I spend a lot of time with creative people—both online and in person—and one of the commonalities I find is this: struggle.
Creative people, for the most part, have a belief that being successful as an artist and creator is a struggle. That it has to be hard.
And that’s why, for so many creatives, it is. It’s a struggle and it’s hard.
No one is paying attention. No one is interested. No one is buying.
Those are the complaints I hear creative people speaking on a regular basis. But here’s the problem… and it’s two-fold.
First, so what? You either want it or you don’t. You’re either in it for the long-haul or you’re not. If you’re not, or if you have a backup plan, you might as well call it quits now. And if you are, then shut up and do the work.
Being creative is awesome and it’s the thing that drives us, but it’s not enough. You can’t just be creative. You also have to learn the business side of being a creative.
At least if you intend on making a living out of it.
If you don’t want to make a living out of it, that’s fine too. No one says you have to be a professional creative. But you wouldn’t be reading this post right now if you just wanted a side project.
You’re reading it because you want to make a living from your creative gifts. Because you need to. There’s this nagging pull inside you that says this is the only thing you can ever really do with your life.
Sure, you may try to do other things to keep yourself a float, but you always come back to the creative stuff. That’s the stuff that drives you. It’s the stuff that makes you get out of bed in the morning.
And making it your full-time thing is a dream you’ve had, pretty much forever.
So you grind and you struggle and you do the work. Sometimes. Other times you get caught up in your current reality that says it’s not working. Nothing is happening. You just keep getting rejected or hitting dead-ends.
And so you don’t bother to do the work. You stop being consistent and you stop caring. No one else does, so why the hell should you?
But then you look around you and see all these other creative people making it happen. Many of them you’d consider to be a lot less talented than you are.
And it drives you insane!! Because you just keep thinking… that should be me.
I should be the one with the deal. I’m the one who should be featured in front of the masses. I’m the one who should be quitting my job to go full-time with my creative life.
Yet it’s happening for others, but not for me.
Then you start to tell yourself the same ‘old stories… they must be lucky. They must have rich parents who paid their way. Life is working against me. Maybe I’m just kidding myself. I must be doing something wrong. I must not deserve it. I must not have worked hard enough yet or struggled for long enough yet.
And it goes on like this for years.
When you start to build up some consistency and are starting to see little hints of success, you suddenly sabotage it by continuing to look around and declare that it’s not working and then you stop being consistent and doing the work… because no one is paying attention, no one is buying anything, and it’s not working anyhow.
It’s tough, this being a creative, thing.
But what if there was a better way? What if there was a way to guarantee your success?
This brings me to the second part of the two-fold problem with creatives: there’s a side of creating success that you don’t know about (or maybe you do know about it, but you’re not paying it any attention).
The metaphysical side.
And not knowing about—or paying attention to—this side of creating success is the reason why you’re not seeing the results you want yet or why things feel like such a fucking struggle.
The metaphysical side is the stuff you can’t always see, but that are in play 24/7/365: your mindset. Your beliefs. Your habits. Your consistency. Your commitment to doing the things that matter, every single day, no excuses (even when you don’t feel like it and even when you think it’s not working). Your willingness to do battle with creative Resistance and doubt and fear and self-sabotage, and finding a way to push through and keep going anyhow.
The truth is, THIS is the stuff that matters the MOST when it comes to creating success. Yes, you have to do the physical actions part. Without that nothing works.
And yeah, you could choose to do the creative thing only paying attention to the physical reality that you see around you to give you direction and tell you what to do next.
But you’d be choosing struggle. You’d be choosing difficulty. You’d be choosing lack and limitation.
And there will always be a better way. A better way that is totally in your control and that you can design and create EXACTLY how you want it to be.
You’ll still work your ass off. There’s no way around that.
But it won’t feel hard. And it won’t be a struggle. Everything will just happen with ease and flow, like it’s naturally supposed to.
The truth is creative humans fuck it up for themselves, because we get in our own way so damn much. And then we’re too damn stubborn to throw in the towel on struggle and choose the easier path, because we’ve been programmed to believe that the creative path is struggle.
So even though the easy path looks so good and sounds so good, we can’t bring ourselves to choose it, because we’ve convinced ourselves doing that would mean we didn’t really earn it.
Creatives are a stubborn bunch.
I used to think and feel the exact same way. Used to procrastinate and tell myself that’s just how it is. Used to be inconsistent with my writing and my marketing and I’d just blame it on my job at the time or make excuses about life getting in the way.
And I even accepted all of the bullshit stories and told myself that it was OK.
Until I finally woke up one day and decided, you know what, I don’t want to struggle anymore. I don’t want to hold myself back anymore. I don’t want to have the same shitty, mediocre existence that so many other creatives have because they’re continuing to tell themselves bullshit stories about “what’s true for them” and refusing to choose the easy path.
I committed myself to the easy path. To a life where I get to be me and write and create what i want to, all day, every day, AND get paid for it.
Committing to the easy path and choosing to give up struggle didn’t come with a silver platter. It came with a massive responsibility.
To show up every day. Even when I don’t feel like it. To work on my mindset. DAILY. To create daily habits that support my success. To be consistent. To put first things first. To be disciplined enough to do what matters, every single day, even if that means sacrificing other things. And to no longer accept excuses from myself.
It’s a lot of work to be successful. But it doesn’t have to be hard.
So you can continue to tell yourself that it’s a struggle and that you just have to keep on manipulating things in your physical reality to try and make something work (UGH!! It’s SO HARD!!!)
Or you can choose to tend to the metaphysical side of creating success, and deal with your inner bullshit—the patterns and the BS stories you’re still telling yourself about who you are or how the world works—and figure out what actually matters and actually moves the needle in your creative work and commit to doing that stuff first things first, every single day, before you do anything else.
Commitment, consistency, doing what matters, putting first things first, creating habits around the most important stuff, and daily mindset work… that’s what it takes to be a successful creative on the easy path.
So, what do YOU choose?
Dream life or bust,