My Oracles, this one was tough. But I hope this sweetly told truth will help. -JBHarris
For artists, I think, we have a special burden.
We have a second sight: we see the world as is and as it could be. With that, there are forces in the world that shun those that see and see through the world around them.
Yet…those gifts and talents remain. For every writer that freed themselves of the bondage of this critical, analytical world, to write and create as they want, there are those whom haven’t. For them, today, I want you to know that I understand. I also understand how it happens. I call it the Family of Ations:
The parents of this Family of Ations is always EXPECTATIONS. There is nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself or setting a goal. But the problem is when other people’s expectations become yours–or drown out your own. Expectations are the dreams of other people force-fed to those whom are not hungry. Case in point: My father wanted me to go to med school; when I decided that I wanted to be a writer, he never looked at me the same. Yet, I wanted to write anyway! I would have had more joy (I think) were my father just supposed me instead of trying to make me become who he thought I should be. You must set your own expectations for what you want from your writing life and career.
The siblings of this family are REALIZATIONS. Expectations set the tone for how you except yourself, and the realizations from when what people think begins to remake what you think about yourself. Here–at this point–is when you either become free of other people’s expectations to strike out on your own, or you stop believing in what you know is true for yourself. Do not let the Family of Ations siblings bully you! Tell them to leave you be and you create anyway!
The cousins to this Family of Ations are CONFRONTATIONS. These are the the fights that happen, the open and secret conversations that happen as you try do the thing you love to do. In this case, its writing. There will be the people that tell you ‘its a pipe dream’, ‘its just passion projects’, and ‘you can’t make any money writing’ or what my own father told me: “You can’t eat with an English degree.”
Yet, here I am. Writing, with a day job, yes. But I’m writing because this is what I love to do! This is what I want to do because I’m good at it, I’m really good at it.
I had to set my OWN expectations: I had to ignore the people that didn’t believe in me.
I had to make my OWN realizations: I decided to pursue this with my whole heart. If I had to keep a day job to do it I was fine with that.
I had to make peace with knowing I will have to handle these confrontations as they come. I had to make peace with the snide comments, the doubts, the false support –and general disbelief in me (or you.)
John Wilmot, The Earl of Rochester said it best. “Your critics fall into two categories: stupid and envious. The stupid will love you in 5 years, and the envious never will.” Your job is to create…
Draw the stars. Worry about who looks at them later.