The sacrifices of being creative

In today’s episode I talk about the sacrifices it takes to truly be creative. I’ve seen other people whether friends, family, or just entrepreneurs struggle with the decompression or the reentry into society after finishing a large creative project. So, this is for people out there listening or watching who want to be creative, they want to be an entrepreneur, they want to succeed in some creative projects, and I’m here to tell you the sacrifices it takes to truly succeed at the projects that you want to work on.

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Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently that she had just finished a large animated movie, short me a movie in terms of animation, and she was exhausted both mentally physically and socially and detaching herself from a creative project. Once you finish going back into reality or society. It’s actually harder than you think. So I’m going to talk a little bit about the first piece of this would be sacrifices that you have to make. And this might sound easy or not even easy, maybe common sense. Or simplistic, I would say. But when you’re working on something creative, you’re going to find yourself having to make choices. And those choices are going to be whether you go to that restaurant with your friends, whether you go to that concert, whether you go have drinks with your friends for happy hour. Are you reading a book, right, should you reach out should you read that book? Should you, you know, go to parties, should you go to special events, should you go to all these social gatherings and do things that have nothing to do with your creative projects?

I’m going to be the first person to say that since the pandemic started March 2020, we are now November 2021. So it’s now been over a year and a half. I have not done most of the things I just listed, for the most part, because I was working on a movie. I was trying to finish that movie. I was editing the documentary, shooting the documentary, interviewing people researching the topics. I was completely immersed in the creative process of creating that documentary. And while most people don’t understand that, they think well, why can’t you go out to eat or why can’t you go out for drinks or why can’t Well first of all, there’s a virus so I’m just trying to avoid it number one, number two, every time you go out to have drinks or have dinner or whatever, four hours, five hours, whatever amount of time it takes you to go out and do that. People are going to ask you what you’re working on. Happens every time and never fails. And your answer is going to be your creative projects. Then you’re gonna feel guilty. You’re gonna wish you were back home working on that creative project because I was supposed to work on this part or I was supposed to work on that part.

You know, and here’s the thing too. And this is part of it, is when you go out to do something, whether it’s a concert or something social and I’m not saying you shouldn’t be social because you know, mentally, you should you know, for mental health reasons. You should be social, but you have to be careful because being creative is also very difficult, believe it or not, because you have to be in a zone. Maybe this is not how everyone operates. But for me, I have to be in a zone. I have to be focused. I have to be motivated to work on that project. Once I kind of veered off the path of creativity, and I stopped sacrificing social activities and whatever that created that creative project goes on the backburner. I swear it happens every time if I lose track of what’s important. And I start hanging out with people and you know doing things that I want to do you know, being creative is a sacrifice. Okay, and here’s the thing that people need to hear friends, family, colleagues,social media followers, if you know someone who is creative, who’s working on a movie, writing a book, building an app, working on NFT’s or art, recording an album in a studio, anything creative that requires their full attention. Support them bring them lunch, buy them coffee, tell them how great the work is that they’re doing. promote their stuff on social media. tell people how this person you know is you’re so proud of them because they’re accomplishing their dream because I’m going to tell you being creative is mostly a thankless thing.

People don’t understand it really, because they’re so busy doing all those social things I talked about that when you tell them you’re not doing that, that you’re working on this project. They don’t quite get that. Maybe it’s because they’re not creative. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to be creative. Maybe it’s because they would rather just enjoy life out and about. To me it’s wasting time. Instead of being productive. You know, you say tomato, I say tomato. And the second part of this it’s really only two parts. The first part is a sacrifice and we need you to support us and understand why we don’t want to constantly go out with you guys. Maybe we’re introverts maybe we you know we have boundaries for our mental health and we need to decompress from being out at a party or whatever. If you invite me somewhere and I’m talking to you for five hours about small talk nonsense. The next day I’m going to be at home decompressing and, you know, recovering from that, because I need my brain to be focused on the creative project. Which brings me to the next part, extreme focus and re entering detaching from the project and reentering.

So, I am a guy I’m not female, so I can’t really relate to say a pregnant woman having a child. But if I had to somehow give you an analogy, to tell you how we feel as creatives when a woman is pregnant for nine months and she carries that child she watches it grow. She plays music through her stomach and she listens to it kick. She feeds herself to feed the child etc. And then the child is born and she has to raise that child and it’s detached from her body and maybe eventually a child becomes a teenager and leaves the home and now she’s left alone. And she doesn’t know what to do with herself or the parents don’t know what to do themselves, single fathers single mother, whoever it is, and they now have an empty nest. It’s mentally tough from what I understand for parents to deal with raising children and detaching from their children. Same goes for a creative project might not be the same exact thing.

But look, we creatives are working on a creative project for anywhere from a couple months to in my case a couple of years. In the case of some of my friends, a couple of years. And when you’re invested and focused and daily working on this creative project day in and day out, your heart, your soul, everything you have is thrown into this and you sacrificed all those outside activities. So your world, your whole world has become this fantastical creative project that you made up when you’re done and eventually you’ll finish it and it’s a wrap and you’re now marketing that product or distributing that product or selling that product or whatever it is. It’s going to be a couple of months. Probably for most people, maybe weeks if you’re lucky to ground yourself and bring yourself back to reality. We are going to be mentally exhausted. We are going to be physically drained. We will be excited for our project. But we won’t be super excited for all these other things that you guys want us to do. Because we are completely committed. And that’s why most of the times you might see all that I’ve made three movies, I’ve written books, I’ve published courses, I’ve spoken at universities, I’ve done so many different things right if you look at all the things I’ve done, look at the timeframes and you’ll notice that in between each creative project, there was a gap of I want to say on average about six months where I was not being creative.

I wasn’t really doing much actually during those six months, or maybe it was three months. I was mostly just recuperating, recovering, which means yoga, exercise meditation, going for walks, watching mindless shows and movies. Being in nature, spending time with my dog, maybe catching up with a friend or two. That’s when I don’t mind catching up with a friend or two. You know, but even then, I’m so tired. I’m so drained that I don’t have the energy to go on vacations and trips and all these things that you want me to do because I’m just too tired. You know, I just spent two years using my brain nonstop. It’s not like a nine to five job. A nine to five job you show up your clock if you do your work, you come home and that’s it. And every day is the same thing over and over again for the most part your job so you know what to expect. You know what you’re doing. It’s going to be there the next day and it’s going to be there forever unless you get a new job.

When you’re creative that’s just not how it works. Every single day is completely different. For the most part. You’re working on something new. There’s usually 10 Different things you have to do when you’re working on a creative project. And it’s not nine to five, it’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, non stop two years or one year or whatever amount of time it takes you to finish that project. And sometimes it could be even longer. So all I’m saying here, and again, this is just my personal opinion. I can’t speak for all the other creatives out there but I have seen creatives talk about this. We need friends and family and people online to acknowledge the sacrifices that we are making except that we need you to accept them. Right, be okay with the fact that Oh, Jason doesn’t want to go to dinner. Jason knows it doesn’t want to go to drink. Jason doesn’t want to just listen. Jason does want to do those things. Don’t make it sound like we’re antisocial people because we are not, we are very social. But we don’t like talking about small talk. We don’t like talking about the weather, politics and religion. We like to talk about creative things that interest us.

That’s just how we are. So for us to go out and do these things. We don’t want to do that because we feel like we’re wasting time, we’re losing focus on our creative projects, and we’re not being productive. It’s a whole list of reasons why we don’t want to do these things. So just please accept that. Be okay with it. Don’t think we don’t, we don’t want to be your friend or your family. We do. But we’re so immersed in our world that it’s hard for us to detach from it before we finish the project. So please support us. If anything, just be mindful of us. And please understand that it takes time for us to finish a project. It takes time for us to come back to reality. You can’t expect any of us to finish a project and then boom. We’re back in social, you know life and we’re back to who we were before we started the project. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. When we finish a project, that’s where we need time to recover and then we have to promote the product on top of that, which is another job. So support us. Be there for us, understand us, don’t make us feel bad. And above all, be proud of us because we need support from you.

We need you to tell us that you’re so happy we did this project you’re so proud of us because we poured our heart and souls into these projects. We don’t do them for ourselves. We do them for you. We do them for people to watch, we do them for people to see. We do them for people to use us as creative people. We are here for people, not for us. We’re here for you. We’re here to entertain you and keep you busy with all these fun things that we build. That’s why we do it. So that’s all I have for you. Hopefully you guys understand a little bit more into the creative minds of people out there who are working on exciting and fun projects. Buy us a cup of coffee. If you see us when we’re tired. That’s all I can say, just buy us a cup of coffee. Ask us how the project is going. Ask if you can help us in any way. Promote us online, post our links and things like that and we will be super grateful. We will love you 10,000 times more. And hopefully this helps you understand us a bit more. Anyone else out there who’s creative. I would love to hear from you. In the comments. Let me know what you think about this. How do you feel about finishing a creative project? How is it for you in terms of social interaction and focusing and you know, being mentally drained and exhausted? How are all these things for you? I’m curious, let me know in the comments. And I will reply to everyone like I always do. And as always I will see everyone in next week’s episode.



Jason Sherman