Having a successful career is a goal everyone strives for, but not all of us are excited at the thought of working five days a week at a cold, gloomy corporate office. For each person who pines for dedicating their time creating music, art, and stories, there’s sure to be a skeptic around who won’t hesitate to tell you how it’s a less-than-ideal career choice.

Fortunately, a creative career is much more manageable and worthwhile than the naysayers might suggest. Just not as lax or free-spirited as you think. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about taking the creative route.

1. You will have more free time, but use it wisely.

One luxury about working as a professional creative is more free time. Managing your own hours effectively involves accounting for potential changes in creative direction. Ensure some time not just for working on a project, but also for review and improvement. Writing up a script draft can take you a few weeks, but keep in mind the additional months of editing. Once you’re there, incorporating a new scene can take a lot longer than you think.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Perpetual discomfort is an occupational hazard that allows you to grow as an artist. For every ten things you create, odds are only two will make an impact. If you don’t know how long your first gig will last, make the most of it anyway—form connections with clients, ask questions, hone your expertise. Remember that it takes years to get established in the industry, and doing so requires a proactive attitude and being able to adapt to constantly changing environments.

3. Not everyone will get your work, and they don’t need to.

The moment you get to showcase your art is the most exciting, yet vulnerable part of your job. It can be discouraging to get scathing or quizzical reactions on that installation you worked on for countless hours. If your art doesn’t connect with viewers, consider your execution.

What kind of response do you want to elicit? Are your ideas communicated clearly? Art is meant to raise questions and not necessarily answer them. At the end of the day, it’s not your responsibility to appease your audience.

4. Sometimes you won’t be in the mood to create things.

You might think just because you’re getting to create what you love, you’ll be content every step of the way. But there will be periods where you don’t want to touch your work at all. Maybe you’re a musician who just finished a composition and don’t have the energy to tackle another one. Under a tight deadline though, you don’t have much of a choice but to focus and push through.

5. You can’t live in a bubble.

There is this stereotype of the lonely artist trying to make it big, with a “me against the world” mentality, but a working artist will tell you this type of thinking gets you nowhere. A filmmaker trying to make their first short film for example, needs the help of producers, videographers, and sound engineers. Your creative vision will be subject to compromise in a professional environment, so collaborations with both creatives and non-creatives are essential.

6. Patience, patience, patience.

A creative workflow runs at its own pace. Your career will be littered with obstacles—setbacks, rejections, moments when productivity can’t be forced. Are you a fashion designer struggling with a new collection? Flip through your favorite style magazines and sketch away until an idea materializes. Creative blocks are natural but temporary, and a project might not come into place until the 10th revision.

7. No, keeping your day job won’t make you a sellout.

The idea of having to choose between a fulfilling artistic job or buying into a stable one is a false dilemma. There’s no shame in sticking to a job you’re not the most excited about for the sake of financial security and your own sanity. If it can help you develop transferable skills as well as better sustain your passion for creative work, why not?

8. Master the art of failing.

You’re going to fail a lot, so you might as well know how to do it right. The great thing about being a creative is that there’s no right answer, so you can try, try, and keep trying. Even the best authors had to endure countless rejections until they were able to sell their novels. Growth as an artist involves reflecting on each failure and letting it inform your next approach.