On a day when all I needed was a bit of inspiration, a certain email landed in my inbox and its words really hit home. It felt like the author, Amber Rae was really speaking to me as a creative professional, but her refreshing advice can be applied to anyone in need of a pep talk. We love Amber’s wisdom and writing, and so we got her permission to share with you the content of that email. Enjoy.
My friend Ambika texted me the other day, “I need a pep talk. I don’t know how to get this book idea out there,” she said. “I know this is my purpose and what I’m meant to do. It’s also what I WANT to do. But I still need to be a boss at my company… help?!”
Here’s the advice I gave her:
1. Remember that right now, you are already doing the work.
The conversations you’re having, the material you’re reading, the podcasts you’re listening to—all the thinking and tinkering that you’re already doing—that’s part of the research and discovery phase.You’re living the work.
Celebrate those steps, too. It’ll help you feel less behind.
2. One tiny step per day.
When Jerry Seinfeld was early in the comedy circuit, he made a simple commitment: write one joke a day.
When I started illustrating years ago, I made a similar commitment: one drawing per day. It didn’t have to be good or clever or interesting. It just had to be done.
One joke. One drawing. One sentence. One idea. One photograph. One stroke of paint.
When you prioritize the one thing that matters most to you—even if you have only five minutes—that tiny commitment will take you far.
3. Be a Trickster, not a Martyr.
In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the difference between being a trickster and a martyr.
The gist is this: many of us learned that suffering is our badge of honor as artists, and that our genius will ultimately destroy us. With trickster energy, we take ourselves less seriously and actually delight in the work—regardless of how it turns out.
So instead of, say, tormenting yourself to write a book alone, you could bring together a small team to help you talk out the ideas first—to see what sticks and more easily get them down on paper. (This is an approach that Brené Brown has used, and it’s one that I’ve borrowed.)
Whenever I feel stuck or overwhelmed in the creative process—and I’m creeping into martyrdom—a question I find useful is this: How can I make this fun? Light? Energizing? And more easeful?
Above all, remember this: you are a human being, not a human machine. Creativity has ebbs and flows, and different seasons of life impact our inputs and outputs. Embrace where you are fully.
A quote to consider
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
An invitation for you
Is there an area of your life where you’re suffering alone and could benefit from a pep talk? Reach out to a trusted friend and ask for support.
About the author
Amber Rae is an author, artist and global voice for emotional wellness and self-discovery. She turns highly relatable insights on the human experience into viral art, sold-out venues, and best-selling books. She’s the author of Choose Wonder Over Worry: Move Beyond Fear and Doubt to Unlock Your Full Potential and The Answers Are Within You: 108 Keys to Unlock Your Mind, Body & Soul. Her work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, NYMag, TODAY, SELF, Fortune, Forbes and Entrepreneur. Amber has collaborated with brands such as Kate Spade, Apple, ABC, and One Medical, and she reaches over 9MM people per month online with her words and art.