Is deciding who we want to be, as high-stakes as we make it?
Being a creative person is much different now, than it was 20 or 50 years ago. Many factors used to play a role in deciding what work was made by who. If there wasn’t an art gallery within 50 miles of you, it’s unlikely you’d be a gallery artist. If you couldn't pay the fees of a recording studio, the likelihood of you releasing music was low.
The internet and social media have ushered in an unprecedented era of opportunity for artists. Before this new era, to have a shot at being heard, one would need:
An advertising budget,
or Incredible luck
The barrier of entry was high. Now it isn’t. Anyone can make and share there work, publish projects they fall in love with, or build a brand for themselves. But that can be scary too.
This low barrier of entry has created another problem for creative people… Decision paralysis. It’s hard to know what path to take, now that dozens of them have opened up to you. It’s hard to figure out who you want to be, now when everyone tells you you can be anything.
The stakes feel higher because we don’t want to regret the path we choose.
When things aren’t working out for us in our individual creative journey, it’s easy to look on social media for someone who IS doing well in an adjacent field, and decide to switch our focus. All that does is slow us down from making the work we know we’re supposed to.
I would argue that the “right choice”, is to work on the projects you wake up thinking about.
Sing the songs you mumble under your breath when you’re putting your pants on.
Publish the books you write in your head during breakfast.
Work on the projects that make you excited to wake up. Not the ones you feel guilted into working on because other people found success doing them. They have their practice, you have yours.
Once you’re doing what you know you’re supposed to, branch out into unknown territory.