Epiphanies, Failures and Eating Humble Pie
I recently saw a meme about intimacy that spoke to me about the relationship I feel that I have with my readers.
I feel that my job as a writer is to speak the truth as best as I can from my own experience. The closer I can get to my personal truth - the nearer it will approach a universal truth. The less I try and make myself look “good” or hide the ugly bits or cover up the fuck ups - the more likely I’m going to make a real and lasting connection with you.
The more real it is for me, the more likely you are to believe and connect.
Which brings me to today’s post of Epiphanies, Failures and Eating Humble Pie.
The last two years for me have been a creative retreat. After being laid off and throwing myself into my self-employed work and then turning more to the art side of things, I took a break because nothing was working.
I have been a comic writer and artist - but not a successful one. I have been a creative business entrepreneur - but not a successful one. I have been an artist and art instructor - but not a successful one.
I have failed at everything that I have tried to create for myself so far.
Most people are really triggered by the ‘f’ word.
Fail seems to be the worst thing that you can say. So if that’s really the worst thing - let me try it on and see how it fits.
I was talking with my mom about this a couple weeks ago and she kept trying to soften the blow of failure by pointing to all the work and resources I’ve created that are available for people to use and enjoy. She’s right, there is - but my personal definitions of success have not been met.
Maybe my definition of success is too high - but it is what it is; because for me to be successful in a creative pursuit, it has to pay for my livelihood. In order for me to feel that I have achieved success in my professional life, I need to be earning a full-time wage from my creative endeavour.
I haven’t done that yet.
I’ve never even really been close. It’s been a part-time job at best, and often just a temp job with unreliable hours and crappy pay. I have created a lot of art and I have created 3 comic books, all of which I am very proud. I have written a lot of articles on art business marketing and art business psychology and I have recorded a lot of art demo videos - and I am proud of all of that, but it is not financially successful in the way that I would have wanted.
I redirected to focus toward the art and art education side of it, but the passion and commitment wasn’t there.
There was no magick.
I don’t have the desire to improve and work on the art the way I do with writing. I never considered writing a viable option because I wasn’t clear on exactly what I wanted to write about and I definitely didn’t believe that anyone cared what I think and believe about things, or that they’re interested enough in my writing to hang around without there being any pictures to look at.
I still don’t know if there’s a market for what I care about - but I’m going to find out. And I’m going to tell you about it as I do it.
I’ve been writing since I was 6 - but it was only ever for me and it was mostly just conversations in my head and wonderings and musings about life and how weird and funny it all is. I day dream a lot but I never thought that I should or could write any of that down because they were just stories happening in my head. It never occurred to me that would be of interest to anyone - and maybe they won’t. We’ll see.
Eating Humble Pie
Art is a subject that is easily identifiable and gets immediate and instant feedback and gratification. I’ve always been talented in art, so posting art gains me an immediate sense of permission, feedback and a sense of esteem around the images that get uploaded to social media.
(I don’t get that many likes really, it doesn’t take much to make me feel appreciated.)
Unbeknownst to anyone, I’ve been writing for the better part of 2 years and no one has any flipping idea. I’ve finished one manuscript that no one has read. No one has access to the work that I’ve created, there’s no feedback, no social media process, and no community. Writing has got to be the most alone enterprise that I’ve ever done with absolutely zero surety that anyone will give a shit about a word I put to paper.
I’m accustomed to living my life in praise and “good girls”. This is a whole new world for me and one that was needed. It’s flipping my barometer of good from outside feedback to inner thrill - where it should have been from the start.
We’re never done growing up. Looking back I can see that I have a bad habit of quitting when things are tough. Though in all honesty, I’m not sure that I can see the difference between “I’m a quitter” and “Oh this isn’t the right path for me”.
I had a lot of my identity and self-worth wrapped up in being an artist. There was a false sense of sunk cost in that pursuit that made it more difficult to let go of than it might have been otherwise.
In the past I’ve tried to see my creative path as one of fated meaning. “It was meant to be” or “ordained” or “fated”. I’m becoming a lot more pragmatic about that now. As much as I believe in magick and universal guidance, I think what’s most important is the deciding to do a thing and committing yourself to it.
So, I’m writing now. Because I like it. Because it thrills me.
In this way I might be growing up.