To this day, New York City continues to be the gold standard of success for any artist. Whether you’re a singer, a musician, a painter, a poet, a novelist, or an actor, “making it” in New York City has been a key ambition for millions of people across all generations. And so, month after month, year after year, thousands upon thousands of those people flock to the big apple, starry-eyed in hope that their dreams will someday be fulfilled.
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” — Frank Sinatra
Yet, as we all know, that doesn’t happen for the vast majority — A significant number of those individuals often give up early on in their attempts, overwhelmed with feelings of disappointment and discouragement. Another significant number will leave before any of their efforts even come close to fruition. A significant number will get very close, only to fall short before making their big break. And of course, then there’s that small percentage, the very select few who do finally reach some version of success (whatever that may look like to them) where they can bask in the fruits of their labor.
As for me, I moved to New York just about seven years ago. However, I didn’t come here with the sole intentions of being an artist or a creative-type — Frankly, I never even considered placing myself in that category. I came because I got a job right out of college and at the time, it didn’t really seem like there was a better option (or really any other option for that matter). It wasn’t until after a few years of living in New York that I even entertained the idea of doing something creative-focused.
Then, down the road, frustrated from my lack of fulfillment of work alone, I began writing in order to give myself something else to care about other than just my day job. Eventually, my writing took on a life of its own as my passion for writing grew stronger. I then began seeking outside opportunities to write for blogs and online publications.
I took a stab at freelancing. I marketed myself on LinkedIn as a Writer. I invested heavily in writing articles on Medium. There was even a point where I legitimately thought to myself, “Hey, I could really do this for a living”. But, that thought was short-lived as the fear of the unknown took hold over me. I soon wiped that idea clean from my mind.
The thing is, once that fear started to settle in, my writing collectively started to take a turn for the worse. I started to care less about making anything happen through writing. I started to put less effort into writing and I nearly lost interest in it completely.
I felt inadequate, unmotivated, and irrelevant. Plus, the struggle to not compare myself to others was a losing battle in and of itself. Witnessing the overflow of new content that was published each day created this constant pressure for me to keep publishing [anything] to the point where the quality of my writing began to suffer due to the mass quantities in which I was producing.
I started to hate calling myself a Writer. I was ashamed to even consider myself as one. And the thing that I hated most was being a Writer in New York City. I hated knowing that there were so many others out there, just in this city alone, who were so much more talented, more intellectual, more creative, more focused, more driven than me. I hated it so much that I made myself become a statistic — I became another one of the many people who called it quits before things really started happening…Though, I wouldn’t say I’m down and out quite yet — After all, I did write this article.
Instead, I’d say, I’m taking it slow. I’m taking it down a few notches and I’m trying to find that raw passion that once drove me to writing in the first place. Maybe if I keep digging for that, then something good will come from it. Maybe.
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