It’s a question I ask myself at least once in a good week, in a bad week 30 or 40 times a day. Am I crazy for putting this much effort into artistic pursuits when hardly anybody is paying attention. Am I crazy because I don’t seem to find fulfillment in the aspects of my life that actually pay the bills and keep me fed. Am I crazy to think I’m good enough to make a living doing the things I love even though at the moment nobody seems to be paying attention. And my answer always is, “I don’t know.”
I want to be clear, this isn’t about feeling sorry for myself. I like the work I do. I don’t think I’m the best writer or comedian in the world, but I make the jokes I want to hear and write the stories I want to read. In the abstract I’m fairly artistically fulfilled. But self doubt still comes into play when I wonder about the future. Will I ever be able to quit my job and pursue art full time? Do I have the relevant business skills to not tank my career even if I am given a shot at “The Big Time?” Can I justify putting this much time and effort into things that may never come to monetary fruition when I have a wife I love and want to spend time with? And still the answer is “I don’t know.”
I know I’m not really breaking new ground here, we’ve all seen talk show interviews or listened to podcasts with successful artists talking about the uncertainty they felt early on in their careers, but for them, it’s always a story of triumph. The message is almost always, “Stick it out long enough and your dreams will come true.” Statistically speaking that just isn’t the case.
Hundreds of books appear in the Kindle store every day, but coming from self published indie authors or through traditional publishing houses most don’t recoup expenses and even fewer generate the kind of profits that a person can live on. In a pre-pandemic world, thousands of comedians took to the stage every night, some at Carnegie Hall, many at comedy clubs, but most at little bar shows or illegal basement venues. Some of those kids at basement shows have the talent of any comedian at the clubs, a few I’ve seen are as funny as any stadium act. Most of them will never see Carnegie Hall whether they deserve it or not.
They’re stories will never get told and I think that’s sad. Not just because it gives society a false narrative about hard working talented people always getting what they deserve (that social issue is being addressed by folks far more qualified than I) but because the world at large is deprived of the beauty they have to offer. And maybe even sadder for process nerds like me, their story never gets told.
But I’ve gone a little far afield of my initial point, sorry guys when you set out to write three blogs about being a creative a month you wind up rambling a fair bit. Am I crazy? I still don’t know. I do know I couldn’t live any other way even if I wanted to. So come wild success or abject critical and monetary failure I’m going to keep making things. If you are in the same boat I hope reading this at least gives you a sense of solidarity and if you’re a creative just brimming with confidence and certainty about your inevitable success… fuck you, I guess.
Kidding, I’m just jealous.
Thanks for reading what is essentially just a journal entry. If you enjoyed it, hit that like button and leave a comment. If you’d like to check out more of my weird stories and musings about life, the universe, and the meaning of existence, then subscribe to Mindful of Madness. Also there is now a mindful of madness podcast where I interview other creatives about their process, you should check it out on your preferred podcast app. You can also find me on twitter @drewjokeringram or on Instagram @andrewingram88. And finally my comedy album, “This Was A Bad Idea” is on Spotify, iTunes or pretty much anywhere else you listen to music. Thanks, my self-esteem depends on you.