…When turning your ‘hobby’ into a career, there is a dangerous chance that what you originally did, just to please yourself (and maybe a few friends, here and there) has turned into this monster– this insatiable monster– wherein you must create, create, create to reach this never-ending road to perfection. By perfection, I mean this perfect life that you supposedly dreamed up for yourself.
When you were little (or just younger), what did you dream of becoming? Has it manifested itself into reality lately? If not, is there something holding you back? By ‘you’, I am speaking of myself here too. I am always holding my own self back, it feels. People-pleasing has always been a big thing for me to overcome. And even once I feel that I’m over it, the need to do so sucks me right back in. And why?
Of course, I want others to love and appreciate my stories, but to the expense of who I am– who I feel I really need to express? That is not a very fair trade-off, is it? I wouldn’t want my friends to sacrifice their very soul just ‘to be liked’, or what have you. I would like them to ‘express the real you’; everything else will just be a shadow of themselves. Not what I’d really like to see.
So, what’s the big deal then with me, you ask? I’m not quite clear on it, myself, but from what I do know, it seems my ‘people-pleasing’ has turned into ‘company-pleasing’. Instead of sacrificing myself/art to satisfy a certain group of people, that group/audience has merely shifted into people who are in charge of other people– a.k.a. comic book companies. When’s the last real time I did any art JUST for myself, huh? Or just to please myself, or just to get something out, huh?
I mean, I have a few good stories out there that I’ve done in the past– just for myself– but what about now? What, in the last two years have been really for myself, and not for the sake of ‘getting a job’ or whatnot? Of course, I’m not saying that getting a job isn’t important (and even more so if you want to ‘follow your dream(job)s’), but when your dream doesn’t even feel pleasurable anymore, when you lose the original meaning to why you did art in the first place, well… I just don’t get why I’m still doing this anymore.
I’m not saying that turning your hobby into a career is NEVER going to feel like work; it is actually a LOT of work. (I am not there yet, but it is work so far). But there is a difference between doing work that you LOVE, that you don’t MIND how many strenuous hours it takes, and doing work that you despise, don’t look forward to, and ‘must distract yourself to get through it’ work. I can always tell when I am working on a drawing or a story that I love vs. one that I don’t because I don’t NEED any other distractions (in terms of background music/movies and frequent breaks); and in fact, sometimes I cut it completely out because it’s more enjoyable to be in the moment of story-telling and making things as perfect as can be, that to be partially enveloped in someone else’s story (for distraction purposes). Also, by perfect, I simply mean that you want to get your emotions and meaning in your artwork and words as close to how it is in your head onto the page. You will always be/feel better or worse that someone else, so there’s no use comparing there. (Plus, art is subjective, anyway! :P )
What I really mean to say here is that we/I need to be careful when doing/combining something so natural (self-expression through art) with a ‘work’, so that it does not become systematic and chore-like.
I need to draw/write more– a LOT more– if I ever plan to really do art/comics as my ‘career’. I’m 29 already. When is enough going to be enough? Although I believe it is never too late to start on your dream, when are you (I mean “I” going to take the roadblocks off of your own path, and quit pretending that you’re making progress, when all that you’re doing is driving SOMEWHERE, ANYwhere and getting lost? As long as you get back on the road, you’ll be fine (nothing wrong with failure, as long as you realize it and try to correct it), but be careful not to waste any gas by going in a direction you know you never should have traveled. And why should a road trip like this be painful to the very end? As long as you’re enjoying the ride, then it shouldn’t matter, really… but that’s the thing; you have to ENJOY it in order to make your trip (through life) worthwhile. Otherwise, what’s the point? If all you were going to do was have a monotonous art job that you don’t really enjoy, you might as well have done that OTHER monotonous job without wasting all of that practice time.
The difference, I feel, between doing something you regret and ‘normal sadness’ can be found in this slightly old fan-comic that I did about Death Note, oddly enough. (This is an explanation of ‘driving where you know you shouldn’t.’)
Even if I never make it to where I (think I) want to be, I should at least enjoy the ride, wherever I am going. Who says that I know the exact direction anyway? Who is really driving this thing?!? Lol. :)
When your soul will never be satisfied by your work until you achieve the ‘end result’ that you had for it… well… isn’t being focused on the end result, ONLY– being attached to the outcome– the sure-fire way to not be happy with whatever turns about? After all, how can we expect to control everyone’s reactions to our work?? Maybe it is not up to us on HOW we will achieve our dreams. And maybe that’s a good thing.
I still would like for people to like my artwork and stories, HOWEVER, there is a limit to performing like a scripted clown, hoping that people will laugh VS. a person who is laughing on the inside (or outside) as he is performing.
You get me?
I bid you adieu!~
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26)