I wrote this for the struggling creative(s).

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There is a reason we don’t see many creatives working careers as creatives — it’s hard, time-consuming, soul-wrenching work.

When you make the choice to work in a creative field you are making the choice to expose your sensitive insides to the salty claws of the outside world.

That’s brave.

While I am not J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, I make a living writing at 24 and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I wanted to share with you a few things I think about when being a creative hurts.


Being creative feels uncomfortable because for the greater part of human history being creative got you killed.

For most creatives, being creative feels uncomfortable. It feels as though we are volunteering ourselves to walk out into a field of tall grass, where we know there is a pride of hungry lions lurking somewhere in its depths.

If Homosapiens have been around for 200,000 years, 199,000 of them have been anything but safe times to be a creative. Imagine Lady Gaga prancing around in an obnoxious red leather suit singing Paparazzi 10,000 years ago? She would have looked like a bloody, dying, screaming snack and would have been quickly gobbled up by a saber-tooth tiger.

Being creative is standing out and for most of human history, standing out got you killed. However, today standing out gets you paid. So, when I feel my insides start to turn at the idea of releasing my creative work, I remind myself that it’s just the ghosts of my ancestors screaming somewhere in my DNA not the reality of the world I live in.


Plums are a beautifully stunning and delicious fruit — yet some people hate plums.

When you work in a creative field, you have a deep tie with the work you are creating— and while I believe most everyone has a sense of pride in the work they produce (or at least I hope they do) — very few people create work that is directly tied to their being.

When you are creating work that you care deeply about, harsh criticism can rip through your heart like a hot dagger.

In the moments I feel discouraged by criticism, I remind myself that as wonderful as plums are, some people just hate plums — and that’s okay.

With that said, it is important to differentiate between plums and dung. Don’t kid yourself, for the first couple years you will be making dung.

I am still making dung.

It’s our critics’ jobs to help us salvage this dung, turn it into manure and then grow plums from it. Which brings me to my next point.


You have to commit yourself to creating dung every day for a long time if you hope to create a plum.

The biggest mistake I see most creatives make is not “shipping”. It’s a term made famous by Seth Godin. It essentially means to give the world what you create. I write every single day Monday thru Friday. Not because I have the misconception that people want to read me at that frequency, but because I owe it to myself, my craft and my daemon (or creative muse) to write and hit “send” every day.

Young creatives often times don’t hit “send” because they are waiting to create work like Bon Iver, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Virginia Woolf, Seth Godin, Paula Scher, Hemingway and Rupi Kaur.

Don’t be ridiculous. None of these people were overnight successes and you won’t be either.

I’ve been chasing these people for a couple years now and there is absolutely no chance I will ever catch up with them. But, I realize by placing pen to paper I can get closer to the work I know I am capable of creating. It’s in here somewhere and the more I write the closer I get…

The more I write the closer I get…

The more I write the closer I get…

The more I write the closer I get…


By Cole Schafer.

Cole is the copy chief at Honey Copy, where he helps startups make more money through emails and landing pages that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy. When he isn’t slinging copy, he is right here on Medium sharing ideas about life, business, marketing and plums. Or riding alpacas…

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I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

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