Not too long ago I had a very different mindset. It wasn’t that I didn’t think there was a lack of content out there (not only for people of color but all the different walks and variations of life) It wasn’t that I didn’t sense the need for content that wasn’t a regurgitation of what had been done before or feel the fatigue from watching the same stereotypes after stereotypes be portrayed in the same stereotypical situation after stereotypical situation. So, what had made me so resistant to the idea of creating when I truly felt that it was something I was capable of doing?
Was it laziness? Was it pride (I’m good enough to not have to write stuff for myself to actually work?) Was it fear (If I create it and “they” don’t like it, then what?) Or was it the sheer undertaking and inexperience of it all that made me resolute in my decision to forgo any idea of creating my own content and simply pray and wait for someone to write “me” one day?
Honestly, I’m not sure I know the answer, but truly believe it lies somewhere in “yes” to all of the above. Recently however, I had a revelation about fear and the need to experience something before I could say truly what I did and did not want to do--and I am very glad I did.
Almost two years ago, I was approached by my good friend Jeannette with an idea and the opportunity, and for some reason this time, I said yes…or was pushed to say yes—but i said it. :)
Here’s what I learned:
There is no failure in a try- none. No matter what the end result, the lessons learned while trying to create something from scratch that you've never done before are invaluable.
You can’t please everyone, but you should work to please yourselves. There is no one way to skin a cat, at the end of the process the cat just needs to be skinned. So you begin with trial and error and work from there. As long as you are comfortable with your process and your processes is yielding results…keep experimenting until you’re done—thinking only—“Is this something I am proud of?”
Develop a thicker skin—which for any artist is paramount.
Learn how to communicate—and then forget all of that- and learn how to communicate better. Every relationship survives or dies on the ability to successfully communicate.
You’re idea (while it may not be entirely unique) is valid when it comes from your unique perspective. Your perspective is valuable…to someone. So use your voice…someone is listening.
If you don’t do it at least once for yourself, how will you know how to explain it to someone else to do it for you; better yet, how will you ever truly appreciate it when someone else is doing it for you?
I am still learning, but when you create something you empower yourself. You set goals and check them off one by one. The gratification that comes from those small accomplishments, fuels you to reach higher the next time and work harder. You're proving to yourself what your capabilities are with every step and showing yourself where you may need to improve or grow. You remind yourself the whole way that obstacles are meant to be overcome. Period. There is no such thing as “I don’t know how” You figure it out. You trust your instincts, you take risks, you win some-you lose some, and you grow. You are forced to believe in yourself or investigate why you do not.