Sacrifice in Being a Creator

There is more to being a full-time creator than what’s on the surface. It’s not just pacing around the house, plotting out your next book, or sitting at a table with your easel before a great view. There is more. The sacrifice in being a creator is something that might surprise many.

Let’s start with a wonderful example.

Bo Burnham.

The words he speaks in one of his videos are intense. The video is called “Can’t Handle This,” and may be considered tasteless to some. I won’t share the video itself. If interested, you can find it on Youtube.

Bo Burnham complains, in song, about the circumference of a Pringles can, and the food items in a burrito, but then turned to about a minute and a half of serious, heart-wrenching truth about being a full-time creator. It happens about 5 minutes into the video.

Bo talks to the audience about how he wishes he could pretend his biggest problems are the silly things in his show. He wishes he could be himself and talk about the things that matter, but he feels he can’t. There is an image he knows he must uphold. Bo has to please people so he can make his way in life by creating. People won’t pay to go to a show with the “Skinny kid with a steadily declining mental health.” He must be entertaining.

I love writing and I love my stories. I also know there are serious things about my life I would love to talk about in front of a mass audience, but that stuff wouldn’t sell. It would only create trouble, and struggle, and conflict. I can’t risk getting loud with things I struggle with, because the majority of readers would stop following me. They would then stop seeing updates of new releases.

Thus, the sacrifice in being a creator.

My books pay my bills. My books feed and clothe my kids, so I have to keep real-world thoughts, opinions, and conversations to a minimum. It’s a struggle.

But I’m not the only full-time creator struggling with this

…and that makes me feel a little bit better.

There are so many people in the world looking for entertainment and distraction from negativity in their lives. At the same time, there are many that want to face the real problems of the world and can’t.

“But what about politically vocal authors like R.A. Salvatore and J.K. Rowling?”

Uh, well…they have millions of followers. If some thousands drop from them because they’re vocal about politics, they still have several thousands of readers there for them.

Jim Carrey often talks about his views on humanity and existentialism. It’s a topic that many consider taboo and he gets grief about it. The one thing that allows him to get away with it is the fact that he has his followers. He has people who love him and he has an entire past filled with movies and appearances that still help him get along in life.

It means sacrifice, focus, set intentions, and a strong following.

You work for your viewers/readers/followers, and hide controversial ideas and feelings from them. Making sure your fans keep liking you is of vast importance. If they don’t like you, all of your work passes like a leaf in the wind–left behind and quickly forgotten.

The life of a creator is something many are striving to achieve. Most people don’t recognize the kinds of struggles and sacrifice being a creator comes with. It’s something people need to know, recognize, and prepare for before taking the creative road, full-time.

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