10 ways to survive as a creative

Tammy Coron offers up some tips for survival in your crazy creative world.

I'm prepping for the zombie apocalypse; extra food, water and other supplies are a must. But that's not the only type of survival situation I think about.

Every day, as a creative individual, I'm doing things to survive in a world where – sometimes – people like me find it difficult to fit in and endure. We're viewed as weird, unpredictable and stubborn. The truth is, we're all of those things, but not for the reasons you may think.

Creatives are wired uniquely. As such, we must navigate the world in a slightly different manner than non-creatives. These tips can help you survive – and even thrive – alongside the 'normies'.

01. Slow down.

This is one of the most difficult things to do. As a creative, your mind is always running at full speed; not only does this scare people, but it can also discredit you.

When you're miles ahead of the curve, people often think you're faking it. Many Creatives arrive at a solution when others are still unaware that a problem even exists. The trick is to let people catch up. This accomplishes two things: 1) it gives people a chance to arrive at a different solution, which helps to encourage teamwork and co-operation; 2) it helps to lend credibility to your ideas when people can actually see the problem you're trying to fix.

02. Prepare for disapproval

I don't know about you, but for some reason, I'm always looking for validation. I suspect this has something to do with a lack of self-confidence. However, it's important to recognize that some people 'just don't get it'. Even worse, some people think writers and artists don't have real jobs. Real jobs? What does that even mean? Our job is no less real than theirs.

Pro-tip: Stop seeking approval from those who are not in a position to give it. While it's okay to ask someone for their opinion, it's not okay accept that opinion as fact.

03. Keep your emotions in check

Creatives are known to have mood swings. One minute we're on top of the world; and the next, we're ready to jump off this spinning planet we call Earth.

The problem is, we spend a good deal of our time overthinking things. Actually, we spend even more time overthinking our thoughts. Wrap your mind around that one!

This habit of always dissecting our thoughts tends to lead us to second-guessing ourselves. So, what seems like a good idea today, feels like a disaster waiting to happen later. Plus, creatives tend to be overcritical of themselves. This can cause our moods to shift – sometimes without warning. Try to keep this in mind: not every thought needs to be evaluated.

04. Stay focused

Ah, yes. The art of staying focused. This is one I'm still trying to work out. While it's true multitasking can be useful, sometimes it does more harm than good.

My biggest problem is using the word, no. It's not that I can't turn people down. In fact, it has less to do with them, then with me. The true issue here is that I love being creative; I love doing things; I love working. But I also take on too much and often feel overwhelmed. This, in itself, causes my creativity to plummet as well as my mood (refer back to #03).

My suggestion is to get a firm grip on your schedule. Only take on what you can do. When you step out of your comfort zone – which I encourage you to do – be sure to keep one toe firmly on the ground, should you need to steady yourself.

05. Ditch the negative people in your life

Nothing sucks the creativity out of a person more than negativity. If you surround yourself with people who'd rather complain about a situation than change it – you run the risk of falling into that same trap.

I've had people in my life tell me I was crazy to even suggest certain ideas. I would have a spark of creativity, and they would immediately tell me everything that was wrong with my idea and why it would fail. Yeah, um... buh-bye! Imagine if Tesla listened to the naysayers in his life.

Next page: the next five survival tips