By: Nicolas Cole
Every year, I start a new journal. This is where I keep all my ideas, my To Do lists, overheard conversations, rants, questions and occasionally a grocery list or two. My journal is where I am free to process through moments that, for whatever reason, have left on me an impression. It is my sketch pad of words, my sloppy ramblings, and my innermost contemplations.
Part of my process for writing is poetry. Often times, I do not have the luxury of writing pages and pages of “what happened today”—and the truth is, I have a separate journal for that on my laptop where I can type a million miles an hour and process through as much as I need to. But the journal I keep in my backpack, the one I physically write in, is not for that. It is for ideas, for creativity, for taking experiences and condensing them down into a few lines. Poetry is how I do this.
At the beginning of 2015, I set a very clear intention. Looking back through my journal now at the end of the year, I see the path that intention has taken me on. My intention was this: I want to learn how to balance two very distinct parts of me. On the one hand, I am an artist. I am a writer. Nothing makes me happier than to sit down and create something of my own, whether it be a piece of writing, a drawing, a song, etc. On the other hand, since my graduating from college and entering the business world and advertising industry, I have unlocked other aspects of my personality that I have found I enjoy just as much. I enjoy building things with other people. I vibe with the “entrepreneur” mindset, working tirelessly to learn and grow and develop a wide range of skill sets. I like technology, I like branding and marketing, I like seeing what I do make a difference out in the world and truthfully, I like learning how to not be poor doing it. In short, I am both: An artist with an awareness of project timelines and marketing strategies, as well as a business man with an overwhelming appreciation for the importance of artistic expression.
However, it has taken me a long, long time to find a balance—and “finding” isn’t even the right word here, because balance is not found, as I have learned, but practiced. These two sides of me have long lived in conflict—one chasing the end result, the other just wanting to play in the creation process—and over the past two years especially I have felt very torn and disconnected. Since entering the business world, I have found myself spending too much time in “business mode” and not enough time in “artist mode.” And I began to question whether I enjoyed these new “entrepreneurial” talents of mine simply because they brought me rewards faster. With writing, the external rewards are minimal—if at all. But with business, they come by the truckload. They overwhelm you. They are visceral, and drown you until it’s all you know—and you quickly forget the deep satisfaction that comes through creative expression for its own sake.
The enclosed poems are footsteps from that journey. From the moment I set that intention, to now, the end of 2015. It was a very slow awakening process, the process of learning to understand, appreciate, and make time for both: creativity and business.
This is from my journal. This is extremely personal. But I share this with you so that you can see, if this is something you are struggling with as well, what kind of questioning I went through to begin learning how to balance the two: Creative Professional.
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