I recently watched Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp. It’s a quirky film based on a horror soap opera I used to watch when I was a kid. Johnny’s performance is brilliant (of course). It struck me how this amazing actor could have any role he wanted. Captain Jack Sparrow has solidified his position on the A-List Actor platform. And how many Golden Globes, etc. has he won? Instead of doing the typical Hollywood cookie cutter movies, Johnny has chosen to stick with eccentric and creative roles. Why? I get the impression he wants to stay true to his creative self. He remains an artist, not another money machine. I love that about him.
There are others out there who have just said “Screw it, I’m doing things my way.” The people I admire most are the independent dreamers. They write books, make films, create art and open businesses despite the struggles. These aren’t the major money makers. They have limited commercial success (right now), but they keep on living their dreams. It takes guts, drive and talent to keep moving when everyone tells you to stop.
I struggled for years to break into traditional publishing and when I finally got through the gate I didn’t like what I saw. It was like being in a factory. My perception – nobody really cared about this thing you created. They moved it along the conveyor belt until it was finished. Then they kicked it out the door. On to the next cog. Coming from a project management background, I had assumed I was ready for anything. I had no idea, however, I would be completely ignored.
It finally occurred to me if I didn’t like how my book was being treated, why not use my business skills to take charge of my own art? Hey, I was being ignored anyway. Why not start doing things on my own terms for better or worse? Lost Man’s Parish was my test run at Indie Publishing. In one month, this horror short story did better than my traditionally published novels have done in a year. Crazy wild!
Can I quit my day job? No. Am I happier and more fulfilled as an artist? Oh yeah. I’ve taken control of my own creative future. Like Johnny Depp, I’m doing what I love the way I feel it should be done rather than playing to a chronically changing market. My dearest hope is that my readers love what I do and continue to read my books. So to all you Indie Dreamers out there, keep doing what you do and stay true to your dreams!