You’re passionate about something– maybe it’s writing, baking or making music. You happen to be really good at that something, too. You’re determined to make a career out of it. But– everyone around you says “That’s nice. It’ll never work. What’s plan b?”.
I know the feeling. Growing up, my creativity was praised, but I was pressured into taking classes I hated “just in case”. I was made to stress over my math marks “in case you want to be a teacher, if writing doesn’t work out for you”. I never wanted to be a teacher. I was never good at math. I never even liked math. I was sent to summer camp instead of being allowed time to read novels and write poetry.
I know my parents and educators meant well, but sometimes meaning well doesn’t cut it. Neither does following the advice that’s perpetuated by well-meaning (albeit clueless) peers and ‘mentors’.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in love with something you’re good at, embrace it. Don’t fight it in the name of being ‘sane’ or ‘practical’. Don’t waste your time “building extravagantly safe back-up plans” when you could be honing your craft and growing more enamoured by the second, of whatever it is that makes your heart sing.
On that note: last night was life-changing. I felt so validated and empowered by the twittersphere, especially by my favourite DIY-er/artist/musician (quite possibly my favourite person, period), Amanda Palmer. Amanda announced on her twitter, “so i advised @tomdickins to “fuck plan b” and he actually quit his job & is now ready to starve & toil”.
That’s when twitter started to go insane. Countless tweets about “fucking plan b” poured in. I sent my own tweet to Amanda: “Would you advise a young writer, just out of school, to also “fuck plan b”? I am [fucking plan b]. Everyone I know thinks I’m crazy. Worth it?”. She replied, “fucking plan b is often the only way forward”.
That settles it.
Furthermore, “…even failing plan a spectacularly is better than half-assing it from behind plan b”.
Amanda has no idea how many young artists, poets, dreamers and others she’s inspired to just do it, to dive in, work on what makes them happy and “fuck plan b”. I am one of many. And that’s an incredible, exhilarating feeling.
While you’re soaking up the euphoria that comes from being told yes, you can make a career out of what makes you happy and yes, it’s been done before and you can do it too and yes, your happiness matters…
It’s Tuesday Tunes here at etched in tin. In honour of “fuck plan b”… This week’s edition features independent musician Tom Dickins. His EP just came out. It’s fabulous. It’s called Majesty and Misery + can be yours for just $5. Go buy it!
While you’re at it, Amanda Palmer’s Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under is just $0.69 + features Tom on the song “Bad Wine and Lemon Cake”. Download it too!
Finally, the thought I most want to leave you with: You can do this. Fuck plan b. Your happiness is worth it.