A few days ago I had the opportunity to hear YouTube videographer Devin Graham speak about his creative success.
While Devin mentioned how a number of his videos have received more than 5 million views, what really mattered to him wasn’t the level of success he had reached.
What mattered to Devin the most was the fact that he was able to work on his projects day-in and day-out. It wasn’t even the pursuit of success that made him enjoy his work, it was the fact that he’s able to do it at all. To quote Devin: “The tools don’t matter, the ideas do.”
This struck a chord with me, because Devin made it so obvious that success isn’t really what makes creative individuals happy. While creative success matters, what’s really important for true creative individuals is the ability to simply create. The act of creating every day, of focusing in on a project or problem, is what drives true happiness for people like us.
Think of the ecstatic artist who abandoned a traditional career in exchange for a run-down studio and oversized canvases. Or the gleeful writer who had to spent every day for three years sitting down to write in a small studio apartment. If you were to ask any one of these types of creatives whether they would trade in their situation for a shot at fame, they’ll likely turn down the offer. For them: it’s never been about success or money or fame, it’s always been simply about creating.
Imagine being unable to write or draw or design or explore your creative passions. For some of us, a day job stands in the way 90% of the time. For others, disability or a lack of opportunity hinders our ability to create. But there are no excuses good enough! To be a happy creative you have to create.
So, if you find yourself feeling down, or if you have recently lost the motivation to be creative, or if you feel burdened by other aspects of your life, try finding time every single day to create something. Let it be anything, there are no limits: create something handmade, or a poem, a unique photograph, a new ebook, a drawing of people you see everyday, anything you can do to create something every day and replenish your creative reserves.
Not only will you have something to show for your efforts at the end of each day, but you’re likely to feel happier and more fulfilled as well.