I'm kind of an all rounder when it comes to graphic design, but my personal focus is based on typography. I truly believe that if graphic design is the art of synthesizing the visual language, typography is the very inception of graphic design. It's the essence of visual language, each character already represents visually a sound that helps us to communicate. The possibilities of modifying the outcome of letters to underline the or differentiate your message are eternal. That pretty much motivates me explore with letters everyday.
Negative feedback is just part of the job just as annoying spam is part of your daily mailbox. I guess Art Direction is all about negative feedback when not given the right way. But if you invert time to find your very own spot in this endless universe called graphic design, you may become the vanguard of something totally new and then there won't be anything to get discouraged for, if you created this. What I want to say is that constructive feedback is always useful and should never be ignored, but if there's negative energy around you that stops you from moving forward you'll just have to get rid of it.
Don't follow any advice only follow your heart. This is the only way you'll find something that truly makes you happy and may also turn into a priority in your life. The stuff you create has to motivate you extremely so that you get this feeling that you could do it all day long or at least once per day.
At pupilaestudio we doing mostly branding and in my free time I mostly explore lettering. Still though I truly feel that I should experiment more with audiovisual design. I've been raised with MTV and I watched and listened to all kind of music through all of my childhood. So I perceive this inner drive of wanting to explore a lot more of image and sound.
Yes, I have an entire list of personal projects I never get actually the time to do them. Actually they are all based on observations I make everyday and then I write them down, so maybe one day I will take action. All of them are based on problems I perceive anywhere graphic design might make an impact, doesn't matter if it's a possible product design for my father in law's homemade chili, bus signage design or lettering for blackboard menus in restaurants. There's always something to improve for graphic designers.