Legitimize your creative path today. Don’t wait until this far out goal happens, or that one. And don’t let the world fool you with its slow acceptance or skewed definitions of what "real" artists or "real" writers are.
It wasn’t until I reached some of the bigger milestones in my art career (the flashier ones, so to speak) that some people said, in very indirect ways, "Oooh, now that you’ve done “x, y, or z” we now recognize that what you do is legit." However, that kind of thinking misses the point. The work of creating is the same, whether you exhibit your creations in your bedroom, a local coffee shop, or at the Met. It’s the act of doing the work that makes you legit. You show up again. And again. You trust the path. The end results aren’t in your control.
I’m at a beginning again, in the midst of crafting a second creative career (this time, as a writer). I am no stranger to what it takes to build something from nothing. I’ve done it before, and I have no doubt I'll do it again.
But legitimizing your way isn’t always easy in a world of skeptics. And you’re not alone in the struggle. I saw a documentary about acclaimed author Toni Morrison last night. In it, she said that she couldn’t bring herself to fully call herself a writer until she’d published her third book. Knowing who you are internally and proclaiming it to the world are two different things. And it can take time to get there.
So for all you fellow creatives out there, remember to believe in your path. It’s yours and only yours to make. Trust your power. Your ability. Your vision. Fully embrace the talent that lives within. The world needs what you have to give.