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The Two Legs of the Relevancy Journey
The journey of relevancy is split between becoming relevant and remaining relevant. What are you going to do to remain relevant?
One of the first biggest hurdles for creatives is becoming relevant to a given audience. A lot of effort goes into getting to the point where people find what you're saying useful, relevant, and worth paying attention to.
While it's hard to get to that point, it's easy to get to that point and stagnate. You can get tired of your own voice or tired of repeating yourself. You can get frustrated that you're not growing at the rate you used to. Or you just stop talking to the people you once created for - you become the poor hermit. (This one happens more often than people like to admit to.)
In our attention-starved world and economy, relevancy isn't static. You either continually build it and remain relevant or you become irrelevant.
And once you become irrelevant, it's awkward to reenter the space. Sometimes you're received well and people welcome your return. Even more awkward is when you return and people have moved on - the conversation you started is now finished and "owned" by somebody else.
A lot of the guidance about becoming a creative professional focuses on becoming relevant, for that's the leg of the journey that the majority of creatives care about. It's almost as if it's taken for granted that creatives will remain relevant post-ascension.
That assumption, unfortunately, does not bear out.
Many creatives get a level of success that's sufficient for them and choose to live happily ever after in their own private creative spaces. I honor and appreciate their choices.
But a lot of creatives get a modicum of success and rest on their laurels. They "accidentally" become irrelevant, even though it's no accident.
I won't ask you to think about becoming relevant - you're already thinking about that and probably have plans and intentions to do so. The real question is what are you going to do to remain relevant?
The life of a creative professional is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself accordingly.