Okay so, this is an op-ed that is meant to tell you, the reader, to just do the thing that you’ve been wanting to do, because waiting around for “the right moment” will never happen.
You’ve probably heard this numerous times, and always do this thing where you say “Yes, I will,” and then 10 weeks later you’re still trying to find your will to do this thing.
This is my attempt at trying to get you to really just do the thing you’ve been wanting to do. I’ve finally finished Chris Hardwick’s book, The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level, and near the end, he discusses how, as creatives, we struggle to do whatever creative work we want to do because we fear criticism, risk, and a whole slew of other reasons. He adds how we all wait for some “moment” to push us into what it is that we want to do, and in the end bluntly claims that there is no “moment.” There is just right now, and we waste our time if we don’t do it now. And reading this part of his book really hit me.
It’s important, I think, to remember we’re currently living in the present. Especially for us creatives, we usually face this problem of just doing and creating. Although I’m writing this from an arts perspective, this can still apply to anybody, so bear with me, people.
To be honest, I am no expert at just doing things. I’m no better than the next person at just making my work come to life. I do exactly what we all do and are afraid to say; I get nervous about making something because people will see it, judge it, talk crap about it, love it, and then my mind becomes this swirling gush of hatred and disgust that causes me to just lay in my bed and wonder why I even thought it would be a good idea.
But it’s hard to argue with the fact that once you create something, it’s an experience that you won’t forget.
I recently did a small photoshoot for an idea that has been festering in my mind for a few months now. Up until that moment where I started to do it, I was nervous and reluctant to even attempt doing it. My main reason being that this was a personal project that I wanted to really include a part of me in, which made me feel vulnerable. However, when I got to doing it, it was an amazing feeling because I got to learn so much. I learned that what was in my head wasn’t necessarily what was coming out of my camera. And from this one small photoshoot, I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be.
I think we’re all very hesitant to do things that have always been told would be too much of a risk. But we forget that you don’t know how much of a risk it is until you actually do it. (Unless it’s something illegal. Don’t do that. That’s not risk, that’s dumb). So, we waste our time fretting about what may or may not happen when we pursue some form of creative work. And who can blame us? I mean, we’re all living in this world where image matters—what you look like on Facebook, what tweets we write, or how our Instagram looks. We worry so much about how people perceive us that we forget that who we are in social media and our online profile becomes a forged version of ourselves to please the public. That’s why we fear judgement. The internet can be an evil place, and the majority of artists will put their work up on the internet.
However, when you stop thinking too far into the imagined future, stop yourself from dwelling too much the audience, and focus on the work that you’re creating. You’ve finally taken another step towards your career, and are already ahead of the game by even the tiniest increment. It doesn’t matter what people will say or what you think they’ll say, because it’s your work, your art, your vision, not anyone else’s. Some of today’s greatest artists started with work that they wish they had never done. But if they didn’t do it, they would have never learned to continue. Stanley Kubrick’s first feature film wasn’t something he necessarily enjoyed. He thought it was too pretentious, but he still did it, and then became an acclaimed director.
Sure, you might say I’m an optimist, or that I look at this world as some kind of sphere of joy and beauty. But I couldn’t care less about what people think at this point. If what you say isn’t constructive or positive, then what’s the point? I’m slowly coming to terms with that. I know that for myself I am creating work, and right now, that’s all I need to be doing. To push the boundaries of myself, and stay true to myself.
I’m slowly improving on my mindset as an artist. I know I’m not there yet, otherwise I wouldn’t be spiraling into a deep dark lair of, “You can’t do this because no one will like it,” every so often.
I know that people will read this and spew some kind of snarky remark about it and probably judge me on it as well. And people I know will probably judge me too.
But I’m working on improving that mindset, just as much as I’m working on my art. There is no “moment.” There is no risk. There is just you telling yourself that it’s time to do this now, or you’ll never do it. Don’t worry about how crappy it is, because the crappier, the better. It just means you’ll learn even more.