This is an article from the original Real Talk blog, which is now archived here on the KP website!
Hello! Thank you for finding this little corner of the internet, I'm so glad you're here. My name is Kitiya Palaskas and I'm the creator of Real Talk. I am a craft-based designer who has been working in the commercial design industry for the last 8 years. I am proudly self-made and have built my niche career from scratch through a combination of trial and error, persistence, and many, many Google searches on topics like "how to run a design business", "what is an invoice", "marketing tips for total idiots", "how to not be socially awkward in networking settings", and other similar things.
Over the course of my career, the internet has been an amazing resource to educate, empower and inspire me to be a boss - there is literally no end to the incredible information out there to help people build and run successful brands or business ventures. Because of this I feel like I can say with confidence that when it comes to running my creative business, I got this. But over the years I have realised that there is another side to being a creative person. It's something I didn't really consider or think was important initially because I was so excited about the career I was building and too busy learning all those business-y things so I could one day become the cooler, more powerful, more ethnic version of Martha Stewart. I didn't realise that this 'other side' is actually as equally important to having a successful creative career as learning how to run a business. I'm talking about wellbeing.
Creativity is personal, it comes from inside us. It's an expression of our personality, a reflection of who we are. It makes sense then that all the things that affect us on a personal level are inextricably linked to our creativity. I often wonder why it's easy enough to reach out for support about things happening in my personal life, but then seems taboo somehow for me to speak up about the same issues facing me in my creative life. There seems to be a stigma attached to this kind of sharing. Luckily we seem to be in a special period of time right now where wellbeing issues are more openly discussed than ever before, especially online. A safe, nurturing space is being formed where we can reach out, speak openly about our issues, seek help, and feel better. The walls surrounding these topics seem to be breaking down and being more transparent and open about our experiences is becoming the new normal, which is why I feel this is the perfect time and place for me to launch this project.
But let me back up for a minute. Hands up if you are a creative person that has ever experienced one of the following (keep your hand up if you're like me and have experienced ALL of the following, multiple times):
Fear of failure
Lack of motivation
Insecurity about your creative future
Overwhelmingness (Is that a even a word? Well it is now.)
Pressure to succeed
I could go on...
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a creative person out there who hasn't experienced one or more of these things at some point in their careers. That's because just like in our personal lives, these are a natural and normal part of being creative. For me (and maybe you) however, I haven't always been as willing to admit to them, because up until a few years ago I literally thought I was the only one experiencing stuff like this. Everyone around me seemed to be kicking goals and killing it at their creative lives, 100% of the time. As much as I felt confident and proud about my place in the creative industry, I was scared to admit that I sometimes had other feelings about it all too. I wanted everyone to see me like I saw them, killing it and kicking goals. I also didn't want to whine about feelings and how hard things could be, despite being privileged enough to be able to do craft every day and get paid for it. So I never addressed any of these issues or reached out for help when I needed it. Over time this caused all sorts of turmoil for me, including a mega dose of creative block which crippled me on and off for the better part of 2 years.
Somewhere in the midst of that gross phase I was invited to speak at a design conference. Rather than showing a highlights reel of my portfolio, which seemed like the safe thing to do, I decided to take the plunge and be honest about some of the things I'd been going through that year. I don't know why I to choose to bare it all for the first time ever in front of an audience of over 500 people, BUT, I had been given an amazing opportunity to share my story, and felt it was important in doing so to shine a light not just on my creative achievements, but also the realities, good and bad, of my creative life. So I did it, and guess what, it didn't bomb! The feedback was so encouraging. Many people reached out to tell me they had been through similar things and experienced this stuff on the regular too! The solidarity that I felt in knowing I wasn't alone in these experiences was so wonderful. Over the years since I have been making more of an effort to be open and realistic about creative wellbeing and how I am feeling. The more I do it, the more normal it feels, and each time I realise I am not alone and that the dialogue I am having with others is helping me to build an arsenal of amazing tools to assist me in leading a happy and healthy existence as a creative person.
So, what is Real Talk exactly? Well, it's the culmination of my efforts to be more real about creative life. Real Talk is a safe space for open dialogue about creative wellbeing, structured around a different theme every month. It's a place to share insights and experiences about all the feelings-y things we go through and how to manage them in our day-to-day creative lives. It's also a platform to share inspiring stories and valuable resources from all over the place. I should probably insert some sort of disclaimer at this point so here goes: I'm not a medical professional, nor am I an expert on these topics outside of my own personal experiences. I'm just a gal with lots of feelings trying to make sense of everything so it doesn't get in the way of me making stuff. I'm also not trying to re-invent the wheel with this project. I know there's already heaps of great stuff out there about this so I'm going to try and find all the best bits of that and share it here too. Alongside this I'll be sharing original content (thoughts, opinions, stories) by me and a bunch of creative people I know and love, and also YOU if you're interested (hit me up)!
I really want to form a community around this project, and encourage you to share your own thoughts and experiences by commenting on posts here and on social media. What Real Talk won't be is a place for judgement, or calling out, I want everyone to feel they have a voice within this community and that they can confidently share their stories to a like-minded audience that is willing to hear them. Also, I love an epic rant as much as the next person, but will aim to keep my content empowering and constructive, even if we are talking about things that can be painful, frustrating or negative. If at any time you have thoughts on how we can improve what we're doing here and make it more valuable for everyone, please don't feel shy to speak up.
Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read our first post. To stay in the loop about what's coming, including an announcement about our first theme, follow us on Instagram (@real.talk.project) and sign up to our mailing list via the form below.
Thank you so much for being here, I can't wait to get the ball rolling and see where this project takes us!
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Real Talk is an online wellbeing project for creative people, written and curated by me! Through a monthly newsletter we share original articles (like this one) and exclusive curated content that we feel will compliment the topics we’re discussing in our articles. Things like TED talks, podcast episodes, videos, wellbeing exercises, worksheets and many more inspiring resources. Sign up to our newsletter to get your monthly dose of Real Talk and be empowered to improve your wellbeing so that you can lead your best creative life!