SO YOU WON AN AWARD…
Or two, maybe ‘just’ a nomination or an honorable mention. It could even be recognition at your graduation show, or a feature in a magazine. How does it make you feel? Like you can take on the world, right? It’s something I like to call the ‘creative high’. And it can be kinda tricky if you don’t know how to handle it.
I personally know two types of creative high, that often go hand-in-hand. For me, it is the moment when you (and/or your teammate) realize: fuck, we’re onto something very good here. Your eyes widen, and you start typing. YES. An insight that excites, a great name, a picture you stumbled upon during your research or a sketch that breathes life into a fragment of an idea, making it feel whole. The puzzle pieces finally come together. God, that feels good.
‘I love productivity. I love doing a gazillion things simultaneously.’
The second type is the follow-up. Because of this idea, the ball starts rolling in your career. All of a sudden you’re overwhelmed with all kinds of attention. Linkedin messages, emails, job offers, mentions, compliments at the office. It feels amazing to be seen and your hard work to be recognized. But then.. something happens that most young creatives are familiar with after a trip.
It’s been a while since you’ve come up with something you’re proud of. Imposter syndrome starts creeping up on you. Your mailbox goes from flooded to a complete drought. Unfortunately, that’s often how fame works. It’s a month, week, or just a day of hype and then it slowly lies down again. But after such a peak, it can suck big time. It makes you want to prove yourself time and time again.
Often when I talk to other people about my line of work and that I’m not having the best time lately, they presume it’s because of the amount of work I have to do. Working late hours at the office, handling 3 or 4 projects at a time. But that’s not the issue at all. I love productivity. I love doing a gazillion things simultaneously. No, what wears me out is the thought of not living up to my potential. It makes me crack my head on a brief so hard, that I have to take a breather for a few days. It’s a craving, you always want more. Like some very hungry caterpillar kind of shit. All because you need that creative high. But in my experience, when you force creativity too much, it achieves the opposite and you end up staring at a blank piece of paper for an entire day.
Handling the heat
You can argue who is at fault for bringing about this crash. Is it the creative that should just adapt or maybe even leave, because ‘if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen’. Or is it the advertising world with its obsession with awards that should change its ways?
‘ Those continuous epiphanies are what I love about my job, but they can be quite addictive.’
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying the creative high is bad. On the contrary, it makes us push our boundaries, to go all out. Those continuous epiphanies are what I love about my job, but they can be quite addictive. Creatives tend to forget what they have already achieved and instead strive for the next best thing. Which is great, but there’s no harm in just taking a moment sometimes and think: damn, even though I didn’t win that competition or I haven’t come up with something mind-blowing in a while… I’m proud of what I have done so far.
So despite what your parents have (probably) taught you: you CAN do drugs. But just do so in moderation.
Role: Jr. Creative