Alternative Studies

Why the Stigma Around Being ‘A Creative’ is Total BS

words by Year13 | photo by @xandeaburns

We all have at least a small part of us that yearns to be a creative. We want to drop out of school and get on the first flight to Venice, where we’ll sit by the canal side and paint lovers in gondolas under a star-filled sky. Or we want to quit our job, so we can spend all our time on our writing and finally polish off that book idea we’ve been sitting on for years. Or we’ll walk away from our degree and move to Byron Bay where we can photograph the surfers skimming across crystal clear waves under the golden, Aussie sun.

But most of the time these creative urges remain, for our whole lives, as day dreams. Something we say we’d love to do one day but know we’ll never actually attempt. We’ll stay on the safe side with our tried-and-true routines, because with the creative lifestyle comes a price, right?

If you’re a creative, then you must be strapped for cash all the time, living off tinned food and never really knowing where your next pay cheque is going to come from. If you’re a creative, then you must be one of those pretentious types at parties who drink red wine and brag about their latest artistic achievements. But those achievements were probably years ago, because the work trickles in so slowly and inconsistently that eventually you lose faith in your abilities and are driven a little bit mad.

It’s these ideas that keep most of us from even considering turning our creative skills into a career.

But I’m calling bullshit.

The idea of the stereotypical ‘creative’ is total BS. It’s a generalisation we perpetuate in order to sooth ourselves when we find out we’re stuck in the nine-to-five and need reassurance that we’re doing the “responsible thing” for our lives.

But when you think about it, you realise that creatives are some of the most successful people in the world. Almost all of the household names you can think of got that way because they had a curiosity to explore something different and followed their creative passion, be that acting, playing music, writing, photography, or even inventing.

There’s a potential to earn a great deal of money, and with social media it’s becoming even easier for creatives to showcase their talents. How many photographers are you following who make a killing using Instagram as their megaphone? Whether they’re paid to post, or building a heavy-hitters list of clients, they’re reaching a global audience by following their passion.

Plus, the creative folk have a lot of us beat on another pretty major front; they actually love what they do. They’re making their passion their career, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

The creative industries are also massively flexible, which means you don’t have to drop everything and start pursuing your creative passions full-time. There’s plenty of room to go part-time with your creativity, and slowly build up your skill and confidence until you know you’re ready to turn it into your career.

Being a creative does not mean you have to always be struggling to make ends meet, or constantly waiting for someone to give you your next job. Sure, some have these issues, but that’s because working in a creative industry is all about what you put in. It’s a self-motivated industry, and you’ve got to be the one to drive yourself to succeed.

So now there’s no excuse not to follow your creative passion, what are you going to do to get started?


If photography is your creative outlet of choice, but you’ve got no clue where to begin, then why not start with a class or two? Canon Collective host photography events and workshops all over Australia for a range of skill levels, from learning how to use your gear, to photographing specific things like portraits, sports, food, animals and children, to meet-ups that could take you whale watching, hiking, scuba diving, and heaps more. Some of the events can even take you overseas on photography trips to destinations like Japan or South Africa (hullo gap year).

The workshops are a great way to rub shoulders with like-minded photography-fanatics and try out a bunch of different ways in which you might want to specialise with your photography. If you’re keen to sus out what Canon Collective workshops are going on near you, jump over to their site here and see what’s on offer.

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