Is this normal?
Does the artist’s lament in the quote below sound familiar?
Maybe it matches your experience or is a person you care about in this state of mind?
“I feel so overwhelmed and freaked out sometimes, like I'll never be able to make my art business work and I'm just killing our family's finances.
Other times, I can be more positive and think that for only having my artwork out in the world for 10 months, I've done a lot -- won a juried competition with a prize of a solo show, sold about 15 pieces (big and small), got a website and Facebook page going.
Then I flip back when I didn't get as many September goals accomplished, as I would have hoped. Aside from everything else on my plate, I am moving my website to a different template and it is taking a lot of time to do so. I barely got to my studio in Sept, honestly, which makes me feel pretty down.
I'm trying to stay upbeat, but right now it feels hard. This is normal, right?”
(Name withheld to protect the innocent.)
So, is this normal and what would you tell this artist?
My take on this:
- What’s normal is that this artist is doing all the right things to get her art noticed.
- What’s unusual is that she doing such a great job that she’s already sold so many pieces in less than a year.
- What’s not normal – or at least not right – is that she’s freaking out and feeling bad. Her reaction is understandable but won’t change anything and could actually make things worse.
If you lose the spark of joy in making art, even the most brilliant art and business skills will not bring success or fulfillment.
Besides, if you try to act from that reactive mindset, you’ll stifle any creative moves you could use to respond.
Repeat after me: "I cannot do everything I think about or take any opportunity that comes my way."
At least not unless you have a team of people to help you. And even then, you’ll still be in charge of running the show.
But you can do the most important things that make up a satisfying and fulfilling life as an artist. If you have family, another job or volunteer responsibilities to add to making and marketing art, then you have to make choices, and yes, you will have to say ‘no’ from time to time.
Do You Use Antique Weigh Scales or Choose Dynamic Balance?
Few artists complain that making art deprives them of time to take care of business. More artists feel that too much time on business and marketing “robs” them of art time.
If business depletes the joy and inspiration out of making art, it’s probably time to adjust your schedule. Making art is the core of your business and why you are doing all of this. Keep the prize in mind.
When I talk about balance, I am not talking about weigh scales where art and business are on opposite sides of the balance point; you try to give equal time to each and give up anything that does not fall into those two categories or one side tips over.
Thinking in terms of two polarities of art and business creates your first problem.
Few of us have only art to think about. Art and business do not exist in a vacuum. Unless we are complete hermits, we have friends, family and other commitments in addition to making and marketing art. Ignore those and you add the problems of overwhelm, exhaustion and frustration.
Think instead about the kind of balance in a mobile* (as in an art sculpture not a handheld communication device) where there are many items hanging down from a central support. The balance depends on the weight of each item and fluctuates depending on the flow of air in which they float.
Please join me and a group of wholehearted artists to explore ways to begin to change your mindset about overwhelm and stop freaking yourself out.
You won't even have to leave the privacy, solace and comfort of your studio.
Just click here and I’ll send your very own teleconference access numbers.
The Artist’s Journey to Conscious Juggling.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
from 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Pacific; 8:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Eastern
There is no charge for this call, other than your long distance carrier fees.
We’ll have a practical and life-affirming discussion about how you can juggle art, life and marketing with less effort and more ease.
Please make sure to tell me what you are juggling and what you’d like me to talk about that could help you keep the right balls in the air.
After we’ve shared stories and suggestions for 45 minutes, if you can stay for a few more. I’ll also tell you about the new A.C.T. personal coaching program “Balancing Art, Life and Marketing.”
If you can’t make it, no worries, you can set up a personal call with me to learn more at a time that works better.
*Susan Birkenshaw first introduced me to this idea in 1997 in her work on Work-Life Balance.