Interpersonal relationships can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Especially when they’re with people you’ve never met, on the other side of the world, with totally different backgrounds and cultures and approaches to life.
When I first started getting into being a “creative”, launching my Minecraft server and publishing my first YouTube videos, I had an expectation that things would be different than in other industries.
Well, they are different… for better AND for worse.
For the most part, things are great. You put your heart and soul into something you’re really excited about, you share it with your friends and supporters who enjoy experiencing new creations with you, and you improve your skills day after day. You don’t have a goal to find perfection, but you continually strive after it anyway because you can tell that you’re getting closer with each new creative endeavor you embark on.
Creative work is cathartic because it is often really, truly hard work that you can be proud of upon completion, while also pushing your skills as you find unique ways to interact with the tools in your kit. There’s nothing more refreshing than stepping back and looking at a project to think, “Heck yeah! I made that!”
But… there’s a downside. Not just with Minecraft and live streaming, though those are the ones I’m embedded deeply into right now, but with all creative types of work. You see, the world of today is not really all that supportive of creatives, even though becoming one is easier than ever before.
It’s not enough to fight the doubts and destructive thoughts that plague our minds. The world also sends us naysayers, backbiters, buckets of crabs, and gatekeepers that want to keep us down.
Don’t just listen to me say it. Here’s another perspective from a professional full-time content creator and streamer who lays it out better than I can:
Minecraft server owners who disrespect each other for not having a large enough player base (even while they pay for bots to boost their own). Live streamers who name drop in order to talk about how they dislike so-and-so for ignoring their request to collab. YouTubers who start drama just to get views and comments. “Fans” who unsubscribe in an exaggerated fashion as soon as you create something that doesn’t fit their personal interests.
It feels like sometimes, as creatives, it really is us against the world. Everywhere you turn there’s somebody with some negative critique of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You’re a noob gamer. A nobody streamer. A lame builder. Etc…etc…. Meanwhile, the positive influencers in your life seem silent and complacent and leaving you hanging high and dry.
But, my friend, you’ve got to remember that it’s not all like this. There are a lot of us who have gone through and are still going through, exactly these same trials that you are. Even the haters feel like they’re just trying to do what’s right and continue on their creative journey. EVERYONE who creates is subject to these same oppressors.
We’re all in this together, and none of us are getting out alive.
The trick is to not fall into the same traps of jadedness that the haters have. Don’t become another crab in the bucket trying to pull others down. Don’t stop creating. Focus on the positives. Seek out the fans that give you a boost of encouragement and confidence. Listen for those moments when your heart says, “Heck yeah! I made that!” and know that you are on the right track.
Don’t stop creating just because someone else did things a different way than you, or a “better” way than you. Edison only beat Tesla at the time because he was better at marketing and had more money, not because he was actually the better inventor. It’s Tesla who is shining as the greater mind today.
Find your echo chamber. They’re not a bad thing to have around for short periods of time to get re-energized and re-focused on what you know is right. Just don’t stay there too long.
Above all, reach out to your friends and mentors and talk to them about how you’re feeling. They may not be ignoring you… they just can’t read your mind or see every activity you take part in. They still care for you, so talk to them, tell them specifically how they can help you, and take hold of the positive things they have to say.
It’s US against the world, not YOU against the world. We creatives are all in this together, even if sometimes the world’s ugliness rubs off on us individually and turns us against each other, we can always find our way back.
And we’ve got to. If nothing else, we can say, “I respect your hustle. Keep going your way, and I’ll keep going my way, too.”
That’s better than the alternatives, at least.
I see you, creator. Keep up the good work.