Now, I'm not saying all creatives are fucked up inside because that would be a generalising and as a black male from London that tactic would be a bit like the pot assuming the kettle was black, but I bet the majority of creatives you love from musicians, artist, filmmakers, content creators you name it! If they create amazing pieces that provoke thought, emotions, that changes your inner makings as a human being and completely rewrites the fibres in your DNA... then yes.
They have serious problems.
Especially if the checks aren't being cut!
Why is this?
Well, we can link Mental Health issues to the rise of social media and the content we consume, the not-so-subtle tones of 'If this isn't your life, your life is crap', likes, the unresolved issues from our childhoods and should I even get into the rising cost of living or is that a bit too much salt for one stew?
Regardless, your favourite creative is a complicated creature (as we all are) who seems to live by this simple but absurd principle.
'I'll always have work, as long as I'm good'
No, my friend, if you're freelancing in particular then you could not be any further from the truth. Freelancers gain clients by all matters of means and I soon realised being good wasn't good enough when I was assembling my first squad for a mission.
"So, I need a videographer.. amazing, let's put out an ad and wait to be serenaded by showreels and the chosen one will appear the sun rise in Bali. This should be a breeze!"
1 application, then 4, then 30, now 70 and counting! For one job? How do the heck do I narrow this down?
Long story short I closed my eyes, spun around, played ip-dip-do and called the number my finger landed on. It all went rather swimmingly but that is part of the problem here. I shortlisted at least 10 applications and even that was borderline Darwinian/human selection-esque... I mean it was brutal, and some of the applicants were amazing.
Which brings me on to my point...
As a creative what you do is intrinsically linked to who you are as an individual and if you're new to this game or struggle with self-confidence (That ironically, a lot of creatives do) then the series of no's can mean a rejection of you. That 'sorry, but we went with someone else' basically translates to 'You're ok, but they were better' or can even translate 'You are so shit why did you even bother apply'.
Now, of course, a 'no' doesn't mean that. It can sometimes (and when it does, you need to have an honest talk with yourself) but it doesn't all the time... but who cares? You showed them everything. Your proudest creations. You showed them your sleepless nights, you showed them how you feel inside, how you interpret the world, what makes you, you... And they said no. How fucking dare they!
That piece of art you just saw? A snapshot of the soul. That heartfelt song you just listening to? A whistle from war wounds. That film that captured you, that poem, that book, that article, THIS ARTICLE... All comes from a similar place. A feeling of pain, rejection, frustration, disappointment. Even content that seems blissfully happy came from someone who felt the contrast at some point and thus decided 'enough was enough!'
(...for a long enough period to create something happy only to retreat back to the trenches that the emotion violently fought from anyway, but I digress)
The observation is this: Your favourite creative only creates the way they do because that is how they became comfortable expressing the most deepest parts of themselves or it was their distraction. Talking was overrated and reality is pants so they were more likely to create a whole new one. One where they are in-charge. It's her rules! It's his game! You are in their house.
'You shouldn't care what other people think of you' Well you know what? Your creative pet's WHOLE purpose is based on what other people think and their critics. People loving what they create is a drug. People hating what they create is a drug and how you react to both scenarios depends on, well... how you view drugs; but what makes you stand the test of time as creative or even more insanely, a freelancer falls under these three pillars of life. Understanding you, understanding the game, and understanding the bounce back.
Deal with the shit you run away from. Seek what destroys you and destroy it! As 2019 is mid-way and we prepare for 2020 the new motto is 'No more triggers'. If something triggers you, address that with full artillery until the gun is reduced to nothing but a water pistol. This takes time and can be a never-ending cycle, but once you understand yourself and your wires... you'll probably feel a little less fucked up about things.
Understand the game.
It might be because you weren't good enough, it might because you were too good. It doesn't matter, they didn't choose you. That's the game. What are you going to do about it? Blame it on yourself? Ok, part of that might be true but that doesn't paint the full picture. Sometimes it just wasn't your luck. You were the 4th email instead of the 3rd. That last name was more familiar than yours (it does happen). The game is the game and the same reasons why you hate it today could be the reason you love it tomorrow. Never take it personally.
The bounce back
Is just that... bounce back. No paragraph. No pretty words. Just plain black and white. Get back up, and start again and it has to be served as cold as the day starts in Iceland because that is the world we live in, especially if you're a creating content whilst simultaneously juggling your mental health.
Otherwise, what are going to do? Work in a job you hate just to survive a life you can barely stomach anymore?
Who the hell does that?