Being An Artist In The Real World Can Be Difficult To Fathom: there are many pressures to conform, many judgements and a ton of naysayers who will remind you how hard it is to “make it”as a creative being. While the notion of being a starving artist is etched into popular culture, its absolutely not a requirement. Having a dramatic life full of drugs, alcohol, poisonous people and sexual deviance is also not a requirement of artistic achievement. While my little handful of feng shui recommendations might not get you on the cover of Star magazine for your scandals, they will get you on the road to mastering your craft and perhaps daring to take bigger leaps in promoting your talents and finding true success on your terms.
MONEY IS A REAL THING, BUT ITS NOT A THING THAT SHOULD STOP YOU FROM BEING CREATIVE. Truthfully, not everyone can afford to be a full-time artist right now, this second. Any guru who makes you feel less than perfect because you aren’t making millions of dollars as an actress or selling out your solo painting show at Gagosian this year is not worth your time; a fixation on the material big-picture-greed-game will take you further from your art. I am not suggesting you lose your ambition, rather I am encouraging you to use your ambition to keep creating your art, no matter what the commerce picture may be. If you have a full-time job, then maybe your art is for the evenings a few days a week, or for weekends, as you really hone your skills? Contrary to popular belief, not being able to pay your bills does not create better art.
A really killer organizational exercise is that of logging every dime you spend for a month in a grid. Every single penny. You can literally just jot every purchase and bill in a notebook, or put it in a spreadsheet. Why do this? It helps you get clear on the flow of your cash. Some people who make $500,000 a year have much less cash and wealth than someone making $50,000. Lease a Ferrari and a house in the Hollywood Hills and there goes most of your money each month! You might just have enough to invest in that….. “thing”….. you need or want to make your next project happen!
YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO THINK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! Everyone who dares to be creative becomes very “peculiar” in their point of view and way they value and see the world. This is a very good thing! Now, if you are having destructive/troubled thoughts that are taking you away from the general worldview, seek counseling. Some hyper-creatives are truly HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE (this is a real, studied subject and nearly 20% of the population is estimated to be Highly Sensitive!) and just need to follow their energy and create environments that support their particular needs.
Let a little eccentricity into your home. Whatever you cherish- be it a disco ball, a collection of poker chips or even a giant mural you have graffiti’d in your living room- bring that style to your home and it will mirror your deepest love and joy constructively.
REMEMBER THAT IT CAN TAKE 10 YEARS TO BECOME AN “OVERNIGHT SUCCESS”. In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell details the average of 10,000 hours of work that precedes artistic breakthroughs to become a master. For more on the 10,000 hour theory from “Outliers”, check out THIS ARTICLE.
Create an art studio at home. If you need to travel to a studio to log in hours on your craft, you are going to have difficulty. Creating an art studio at home (it can be a seat at your kitchen table with a bucket full of crayons and paper you take off a shelf if that’s all you can fit!) will allow you to check-in and keep the momentum going in your creative growth. That said, oil painting at home is a big no-no (uber toxic) and acrylic may be very bad for you to have at home as well. The chemicals in paint emit gasses for a long time after they are theoretically “dry” and you should not be imbibing and breathing these fumes.
CLEAN HOUSE. Toxic people can make you sick and can block and destroy your creative spirit. People who have themselves failed to pursue their artistic dreams can be the most well-meaning and destructive all at the same time. Separate yourself from the toxic people & have compassion for them from a safe distance. As for the failed-purpose artists who fill you with fear and make you question the validity of your talent, have lots of compassion for them, too. But try not to get too wrapped up in what they have to say about your glorious progress. Believe me, when and if you have a major surge in popularity in your field, all those haters will come around and try to bask in your achievements. Keep things simple and private if you have lots of resistance around you.
Clean house, literally! If you are feeling stuck in any way creatively, start washing dishes and mopping floors and finishing any un-done home projects. You will be sooooo glad you did!!!
FOOD IS IMPORTANT. I will never forget the first critique I got in an acting class. Apparently the scene was great, and I needed to start taking B-vitamins, stop eating sugar, drinking coffee and sleeping. I was realllllllly upset at my very renowned teacher who I was so excited to study with…I mean, what did this have to do with expressing myself? Six months into no sugar, caffeine, lots of sleep and vitamins, I stopped shaking if I tried to stand still, my voice was more clear, my gaze was determined and quite frankly it was the weirdest and most unexpected quantum leap in my ability to be creative in life.
Pick your poison & wean yourself off of it! Coffee, sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, binge eating, starvation, drugs— what is your poison (s). Wean yourself off of whatever you are deeply indulging, and do it slowly. Seek doctors and a therapist / support group to challenge your way through the steps of overcoming the big ones. Its a process, but the rewards will be immeasurably great! All these things make your spirit smaller and your intention weaker— without substances in the way, your talent can truly shine!
For much much much more of amazing creative goodness to dive deep into your creative soul, pick up a copy of The Artists Way by Julia Cameron and get going!!! xoxo Dana