Sorry for the repost. Had some requests to make this rebloggable, so here it is as a rebloggable thing.
Anonymous asked you:
"So…I know art and drawing are kind of like part of your day to day life what with your job and all (as I recall you saying) but you ever find yourself having a lapse in faith when it comes to creating? You know, when you just feel real unmotivated? Maybe even a bit resentful? How do you get through it?"
Oh yes - there’s a dazzlingly diverse gamut of negativity to discover and experience when working in art. At one end, there’s a lot of doing tasks you aren’t particularly keen on, criticism swallowing and rejection. At the other end, there’s sacrificing not-insignificant and exhausting chunks of your existence to deadline crunches, only to be defeated and disoriented by the project’s sudden cancellation. There’s a lot of disappointment to be had when something you’ve toiled over for a year or three fails to gain any traction in the marketplace too. It’s pretty impossible not to feel jaded, unmotivated or downright miserable about it at intervals, really. Then there are the emotional wages attached to personal work which, if you’re anything like me, are tenfold. In that arena, I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by insecurity, anxiety and feelings of failure that I can scarcely function like a human being, let alone muster some creative motivation.
I suppose it’s just natural, though, that the the things held closest to your heart have the easiest access to kicking it around and breaking it. If there’s a comfortable footpath around the mire that leaves you in, I haven’t discovered it. It seems you just have to muddle your way through, however slowly and clumsily. Here are some thoughts and mechanisms that sometimes help me to keep moving in a roughly forward-like direction, though:
- Don’t isolate yourself with your troubles - talk to other artists. There’s much to be gained by doing that, not the least of which is realizing that every artist struggles with being an artist. If you are feeling artistically lost, at least you aren’t lost and alone.
- Try to remember that being an artist doesn’t mean you’re in a great big art contest. In specific instances, you might have competitors for jobs and opportunities, but on the whole it’s not a zero sum game. You’re only losing the game if you think of it that way, so don’t conjure up a paralytic sense of failure by worrying about what everyone else is doing. Just do your thing. Do it well and with integrity, and know that that’s a measure of success.
- Appreciate that you have a little something special on your hands, even if it can take you to some deeply unhappy places at times. Not everyone can see the world through an artistic lens or alchemize their reality into paintings and stories. Not everyone has a great enduring passion in life. Take advantage of it and feel lucky.
- Acknowledge that willpower will often have to suffice for inspiration. Don’t feel bereft when you’re not altogether luminous - inspiration will flit in and out of sight and be absent more than it is present. Don’t wait passively for it either, though, especially if you’re in a rough patch. You’ll just end up wallowing. Besides remaining productive, you stand a much better chance of jumpstarting your creativity, renewing your sense of motivation, distracting yourself from cruddy feelings and generating some self-esteem by digging your heels in and getting down to work.
So, have a glass of wine if you must, turn on some music, and grab a pencil.
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