Met a friend for lunch today. Like me, she’s a writer. Also like me, she’s in the early stages of launching her dream career. I’m working on a blog post about my takeaways from our meeting, but one thing we talked about is how we (the collective) often enter creative ventures hoping or expecting or believing that someone will rescue us.
It’s not something we do consciously. It’s a secret desire that somehow someone bigger, smarter, and much further along in the journey will help us with a shortcut to major success. Of course, we put in some work, and effort, and a whole lot of thought, but somewhere at the forefront of our thoughts is the idea that this individual or this opportunity will somehow present itself and give us our big break. We’re subconsciously seeking a hero.
But as much as I love the DC and Marvel Universes, as much as I dedicate way, way too much time watching the Flash and Arrow on TV, I have to acknowledge that when it comes to the creative career I’ve set out to establish for myself, the literary version of Batman is not sitting on pins and needles waiting for my “writer in distress” signal.
He doesn’t have an eye trained to my tiny corner of Georgia looking for the next breakout multi-cultural, women’s fiction, romance mash-up writer. He probably has no idea what a multi-cultural, women’s fiction, romance mash-up writer is. Literary Batman is not going to launch my writing career into the stratosphere.
So here’s the reality we as writers and creatives must confront if we intend to stick around for the long haul: We must become our own heroes. It’s that simple. At the end of a long day fighting battles with words, we have to go home, peel out of our sweat-slicked costumes, dab some salve on our wounds, and get ready for the fight that tomorrow will most assuredly bring.
It’s that simple. But it’s definitely not that easy.
I’ll follow up next time with the next thing I learned at my meeting: Once you make your desire to launch a creative career public, you’ll be surprised where your help comes from, and where it doesn’t.