Anyone who knows me will know that I have been studying music now for over three years. Music, music, music has been my life – there is no getting away and although I am grateful for that, I also wonder what life would be like if I had done something else. I always enjoyed philosophy and history and surprisingly, I had a knack for science, but music was what I was drawn to. A way of self-expression, communication and an outlet for emotion or thought which admittedly, I am not very good at otherwise. Because of this, I chose to take music as a GCSE and specialise in three different music courses at college. Now, I take commercial music at university and would never look back.
However, sometimes, I feel trapped in a world that is nothing like what I would consider ‘usual’ or ‘normal.’ I listen to my friends and family talk so differently about the world. Not just in music, but life. They talk about money and mortgages. They talk about full-time jobs in an office and of goals that seem impossible to me. And yes, that may be because I live in a fantasy world where I assume I will never have to work in an office or work a full-time job, but I also cannot wrap my head around how to escape the worry I can feel about not being in that mindset and not understanding anything that isn’t a chord progression or a thoughtful lyric.
That being said, since coming to university I have met some amazing people who must feel the same way as I do. I have also met some wonderful lecturers who treat us with a different kind of respect. They know where our heads lie, they know how to inspire us and reassure us. They also know how to scare us when talking about the ever-changing industry and I think that’s the best motivation to have. They push us to work hard all of the time, because what you give is what you get. But, they also understand that creative brains cannot be creative and outputting art 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and that’s okay!
The most refreshing thing is being spoken to by likeminded creatives… not necessarily a man in a suit sat on the opposite side of a desk.
To me, being a ‘creative’ means being inspired by the smallest things, taking more from a walk than exercise and taking more from a day than an eight hour, nine-to-five shift. Being a ‘creative’ means being spoken to in metaphors (they make more sense than sums and numbers). It means being happy in what you’re doing and giving something to somebody else to spark their imagination or emotions.
But being a creative also means searching for constant validation, it is a life that’s based on everyone else’s opinion. It is subjective, it is personal for everyone and it’s a struggle.
The industry is saturated. It is full of people all striving to do something, make a change or input their thoughts and words. You could be hated, you could be loved and you have to keep going through all of that to be able to succeed.
I want to see more validation for creative people. In the rise of ‘influencers’ or social media and bloggers/vloggers, there is already a change and acceptance. Many new jobs have been created because of this, but for those people who aren’t the Lady Gaga’s or the Zoella’s, it sometimes seems as though hard work comes to nothing, like it’s easier to give up. It’s also very easy to feel guilty when you aren’t working hard enough. The more work you put in, the more likely you’re going to see the benefits and become self-employed in something you love. But sometimes, it all seems pointless, or like you don’t have enough to say. Even now as I write this, I realise that I could have so much more to write about, my content could be better blah blah blah….
But no, instead of adding anything else, I would like to prove my point by saying how easy it is to lose confidence and feel as though you are not good enough. This isn’t a way of me searching for the sympathy vote, but a way of explaining that being a creative isn’t as easy as painting a picture, writing a poem or playing a song. It’s the hours of work you put in just to be thrown away. It’s the doubtful voice in the back of your head saying that even though blood, sweat, and tears went into that project, it will never be good enough. It’s knowing that even though your friends and family (and even a few strangers) listen to your music, you will not be able to pay any rent off the back of that. It’s comparing yourself to your peers who seem to spend their time more wisely than you. It’s never being able to turn it off… constantly looking for inspiration, an outlet.
It’s also being the happiest you could ever be. And I cherish that.
I understand that this post has mostly been a rant and a moan but aside from the pressure, being a creative is being happy. It’s being content with the work that you do everyday – it’s not really work when you’re having a ball. It’s meeting your best friends and partying with them. It’s sitting down and finding yourself neck-deep in potential, exciting projects and working damn hard to make those efforts become a reality. It’s about viewing the world in a different way which although is terrifying, it’s also beautiful. It’s about taking a step back and looking at the view, sparking that imagination. It’s about making real life connections with people and trusting their thoughts and their views. It’s about listening. It’s about empathising. It’s about being swamped in conversations until three in the morning. It’s about laughing and crying and most importantly… living. It is about being creative. Being a ‘creative’ is valid, it’s important and it’s delightful.