Pursuing a dream or career passion takes hard work. If you can earn a living any other way, you probably should.
It’s hard, for example, to make a living as a freelance writer. The major publications stick to their own staff writers and avoid hiring freelancers. Other publishers want the services of freelance writers, but don’t want to pay for the service.
Award winning investigative journalist Nate Thayer revcalls an email correspondence he had with Olga Khazan, an editor at The Atlantic. Khazan had seen Thayer’s 4,300-word article about “basketball diplomacy” on North Korea News and decided it would be nice to have a shorter version of the story published at The Atlantic.
After a bit of back-and-forth, Khazan proposed that Thayer write the piece: “Maybe by the end of the week? 1,200 words? We unfortunately can’t pay you for it, but we do reach 13 million readers a month. I understand if that’s not a workable arrangement for you, I just wanted to see if you were interested," she said.
Challenge of Making a Living from Your Creative Abilities
The main problem when trying to make a living from your creative abilities is not a shortage of passion. Rather, it is that some people who recognize your talent will want to pay you peanuts or nothing at all for the creative work you do—at least when you are starting out.
Look around. There so many freelance writers, designers, photographers and more working for free than ever before. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that some of us who depend on our creative abilities to make a living want to give up sometimes. But, should you give up?
Robin Sharma, one of world's top leadership experts, says: “When you most feel like giving up is when you most need to be keeping on.”
Just because you’re not where you want to be today doesn’t mean you won’t ge there someday. Even literary giants like J.K Rowling and George Orwell suffered decades of failure and poverty before they got their big break.
If your heart is in the right place, hold on. Don’t give up.
9 Things to Do When You Feel Like Giving Up
Here is what you can do instead of just giving up.
1. Take a break and do something else that's fun.
You don’t need to give up on your dream; you just need to give yourself a break. Take a vacation, travel up-country or just change scenery abroad where possible.
Writers and entrepreneurs are known to spend too much time on their computers that they forget to let go and have some fun. This causes stress and heightens feelings of despair. Get out there and do somethingfun other than work for a change. It will take your mind away from work and you will come back refreshed and re-energized.
Besides, sitting all day working won't just make you fatter, it can apparently also kill you within the next three years.
2. Re-evaluate your goal and determine if an adjustment is necessary.
Maybe the reason you feel like giving up is because your goal is overly ambitious. Your circumstances may also have changed and you are struggling to stick to your original plan, say, due to illness or injury. These things do not mean you have to abandon your goal altogether. Re-evaluate the goal and make necessary adjustments. Align goals with your abilities and resources to make sure your objective is not only realistic, but also achievable.
3. Eliminate other activities to make room for the goal.
Sometimes we want to give up on our goals because we are overwhelmed by hectic schedules and to-do lists. Decide if your goal is important enough and create more time for it. Eliminate activities that are not a priority and make time for working on the goal, such as skipping those Friday night-outs with the girls to work on your projects. You might disappoint a few people in the process, but don’t be afraid to lose the good in order to achieve the best.
4. Simplify your goal.
Big dreams can be intimidating. Many people are tempted to give up on their dreams before they even start because they think the dream is too big. However, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.
Instead of giving up, start small towards your dream. Break the goal into small manageable tasks. Tackle each task one at a time, moving on to the next one. Before you know it, you will have formed the winning habit and momentum of champions.
Do this consistently and the results will follow. Each step you make is a step closer to achieving all your goals and reaching your dreams.
5. Extend the time you expect to achieve the goal.
Sometimes it is necessary to extend the time you set to achieve something so as to avoid putting yourself under too much pressure and prompting thoughts of giving up. For example, if your goal was to complete writing that book in a year and you find the book's research is taking more time than you thought, extend the time to complete the book instead of abandoning it after the year.
Anything worthwhile takes time. There is no shame in adjusting the time you expect to finish something, as long as it is necessary, done for legitimate reasons and you are not simply making excuses and procrastinating.
6. Envision your success.
Set your eyes on the prize and see yourself succeeding. Think about the joy you will feel when you finally cross the finish line and achieve your goal. This will motivate you to keep going on when you most feel like giving up. Just don’t let pessimism rob you of your dream.
Stay positive and keep moving forward no matter what. More in the way of growth and develoment is achieved during the process of reaching the goal than the actual act of reaching the goal. So, change your mindset and start appreciating and enjoying the ride, including all the challenges you encounter on your journey to where you want to be.
7. Look back at how much you have already invested.
You are unlikely to abandon and prematurely walk away from something you have invested heavily in. Social psychologists call this behavioral tendency “the sunk cost principle.” Remind yourself all that you have invested in your dream whenever you feel like giving up. Do you really want all that money and time you have devoted to go down the drain? Successful people don’t quit when things get tough—they get tough when things get rough.
8. Savor little victories.
The little victories you get in the pursuit of a goal are like sips of cold water on a journey across the desert. You can’t possibly cross the entire desert only on the promise of a lake at the other end, can you? Occasionally, you will need to stop and sip from your water bottle to quench your thirst and ease your parched throat.
In the same way, sip and savor all the little victories you get and have had on your creative journey. Remember the joy and freedom you get every time you are being creative and doing what you love. Doing this when you're feeling down will not only energize and keep you inspired and on track, but also feed your hunger for more victories.
9. Talk to someone who was once in your shoes.
It helps to talk to someone you trust who was in your shoes and succeeded. This can be a veteran writer if you are starting out in writing or a serial entrepreneur if you are in entrepreneurship. You'll learn tips and tricks from them that will propel you to success.
Keep your head up and press on. Don’t give up on your dreams. Success is not easy, nor is it for the fainthearted. But, those who persevere discover that it is absolutely worthwhile. Work for it.