The Art of Trying

As of June 11th, I will have been officially in my “post-grad era” for ten months. Ten months consisting of moving home (and then back to Nashville, where I went to college), nearly 700 job applications (just on LinkedIn), four internships (only one paid), three part-time jobs, 20+ sound credits on international TV shows (streaming on Disney+, Cartoon Network, and Netflix), and ultimately, one girl behind it all who is just… trying to make it work.

Hint: that girl would be me.

If there’s something I’ve learned during this almost full year of figuring life out, it’s that 1) despite having six seasons, there just aren’t enough episodes of Sex and The City, and 2) there is most definitely an art to “trying to make it work.” I am currently making my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and though the topic is touched on throughout the book, Week 8 specifically emphasizes reclaiming your time, energy, and strength as an artist by simply trying things out for the sake of doing them. It’s easy to come up with excuses as to why we can’t or shouldn’t pursue our desires: too young, too old, too out of shape, too busy, too broke, too scared. However, Cameron stresses that as creative beings, none are the real reasons. Like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder: have we lost our ability to try for trying’s sake?

Let me elaborate. I believe our inability to follow our dreams might lie in the fact that we are too attached to the comfortable, familiar anxiety of thinking about the thing rather than doing the thing and being faced with the truth of a real outcome.

In other words, we’d rather not try and not know than try and fail.

This belief resonated with me as a young woman pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, specifically in audio. As I’ve navigated the last 10 months, it’s been so easy to blame my lack of progress on several things. I’m too young and inexperienced. I should be grateful just to be given a chance at anything, so I need to avoid speaking my mind or taking up space just to keep the opportunity. I’m too busy juggling multiple jobs. I’m too focused on trying to keep myself afloat. But if I’m honest with myself, the real reason is that oftentimes, I don’t think that I’m good enough.

The beautiful thing about being this young and inexperienced is that right now, I have nothing to lose. When you’re at the bottom, the only way to go is up. And if I take a second to evaluate where I’m at, things are quite wonderful. I’ve had some great professional opportunities, and though they haven’t yet landed me the full-time gig I’ve been hoping for, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the industry I’m pursuing. I’ve been able to spend more time at home in Texas with my family, which at this point in life, you don’t often get to say. I’ve also been able to live with my friends and chosen family now that I am back in Tennessee. I have freedom with my schedule and can take on smaller opportunities that arise, like flexible sound design gigs or working on friends’ films and projects. What I thought were gaps in my “grand plan” are looking more like stained glass than a shattered mirror, and in the cracks, I’m finding time to dedicate to trying. As I said, there’s a real art to it, and slowly but surely, I feel like I’m picking up the skill.

Whether you’ve been in the industry for years or, like me, are just starting out, I encourage you to take the time to evaluate both your past and present. I’m almost positive that if given the opportunity, you’ll be able to provide a much fuller list of accomplishments, big and small. And the great news? If you’re not where you want to be, if you aren’t feeling fulfilled, if you find yourself off track from your goals, you can always try again. And I don’t just mean in your career.

Pick up the brushes and start a watercolor painting.

Grab a pen and paper and jot down a few pages for that memoir you’ve been wanting to write.

Sit down and find an old clip from a movie you love and redesign the SFX.

Have a favorite artist who releases the raw stems for their songs? Set aside an hour or two to remix them.

You don’t need a perfect, finished product.

Stop thinking about what could happen.


And just like that, the process goes from daunting to invigorating.

Like any kind of art, to get better at “trying” requires practice. And the truth of the matter is you won’t ever really be good at trying, just better at accepting the outcome. If I recall, it was also Carrie Bradshaw who noted that “life gives you lots of chances to screw up, which means you have just as many chances to get it right.”

But hey, you’ll never know until you try.

Photo courtesy of HBO MAX

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