On Embracing the Unknown Future

I have no idea what my future holds, and I kind of like it that way. Somewhere along the line I’ve embraced the fact that I’m probably (definitely) not going to go straight from university to a comfortable and well-paying job. I’m probably not going to buy an apartment and a nice car any time soon. I mean, I can’t even drive.

I honestly don’t think there’s much point to having one set plan. No matter what you do, life is always going to throw some surprises in there. Plans change, and the last thing I want is to see an experience in a negative light just because it’s not what I expected or planned for.

I’ve been asked the question, “So what’s your plan?”, more times than I can count on my fingers this year. Everyone’s eager to hear what on Earth I’m going to do with this creative writing degree of mine. I’m thinking of maybe looking into house sitting overseas. I’m talking to people. I’m looking for opportunities and reaching for them when they come up. Sometimes I can’t quite reach them. Sometimes I reach them, but they manage to get away, and that’s okay too.

I know that I’m still young and naive, but I’ve come to realise that there’s no formula to this thing. There’s no one way of “doing it right”. So for now, my plan is not really having a strict plan. My goal is learning as much as I can, and writing what I love to write. My aim is to just make it work.

To all of you who worry about what the future might hold, just remember that no one really knows what the hell they’re doing. All the rules and expectations that we hold ourselves to are just made up by, well, us.

Have a great day.

– Tamara

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Dealing With Self-Doubt While Pursuing a Creative Career

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for sticking with me during this busy time. I know I’m not posting as regularly as I’d like, but now that the first issue of Spinebind is out (finally), I’ll have more time to focus on this blog.

Today I want to talk about self-doubt, particularly surrounding career paths. As you may know, I’m studying Creative and Professional Writing at university, and I’m really enjoying it. I want to write books, personal essays, columns, articles, web content, and poetry, and I also want to edit fiction and non fiction, and write manuscript assessments for publishing houses. There are jobs available, and although it’s going to be hard, I think I’ll be able to get a job that I love. So why is it that I used to just add “it’s like journalism” after telling people what I study? Why was I so scared of telling people I was studying something creative? I think it was because I didn’t want people to think that I thought I’d make it. I was afraid of seeming like I believed in myself.

I also had a habit of mocking myself, so other people wouldn’t do it.

“I don’t have a plan, I study creative writing.”

“I’m used to being unemployed, I study creative writing.”

“Don’t ask me, I study creative writing.”

This sort of thinking doesn’t help anyone with anything, least of all yourself. In the past year I’ve come to realise that the people who try to tear you down and who think badly of you for trying to reach your goals really shouldn’t matter to you. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. I think we’re all guilty of looking at other people’s life choices and measuring them up against our own. I just mean that other people’s opinions shouldn’t have control over how you feel, or the goals that you set, or the career that you pursue. In the end, it’s your life, and yours alone.

If you are struggling with self-doubt, I’ve found it really helps to look at your intentions. You want to achieve something. You want to do what you love every day. You want to try, even though you know it might not work out. That’s pretty admirable, in my opinion.

So next time you tell someone what you want to do with your life, don’t mock yourself. Don’t feel stupid. Don’t think about what the other person is thinking. My lecturer read us this quote just last week:

“We’re all failures, at least the best of us are.”     – J.M. Barrie

No creative person will go through life without failing at some point. In fact, no person in general will always succeed at everything. And that’s ok.

I hope this helped at least a little bit. I think that self-doubt and fearing other people’s opinions is just a part of learning what is really important. Be proud of yourself that you believe in yourself enough to pursue what you love, and don’t give up.

I’d love to hear your stories, so if you’d like to share, please feel free to start up a discussion in the comments section.

Thanks so much for reading.

Yours sincerely,

Tamara