It's Christmas morning and instead of joyful carols my Dad is singing “It's a hard knock life” (think Annie but as a 60-year old pyjama wearing dude) as he balances on a rickety kitchen chair and tries to reach for the iphone that is taped to the ceiling. I've instructed him to push the self timer button and then quickly remove himself from the frame so that I'll get the photo I've planned to post on Instagram in the evening. Oh and did I mention it's Christmas, and this is what making your dreams come true looks like: putting your family at hard labor at the most inappropriate time of the year.
The reason I'm choosing not to “slow down” for Christmas is because I've got this theory that I call the Creative Karma Bucket. Basically I believe there's a bucket that fills up with all the work and effort I put into achieving something, and that when it overflows, something great will happen.
So, the quicker I fill up my bucket the quicker I'll get my next breakthrough.
I write this because I recently got featured by Instagram (for the third time in four months!!) and just a few weeks before that I was in a major creative slump (like Britney, I was in one of those “Not a girl, not yet a woman” phases, only concerning my creative identity rather than my female one ).
I felt things were going nowhere and that the stuff I was making was all rubbish. But, I still kept on working even though I was feeling utterly uninspired because I knew that that's the only way to achieve what I want, and hopefully will get me there a bit quicker.
The things is, we've all got goals and dreams that we're aiming for, and when it feels like things aren't moving forwards it's easy to get discouraged and lose the drive and motivation. I've realized I need to look at the whole thing from a perspective of what I can't, and more importantly what I can affect and control.
I can't decide when the stars will align and give me that break I've been looking for, or when a photo will go viral on Instagram or somebody I admire will share or compliment my work. But, what I CAN affect is the amount of effort and work I put i to getting closer to making those things happen.
Instead of spending time on feelings of self doubt, fear or whatever excuses I make up for myself that hold me back, I only have to take care of filling up my Creative Karma bucket and hope that the excess spill will happen soon.
Now, in the name of transparency i should probably also mention that I really like working and I enjoy having a lot of creative projects going on at the same time. People keep talking about finding "work-life balance", and while that sounds like a very sensible thing I also believe that you sometimes just need to push yourself if you want to make stuff happen.
Let me give you another example of my obsession to fill up my bucket:
So, it's Saturday morning and I'm sitting at the breakfast table watching a youtube tutorial on how to fold origami dresses. I'm trying to hurry as I only have a few hours of daylight left (because Winter) to take the photo I've been planning.
An hour & lots of crafting later I stand out in the park freezing as my boyfriends snaps away at location 1, 2 and finally 3. The evening is spent at my laptop photoshopping, only to find the the ideas isn't working after a full day of work. Meh.
The next day I get up early because I've come up with another version of the same idea. As soon as my boyfriend comes out in his pyjamas I ask him to help me take some photos, again... Poor guy hasn't even had his coffee yet.
I pose for the picture I have in mind and he takes the photos and does all kinds of fancy plié moves to get the camera in the perfect angle for the ideal shot. After this I put my boots on, say bye to him and hike to the park which is one hour away from our home to take more photos while there's still daylight outside.
By Sunday evening I've got a few photos that I feel happy about and I sit in the couch feeling satisfied with all the work I've done. My boyfriend sits quietly on the other side of the couch, looking sort of grumpy and murmurs something about me working all weekend, oops.. I did it again (wow, second Britney Spears reference in one blog post :D).
I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you just have allow the passion for making your goals and dreams come true spill out onto your loved ones and trust that they will understand and support you.
I believe the only one who is ultimately responsible for my happiness is myself, and with risk of sounding like an over privileged millennial, I think that means I have to stand up for my passions and make sure I follow them in this one lifetime I have.
Anyways, keep filling up your Creative Karma buckets, and I'll just leave you with these words of wisdom by Britney:
"You better work bitch" ;)