I mistook my job for work.


A quote by Seth Godin that opened my mind to my purpose!

From my early days, I have been a Bohemian at heart. Of course, I did not know the word then, but later as I grew up, I realized that is what I was.

Adult years brought on the need for stability and the need to have a regular income got the better of me. Still in my rebel state, I chose a career that was as close to being wild as I could. I chose to be a copywriter in advertising. The other career options available to me were journalism or teaching. They were both too sedate for a free spirit like me.

While my initial years were filled with the excitement of becoming a financially and socially independent adult; slowly the novelty of working and the responsibilities that came with it, became less fun. I changed 8 jobs during my 10 year stint in mainline advertising. I got bored easily and was constantly looking for something new.

During these years, my creative writing reduced, I limited myself to work related writing. If you have ever done commissioned creative work, you will know that is not a very good space to operate in. Most clients don’t understand what needs to be done, or are just hiring you to put words to their thoughts and ideas. No, unlike what most people believe, there is little creativity in doing commissioned work unless the client also gives you the freedom to do what you want to do.

These restrictions in writing and not being to create all that I wanted left me disillusioned with the writing space. I felt several times that maybe I have miscalculated my excellence as a writer. May be I was not really meant to be a writer and had set myself up for failure.

By the time these thoughts were recurrent in my mind, I had already invested 20 years into this field. I would often question my own capability and skills. This was making me very disappointed and upset with myself.

I tried to seek escape in other ways, took up working on my painting and sketching, but it was not the same. While I had enjoyed these arts as much as writing, it was not as meaningful to me. I began focusing developing my business purely from a financial perspective and realized there were several gaps that had developed in my work as I was not particularly enjoying what I did.

During my various explorations and research projects in attempts to make more sense of the world around me, I read somewhere that each of us is really good at one thing that we have done as children. That is a gift that we have and if we pursue it sincerely it will bring us success.

I travelled back to my childhood days and realized it was when I was writing and expressing my opinions and ideas in the written word that I was the happiest and had won the most acclaim. I got back to it. I began writing seriously, starting working on creating spaces where I could share my works.

And I came across this quote from Seth Godin: Your job is not your work. That one line put the last 20 years of my life into perspective. Yes, I had a job writing, and sadly I had mistaken it for my work. The truth is, a job pays your bills but it is your work that drives you, keeps you alive inside.

To all those of you who are passionate about your writing, your painting, your crafting or any other form of art that you seek to pursue; please remember this. You do your art because it is for you. It is a space where you create what you want to create, and do not let anyone tell you what to do. It does not matter whether anyone is listening to you, reads or appreciates your creation, you create because you must. As long as you create and keep creating, you will have Work. Set up a large body of your work and you will find those who believe in you. Look around online, communities are everywhere; people have found each other.

And as Seth says, for an individual artist, a thousand true fans are enough to assure you of success.

I take this opportunity to thank Seth for inspiring the artist within each one of us, and encouraging us to follow our calling. Sometimes, you just need someone to tell you, You can do it.

If you are here, and not sure if you can make it as an artist, allow me to tell you, You can do it. Put away your doubts, your misgivings, your shortcomings and go for your dream. You are special and you have a talent. That is your life’s work. Share it with the world, for that is really what you are here for!

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