One of the key concepts that we as professional creatives need to master is learning to separate our identity from our creating. “We are brilliant at what we do, but what we do does not define us,” is the second point on the AC manifesto, and has been the focus of past podcasts. In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says that as professionals we should not “overidentify with our jobs.”
This was a hard concept for me to grasp. The passion that serves me well as a creative individual also surfaced in negative ways in my work: fighting too hard for ideas, taking rejection of my work personally. While I’ve learned to control these impulses in my workday job, I find they are emerging again as I explore my passion for writing. I’m allowing too much of my identity to hinge on the success or failure of an individual writing assignment.
This leads me to ask you:
- How did you learn to separate your identity—who you are—from what you do and make?
- In what ways do you (or did you) struggle with this separation?