So you say you’re a creative…

Disclaimer: This is a rant.

I was going to start with, “So you say you’re a writer.” Then I realized that everyone in a creative field experiences the same thing.

“Oh my gawd! You’re a musician? Me too! I play the guitar.” — Right.

“I like to think of myself as a writer.” — Yeah, okay.

“Oh! So you’re an artist? I paint too! But I decided to get a real job.” — Faaaantastic.

Good for you. I appreciate your effort to relate to me, and what I’ve chosen to do. Let’s make something incredibly clear here… You can paint, and not be a painter. You can write, and not be an writer.

Now, let’s amend my first statement. People feel this in every field.

“Oh! You’re an accountant? I balance my checkbook.” — Uh.. Not the same thing.

“So you’re an engineer? I love building lego models!” — Is it too soon to facepalm?

You can balance your checkbook, and not be an accountant. You can cook, and not be a chef. You can make a volcano for your science project, and not be a scientist.

Do you recognize the difference?

The difference lies in effort and execution.

A painter has put hours into their craft. Learning about lines, and color combinations, brushstrokes, and composition.

Have you done this? Maybe, but how serious are you? I paint, but I do not consider myself a painter because I’m not that serious about it.

Writers, painters, musicians, chefs — any of them. They don’t just talk about their field. They do it. They live it. They breathe it.

Those who are serious seek criticism.

People make mistakes. In scientific fields these are indicated by numbers, and other forms of objective data. In the arts, it’s shown by other ways.

Criticism is a part of how we grow. Unless we are aware of a problem, we cannot take steps to solve it.

How much time are you willing to put in?

I can’t tell you if you’re serious or not. However, if/when you decide to put in that time -to write, to crunch numbers, to build, any of these! — when you decide that… It’s going to change the way you look at it.

The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.