If you’ve clicked on this article, then you probably have the itch.
You know what I’m talking about - the itch to start something new, to create, to do that passion project you’ve always dreamed of doing but never really knew where to start.
Maybe you want to start your own business. Or write a novel. Or become an artist. Whatever it is, you’re scared to take that leap - and I can totally relate.
As a writer, I’ve always struggled to figure out how I can turn my passion into my career. Everything from my own insecurities to pushback from family and friends held me back from pursuing what I love to do - and I’ve secretly been waiting for someone to give me the rule book on how to be a good creative. Which is why when I discovered Amie McNee’s Instagram account @inspiredtowrite, I knew I was in the right place.
Amie is a creative coach who helps people discover and pursue whatever it is they’re passionate about. Sitting down to talk to her - me in chilly Canada, she in sunny Australia, I felt like despite the distance between us, I was talking to someone who fully understood what it was like to be me - and who had the answers to how I, and others like me, can break through our fears and pursue that itch we have to create.
Here are 8 of the most important lessons I learned from my chat with Amie - that you NEED to read if you want to turn your creative passions into your full-time job.
1 - Give yourself permission to be whatever role you want to be
STOP 👏 BEING👏 AFRAID👏 TO CALL👏 YOURSELF👏 A CREATIVE!
You don’t have to prove anything to anyone to be a writer, artist, business owner, or any other title you’re afraid to claim. As Amie puts it, “so many of us don’t want to call ourselves creatives because nobody else has called us a creative. We’re waiting for permission.”
Claiming your title is one of the key parts to feeling proud of your work, and being motivated to pursue it. Now say it louder for those in the back!
2 - You DON’T have to quit your day job
Forget all those motivational quotes that say you need to dive straight into your passion! According to Amie, “it’s absolute nonsense to think that you have to be solely creating to be a creator.”
So if you have a job you need to hold on to for now, don’t feel like you’re any less of a creative. “There’s no reason why we need to jump the boat and bail out on the systems that are holding us together,” says Amie. “Especially in times like these.”
3 - Take the pressure off!
News flash: you’re likely putting wayyyy too much pressure on yourself. You don’t have to be creating amazing, groundbreaking work from the get-go. Set small goals for yourself, and don’t be afraid to suck!
According to Amie, “People typically think they need to be good right away. But the truth is, you can’t be doing this work if you don’t have a big pile of shitty art you can point to. We just need to get comfortable with making mediocre, bad, crappy, not quite right work. Because that’s a pathway to the good stuff. And it’s a mandatory part of the process.”
So stop setting those way-too-high expectations for yourself, and just let yourself be mediocre. “Small goals, shitty art. That’s the key.” Now go write that one on a sticky note!
4 - Ignore the hustle culture
You’ve heard it all before. “Never stop the hustle!” “Rest is for the weak!”
But according to Amie, that’s a horrible outlook to have on your creative passion - one that can only lead to burn out, and failure.
“I work a lot with writers so this is a classic example,” she says. “They’re like, ‘I’m going to do 2000 words a day’ and I’m just like, oh my god, why? Why would you do that? That’s absolutely absurd. You’re setting yourself up for failure.”
Amie speaks from experience. “It took me six years to write my first novel,” she says, because she was setting up goals that were way too ambitious for each day. “That first book was a huge lesson for me - I was obsessed with getting it right straight away, I was obsessed with hitting really big numbers.”
Today, her personal daily goal is to write 500 words a day. “It’s how I’ve done the work that I have.”
So why is doing less work better? Because you end up “allowing yourself to have success each day because you’ve shown up, you’ve done the minimum. And that’s a massive part of being an abundant artist.”
5 - Do the internal work, to improve your creative work!
Pursuing your creative passions has a lot of side effects. One of the biggest: it puts you face to face with your inner demons. “If we choose to take our art seriously, we’re going to see all of our darkness and all of our lightness, and it’s on us whether we want to do both the creative and the inner work - or if we’re going to let this creative work consume us.”
Amie speaks from experience on this. Becoming a writer led her to confronting traumas from her past. But according to her, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “It’s a beautiful process,” she says, “because if we create, we have an opportunity to do huge internal work.”
6 - Start now
And I mean NOW. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much time you’ve spent building your career, or where you’re at in life - if you’re getting that itch to create, pursue it!
“So many of us are called to create and we dismiss it as ‘oh, that’s not sensible,’ or ‘I have children,’ or ‘I’m not good enough yet.’” But the longer you put your dreams on pause, the more likely you are to regret it down the road.
7 - Remember your worth
One big reason people ignore their calling to create? They don’t think they have anything unique to offer. But the truth is, as individuals with unique life experiences and knowledge, we’ve all got something special to share, something that people will see value in.
So whenever you’re feeling doubt, remember this: “there is nothing to fill the you-shaped hole if you choose not to do what you’re being called to do. We need your art, and we need what you have because of how unique you are.”
8 - And finally, consider getting a creativity coach!
Give up that “lonely, starving artist” trope - you don’t have to go it alone! Taking the leap and pursuing your calling is HARD - so having someone to guide you along the way and be your forever-cheerleader can be the difference between you persevering, or giving up.
And lucky for you, we know the PERFECT one: Amie McNee. She offers private coaching, as well as journaling courses to help you become the best - and most fulfilled - creative you can be.