Keeping hope when the money isn't exactly "rolling in"....
Sometimes an artist's journey starts to seem like a tedious act of futility that causes one to lose hope for a bright and successful future. You're not always an instant success and it takes putting in a lot of work before you finally start to see some payoff. Being a professional artist is a constant investment in your future self, since there typically isn't any instant gratification. Sometimes there is, but most of the time, there isn't.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I use to keep from getting bogged down in the present situation and losing my drive, my sense of purpose and ambition.
Remember that you must crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.
Every successful artist has started out as an unsuccessful noob. We all have to really develop our style and get to know the ropes before we start to see a glimmer of success. Focus as much as you can on learning. Explore different mediums, find a style that you enjoy, take a few classes, watch some videos. Don't beat yourself up. It always takes time, so be patient with yourself. One of my favorite artists, whom is also quite successful, said that when she first started selling her art in her Etsy shop, she didn’t have a single sale for the entire first year. The whole year! She kept going though, because she had faith in herself and in her work and she knew that if she pursued success, that she would find it.
Set small goals.
General Creighton Abrams summed it up best when he said, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time."
Take all of your larger goals and break them down into bite sized portions. Gaining followers on Instagram, for instance. Sure, some of the more well know artists have thousands of followers, but there was a time when they were hoping to get those first 10, those first 50, those first 100. Celebrate those little achievements. They're the stones that pave the path to success.
Compare yourself, to yourself.
Look back at your past work. Look at last year. Look at five years ago. Look at how much you've improved and how far you've come! Throw yourself a little party, or post a #tbt on your social media and get your friends to join your party.
Remind yourself how amazing you are.
Sure, this sounds a bit self-centered, but, to put it bluntly, ain't nobody else going to do it for you! You have to tell yourself that you think you're awesome. You have to be your own cheerleader. You can't rely on others around you to do it for you, because they're busy dealing with their own shit. It's not that they don't think you're amazing too, it's just, they're busy and they forget to tell you that you're amazing. After you finished telling yourself how fantastic you are, go hop on social media and tell a few random people how awesome they are. It feels great reminding people of their awesomeness. Not only does it raise their frequency, it raises yours too. (If you're wondering what I mean by that, then you need to go read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I've read it once and listened to the audio book twice. It's fan-freakin-tabulous.)
Gaze upon the glory, which you have created.
Basically this is the same as the last tip, but different. Go look at what you've created. Look at it! It's amazing! No one else can make that! Sure, they can copy it, but its yours, not theirs and they can only imitate it. You've inserted your own unique "youness" into it and that makes it amazing. I keep a portfolio on my website (you should too) and I go look back at it occasionally to remind myself that I have made some really cool shit and I will continue to make even cooler shit. Yeah, this is a lot like "compare yourself to yourself" too, but also, different.
I hope this helps if you too struggle with keeping faith in yourself and are feeling like you're not getting anywhere in your art career. Sometimes it can be a slow climb to get to where you want to be, but just keep at it. You'll get there eventually.
Thanks you guys! I really appreciate all of your support, your likes, your shares and your comments and reading my blog posts. It helps me get to where I want to be. Toodles! :)