This is a wonderful article from a photo blog called eighteen39. The author, dawnschuck always has the best articles relating to photography, but this one just encapsulates what people think it means to be an artist, as opposed to how it actually is.
The Five Myths of being ‘a Creative’
The myth: Ideas flow easily, arriving in their billions
The reality: Ideas are HARD to find and FEW in number
Sometimes no amount of mind-mapping, painstaking research or soul-searching comes to anything. Ideas, unfortunately, do not always arrive while we dream softly and they almost never take the form of astonishing epiphanies. Idea-making is often a process of dedicated thought, research and application. And always, always, someone else thought of it first…
The myth: We are permanently ‘creatively on’
The reality: We are only ‘creatively on’ when not hungry, tired, stressed…
Us creative lot also have to eat, sleep, clean, care for others and get up when the alarm sounds (whether we want to or not). A diet of strict briefs, lead chasing and deadlines keep us in check; but that’s not to say the inspiration and energy is continually flowing. There are those wise Elders who are experienced enough to churn out quality, high-class work time after time, but, alas, many of us are still learning the art of being on.
The myth: We are odd, believe in recycling and ride bikes with wicker baskets through fields of corn
The reality: Maybe half-true
So the airy-fairy creative stereotype is an outdated one. A few decades ago, a creative was thought to be a colourful character, gentle in nature, quoting Socrates and announcing that all art should be true and meaningful, puffing on something that made the dragons’ magic. Yet the creative has undergone a modern makeover; the need to be seen has bought us out of our shells. We may still be a little strange, but now we’re the hipsters and movers of contemporary practice. We’re finally cool.
The myth: We live in our own little world and need more sunlight
The reality: We’re social-media marketing computer-software-loving self-promoting gurus of multi-taking genius
We can’t sit around contemplating the meaning of life while writing a few lines of poetry before an afternoon of oil painting. To get the work in, we have to navigate all platforms of social media, learn a thousand software systems and learn (fast) the best and most cost-efficient ways to market and advertise our skills. Whether you’re a copywriter, illustrator, graphic designer, photographer, painter or poet – pat yourself of the back. You’re so multi-skilled it’s scary.
The myth: We live a life of freelance luxury watching Bargain Hunt and Murder She Wrote
The reality: Free time? What’s that?
People working in the freelance creative industry often don’t have a guaranteed pay check coming in every month. It’s a tough game out there with so many talented and experienced guys and gals, so finding the next job is sometimes quite tough. Every hour is a workable possibility, so late nights usually combine with early mornings. The times we’re not working to a tight deadline, you can be sure we’re employing our newly learned social marketing skills while deliberating the most effective advertising techniques.
So. Why put ourselves through the stress of working in a seemingly unrelentless and saturated market? Well, the truth is, we wouldn’t do anything else. We just love to create; it’s just us. Simply spare a thought for your creative friends and family members; instead of ribbing them about their awfully easy job, perhaps grab them a coffee, give them a hug. We really like hugs.