Letter From The Editor: Pursuing A Creative Career

This past week I’ve noticed how many people in my life don’t take my work seriously, simply because I don’t actually go to work everyday. I haven’t had a job that requires me to clock in and out in years, and of course everyone notices that.

“Well what are you doing now that you’ve graduated college? When do you plan on moving out and getting your own place? Have you been looking at any jobs to apply for? What do you mean you have ‘work to do?’ You don’t actually have a real job, right?” they ask…. And then blankly stare in reaction to my response that never includes my plan to finally begin adult-ing properly.

The fact that people don’t really understand my career aspirations or understand what it takes for me to completely build a brand (or two) from scratch results in a major lack of respect for my work from others… And after talking to my friends, Twitter followers, and some established business owners, it’s clear to be that I am not the only person pursuing a creative career who experiences this.

What has also become clear to me is that if you are working towards a self-made creative career, you shouldn’t go looking for understanding and validation from others… Because chances are, you will not get it, and you will be wasting a lot of energy.

If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have people in your life who will be supportive of you but you can’t become dependent on them…. You’ve gotta be your biggest supporter and still be willing to put in work even when people tell you, you’re not really working.

The first step to pursuing a creative career is whole-heartedly believing in yourself. This type of confidence may be hard to achieve in the beginning, but it’s all about your mentality. Once you get your mind on the right track, you allow room for the rest of your goals to come together.

This past year I’ve aimed to share stories with you all about pursuing creative careers through the DARLA Magazine website. From my personal experiences in college as a fashion student and intern, to DARLA contributors wandering around the world and finding inspiration, to events such as Her Agenda’s The Art of Mastering Your Creative Career panel curated by Nesha Byng, to interviews with creative business owners under the #DreamsAndRealLife column, to underground concert coverage of artists like Tori Kelly & Kehlani who are now officially Grammy nominees… It has been my goal to show you proof that no matter how many people don’t take your work seriously, it’s still possible to turn your dreams of establishing a self-made, creative career into your real life.

As someone who is still in the early stages of building my own brands, I can honestly say that I have a long way to go and sometimes that’s the only thing I can focus on. I always feel like I can do better and I always feel like I can be doing more everyday to get to where I want to be than I actually am… But I don’t let myself become discouraged.

Throughout everything, I’ve learned that “overnight success” isn’t a real thing… And just because a business owner or artist may be new to the mainstream world doesn’t mean that they are new to what they do.

Look up the past of any successful creative and you’ll find stories of a lot of rejection and doubt… You’ll find long periods of time of being broke and hungry, and feeling lonely and not good enough… But you’ll also find an even longer period of belief and drive and overcoming all of the negativity.

If you’ve been feeling like you’re not getting anywhere in your creative career take a moment to stop and reflect on what you have done so far. Chances are you’ve made a logo, or you’ve made a mission statement, or you’ve made a song, or you’ve made a design, or you’ve made a website… Chances are, thus far, you’ve created SOMETHING that didn’t exist before… And if you haven’t yet, chances are you will by the end of today.

Don’t be so worried that you aren’t creating your career as fast as you’d like to; be worried when you stop creating completely… Because when you stop is when you prove all those people who don’t take you seriously, right.

Pursuing a creative career doesn’t come with a list or a solid process to follow that will ensure your success. There are no applications, no resume writing, no interviews, no follow-up phone calls; nothing but the work you choose to put in and the process you design yourself. Whether this process includes throwing your hair in a bun and listening to trap music or meditating then designing on photoshop until 4 AM, make sure it’s something that really makes you feel powerful and the most productive you’ve ever felt, regardless of the opinions of others.

Below are 11 creative career commandments I follow and remind myself of when I begin to feel discouraged and would rather lay in bed all day, questioning my life decisions… 11 rules that keep me going.

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