It’s never what you expect. You have high hopes. You suffer from what is known as “optimism bias.” Somewhere in your mind, it’s all going to work out, until, it doesn’t.
That’s a tough pill to swallow even if you coat the pride with sweetened acceptance that “it just wasn’t meant to be.” The truth is, not everything is meant to be and not everything has the will to be. We would all be rich, beautiful, famous astronauts with a side job as President of the United States or whatever your dream is.
So how do you, being the creative person you are, deal with rejection of your ideas and creations?
Do you give up or keep on trying?
To put this in perspective, thousands, maybe even millions of people, have moved to New York City, Hollywood, Nashville, and <insert creative Mecca here> to try and make it in their given industries. Now how many names can you think of that have become really inspiring and successful actors, writers, dancers, etc. It’s a teardrop in the ocean.
Sometimes, it’s who you know, what your moral standards are, right-place…right-time and other times it is simply being yourself. We have a tendency to imitate (steal) what we are most familiar with. How then do you stand out? Hi, I’m writer X, who writes like writers A through W, my replacement Y will be along shortly; buy my stuff before she gets here.
I had a hard time finding my voice. I still do from time to time. There’s an immediate desire to play to the crowd and write what is popular, trendy, or just plain controversial.
I find that when I do this I get hung up on a particular post for days at a time. How does that help anyone?! My latest fascination and entrapment has been in writing a post about agnosticism. I started working on the post a few weeks ago and just kept reading different opinions about what it means to be agnostic. While fascinating, and I did learn more about not knowing anything than I did before, I didn’t accomplish anything with this blog, and really, what does agnosticism have to do with creativity, technology, or me in this context? Nothing.
Laura and I were recently on vacation. We decided to spend a week in a mountain cabin in Tennessee. Our families had both spent a few vacations in the Pigeon Forge area when we were growing up. On our way down, we discovered that an entire section of I-75 had fallen down the mountain into the abyss.
It was extremely frustrating at first going from 75mph to a meandering 30mph. We were subsequently rerouted over 30 miles through locals-only territory. The detour easily added another hour or two to our journey. We were moving around crazy turns that left 6 inches between us and a straight down the mountain drop and look “Ma! No guardrails!” Scary, huh? I’m from Indiana. We have cornfields and micro hills, nothing remotely mountain-esque.
But then, I started looking around and the beauty of the area started to sink in, in between the cars on blocks and the other picturesque trailers of course. We passed mountain churches looking like they had fallen right out of the 1950’s. We drove around winding ridges with beautiful views of untouched valleys and nature, you would never see this from the interstate at 75mph. We began to feel privileged to be detoured.
What started out as an inconvenience turned into an experience littered with photographs, conversation and excitement. We found something out there. A natural beauty of culture, structure, and things that most people missed now that I-75 carved its way through the mountains. The detour opened up our eyes and minds to a scenario we would’ve missed.
Recently, I had a very painful experience. I learned that I was literally 5 months from graduation and found out simultaneously that I was no longer eligible for financial aid. There’s a long story here, one that involves prior medical issues and emotional constructs and really doesn’t matter. Suffice it to say, I’ve been in school for too long without obtaining my degree.
I attempted and failed to find an alternative means of paying for school and my rent. (I would have to quit my job in order to complete my degree due to class schedule conflicts.) I am at the end of my ability to obtain financial aid from the government and also only 24 credits away from completion. I have to withdrawal from classes at least for this academic year in order to eventually pull this off. I could see the finish line and the dream failed to launch. That’s tough to face. I’m angry at IU Kokomo and IUPUI for not having schedules that are more convenient to a working adult and angry at myself for all the things that slowed my education and now has stalled it completely.
Noticing my malcontent, life decided that I might need some incentive or reminders about course correction. I’ve since garnered some sound advice from working professionals that I respect. A couple of experiences, networking and potential opportunities later and I realized that like I-75, my path to graduation had fallen into the abyss. However, just like I-75, it will reopen again soon enough, and the beauty of it is that the path less taken created more opportunities and ideas than the path of less resistance. I’m reminded of a Robert Frost poem…
One final bit of random advice for you creative-types, one of the worst things I can do is type anything on a computer first. I wonder if any of you have this problem. Do you find that you spend so much time self-editing that you can’t quite get your original ideas out? Since I have discovered this problem, I have started writing with pencil and paper, that’s right, old school. I write and write some more without regard for proper spelling, grammar, punctuation or even cohesion of thoughts.
Your mind doesn’t work in proper grammar because you are an individual and your mind is only adapting to the language rules of your respective society. You format it for other people… but you have to get it out of your head first.
Now get out and there and start creatively rebuilding your bridges!
Thanks for reading,