Build your own roads
When I set out to start this site, I really didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing, who my audience was, what the end goal was, or what the precedents were. All I knew was that my 9-5 lifestyle, a.k.a. the conventional, was killing me. It was clearly not what I was meant to do with my life.
This is not a particularly hopeful tale and it probably won’t get me on 20/20, but this was the inception of my drastic lifestyle change: the idea that ‘what I’m doing now isn’t working.’
When I sought to establish myself and my writing, I had my heroes in mind; artists who did things on their own terms. They are still in my mind when I do things as I quietly hope that I’m on the right path.
Heroes are people we admire and respect greatly, but we could never mimic their success.
Simply because that road, ‘their road’, is worn and traveled upon frequently by millions trying to be just like them. Yes, it’s epic and great to strive for, but that isn’t my story or my life.
Looking back, I thought, even if my writing ever did reach an audience past my circle of friends and confidants or even did achieve a cult-like, pseudo-celebrity following, I would still have to learn it all on the way. No matter how this goes, we have to build our own roads… And whether it leads off of a cliff or into a glorious sunset, the formula is 75% talent, 15% luck and 10% timing.
So with this, comes the idea of building. Not all artists are entrepreneurs or vice-versa.
What does that word mean to you? For me, it’s accepting that you can’t stay where you are, and that all of your goals are attainable, but only if you’re willing to put a hard hat on and knock down a few walls to get to them.
I think there’s a fear of building something, because of all the energy it requires because we really don’t know how, as artists, to do things simply for ourselves. Writing a story for you isn’t a viable excuse for anything. We need someone to see, find, and live inside of our creation so if we build it, and they don’t come, then what?
This concept ties into fear of the unknown… Going into a dark tunnel and not knowing what’s on the other side.
How do you beat it?
The best example I can give is a personal one. I don’t know how to drive. A large part of it comes with living in New York City my entire life and having a hot temper already… But the other part of it was the fear of the freedom. The possibility exists that one day I might just take off and never look back. I knew myself well enough to know it would be something I might consider. It’s just too much freedom for someone like me.
Fear of building something; making work people don’t identify with, I get that. It’s another scary element of what we do, but our audience doesn’t stagnate and neither should we. Look around you, and see the world. See what new tools you have to work with. You might be surprised at how little there is to fear, after all.
Build a bridge so we can all come over one day and see the awesome you created for yourself.