Are You a Zombie Artist?

Zombie Uncle SamHappy Independence Day! Our Founding Fathers were action takers who were passionate about their ideas, and after a long struggle, they were rewarded with freedom from British rule. Imagine if the Founding Fathers had been zombies though. Not much would have been accomplished. Why? Because although zombies have an actionable goal of eating brains, they don’t strategize beyond that. In fact, they create more competition every time they take a bite of a living person. What is the zombie sustainability plan for when they run out of humans? They just don’t have one.

As an artist, you can choose to be an independent thinker who makes plans and takes action, or you can be a zombie who moves from project to project without any strategy or forethought.

Here are three tips to avoid being the latter:

  1. Think about sustainability. When your current project is finished, will you have depleted all your resources, strained your relationships, and exhausted your physical and emotional self? If yes, you aren’t behaving in a way that will sustain your career as an artist. The Founding Fathers didn’t say to themselves, “Hey! America! That’ll last for a couple of years!” And you shouldn’t think that way either. You’re an artist for life, not just one project.
  2. Think about your purpose. Your purpose as a creator may not be as lofty as founding a new nation, but it is what drives you. And if you’re like most artists, your purpose serves your community somehow. If you only think about eating brains, that’s not giving back to the world. What do you want to do artistically? Who do you want to affect and how do you want to affect them?
  3. Think about where you’re going. In the movie World War Z, the zombies are attracted to loud noises and immediately shuffle off towards every ping and clang they hear. If you’re as easily distracted, then you’ve got to learn to focus and stay the course. No one is going to shape your career as an artist for you. You’ve got to take responsibility for yourself.

Celebrate your freedom from the mindlessness of being a zombie.  Take this holiday as an opportunity to declare your own independence from whatever is holding you back from being the artist you dream of being.  Create.  Create.  Create!

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