Do you have dream?
Something you can't ignore?
Something maybe you've tried to ignore (or had to ignore) but it keeps coming back, again and again?
Or maybe a little voice whispering something you're supposed to be. Something you're supposed to do. Something you're supposed to create.
But then another voice creeps in. I call it the 'anti-dream voice.'
"Your idea is stupid."
"You are stupid."
"No one wants this."
"You don't have the time."
"You don't have the money."
"You don't belong here."
"You're not good enough and never will be."
It can be crippling. The self-doubt.
So you think you must not have what it takes.
Or that you must just be doing it all wrong.
But what if you're doing it exactly right?
What if reaching your goal requires years of feeling ignored? Years of only your mom liking your work?
I have interviewed hundreds of creative people, and in every story I have found what Ira Glass said about the gap between where you are today and where you want to be to be true: "It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions."
There is luck. There is privilege. There is a market. There are a billion things you cannot control.
But there are things you can do to increase your chances, to get better, and to have a real shot at that thing you just can't ignore. That thing you want to do. Or be.
It starts with doing your work. Practicing in public. Sharing your voice. Over and over and over again. Even when it feels like you're getting nowhere.
The most important thing you can do is to keep going.
I've learned this things from my interviews with professional artists - people who have put in the work, closed the gap, and are living their dream. This blog is for anyone who has a goal to create something and a goal for the impact they want that something to have.
Creating something just for yourself is great - but this blog is not about that.
This blog is about sharing your work, about the pain and reward of putting yourself out there.
This blog is about digging deep, finding your voice, and doing your best work with your whole heart - no matter how long it takes.
This blog is about aiming high and going for your biggest dreams, the ones you're afraid to say out loud.
Nothing has helped me pursue my creative dreams more than hearing the stories of others who've done the same. This blog was inspired by one such story, an interview I did for my next book with Golden-Globe-winning producer Don Hahn (e.g. Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Waking Sleeping Beauty) and his amazing book on creativity called Brain Storm (fun fact: Don also designed the Creative Teacup logo).
Meeting Don changed my life. He was the first person to show me what it meant to be a professional artist - not just to make money with your creative works, but how to live a creative life, even when the money isn't coming in.
This blog is my way of bringing that meeting to you. This blog is for you if you are an artist. This blog is for you if you are a creative. This blog is for you if you aren't really sure if you'd call yourself an artist or creative.
It took me a long time to call myself an artist. For a long time I even struggled to call myself a writer - even with a published book in bookstores and freelance articles all over the internet.
So I want to bring these artists to you in hopes that you might recognize yourself in them, in hopes that they might provide you with that little bit of courage you need to keep going. To create something. To look right at the thing you're not sure you can do, and do it anyway.
Why artists? There are plenty of non-artists who have plenty to teach when it comes to reaching big goals. But the focus here is on artists simply because professional artists inspire me the most; I find them to be great teachers and coaches for a goal in any area. Because to me the professional artists path, like the professional athlete's path, is an extreme representation of what it takes to go for the "impossible" and actually make a crazy dream reality.
The professional artist path is risky. The career unstable. The steps on the "ladder" unclear. To suceed as a professional artist requires a unique blend of courage, vulnerability, grit, heart, sensitivity, endurance, and strength. It requires a fierce dedication to your vision but also a sharp eye towards what will actually help and affect other people. It requires rejection after rejection after rejection after rejection. It requires years of intensive study and practice. And it requires learning how to express your own unique voice while also constantly learning from the voices of those who inspire you.
In this blog I write about the moments of choice in an artist's story that you can replicate - not exactly, of course (your story is all your own), but the moments, the choices, and the actions they took to make their crazy dreams a reality. The ones you can make too.
Learning from these professional artists has changed my life, moved me so much closer to my biggest, craziest dreams, and - most of all - they helped me find the creative voice I didn't know I had, and gave me the strength to use it.
I hope they do the same for you.
Let me know your creative goal at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please join the #keepgoingclub if you haven't already!