When chatting to fellow creatives about what they do, the issue of luck is often credited with their success and I have recently found myself doing the same. I often say things like “I’m so lucky to be able to do what I do and spend my time doing things I enjoy”.
I’m giving a talk in June and as part of the preparation for it I have been giving more thought to the part that lady luck has played in my work life and actually, I don’t really think it’s played a part at all. Neither do I think it’s played a major part in the success of my creative friends and colleagues. What’s the real secret? Hard bloody graft in most cases and a tenacity to keep going and believing in what you do despite all the odds (and often contradictory advice). OK sometimes it pays to be in the right place at the right time, but actually, without lots of hard work you probably wouldn’t even be there in the first place.
Personally, I have worked really hard to get where I am now and in the last 2 years have never worked so hard in all my life (apart from maybe the final year of my degree!). I also know that this is the case for many creatives; just have a read of my friend Peter’s experience of trying to earn a living as an illustrator after graduating.
Lifestyle choices and sacrifices have also played their part. I have sacrificed owning a home, owning a car and going on lots of holidays in order to spend the majority of my time doing what I want and enjoy. Nor am I financed by anyone else’s money, I work for every penny I have and that makes it all the sweeter.
Do not get me wrong, none of this is meant in a “woe is me” tone, anyone who whines about the hard work involved in having their own business should call it a day as far as I’m concerned. It is hard work and it should be, that’s what reaps rewards, not moaning or relying on luck!
If you’re striving to earn a living as a creative; making sacrifices, working hard and not enjoying financial support from someone else, then hats off to you and no more calling yourself lucky.