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  • Arthur Sempebwa

Don't box yourself

Updated: May 29, 2020

"You can't be creative until you start to embrace all that you are"


Social media is a great way to showcase our creativity. We can share our stories, build businesses and even help people. It's Brilliant! The problem is it also exposes our insecurities. We at some point fall into the box of conforming or becoming a version of ourselves we think will people like and want follow.


Now, this post risks sounding un-original as none of this is new information. We all know this. Hence, the logical and predictable answer to this dilemma may come in statements like "just be yourself" or "stay in your lane". However, these statements come with the assumption that one; you like yourself and two, you're having the time of your life staying in your lane.


But perhaps for you (hypothetically of course), reality is saying you've passed it. You had a good run a few years ago when you were on the scene but you're not that hot new prospect, actress, singer or person anymore. Now you want to start again, get creative and do what you...think you...maybe...used to love but things are different. You’re still asking yourself—how on earth do I use TikTok?!


My journey has at times been a very frustrating one. I found myself in a place where I was telling people I was a filmmaker but I wasn't making any films. I told people for years that I'd be directing feature films in my 30s, under my studio name...you know, doing what I love. But over the years tumbleweed blew on my scripts, I was getting older and for some political or economic reason, rent is still due every month. The last short film I had made at this point was in 2013! What? I felt like a fraud.


An imposter.



I recall feeling like there is so much I would like to do but it doesn't fit the filmmaker box I sellotaped myself into. My social media looked like it was all over the place...like I was trying too many things. A jack of all trades. Oh no, we don't want that. We all know that people want consistency, be good at one thing and stick to it. But, that's a problem if you dont try and fail (yes you will) at other things. Personally, it's taken me trying, hating, winning some, loosing more and trying again, at many things to figure out what I enjoy doing.


I had to redefine the constructs terms like filmmaker had etched in my mind. These labels we give ourselves have their place (and I still use them as formalities) but they can squeeze you into a creative box that may be hard to escape from down the line. Writing this blog, for example, is another foot out of that box. I never thought I'd be writing blogs. I'm known for my visual storytelling and besides...no one reads blogs! So I thought. This post started with "you can't be creative until you start to embrace all that you are". This is a call to be authentic—to rediscover yourself and being okay with what you find. It means we must deal with our insecurities and the fear that comes with putting your work and projects out there. One of the best ways to do this is to allow ourselves to make mistakes. Talk about them. Show them. Learn from them. We have to get accustomed to being vulnerable and trying new things without having the full picture. There’s too much pressure to know everything & have it all planned out.

So, if you’ve been looking to start that thing again (you know, that thing) and are ready to dust off the creative cobwebs, my advice would be don't box yourself—yet. First, challenge & rethink your expectations—like the one of you thinking this whole process is going to be easy (it’s not). Celebrate your past wins, smile, then build a bridge and get over them. Do something new, read something new, follow new people that inspire and challenge you.

At least for a little while.


This is one way you can start to find your creative voice in a noisy world.

Believe me, we’re all figuring it right now. Stay creative. Stay safe.


Hey, if you enjoyed this post I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. And if you want to share it...because you are an awesome human being, I will understand. Arthur


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