Sometimes (a lot of times) looking into the future can be tough. It is plagued with uncertainty for artists, which is the main reason our parents don’t like us anymore (kidding). It is really scary to look ahead and not know what’s coming. If you’ve been lucky enough to grow up with your passion in law or medicine, the path will be challenging of course, but it is laid out right in front of you with flashing lights and arrows. Not for us. But if there is one thing I truly believe with all of my heart, it is that a path exists. It may be hidden, or disguised, and it may be treacherous. It will shift and change with the flow of our intentions and actions, but the path to get you from where you are right now to where you want to be exists. It always has, it always will, and that’s all I need to know to keep going.
The other cool thing is that this path exists in infinite amount of possibilities. Unlike the doctor or lawyer, it seems success will often find a writer or actor in ways they couldn’t possibly predict. A great example happened on Reddit about two years ago. A Reddit user posted a question: Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU? A user of the site responded with a detailed story of that exact scenario. The writer was 37 year old James Erwin, his job was writing software manuals. His response blew up. Jason Fagone describes it best in his article:
“Within an hour, he was an online celebrity. Within three hours, a film producer had reached out to him. Within two weeks, he was offered a deal to write a movie based on his Reddit comments. Within two months, he had taken a leave from his job to become a full-time Hollywood screenwriter.”
That is a rare and unique situation of course, and the point I’m trying to make here is not to hope for luck. It is that the path exists no matter how unlikely it may seem. For those who are working hard, staying focused, putting themselves and their work out there, perhaps that path has become more clear. But as most of us know, sometimes it feels like the opposite. Sometimes you feel you’re failing or have failed, you’ve been rejected, you can’t find the motivation to write a word or play a note. Sometimes resistance wins and you feel you can’t be further from your goals. The path still exists.
It’s also a relief, it makes it even more crucial to be creating your work out of love, and not for your inevitable success. James Erwin wrote the story on Reddit for fun, not so he could get hired as a screenwriter. Creating with only success in mind sets you on a path yes, but you might as well share a boat with the doctor and lawyer. Create out of love, and you open yourself to the incredible, magical, unpredictable nature of this world. It’s a petrifying and beautiful at the same time. It can happen any day, any moment.
Let this not be permission to sit around and wait. Work your ass off, because what you do is fun and exciting. Share your work as a gift to the world. Meet new people and artists, find inspiration by travelling and doing whatever makes your heart sing. Next thing you know, the path will become very clear as you look back at it, and now find yourself exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Latest posts by Greg Melanson (see all)
- Greg: If there is one thing I truly believe with all of my heart, it’s that a path exists - August 22, 2014
- Greg: I Want To Talk About Monsters - July 18, 2014
- Greg: I don’t put the fate of my success in the hands of anybody but myself - June 20, 2014