Curiously Creative: Creating is hard work
“I could do that. It’s not that hard.” I think anyone who has a job has heard this comment, and it can be extremely irritating.
For me, I first heard the phrase, not in reference to my own job, but about an incredible work of art hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. To say I was floored was an understatement.
There is a school of thought that believes being a creative isn’t a real job and, therefore, not that hard to do. It goes back to the idea of work needing to be work and not something you necessarily enjoy doing. This is, luckily, changing, but there are still people out there who think being a creative is nothing more than tossing aside the idea of responsibility in order to follow passion. This couldn’t be more wrong.
Let me quickly say creating is hard work — extremely hard work. Most creatives are juggling their passion with a more accepted idea of employment, and if they’re not, they’re most likely running their own business, party of one. That means social media accounts, financial work, promotion, events, late-night work sessions and spreadsheets as well as creating.
Creating is the fun part of the job — most days. Creatives know there are days when creating is even harder than the other pieces. Those blank canvases and mounds of clay don’t turn into something breathtaking on their own, and I have yet to find magic fairies to help me when I just don’t want to write anymore.
Let’s go back to the person in the museum saying they could make that same painting. Just as anyone who works in any industry is insulted when someone belittles their profession by making such blanket statements, so, too, are creatives. Painting, writing, sculpting, welding, etc. take the same amount of work as any other job (though there are creatives I view as professional athletes, they just have IT).
I’ll use myself as an example to explain what I mean: If I write 500 words Monday, I have to go back Tuesday and read through them to make sure they’re what I was hoping for. Since I most likely did not edit myself Monday, I’ve got to try to avoid all the grammar and spelling mistakes until I finish tweaking the words to say what I’m aiming at, which is difficult for someone who works as a copy editor. After I finally finish up editing, I’ve then got to put it out into the world by submitting it to be published to literary magazines or an agent for a publishing house.
Rejections and tough feedback will most likely follow from 99% of the people who read it, and I’ll have to decide to give up or keep going. When you pour your heart and soul into a creation, which one do you think you want to do, even with tough skin?
So all of this is to say, before you assume you could do it better or just do it in general, take a second to think about all the time and energy a creative put into the piece you’re experiencing. We promise to do the same when it comes to your profession.
Mackenzie Hicks is a copy editor and page designer for Steamboat Pilot & Today. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing. She can be reached at mhicks@SteamboatPilot.com.
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