A Beautifully Moving Letter to Artists

Shelley Dudley of Our City Radio read a portion of this piece to me yesterday during our interview. It was written by Sydney Conover. It is wonderfully moving, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I found myself tearing up on the air as she was reading it:

To the world’s Indie Artists …the creative collective…

When times get rough and you falter, momentarily doubting yourself ~ remember you are not alone. There are many, myself included that have hesitated and temporarily lost our way. Some not finding their footing yet. Still others that are debating whether or not to give up. Always be true to yourself … and do not confuse the insecurities of that moment for the signs of someone lacking confidence or direction. Instead find the keys that open your heart and lead to that belief in yourself. Let nothing stand in your way. Not love, not life, not that doubting self.

Remember you are different. Different in the most beautiful way possible. Your soul speaks where others do not. There is a longing in you that cannot be defined by the definitions of others. You have a calling, a need greater than yourself. Be it a need to paint, to sing, to dance, to sculpt, to write, to snap the shutter on what your eye holds creative, to draw, or to make movies, the list goes on. Yet nonetheless is something stronger than you. It whispers your name in your sleep, lurks around corners, hides in the shape of a majestic tree, peeks over the tops of cornstalks, even sets with the sun at the far end of a beautiful pasture, it twinkles in your eye. Never ignore it, that is the devils curse.

This journey you are on is about learning, discovering, and the need to be “released.” It is vital to reach out to other artists, those that know and understand what it is like to pursue a dream not found in a class room.  As it is so very hard for someone to relate to the longing passions of an artist because it isn’t something we are taught or given a road map for.  There is no job description we are handed along with that badge you receive at so many places of employment.  It is truly something that comes from within and you must find your own path. Learn from every step, whether forward, backward, or even a misstep.

It is absolutely crazy how solid sound money takes so many of us from pursuing our creative dreams because the risk of being a starving artist is too scary. Most of us find ourselves either not seeking our inner most passion, our calling or skating around its fringes. We settle in and take the familiar road, the “real job” that takes you to that secure place. When in reality, that secure place is a lie, a crutch we give ourselves so as not to seek out our dreams.

Then there are the others who readily dive in and take the risk.  Again it is all about believing. What makes one brave enough to venture out may not be the same for another. The timing must be personally right, our faith in place, and we must have our running shoes on. Never compare because you will dive in, when it is right for you. Not when or how it is right for someone else. Remember you are beautifully different.

Being artists we have greater turmoil without that guidance afforded those that seek “regular” careers. Greater chance to doubt ourselves, greater chance to be led astray. Ultimately though, when an artist does pursue their dreams the process of getting there since it is more challenged makes us stronger. That is a benefit of the struggle. It makes us stronger. I know it is a cliche but it is a truth.

Dare not be afraid to dance on the edges of that secure place. Release your ties to that “real job” … hold it no longer than need be. For if you hold it too long it becomes your identity, your safety net, the reason you are so consumed with life as others see fit.

Believing in oneself is the hardest thing to do. I know this from experience.

But doing just that is what it takes. Now go out there and find your way to the surface. So as you may create significance in the lives of others. For artists move the world with their intense spirit.