As a child, it seemed like a really easy thing to do: draw pretty pictures and get paid for it. Not the case. Not even close. What they don’t tell you is that being a creative means so much more than putting a pen to paper, or paint to canvas, or clicking a button on a camera. Creativity is a journey and not an easy one.
With every great journey comes great struggles. What they forget to tell you is that it is no different with creativity. There have been trials in my career that I never imagined would occur as a creative, causing me to become so discouraged that I almost gave up. Looking back, I realize that it was those seasons of my life that molded me into the person I am today. It was then that I had learned some of the most essential keys I wish someone had taught me early on. I learned that it was these 3 things that helped me get through those backbreaking seasons, not only as a creative, but a follower of Jesus as well.
You will get discouraged. But it’s okay!
It’s not new for a creative person to look at another piece of work or listen to a song and think, “Man, I wish I had thought of that,” or “Why can’t I be like them?” It’s almost expected to become discouraged when you see someone else succeed, but the thing is that it’s okay to feel this way. Why? Because this is the fuel that will spark the inspiration to want to do something better. In order to overcome this struggle, you must use it to your advantage. “Yes, I wish I had done what they did, but I wonder what it would look like if I did this instead…”
Routine is your enemy.
Don’t get me wrong. Routines can be great, but it’s all about how they are maintained that can be a struggle. Never get too comfortable in a routine as they are often seen as the safe route. And where is the growth when you are constantly taking the safe route? When your body gets comfortable, so does your mind. Yes, it will be difficult, but if you want to grow as a creative and even in your everyday life, you have to be willing to break out of your box and take some risks.
Ask yourself: Why are you doing what you are doing?
What is it that makes you get up in the morning? What is it that inspired you to be where you are now? The answer, I would hope, is passion. Yes, as a creative you get to create awesome work, but doing it just to say you did it is not passion. That fire in your belly when you see a new design, hear a new song, see a new video--that is the spark. That’s how you know God has placed this passion in your heart. Listen to Him. Trust in the gifts He has blessed you with. You could be anywhere else in the world doing the complete opposite of what you are doing, but you’re not. You’re here doing what you are doing for a reason. Now ask yourself why. Yes, you can make art and music just for the paycheck, but people will always remember the why behind your work more than the piece of work itself. And it is the fuel that keeps you motivated, fired up and ready for the next project.
Creativity is not just a job, it’s a special type of journey, but please don’t think that it’s effortless. Creativity challenges you. What they don’t tell you is that it’ll break you down and laugh in your face at times. But I am convinced that I never would have been able to grow into the person I am today had I gone with another career and went against what God had placed in my heart. It all starts with that one spark of passion. For me, it was at 7 years old, watching The Lion King 10 times in a row. From there, my passion evolved from wanting to make pretty pictures to wanting making pretty pictures to glorify God’s Kingdom. It will be backbreaking and grueling at times, but there is nothing more rewarding than being able to say “Well that was difficult, but I did it!”
Meghan Linero is the Graphic Designer for Next Level Church. She creates graphics and visual concepts for almost all of NLC's teaching series and central events. Meghan graduated from New Hampshire Institute of Art with a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. In her spare time, she enjoys hand lettering, playing drums, reading, and hiking. Meghan lives in Nottingham, NH.