Living the creative life is not an easy-peasy path to choose, which is probably why so few people get to do it. I mean, if it was easy the world would be full of artists actively expressing themselves all over the place (wouldn’t that rock?).
Whilst it’s worth all the processing, transforming of experience, study, lack of support and outright struggle to be an artist (it really is), there are times when you feel like you may just pack it in and take up a ‘proper job’.
Here are some of the most stuck times I’ve encountered and still do.
Inspiration fizzle-out. Getting super creatively inspired for a short time and then losing momentum. Starting a dozen new projects full of hope & enthusiasm and ending up with a cupboard full of UFOs (UnFinished Objects).
The total sucky stuckness. Being stuck and unable to gain forward momentum. Usually, I get this along with a bone-crushing tiredness. I know the tips and tricks to get out of the rut, but can’t get my butt off the sofa to do it. Gah.
Practical doom happens. Like with my chum Steve White, who was doing portraits of local community minded types, and filled a sketchbook with lovely hand drawn portraits only to lose it. With all his preparatory work gone, things were looking ropey to say the least, but a good artist goes on with the show. In the end, he moved on to create stunning abstract portrayals instead – here’s me with mine.
Scary new place. You’ve changed up and it’s scary. You get some success, recognition or even sales and suddenly your expectations of yourself go right through the roof. Eeek. So, you do some fun self-sabotage to get out of the wobbly new territory and back to a safe zone.
You’re trying something new and you actually rather suck at it. Another pitfall of a long-term artist is that you’re actually pretty good and some stuff. Which means that when you try to do something new and you quite naturally aren’t so good at it, it’s horrid.
Sometimes, the circumstances around us sabotage our best efforts to live the creative life that we dream of. Responsibilities, money concerns and sheer lack of motivation can stall us in our tracks as artists and creative beings.
If you’ve ever been in any of these places, you will know it doesn’t last. I’ve assembled my own little toolkit of people, websites, books and friends who can support me through the not-so-glittery times. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to seek out the support I need.
If you are a struggling artist, I urge you to look for others to share with – online or face-to-face. There are hundreds of communities out there where you can link up with other creatives.
I invite you to share your favourite teachers, books and resources in the comments section!
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