A few weeks ago I visited one of my happy places, the children’s book section of Waterstones. I can’t quite put into words why it is my happy place, but whenever I visit and delve into the beautifully illustrated adventures, I feel like a different person from the one standing outside the shop. But, this particular visit was a different story.
I headed to the children’s book section and spotted a father reading one of the books to his daughter. Sitting beside them was his other daughter admiring the book covers. That happy feeling I usually have was somewhat different. I continued to look at the books for some inspiration. The youngest of the girls spoke to her father: “I’m going to colour something like that”. Well, at that point I had to leave as I could feel tears beginning to fill my eyes, and I don’t do crying in public.
Now, these tears weren’t because the scene in the bookshop was ridiculously adorable, these tears appeared because of the realisation that my dreams weren’t a reality.
One of my dreams, my ambition, in life is to be a full-time illustrator, and illustrate children’s books. At the moment this dream is very much just a dream, but one that I’m not giving up on. The reason I’m not giving up is because this dream is God-given. God has given me the gift of creativity so I’m not going to ignore it.
Here are just a few things I’m learning as a creative while my dream is not yet a reality.
- “Comparison is the thief of joy”
I don’t know much about Theodore Roosevelt, but I do know that this is a great quote of his. As a creative person I often look at other designers and illustrators, and wish I’d created what they had and be where they are in their creative journey. Whenever I do this, worry creeps in, jealousy appears and I stop creating because I don’t feel good enough. Just a reminder: God has made you to be a unique individual. If we were all creating the same designs, life would be incredibly boring. God even used different days to create specific things during creation, just as He has specific timing for each stage of your life.
- You’ll need a backbone
Positive feedback is great, but you’ll need to learn to hear negative comments too. Not everyone is going to like your work, and that’s OK. We’re allowed to like different things. When people tell you that you can’t do something, that’s when you need to ignore them and fight back. Surround yourself with people who will support you in your creative field, and know that God has the final say over your creativity.
- Don’t stop creating
Even when you find yourself doing a job that isn’t exactly the creative career you wished for, or don’t have as much time as you’d like to, don’t stop creating. You never know where your creativity will lead you. If it makes you happy, then create. If God has given you a gift, use it!
Image: Courtesy of the writer