It’s totally OK to be a little on edge. You may go through phases where you are very stressed and worried about every aspect of your creative career. On the other side, you may have times where everything is going just perfect. Completely calm and flowing excellent. These two ends of the spectrum do have their long term drawbacks however.
If you are completely stressed and worried all the time it can signal a few things. The main item is there needs to be changes that perhaps you are not making. Maybe you want more clients, but rather than focus on marketing, you loose yourself in busy work. Checking the web, chatting online, working on projects that are not on the path to your goals, anything you can do to take your mind off the real issues.
Or perhaps you have too much work, you are taking on an enormous amount yourself and not getting help. You are focused on deadlines and being overwhelmed, rather than the quality of the projects.
On the other side, things could be going great. Everything is in place, all systems are working fine. Your empire is sailing along, clients are happy, work is being produced. It sounds all well and good until boredom sets in.
You start to become apathetic because the challenges are not as great, the momentum you had is just not there anymore. You are doing the same thing as you did last year and feel like you will be doing the same thing next year.
Stressed out and overworked is not good. And often things going fine with no changes, challenges or momentum is not good either.
The middle ground is getting a little nervous. Just a touch of things not being completely perfect, an edge of uncertainty that keeps things spicy. It’s a delicate balance to be in the middle, but it’s often not a bad place to be. You are succeeding and confidently enjoying your success, but you have an eye towards what happens next, what will be the next big challenge, little slices of unknown that are mixed in to keep things interesting.
You will strive to have your empire working perfect but there will always be things that crop up, some of these items will be in your control and some will not be. But it’s OK to be in the middle ground, it’s a mix of accomplishment and challenge. That friction has launched many successful creative enterprises. Losing that friction could be running on an empty tank in either direction, stressed or serene.
Creative artists sometimes tend to hit the extremes. You may be overworked and totally slammed with clients and productions, stuff is being accomplished but the process is scattered, somewhat disorganized and not very satisfying. Or you may be smoothly coasting, not a lot of pressure but also pretty much flatlining without preparation or planning for the future. No ramping up.
Get nervous. Get more in the middle. Strike a balance between solid productive work with an eye towards advancing in the future. Media artists who are in the zone love what they do, embrace their market and the people they work with. They get a lot of satisfaction and look forward to new challenges. And they are growing. They are not stressed with work they don’t enjoy and they are not overly worried about scarcity or what may happen next. They have balance.
Where are you? Stressed? Flatlining? Nervous? Balanced?