Grown folk creativity is something you gotta deal with no matter how many of these fabricated artist lie about the process it ain’t gone equal to this real shit.
Word to T-Rex.
If you’re reading this, I don’t know what the fuck you do. Maybe you’re an artist. Maybe you’re thinking about becoming one. There isn’t just one type of artist. I’m a writer. There’s artistry in that. You can be a painter, cook, curator, singer, makeup artist, event planner, all of those deal with artistry. It takes creativity to execute what those creators do.
What I’m here to speak on today is that a lot of people have things confused with what I do and what different artists do. People only see the outcome and think everything is fun. Yes I have fun with what I do but being a professional is what I put first. The fun will always be there but it’s not all fun and games. This shit real and I want to share with you the realities of an artist.
This shit is lonely. No fucking joke. When you have your eyes staring at a MacBook screen for a whole day it’s not a game. I write so much to the point I start having hallucinations. I want you to feel the loneliness of being in your work space on a 73 degree day, off your regular job, watching your homies have fun, checking Instagram and Twitter seeing the squad T’d the fuck up and you dedicated to staying focused and finishing your creations. It’s lonely as fuck. I always feel left out of everything and I’m not gonna front or lie that shit hurt a nigga.
The true artist is always isolated. Even the ones who work with people. I’m sure a photographer and videographer would love to be out but they have to go lock in and do edits. A person who throwing an event can never truly enjoy the event they have to make sure everything is going right all day or night. A singer can be lonely in the studio with just an engineer. The isolation gets to you sometimes but if you want it bad enough you accept it. It’s the only way you can get to the next level.
There’s going to be a LOT of it so prepare yourself. The first few art shows you’re in you may not sell anything. The first event you throw you may barely break even or may not break even. No one will care about your songs you write sometimes. You’re going to question yourself and there might be days that you feel like quitting. It’s okay. You’re human but this is apart of the game.
Failure will be your best friend so if you feel you’re too good to fail then you’re really an amateur and you’re not ready for the artistic journey. Failure is fun. Yes you read that correctly. Failure is fun!
I love what I do so much that failing gives me an excuse to go harder. It’s gives me an excuse to become obsessive. If an article doesn’t get any attention then I going right back to my desk and I’ll write 3-4 more articles to come back with.
If you’re playing 1 on 1 with someone in basketball and you truly love basketball like one of those “Ball is life” ass niggas. If you keep losing to the same person you’re gonna keep coming back to play them over and over and over again. Failure is driving you to do so. When failure comes I laugh and I keep coming back. Failure keeps me going. Without failure the game would be boring. I’m like Mitch on “Paid N Full.” I love to hustle. I love this game and I can’t leave it.
THE THIN LINE BETWEEN WHO SERIOUS AND WHO PLAYING
Artists get approached or messaged about their work daily or weekly. The problem is majority of it is bullshit. Dead ends. So that fucks up our perception of knowing who’s serious and who’s playing. The line is kind of blurred. I usually ask around and see if the person asking me to collab with them is solid but sometimes these bitches be lying too so I end up getting my time wasted anyway.
The fucked up part is that someone could approach me and could be really serious about getting some work done and I’ll make them jump through hoops just to prove it because the last 5 clowns were wasting my time so the person who really bout their business suffers or I may not deal with them at all which is worse cause I could be missing out on a cool opportunity.
This applies to customers too not just people who want to collaborate. People will swear up and down they’ll buy from you. Bug you about pricing and never cop anything. You won’t take anything seriously until money is in your hand or account.
Unfortunately this comes with being an artist. You’re gonna deal with a LOT of bullshit.
When I was creating music I would have people tell me about certain songs I created that they loved and in my mind I’d always ask “Why?” Not why because I’m interested in what they like. I mean why as in “That song is awful to me and I hate how I sounded on it.”
No matter how much you praise an artist they will never believe you. It’s not about us believing if the compliments you give us on our work is genuine or not. It’s all about WE don’t think it’s good enough. We always feel we can do better. We’re professional perfectionists.
Ironically it’s the self doubt that keeps us going. Well at least for me. I always feel like I have to redeem myself from my previous work. It’s never “perfect” for me so I’m always chasing a feeling and trying defeat self doubt but it’s a battle I’ll probably never win. It’s in our DNA. If I do write the perfect write up then I’d probably retire (Unlikely).
WORKING FOR YOURSELF HARD AS FUCK
The artist that are blessed enough to work for themselves instead of someone else will tell you that the level of difficulty of it is as high as Pookie relapsing doing jumping jacks in The Carter.
WORKING. FOR. YOURSELF. IS. NOT. A. VACATION.
Your cash-flow is a roller coaster you don’t have set days where money just appears in your account like a regular job. People can cancel on you at any given time and there’s no telling if they’ll come back and shop with you.You’re gonna have weeks you make $50 and weeks you make $300 it’s just the way it is. There’s no paid leave or paid time off. Everything is on YOU.
You will literally miss having a paycheck sometimes. That’s how unpredictable working for yourself is. You have to work 100 times harder than you did when you had a 9 to 5. The difference is that you’re doing what you love so it’s more tolerable. You still have to get up early just like a regular job. If I had to get up at 6am to write I’d have no problem doing so. It’s better than getting up at 6am to go to a job where I want to punch my co workers everyday but it’s still difficult.
YOU HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO MAKE IT
That’s with anything of course but if the artist don’t invest in themselves then their shit not going nowhere. Banks not giving out loans to artist for a reason (NEVER get a bank loan. Just used that as an example). You either have someone that believe’s in you and has the tools for you to create or you have to scrape up money to get your shit going. The latter is more the norm and even if you have people who you meet and believe in what you do then you probably went through hell before they reached you.
YOU’RE THE MARKETING TEAM
I’m awful at marketing. I’m doing okay but if I gave a fuck about marketing I’d probably be on TV by now. Artists usually have to do marketing by themselves which is tough because we have to focus on our craft and the business side simultaneously. It’s too fucking hard to do. It’s one of the realities of being an artist. Not all of us are apart of crews and even if we have a team it’s still tough to do because the whole team may be full of super talented artist who all can’t market for shit. Whatever you do marketing has to go to half of it if you want to keep climbing. Your creativity won’t sell itself. YOU have to sell it.
WE HAVE TO GO IN OVERKILL EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T WANT TO
If I had it my way I’d post 1-2 articles a week. Just last week I gave you 8 articles in one week. Some bloggers barely do a entry a month. I don’t like posting so much but in this game I HAVE to. In this age where everything is forgotten in 2 days I have to keep pumping out content even though that’s not really my style. I have to be vulnerable. Some articles people love and show it all love. Some articles people don’t pay any attention to. It’s the risk I take by doing what I do. I gotta feed the streets and keep my name circulating.
Artist have to constantly put their work out in this era. There’s really no way around that. You have to go to events even if you don’t want to. You have to show face more than you’d like to. It’s the game.
PEOPLE QUESTION YOUR WORTH
Artists are always in demand but the most disrespected. Artists always set prices for their work and someone ALWAYS questions it. They always tell you that you’re not worth the price and start comparing your rates to other people rates as if you chased them down and asked them to come fuck with you. I didn’t tell you to email me. You asked for my price. I told you. You either take it or leave it. It’s not up for debate. Unfortunately this reality comes with the game and to me personally it’s the most annoying.
THERE’S NO CLEAR WAY TO SUCCESS
The road is a fucking long one. I’ve come to realize this recently. I’d probably have to write for years before I see a real benefit from it. The same for anyone else. The journey is a long fucking one and there’s really no clear direction. Even if you do all the right things it will still take a artist long as fuck to get where they want.
It’s more than you just being dope and talented. People don’t have radars of who’s talented and then go immediately to support everything they do. Waiting on to get discovered because you’re talented is very stupid and unrealistic. For example I have to keep writing dope shit over and over again. My reputation has to be consistent for me to get a huge writing opportunity. People want people who can do it consistently not just a couple times. Even if the “right” person sees your work doesn’t mean the rest of the world will like it.
YOU’RE A SPEC IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF IT ALL
We all think our work is unique. It really is but it don’t really mean shit in the grand scheme of it all. It doesn’t mean you’ll get to your goals faster. Having unique talent is just one piece of the puzzle. Is the quality of what you do great? How does it make people feel? Remember there are millions of aspiring artists in this world and coming up you’re just a blip on the radar. Just stay consistent, focused, and keep working and you’ll be a spec that grows.