In case you haven’t been following my blog but are still wondering what I’ve been doing for the past summer – if not year (it’s been a while since I published original content besides sporadic blog posts about my personal life, okay?), I’ll try and give you a quick summary.
For the last two months in Boston, I’ve been quietly working on projects for a group of amazing entrepreneurs/brands whose missions I felt very strongly connected to – no words can express how grateful I feel to be invited to contribute to their spaces.
However, It didn’t occur to me how much time each project required me to spend for its content to be considered quality and acceptable enough to be published. Therefore, the greatest challenge – and also, the biggest frustration – for me as a freelance content creator is developing a sense of patience for my work.
I have to consciously tell myself that I’m not working on these undercover projects (that will hopefully be revealed soon enough) to just build a portfolio – I’m working on them because I care a lot about the people and brands as well. They speak a lot to the ideas and missions I support.
Having stumbled upon the works of many talented and dedicated makers of the world and witnessing them rise above their makes me one want to keep up with them. Fearing that I’ve hit a point of stagnancy in my life, I feel the need to rush with my projects so that I can catch up with the others and make a positive impact on my communities.
As you may or may not have noticed, my lack of patience is definitely somewhat contributing to my increasing sense of ego. I feel propelled to create to show others, to prove to others what I can do to the point that I forget what truly matters: whether or not I am creating for my own enjoyment and personal growth. Sometimes, I find that our ego encourages us to compare ourselves against others and tell ourselves, “If you can’t be amazing as other artists out there, you might as well quit,” or, “Someone else is already doing the same or a better job at what you are doing so why continue?” These thoughts have popped up in every creative’s head, including mine. And if it comes to a point where your thoughts have manifested into a creative’s block, this is when you need to shut that voice out of your head.
Only a couple weeks ago, I met with Lisa Chin of Lisa for Real (if you haven’t visited her blog, I highly recommend you to do so – her writings are meant inspire and make you think!) and we shared our love over Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Here’s her takeaway from the book. If you’re a creative, please run to the nearest bookstore to purchase a copy of your own. I promise you that your money will be well spent.
One of the most inspiring messages we both gained out of reading this book was the importance of creating for yourself and only for yourself.
“You’re not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words, it also doesn’t have to be important. For example, whenever anyone tells me that they want to write a book in order to help other people I always think ‘Oh, please don’t. Please don’t try to help me.’ I mean it’s very kind of you to help people, but please don’t make it your sole creative motive because we will feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.”
And recently, I began thinking about this message again and I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Especially during my busiest and most stressful times in life, it’s very liberating to know that I don’t have to finish anything for anybody by whatever deadline. Even if I do have good intentions behind my creative projects, I have to remind myself that I am not obligated to create for anybody but myself and that in the end, the most important person who I’m creating all of this content for is me. Therefore, I need to learn to be patient with myself, to forgive myself when I end up falling short of my expectations. Because who else can do what I’m working on besides me? No one.
Besides, if I’m creating something that’s putting a strain on my soul, then why is it logical to continue doing so?
This is why I am not apologetic for disappearing online and not producing as much content recently… because I needed that distance (#selfcare). I needed to separate myself from my ego and take some time to think about what really matters to me and how I can use what matters to develop a brand that truly speaks to me.
Yes, the new space that I’m creating here has been a very slow process and reprioritizing different aspects in my life has definitely posed quite the challenge for me. But there’s not much time to work with when I’m working full-time, catching up with friends, meeting new people, and so on – transitioning to adulthood is unavoidable. It is also a legitimate reason for my absence.
What I learned from sharing my frustrations with others is that I need to forgive myself, to acknowledge that I, too, have a bandwidth, and that I, too, should begin to take better care of myself (because sleeping for 5 hours every night will not let me go far in the real world).
In other words, please be patient with me as I am trying to be patient with myself as well.
Photo by Tony Liu