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When I was 10 years old, during a school assignment, I realized I had a way with words and that, thanks to this ability, I was capable of writing stories and articles that, sometimes, made people feel and think different things. From my childhood until my twenties, I started to investigate what I could do with this superpower, or in other words, how I could transform it into a profession that would make my parents proud and provide me a living. At 22, I got my first job as a copywriter and, since then, my relationship with writing survived different variations of the same question: what can I do with that?
Today I have a lot of doubts about this way of seeing the world, but it's impossible to deny that thanks to that question I did a lot of cool things. In the search for function and relevance, I found different learnings about life and my inner self, plus a job that, for better or worse, pays the bills every month. Even so, recently I started to realize that the question I've been asking myself all those years is kind of wrong. The really important thing was never what I could do with writing, but what writing could do with me, if I gave it space and time to breathe.
Even though I've been working with creative writing for some time now, the process of assuming the centrality of art in my life is something very new to me. Last August, I started freelancing with that in mind, but it took me around six months to really embrace my creative process.
Meanwhile, my routine changed very little – I still work with the same clients and make my living out of copywriting projects – but just by redefining my priorities, it seems like everything have changed. Creating space for art in my life without worrying so much about where it would take me, but only about taking a little step further every day has been an important change of perspective in the process of assuming myself as an artist.
Memory has a peculiar way of assembling itself. Mine – an essentially bad one – has a tendency to embrace fantasy and connect the outside and inner worlds in a bizarre way. Having that said, I would like to quote something I saw in Julia Anadam's profile on Instagram that I think illustrates very well the things I'm trying to say. I don't recall the context or her exacts words, but the essence of the message was so powerful, I will reproduce it in the way I remember it (sorry, Julia!) :
the first step to connect with the artist inside you is stop diminishing and underestimating your "little article", "little poem" or "little drawing". There's no such thing as good or bad, there's just the need to believe the things your create are important, just because they exist.
I don't know why it took me so long to do that, but I suspect fear played a big part in it. Fear of failure, of not being good enough, of being judged and criticized, but also of giving up control and opening space so that art and writing could transform me in ways I would never be able to anticipate. For years, I took the role of an authoritarian boss that wanted to extract the most of my creativity, but what I'm beginning to understand is that the more I put myself at the service of my craft (and not the other way around), the more things seem to move forward.
I know this may sound very abstract, but deep down, it is quite simple. Especially in the beginning, it's more a matter of priorities than anything else. Before you boycott your art with doubts, fears, and anxieties about the future, try to dedicate one hour a day, every day, to this very unique and beautiful thing that I know you do. It can be reading a text, writing in a diary, drawing cartoons, or cutting paper. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is to make space in your life for that desire to create that I know is in there. No one is talking about major transformations, career changes, paying bills, or anything like that — yet. For now, it's only one hour a day, every day. By doing that, who knows! Maybe in a year or two, we will be finally able to answer not what we did with our art, but what, in the face of such a simple vote of confidence, she was able to do for us.
This article is part of "profession: artist", a content series about assuming sensibility, art, and creativity as your work.
written by Marcela Monteiro
Marcela Monteiro is a writer who creates narratives in multiple formats and platforms. Her production stands out for a very sensitive point of view that frequently gravitates around everyday sensations and feelings with which everyone can identify. Graduated in Law and Mastered in Communication Sciences, with emphasis on Internet and New Media, Marcela has already worked for advertising, content and public relations agencies, producing articles, scripts, and integrated campaigns for several clients. In addition to that, her work has already been published by Glamour Magazine, Casa VOGUE, and the Portuguese newspaper Público.
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