My relationship with reality
I heard this podcast conversation today with a poet and musician, and at one point during the chat, where he eluded to the idea that he had been unrealistic in the pursuit of his dream, and it wasn’t until he got clear about his “relationship with reality” that he was able to declutter his mind from needless distractions, and truly focus on the right work that would later bring him success.
I like to call myself a realist. Some might extend that to being a pragmatist (perhaps to a fault) because I’ve always been able to see the reality of a situation.
I have this innate understanding that no matter how stressful or tense something may seem on the surface, the reality of what may transpire is usually way less traumatic than what we imagine in our minds.
On the other side, it doesn’t allow me to get too excited about good news, because I’m aware that the effect may not be nearly as cool as expected.
That skill (or personal defect, depending on who you talk with) applies to almost any situation… except for my own forays into life-changing career decisions. I’ve already discussed my pension for lily pad hopping one thing to the next when things didn’t work out like I hoped.
The reality is that I was in denial about was how that might have affected the people who looked to me as any sort of beacon or expertise. Part of me wants to say that was foolish of them, but then I remembered that I asked them to do just that.
Ok, so I fucked up. I spent all this time jumping around, thinking it had no negative effect, but at the same time curious about why my follower count on literally every single platform had either significantly decreased, or slowed to a significant crawl.
The reality-check is cashed
I had a profound punch-in-the-nose situation happen recently. The details are not important, but if you’ve never been punched in the nose before; your eyes go immediately wide open, and for the first few seconds, you are more awake than you’ve ever been.
Then the pain sets in, and you’re faced with a fight or flight scenario, because someone just punched you in the face, and they probably mean to do it again.
For me now, my eyes are wide-open, I’m alert, and standing my ground. I’m a little sore, with a proverbial black-eye, but this time, my footing is secure, because I finally have a conviction in my beliefs that I haven’t felt in a very long time.
I don’t blame the others for bailing out. I don’t fault anyone for seeing me anywhere online and perhaps not fully grasping what it is I am doing. It’s going to take some time to renew trust, but I am working diligently to repair my relationship with reality.
After I write and post this piece, I’m off to write my next newsletter of “10 Things” (still a working title).
Later this week, I’m going to post up my first tutorial, with plans for a whole series on how to use Adobe InDesign, along with some videos about how to make the things I make, whether that’s digital art and design, or physical pieces in the studio (make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel to not miss it).
I’m also working on my next digital template design, as well as formulating an editorial plan to make my first zine ( I settled on a subject matter just last night).
I’ve always worked on several projects at once, but often they seem disparate, with little tie-in together. Now when I look at this list of things, there is a thread stringing them all together.
That thread may be looser in some places than others, but they all still work together.
I’m standing my ground in this fight because I can see the connections between all the things. Even more than that, they all feel appropriate and good.
It starts with me and ends with you
Some people have asked about my new projects, and the first question is almost always, “How’s it going?” I know what they mean to ask is how is it being received, or is it making money? The short answer is no, it hasn’t made any money yet, but I’m ok with that.
My personal investment in this project will require a mountain of work before I can expect anyone else to be invested. Making a magazine template or two is not going to be enough for people to automatically jump on board, mostly because I haven’t given them enough to be invested in.
If you walked into a store, and there were only three things on the shelf, you’d probably turn around and walk back out. I need more things on my shelves before I can expect big sales.
Until I’ve built up that shelf space and filled it with collateral, people will continue to come and go from these spaces. However, I can no longer afford to worry about any exodus of the fanbase or lack of sales. I must rely on the work.
I make the things I’m going to make because they feel like the right things to make—maintain faith in the thread. As I go, I share the work with you, and hopefully over time, gain trust in those that come around, because the thread becomes blatantly visible.
This will take time, and I will remain vigilant to the idea because not doing so would probably be the death of any creative credibility I have left.
Not gonna let that happen.