Being creative is a ton of fun... but it's also a lot of hard work. In the niche of occult art, it can be even harder.
Over the course of the past year, I feel like I've gotten back into the swing of making things after a fit of failed projects.
I started publishing a comic book, The Last True Mage, which has been a life goal of mine since I was a child. I also started making zines again, which was a love going back over 25 years itself.
As fun as all that is, I ran into problems along the way. Publishing costs that overran, for which I had to pay for out of pocket on a collaborative work. A failed attempt once again at community building. A very meager membership that didn't cover a fraction of my costs. I mean, you get it.
I also faced some pretty rough feedback from the occult community, too.
Sometimes, life gets in the way in a BIG way.
On the practical side, I think the biggest obstacle I overcame this past year was learning to recognize when you've taken on too much.
I'm a helper. I enjoy helping people if I can. So much so that I will often overextend myself to the point of exhaustion, doing my best to come through on my promises. Often, they turned me into the enemy, so I stopped.
Then, of course, I have to deal with my sometimes crippling depression and anxiety, which costs you days of productivity on a bad spiral. So, I learned how to forgive myself for that.
On top of that, I have people from the community I love tell me that my work is complete garbage because it's not "real magick" in their words.
I missed self-imposed deadline, didn't have scripts done, took the criticism harshly, and got down on myself for it often.
Here's the thing, though...
I don't create to make a living. I create to feed my soul.
I have a decent job, for which I feel very grateful. I'm able to make ends meet when others are not. This affords me the ability to be creative at my leisure instead of trying to put food on the table.
This affords me the ability to make MY magick.
It doesn't really matter whether someone else approves of or thinks my magick is any good. I'm doing the magick regardless and there's not a damn thing they can do to stop me. They can fling around all the weak ass hex and curse work they can muster, I'll still get my shit done.
The fact is, I'm doing these things because I love doing them and I'm going to do them my way because that's how artists show their interpretation of what they percieve to the world.
So, since I'm privileged enough not to have to worry about that, I have decided that I won't.
You will always face the haters.
If you're any good at what you do, you'll find haters come to you. For whatever reason, they see you doing well and they can't stand it. So, they set about doing whatever they can to tear you down.
The fact that these miscreants even exist and have shown you their ire means you're doing something right. My professional advice is to shit in their Cheerios as often as possible.
In the occult world, you'll also face what I have come to call the "Diet Guru." These types act as gatekeepers in our community, poo-pooing anything that goes against their grain. Again, these people are good publicity. Give everyone a little public feud for the entertainment value.
The point is fuck those clowns. Use them for everything they can bring to you, then cast them into the abyss as an offering.
They are nothing more than shit on your shoe as you rise above.
I see so many people hustling, trying to get noticed out there.
I feel for them. Trying to fundraise so they can fulfill their dreams. Screaming into the void, hoping someone hears them. I can feel the pressure they're putting on themselves to "succeed."
It makes me sad, to be honest. It has to kill a bit of the creative spirit, the quest for big bucks or big names to recognize you and your worth.
Then to have others simply crush your spirit, attempting to get you to believe yourself a failure and a horrible person for trying, would make anyone question their worth.
Here's a secret: you're already worthy.
Don't give up.
Make some fucking magick.
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