Self-care is an investment into the future
Take breaks and exercise the skill to get your head space back, over and over again in order to be able to concentrate despite of all the important things on your to-do list. Remember neither is success more deserved if it's hard nor will sacrification make success sustainable. Moments of stillness are essential to work long-term and come back with new ideas. Go for walks, meditate, travel, do whatever you need to do in order to get some distance from work and don't force the muses to follow you there. Sometimes the best ideas come when we stop trying so hard.
Treasure your ideas
Keep your ideas close to you and write them down. Keep track of them and use a system that works for you so that you can revisit them in times you need inspiration and have more time to take care of them.
Keep your manners in stressful times
Yes, sometimes you have to get things done and remind people about sticking to their deadlines. Despite of all the hustle, remind yourself to keep your manners. People might forget what you said but they will never forget about how you made them feel. Always aspire to do things with grace.
Celebrate yourself AND others
While intelligent self-promotion is important to make yourself heard, remember to guide others to authors, art, music that nourishes your spirit. Spread the word and share what inspires you, in these times we are surrounded by so much darkness, it's this light that will guide you through. It is so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator, let others know if something resonates with you. It is the only way they will know about it.
Never forget about how you started and the importance of a mentor. Be generous with your knowledge when someone is in the beginnings of their career and desperate for some orientation and guidance. In order to be a sustainable community we have to have each others back.
There is no magic trick in bonding with others
Connecting with others is always a balance between sharing something which might resonate with others and getting them talk to you. Sometimes you have to do the first step and a certain portion of honesty and vulnerability can help.
Ask for what you want
Be specific about what you want and don't expect that others can read your mind or will give you everything you actually deserve. Don't be afraid to actually negotiate on your behalf and ask for the really important things, even if they seem BIG.
Don't buy into the myth that money and creativity have to have a complicated relationship
You are going to learn how to charge it, how to ask for it without starting to sweat. Just state your prize and don't apologize for it. It is easier said then done but remember you have something to offer. Creativity is a gift and as Amanda Palmer said it her incredible book "The art of asking" it is an exchange, you offer something and get something in exchange.
Money is a tool keeping us alive, use it for whatever you need that allows you to continue to do your practice. So make a proper exchange. And on a side note: Money follows ideas not jobs!
Be sceptical if exposure is the only promised currency
Do meaningful work and eventually people will notice. Exposure or prestige might feel like instantaneous gratification but ask yourself at the same time some core questions defining labor, the environment and the work you want to be noticed for.
Is this the work that excites you to wake up in the morning? Are this the people you can rely on in difficult times? Is the whole work environment sustainable? Is it this community that cares about the work and actually wants to change the status quo?
Resist cynicism and fight it where you can
We live in difficult times where cynicism might feel convincing but there is no life and growth without hope, faith or desire. In every darkness there are moments of delight and we have to keep ourselves open to search for them in order to turn to the light and not become bitter through darkness. As Maria Popova put it powerfully in her learnings on brainpickings: "Cynicism often masquerades as nobler faculties and dispositions, but is categorically inferior. Unlike that great Rilkean life-expanding doubt, it is a contracting force. Unlike critical thinking, that pillar of reason and necessary counterpart to hope, it is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive. Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay usurps the order. Like all forms of destruction, cynicism is infinitely easier and lazier than construction. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance."
I keep this poem by Jack Gilbert over my desk to remind me every day about the moments of delight
"A brief for the defense"
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.