People told me I shouldn’t rush to make writing my career.
I didn’t listen.
The moment I received my first paycheck from Medium ($0.1 exactly 12 months ago), I started to treat writing as a career.
I thought, “Well, it’s only uphill from there.”
Of course, I was terribly naive.
While yes, my writing has improved – and so did my income – I started to expect too much of my writing.
I wanted success, fast. I wanted to go viral. I wanted to matter. I wanted to be seen. That made me stressed out, unmotivated, burned out more times than I can remember, and unhappy.
But here’s what I realized recently.
The problem with such an attitude is that you block your creative growth. Just as you can’t simultaneously build an audience and monetize it – you can’t grow your creative tree and expect it to bear fruit.
You need to give your creative tree time to grow.
To do that, you need to nourish your creative work as a little baby. You wouldn’t expect your ten-year-old to make money, right? Then why do you have expectations of making any kind of income from your writing some 6, 12, 18, 24 months in?
This is why most aspiring creatives have day jobs. It allows them not to sell themselves short by rushing to make money.
A little bush doesn’t bear fruit the same way a large, fully grown apple tree does.
Give it time. And so will I.