Day 12: When Hard Work Pays Off

In June 2009, without really realizing what I was doing, I joined the ranks of independent artists.

In the years since then I’ve had the joy, honor, and delight to meet dozens of independent artists in all genres: writers, visual artists, jewelers, musicians, film producers, and more.

I was talking last night with a friend who creates jewelry. We were commiserating over the fact that though we work hard and create, and work hard and create, it sometimes feels like no one is paying attention. Getting traction, finding our audiences, making progress on our goals, sometimes feels impossible.

We love the work, we agreed, but it would be nice if a few more people noticed what we’re doing.

I passed on to her a quote I’d read just that day from writer Zadie Smith: “Don’t confuse honours with achievement.” (See link for Zadie’s 10 Rules of Writing.)

Of course, we aren’t doing the work for the honors. (Or, if you’re British, honours.) We’re doing it because we can’t not do it. That creative instinct is more than an urge; it’s a drive.

“Unused creativity isn’t benign. It metastasizes.” So says Brené Brown, and I think she’s right. We don’t create just for the fun of it; we create because we must create in order to thrive.

And yet.

And yet, the honors, when they come, are nice. Very nice indeed.

Which is why I’d like today to congratulate my dear friend Damian McGinty on the release of his gorgeous new CD This Christmas Time, and its debut at #2 on the Billboard World and Holiday charts. I hate the word “deserve” as it implies that those who don’t receive the honors didn’t deserve them. But I do know Damian has worked so hard to get where he is. He poured every bit of himself into this album, and I’m beyond delighted to see him getting such great recognition for his efforts.

Creators keep creating because we can’t not create.

But the awards, when they come, are very nice.


The Universes Inside the Lighthouse by Pam StuckyP.S. Did you know you can read my entire first YA sci-fi adventure book, free, online? And if you’re a parent or educator, or just someone who enjoys activities, check out the free, thought-provoking, skill-building activities at the end of every chapter! The Universes Inside the Lighthouse (and subsequent books in the series) was inspired by my love of books like A Wrinkle In Time or shows like Doctor Who. It’s my own exploration and answer to the deep and sometimes unanswerable questions: what else is out there? What if we could meet aliens from other planets? What if everything were possible? What’s more, through the power of truth-through-fiction, The Universes Inside the Lighthouse addresses issues of loneliness and compassion and gives parents and educators an opening to discuss these challenging but important issues. I love this series so much and I hope you will too! Start reading chapter one here! And feel free to spread the word!

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