“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
Well, I thought I was a mess.
Kurt Vonnegut’s image comforts me: I am in good company!
And so are you. All of you who have told me so and all of you who grit your teeth privately.
Should you apply again for the same project you just got shot down for? Should you do it for free and hope this will help move your career forward? Why does Detroit look like a really good idea?
Don’t be fooled by what people tell you.
Art is a hustle. And in addition to talent, you need game. Or at the very least, a game plan.
And no, the answer is not – “oh, well, back to the Batcave”.
Struggle wins when you retreat.
But oh how quickly it fades when faced with unexpected focused action.
Like calling yourself a writer with a new book you haven’t written yet.
What you will have done is simply replace struggle with a deadline. And if you do this right, you will be thrust into a public light with an expectant audience and absolutely no safety net.
Now doesn’t that sound better?
Struggle is just your inner artist begging for a proverbial kick in the butt.
What? You think not?
How wrong you are.
Here’s the interesting thing: most people can’t help but root for the underdog. People sympathize with those of us who are being challenged and struggle to overcome whatever is in our way.
Struggle is an underutilized audience builder.
Who gets the biggest roar from the crowds? The American giant slalom skier who has been beaten by his dashing European rival for the last three World Titles as he pours everything he has left into the final stretch of the race known as the Abyss.
People use you as a canvas to project their own challenges. They see a part of themselves in your every action.
Perhaps the most inventive way to deal with struggle is this:
Struggle gives you a great back story.
I prefer the honesty of struggling on a regular basis under the glaring scrutiny of the public.
It makes for more interesting reading for most people and brings me closer in spirit to Flaubert who wrote:
“Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat outtunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.”
P.S. Several readers have delighted in telling me I am out of my mind, that struggle just plain stinks. Now I know I am not crazy but I am concerned that some of you may still be caught in the steely fist of despair.
Do you have a particularly difficult struggle facing you?
Tell me in the comments or send me an email and I will help you.
About the Author: Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer helps artists & creative people grow their careers with great grant writing strategies & mindsets she has developed over 15 years as an veteran grant panelist, grant maker & grant writer. Get her FREE Master Grant Strategy Worksheet and a weekly dose of insights from a grant reviewer’s point of view.