I got into a discussion with my very good friend, Meredith, tonight about the value of our creative efforts and how we should embrace that all our creativity is, well… created equal. Just because something may not be up to quality standards, one creative work shouldn’t be lessened by another, even in our own minds. It still takes time, effort, and creativity to produce; all of which are valued commodities to artists and creatives.
It raised an awareness about myself and the way I view my endeavors. I’m certainly guilty of labeling my various creative efforts and compartmentalizing them into the “good” stuff and the “extraneous fluff.” All of it, though, was created by me and shared with you. While one may not be as good in quality as the other, it shouldn’t lessen the creative energy that went into producing it. I think a lot of creative people I know are guilty of doing it to some degree.
And I think we all need to stop doing that. Being dismissive of our own work and lessening its value is why we get taken for granted by jobs and prospective employers. It allows us to get sucked in to opportunities and projects where “exposure” is our payment, instead of cold, hard cash. Or lets us be paid a pittance for hours of labor, instead of being paid the quality rate of an industry professional. We have to change our own perceptions of our work and its value if we expect others to do the same.
Know what you and your creative endeavors are worth. Know what your time is worth. Neither are infinite. You are a finite resource and everything you do is valuable. Embrace that mentality, share it with other creatives when you find them devaluing themselves or their work. Nothing you do is worthless. In fact, someone, somewhere, may love it.
Remember that and take it to heart. If someone else can love your work, then you should too. All of it. Equally.