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There Are Those Days As A Creative, I Want To Quit!

The audio this video is set to has re-inspired me countless times when I find myself back in that “Gap” that Ira Glass explains so well as a place where our expectations for our work is not aligning with our taste. Though the Gap has closed to become more of a crack for me, on occasion I do find myself tripping over it.

I think that all creatives can relate. We are our own harshest critics.


City of Angels

I just got finished watching a video produced by 30 Seconds to Mars about Los Angeles. The video included various cameos from famous people talking about what the city gave them, what people expect of them and how they feel about certain things. It was pretty amazing. It’s not often that we get to hear people on that level talk candidly about how they feel. The reason we hold these people to such high acclaim is most likely due to the fact that we believe that they all have it together. They seem to have everything. Hearing them talk like this is humbling and I welcome it.

Here is the video:

Though the video is most likely going to help some make the decision to move to Los Angeles it really got me thinking about how I never ended up moving from my home town. Despite the ups and downs of my life to date, I have stayed here in Modesto, CA. I didn’t have a perfect childhood and I definitely went down some paths that I should have known better than to have, but I am who I am now because of it. I have always been a self-starter and required very little motivation from those around me. I have been frustrated that there is not a community of people in my area that have a similar mindset I can relate to. I have found these communities, but they exist only in larger areas like the Bay Area or even Los Angeles.

Though in the past we were largely products of our environment, I don’t think that is the case in this time we currently live. Before, our neighborhoods were our community and they consisted of people of the same class and financial levels. Now we find ourselves segregated and more closely connected with “neighbors” who might be on the other side of town. We keep connected through text message and social media. Social Media allows me to connect with the kind of people who I relate to the most regardless of where they live. We follow each other and connect on things that we have joint interests in. Because these digital connections are easier to maintain than in-person connections, we can connect with people on more specific topics. It’s really quite interesting. I have had friends move to get away from situations or groups of friends that they felt were holding them back, but they just find those same kind of friends where they move. You have to change your circumstances and you can do that from any location, even your current one.

My earlier years before I was married and had kids, I wanted to move. I felt that if I moved, I could really start something and move forward. Being as connected as I was to the internet and digital world, I quickly realized that I could create what I wanted of myself from anywhere. All I needed was my laptop and an internet connection and I would create from anywhere in the world. With that mindset I realized that I could live in Modesto, CA and create on the level that those in the more tech savvy areas do. Because I live in a smaller town, my overhead is less. Today I have a 4200 square foot office which comes at a cost equal to what a desk at a coworking space in one of these larger cities would cost me. I am close to my family, which is important for me now that I have children. At times I do wish that I could raise my kids in a more interesting location than Modesto, but I would rather them have close ties to their Grandparents and Cousins than live next to the beach or something like that. Who knows, maybe my entire family will relocate one day, but for now, Modesto is ok and I am making it work.

What I really wanted to say here is that you don’t have to move away in order to jumpstart your life. You can make whatever you want of yourself from virtually any location these days if you go about it right. The internet is bigger than the City of Angels. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against Los Angeles. I almost moved to Southern California, but it wasn’t for opportunity, it was for a change of scenery. Living in the “valley” can kind of get dull over time but living here also allows me to travel more frequently.

Over the last several years I have seen a lot of startup companies coming from other places than Silicon Valley or areas with similar communities. Opportunity does not live in a certain location any longer. We all (almost) have an internet connection and can reach the same people regardless of location. There is no reason not to start something where you are now. For most, moving will not do anything other than delay your plans as you acclimate your life to a new location, job and whatever else is required.

There is nothing wrong with adventure and trying something new. For those who are considering moving, I say go for it, but don’t leave the good things you have behind. At the end of it all, you just have your family. My family is not perfect but they are great and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Knowing now what I didn’t know 5-10 years ago, I would miss the connections I have with my family if I had moved. Regardless of what you do, you need to be self-motivated before you make any decisions. Living in some other area is not going to change you if you are inherently a lazy person. Don’t increase your daily cost of living just for an idea or concept that worked for someone else. Create your own change and opportunity and do it on your own terms. Whether you do that in your current town or in Los Angeles does not matter. Just don’t make a location be the determining factor in your success. Some of the biggest rising Youtube Stars are from weird noname towns.

What do you think? I know that some will be more liberal about this than I am. I recognize the fact that I am overly ambitious and more introverted at times. Some people can not thrive unless they can integrate into the stream. I’m interested to hear what others have to say about opportunity and your physical location in this world.


Don’t Give Up On Being Creative

Over the years I have sought out creative inspiration from many places. The internet has given me inspiration to create and to always try to take it to the next level. The internet is not always kind in return however. In the past, you would do work and a small audience would have access to it. If you did any sort of creating, it usually didn’t make it to far outside of your city. It wasn’t until the first form of mass media communication came along that we were able to spread the word about something across the entire United States, or World for that matter. Even then, the voices of the mass media decided if it was good or not. Today, everybody has a voice and they enjoy using it. The internet has given each individual a voice and the ability to judge. Being creative is a much scarier thing to do than it used to be.

When I started creating I knew I was not creating on the level in which I wanted to be. I was new and it was discouraging because I knew that I had an eye for creating but my experience wasn’t there. What I was creating did not measure up to the level in which I wanted to be creating on. During that time of my life I was single and had nothing but time on my hands. Had I started creating now, during the chapter of my life I am in currently, I don’t think I would have made it.

I came across this video which sums it up pretty well. I had good taste and that is what got me into creating in the first place, however I did not have the expertise to pull it off just yet. I did not understand the tools and was not confident enough with them. With practice and patience I was able to overcome that. Through doing work and trying things, I was able to reach a new level where I could create well.

What is great about the creative mind is that it continuously needs to be stimulated. There have been times when I have been less creative because I was focusing on another type of work. When I needed to create again, it took me a while to get back to where I was. It was as if I was a track runner who took a year off from running. There was a short period of time where I needed to regain creative stamina. I was able to overcome this setback by doing work.

I have came to understand that it does not matter what you are doing, the simple art of doing it often with repetition is what makes you great at it. I guess this goes back to what we were told as kids, “practice makes perfect.” I feel like we are told a lot of things as children but must experience them first hand for them to become practical wisdom.

If you relate to any of this at all, my advice to you is to keep at it and not to quit. When you quit you are leaving a void in your heart and soul that you will never be able to fill any other way. We are creative beings that desire to express ourselves in different ways, it’s Biblical (Exodus 35:31-32, Proverbs 22:29, 1 Timothy 4:14).

It is easy for us to try and measure up to someone else (Romans 12:6). The internet makes this easy to do. If I have learned one thing about trying to compare yourself to someone else I have learned this: People only put their best work on display. There is much failure that comes before producing something amazing. If you search the internet hard enough you can find many of my failures and I’m sure you can find the same with others. Even though it is easy to do, you don’t have to put everything you do on public display. There only true way to get good at something is to produce.

Just because it seems like someone else is better or faster than you does not mean you should give up and try something else. I have an artistic friend who I introduced to Adobe Illustrator and with in weeks he was running circles around me. Sure it was a bit humbling, but he was an artist to begin with, I simply introduced a new tool. I have another friend who I introduced to video and video editing. Now he is creating amazing work for his clients. I don’t see the success of others as a stumbling block. I see it as a chance for me to keep stepping up my game. If I was the only player in town, my work would be junk. I would have no reason to create good work for my clients and myself. I wouldn’t know any different. I am thankful that better work than mine is one click away. It keeps me on my toes.

We live in a world where patience is not a virtue. We have access to pretty much anything we want with in minutes however talent can not be instantaneous. Someone may become an overnight success but that success came out of years of practice and hard work. My hope is that you continue to try and believe in your ability to create. Don’t give up on it.