best of your abilities, and remaining true to your own creative vision.

Follow your gut rather than trying to be strategic

If you’re trying to make a living from your particular creative endeavour, there will always be a tricky tension to try to navigate between appealing towards a particular market, and audience demand, and remaining true to your own creative vision, and letting the chips fall where they may.

The correct answer according to many people is pretty simple – and has been strongly advocated for by individual creators including Quentin Tarantino and Stephen King – follow your gut and be true to your own creative vision, and don’t get caught up in thinking about what the market “wants.”

People tend to be more impressed by, and drawn towards, works of creativity that feel authentic, and that seem to come from a place of genuine inspiration and vision, as opposed to ones which are carefully (and often quite cynically) sculpted and created in order to have a certain level of commercial appeal.

While not everyone will like what it is you do, you should like what it is you do – and if you can stay true to yourself and produce something that you genuinely enjoy, there’s a good chance that there will be an audience out there who will respond positively to your work.

At the end of the day, however, trying to chase after popular appeal tends to be a surefire recipe for failing at that very endeavour, while simultaneously undermining your own love for your art, due to being untrue yourself.

Turn up and “put in the work” daily

While inspiration absolutely plays a major part in our creative endeavours, you simply can’t allow yourself to sit around and wait for inspiration every day before working.

Rather, you should let spontaneous inspiration give you an initial idea to build on, and you should then turn up every day and “put in the work” whether you feel like you’re not. If you do things this way, inspiration will come to you a lot of time – and when it doesn’t, you will still be moving things forward, and will be able to edit or adjust later as required.

Only creating when you feel inspired, however, is a good recipe for never completing anything.

This is another common bit of advice that you can find from all sorts of accomplished creative individuals, and it turns up in Steven Pressfield’s highly influential book “The War of Art,” as well as in many other places.

Continually invest in growth and learning, and pay attention to the state of your field

A significant part of being able to engage in any creative endeavour effectively, is to work on developing the technical chops required to create good art, and to continually invest in growth and learning, while also keeping in touch with the state of your field.

Just as you would keep up-to-date with things like compliance training in a conventional business, in order to ensure that you and your company remain on the right side of developments in legislation, so too should you keep an eye on new films, books, albums, and whatever other forms of creative output relate to you, in order to keep refreshing your own insights and inspirations.

While you can’t – and shouldn’t try to – look at your creative endeavour in terms of mechanical steps and approaches, you should certainly try to invest in growth and learning, by remaining engaged with the subject.

Don’t quit your day job (too early)

Perhaps one of the best ways of ensuring that you feel totally demoralised, end up in dire financial straits, and are too stressed and rushed to actually create effectively, is to prematurely quit your day job and try to make a living off your creative pursuit, without having a sufficient foothold in place.

Making a living off of creative endeavours like filmmaking, music, or writing novels, takes time. It requires consistent work, luck, and all sorts of other things – and it’s very unlikely that, if you quit your job today, you will be making enough money from your creative pastime by next month to cover your bills.

Not only does quitting your day job too early put you in a highly stressful and tenuous situation, but it also increases your baseline levels of desperation, and makes it significantly harder to be true to your own creative vision, as opposed to scrambling and trying to do whatever you can to bring in some kind of income quickly.

Work diligently on your creative endeavours, but don’t quit your day job too early.

Always have fun with the process

A creative pursuit is always meant to be fun, fulfilling, and life-affirming.

While it goes without saying that you won’t feel like turning up and doing the work each and every day, your general experience should still be a positive one. You should still feel as though the creative endeavour in question is helping to enrich your life.

If, on the other hand, you feel as though the entire thing is nothing more than a frustrating chore, you’ve definitely taken a wrong turn.

Do whatever you need to so that you’re always having fun with the process.

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