Independent Creatives of Today Must Overcome the Inaction That Frustration Brings
by Stephen Zimmer
Last week’s broadcasting activities covered a lot of ground when it comes to the lives of independent creatives. On the last Star Chamber Show my co-hosts and myself discussed how apathy is one of the worst enemies of the independent creative of today. I followed up on that in my newest Tip Trifecta segment on YouTube, as the malaise that apathy causes is something I observe regularly and often among independent creatives.
Many, many times I’ve seen a debut writer charge like a top-level thoroughbred out of the gate. Full of fire and inspired, they do a fantastic job of representing themselves. They are consistent on social media, they attend live events and exude a positive vibe during them, and they are eager to learn and explore new things to help themselves grow.
Then, at some point during their next releases, many of them begin to slow down, if not come to a halt altogether. They stop attending events. They post little about their work on social media channels. A different look comes into their eyes altogether.
They are still out there. They are posting about all kinds of other things, whether politics or entertainment. They are engaging in discussions on friend’s threads about other topics. It’s just that you wouldn’t think they have anything available or are working on anything at all.
A malaise has set in, and they’ve been overcome by a kind of apathy. It could have happened for a number of reasons, but often it comes as a result of their experiences with the difficulties of the independent creative’s road.
It is not pleasant to encounter the realities of the independent world, with the flood of content out there, the constant effort to promote and market yourself, the frustration that often comes when sales don’t seem to match the level of effort that’s been put into it, the dynamics of having your work constantly being evaluated, and so many other thing that can be very tiring in a mental sense. For many, it seems like there is nothing they can do to make progress toward having a career as an independent creative.
This is a dangerous situation as when a creative gives in to the apathy that sets in, a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when sales get even worse, little is on the event calendar, and projects are not in the pipeline. Sometimes, I’ve seen creatives quit entirely.
There are no guarantees of success in anything a person does, but it is absolutely true that there is a way to guarantee failure: By doing nothing.
By keeping on the road, a creative gives themselves a chance to succeed, and that is something that should never be forgotten. As long as you are in the game, you have a chance to thrive.
Being consistent is also a major component to making progress. There are some creatives who fall into inactive modes for awhile, then get back to bursts of activity, and then fall back into inactive modes again, in a kind of cycle. The bursts of activity followed by the backslides of periods of apathy serve only to keep the creative in a “treadmill” kind of mode.
It takes some extra willpower sometimes, but maintaining a consistent presence goes a long way in making forward progress. Whether viewers, readers, fans, collectors, or listeners, the market needs to know that the creative is out there and active.
Independent creatives above all have to keep in mind that the creative path is a lifelong adventure and not a short sprint. The burnout that comes with severe apathy can be mitigated if the creative takes a more marathon-style approach; keeping to a solid, consistent pace for the long haul rather than short bursts of activity that flare out and don’t sustain.
The creative’s path is filled with all kinds of frustrations, obstacles, and storms, but the malaise of apathy has to be held at bay if the creative is to make regular forward progress and give themselves a chance at success.