Moving On

I’ve known for a long time that it’s inevitable that all of us are going to suffer disappointments as we move along in our creative lives, but that still doesn’t make things any easier or any more prepared when it happens. I had a major setback yesterday, and as much as I’m trying to stay positive, I’m feeling very discouraged and frustrated today. The majority of the time I’m excited about the work I’m doing and I have no trouble staying focused, but today is a different story.

In today’s post, I’d like to talk about having a tough experience and how to keep yourself going even in the most challenging situations. It’s a topic that I don’t think gets talked about often; most people are busy trying to demonstrate how successful they are and how great everything is. I’m here to talk about the brutal reality that comes with being an artist. Some days it’s hellishly difficult to keep going, and there are no easy answers or solutions to everything that arises. So what do you do? In this situation I reach out to my colleagues and friends. When I do, I’m frequently surprised at how many people out there believe in me. In these situations, they provide me with the support and motivation I need to move on. A colleague of mine, who recently won one of the most prestigious grants out there for artists, assured me that there were many years where he was “just making his work and nothing else happened.” You have to continue to believe in yourself even when it truly feels like no one else does; that’s what I’ll be working on today.

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2 thoughts on “Moving On

  1. I’ve been having an unproductive couple of months, and recently just decided to put aside the images I was working on without finishing them, which is something that I do not do often and makes me anxious in general. Also, winter makes it especially difficult to do drawings outside, which has been my primary source of inspiration. I think the greatest comfort is my collection of sketchbooks. When something just isn’t working for me, I can usually find something in my past sketches to reinvigorate an image and keep myself going.

  2. When it feels hellishly difficult to keep going, in that moment it seems as though the weight is so heavy that it will never be lifted and inertia will finally win. Although I know that work as an artist is my most authentic path, it is often quite solitary. What if I believe I do not have collegues or friends to reach out to…or if that isn’t “enough” to get me through the rough patch?Reaching in toward my Self is the tool I find most helpful. It is a journey inward, which, to be clear, is very different than curling up in a ball and being a shut down hermit. This looking inward is a continual practice- even when things seem easy…this keeps me going when the difficulties ensue.

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