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I recently published a post that was titled "What it looks like when you've found your passion".
Let me be clear, my creative world isn't bundled up into a neat little package. I want to be real with you guys.
While I've certainly found several things that I consider myself very passionate about, my creative future is still very hazy to me.
This notion of fuzziness became more apparent to me as I was emailing an Instagram friend, "John".
Recently John emailed me and asked me where I find my inspiration for my illustrations.
But as we exchanged emails and dug deeper, there was more at the root of the matter. Ultimately, he's looking for his creative passion. He has a creative degree but is now working in tech. Not creative AT ALL. He has his eyes on the more creative tasks within his office but ultimately he's still combing through his options on his own time.
He's tried photography. Film. Illustration.
But nothing is really landing for him. He's not feeling a pull towards any one thing.
So I wrote back to him, and I'd like to share that with you. Here I share my story and where I am creatively, and I'm also am hoping it helps you too. (Note: I edited the email for more context... and to correct my bad grammar.)
I TOTALLY hear where you're coming from [in regards to not feeling a pull in a specific creative direction]. Let me give you my back story.
I graduated with a degree in interior design. In 2009. Right after the economy crashed. Any prospects for me as a paid interior designer were non-existent. Then I moved across the country, away from my family and friends.
I ended up working as a fundraising data person for years as a result of a move. Not creative at all. I looked for artistic opportunities within my office. While my boss was accommodating and supportive, it was clear to both of us that I wasn't ready to take on a professional project like that.
Because I was away from my social circles and had extra time on my hands, I discovered blogging. Soon I had a mildly successful beauty blog (hilarious now because I wear the same minimal makeup every day), and I designed my own blog in WordPress. My work gained some interest within the beauty blogging community and through word-of-mouth I started designing sites for fellow beauty bloggers.
Since then, a lot has changed. Beauty blogging morphed into lifestyle blogging which is now somewhere between lifestyle blogging and design blogging.
On this journey, I learned more and more about design and art. I was fortunate to work for my friend's graphic design company as their social media gal, which catapulted me into the design world full-time and allowed me to learn a ton about marketing.
Eventually it came around to where I rebranded my Instagram account to reflect only illustration and lettering. By publishing illustrations regularly, I found an awesome community.
Also, by posting my work on sites like Dribbble and Behance and marketing myself as a designer on LinkedIn, I got hired as a full-time designer (just this year).
Back to experimenting with your passion:
My advice to you is - do whatever feels right to you in the moment, but make sure to publish your work.
Here's where I am:
Photography? I picked up. DSLR while beauty blogging in the hopes of taking better product photos for reviews. Since then, I developed an interest in industrial photography and I started a stock photo site at hellobriophoto.com and have since dropped that. Maybe I'll pick it up at some point.
Design? I did a handful of custom WordPress and Blogger designs and that eventually got me a design job. I have my reservations about my own skills just as any professional creative does in a field where they know they only know a slice of the entire picture, but it just goes to show you that consistently publishing your work on a portfolio site can get you places.
Drawing? I don't consider myself an artist at all but I've found a niche in illustration and lettering because it allows me to say something. I don't know where this will go and it may just be a hobby for me, but in the meantime I am also working to generate passive income through my Creative Market shop.
So, don't worry too much whether you've made the right choice. It took me a while to get where I am, and I still don't see myself as having found my true thing yet.
All of these skills that you'll develop practicing and trying out these different hobbies and interest will keep building until it all comes together naturally.
For now - think about your ultimate goals. What does that look like for you? Then think about the steps that may help you get there. And publish. Consistently.
I hope this helps.
So ultimately I hope this helps you understand where I am, creatively. Even though it may look like I have my shit together from time to time, it couldn't be further from the truth.
And the same goes for other folks.
The key takeaways here:
- Always be sharing your work.
- Don't worry about your passion being clear. Just keep working on things with heart and it'll pull together organically.
- You're not alone in your indecisiveness.
Just keep plugging away, and enjoy the process.