With that past weekend being Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking about being alone. Not so much in the terms of being single, but how being a blogger, having a side hustle, or even dreaming of a freelance career can make us feel alone. We strive every day to curate our content, perfect our photography, and expand upon our education…the list goes on, and some days are just hard and leave us with seemingly no where to look and wondering if anyone else feels the struggle. There are many reasons we may feel alone. Below is a short list of things that have made me feel lonely along my creative journey.
1. I didn’t feel part of a creative community or part of the blogging community.
2. I felt like I had to figure it all out on my own but was too scared to ask for help.
3. I felt like a beginner when it seemed as though everyone else knew exactly what they were doing. And it looked like they were doing it perfectly to boot. (This is also known as the thief of joy – comparison).
4. I was way too concerned about following the rules
5. I didn’t have a mentor or some one with more experience and knowledge help me along with my passions and creative goals.
I am sure there are many other reasons we may feel alone during our creative journey, but I think it could be summed up to connection. When people aren’t connecting with us, it’s not hard to fall prey to feeling alone and we may tend to take that as a reflection of our work and its value. However, there’s something I’ve learned recently: We are not alone. We are all struggle. None of us have it all figured out. If you are feeling alone, remember this. Also try some of my tips for curing creative loneliness.
1. First up is so important: Remember why you started. If you don’t remember why, maybe your heart isn’t in it anymore and may be a sign to reevaluate where you are and make new goals. Maybe something needs to change. However, if you do remember why you started then, hold on to that and keep going. Use your passion to fuel your work.
2. Listen to a podcast. It’s so eye-opening to realize that all great artists, designers, photographers, creatives started out as a beginners. They all struggled, but they persevered. Nothing reminds me that I am not alone in my struggle like hearing an inspiring success story on a podcast. My new favorite is Creating Your Own Path by Jennifer E. Synder. Here are 4 other great podcasts as well!
3. Be yourself on social media. It’s so much easy to form relationships with others when you are being genuine. If you resonate with a tweet or a link someone tweeted, tell them why. Don’t be afraid to post; people will start to responde.
4. Along with with number three, Participate in Twitter Chats to ‘meet’ other creative individuals. (Hint: but don’t get down on yourself if you get overwhelmed. Twitter chats can be crazy. Try to reach out and start a conversation with one or two others during the chat).
5. Encourage others. I like to replace creativity with encourage in Maya Angelou’s famous quote: You can’t use up encouragement. The more you use the more you have. It’s true. Encouraging others encourages me.
6. Join a community. There are so many good ones out there, but here are the ones I’m in:
#fireworkpeople | “A community for creatives, dreamers and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. We are knee-deep in encouragement and high-fives.” It’s amazing. Join us and you well feel alone no more (no joke)!
The Creatives Club | Their site is down for maintenance right now, but they are “an organization to promote, inspire, and help creatives using the power of community.” #creativeschat was the first Twitter Chat I participated in and I’ve met so many talented creatives and bloggers through this community.
Nourished Artists – The Anti Starving Artist Movement | This group is still new, but I love everything it stands for. It’s a group for 2D artists, designers, photographers, painters, doodlers, where “we will share our current pieces for critique, ask art/business related questions, have discussions, and ENCOURAGE.”
7. Lastly, if all else fails, embrace it. Acknowledge that you are feeling alone, but know that this too will pass. Keep going, keep working, keep publishing. Take a short break, journal your emotions, or take a walk. Each time you take a step when you feel like you can’t go on, is one more step towards your dream. Don’t let feeling alone get in your way. There are so many people out there that are willing and ready to help you all you have to do is keep going and keep searching. Never give up.
What about you? What made you feel alone on your creative journey? What did you do about it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.