That right there is a loooooooong title. A super freaking long title.
But you know what? I like it, so I’m keeping it. Forever it will stay, right where it is, just the way I like it.
You may have also noticed that I spelled the word “long” wrong. But, personally, I think 8 “o’s” really drives home the point. And 8’s also my favorite number. So once again, it’s going to stay exactly how it is.
“Wow Ali, what’s with the tude dude?”
“Oh, why thank you for asking…you’re so kind.”
Here’s my answer:
I’m so lucky to be a person who works in a creative industry. I mean, people PAY ME to write for a living…and most of the time I get to have a lot of fun with the various types of content I create.
But, here’s the thing…there’s also a lot of subjectivity that comes with my career path. Every day I get told you can’t do this or you can’t do that. Or I get asked, “Why did you make that decision, because I don’t like it.” Or, I get told. “I don’t like the way you did it, let’s do it my way instead.”
You see, this post isn’t actually about attitude, or snarkiness, or throwing tantrums because you think you’re perfect and everyone else should conform to your ways.
(Although that would be an interesting experiment. Maybe the world would be a better place if everyone was me for the day…Hmmm…nah never mind that’s a horrible idea.)
The point of this post is about the importance of having outlets that YOU OWN as a creative, whether you are a writer, artist, filmmaker, etc.
You see, as creatives, we tend work for other high-level professionals so that we don’t have to eat ramen noodles every night for dinner. At least until we can pave our own paths and start our own companies and take over the world.
And this is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I am SO grateful for all the seasoned business owners I’ve had the chance to work for as well as the ones I currently work for.
But you see when you work for someone besides yourself, you tend to have to create things the way someone else wants them to be created. And after years of converting to someone else’s style and tone and way of doing something, you lose YOUR creative voice.
And how do I know this? Because I am actually 800 years old and am filled with centuries of old wisdom and knowledge.
Just think of me as Edward Cullen, except instead of going after 16-year-old girls, I seek creative wisdom.
No, not really.
Actually, I know because it’s happened to me. More than once.
And when you’re a professional writer who works in a world of subjectivity and opinions and preferred styles it’s hard to avoid.
I’ve had my paragraphs fat-shamed for being longer than 4 sentences. (Shhh! Don’t tell Herman Melville that he’s doing it wrong!)
I’ve been told my Oprah jokes are not funny.
I’ve had my writing criticized for being too fluffy…too dull…too unsexy…too short…too long…too serious…too emotional….in the wrong font…your name it I’ve heard it.
And as an artist who is so passionate about what I write, it hurts. It hurts more than it probably should. But that’s to be expected when you leave pieces of your heart on everything piece of copy you touch.
You see, there’s those that write with their brains (something I should probably try doing more of ;)) And then there’s those like me who will give their heart, their soul, their first born child, and their last chocolate bar for the stuff they write.
But when you’re writing for your employer or a client that wants something done in a certain way, you need to listen. And it can be so hard. Sooooooooooooo hard. (There I go with all those o’s again!)
But you need to put on your big girl pants, swallow your ego, and do what is asked of you.
And that’s TOTALLY FINE. You might even learn a few good habits along the way.
But, you also have to remember that every time you alter a piece of writing, you are erasing a part of yourself. Every time you conform to a different style, get rid of that Oprah joke, or make all of your paragraphs one sentence long, you are losing YOUR CREATIVE VOICE.
That’s super important to think about. So important, in fact, I want you to reread that paragraph right now.
I mean it you lazy butt, go back up there and read it now.
Ok, thank you. Let’s continue…
Where were we? Oh, yes. Losing your creative voice.
Don’t do that. Don’t allow a person, or a boss, or your mom, or even Santa steal your creative voice. Ever.
Your words will always make sense to someone, your jokes are bound to make some laugh eventually, and perhaps one day you’ll stumble on some old soul who doesn’t mind reading 4+ sentences strung together in one paragraph.
You might even find that someone LOVES your style…besides youself of course.
And you know why?
Because your words are powerful, heartfelt, silly, encouraging, light-hearted, emotional…you name it.
And your words matter.
So how to do keep your creative voice intact? Well, you don’t circumcise it of course.
Ew. Ok, that went to a weird place. But you know what, I said it, and I think I kinda like it now that I think about it so it’s staying.
What I think I meant to say before I made things weird was, keep your creative voice intact by finding an outlet to preserve it in.
Ahh, it took a while, but we’ve come full circle from that really long title I wrote at the beginning. (So obnoxiously long am I right? But, I love it so I don’t care)
It’s so important that you have an outlet where you can write and create and let YOUR voice live.
Your outlet could be a blog, or YouTube channel, or perhaps even a diary.
It’s your choice. But please. Find an outlet.
And then the most important part.
DON’T LET ANYONE TOUCH YOUR OUTLET.
By all means, let them look at it, interact with it, and enjoy it. But NO TOUCHING ALLOWED.
No “you should have said it this way “or “You should put this here” or “this doesn’t make sense to me so do it a different way.”
Nope, nada, zilch.
Yes, I know avocado makes NO sense there. But you know what, I thought it sounded nice.
DON’T TOUCH MY OUTLET.
And remember, this post isn’t about saying “f you” to the world, and thinking you’re right all the time, or that everything should be done your way.
There are so many things we can learn from other creatives, employees, and leaders that are a part of our lives. Learn as much as you can. Improve yourself. Keep working on your craft so you get better.
This post is about giving yourself the gift of simply being you.
Find your outlet, create inside of it, share it with the world, and always preserve your unique creative voice.
Best of luck with all your future creative endeavors,