Early in January, I saw a Twitter
post from Trish Lewis that really spoke to me:
@ECLECTICCHAIR to Yoko Ono…
“Lack of funds stops so many artists, writers & musicians in their tracks. Any advice?”
I never saw Yoko’s reply. My first thought was…
“Do it anyway!”
It’s that simple and it’s that hard.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I have had my share of ups and downs since I decided to be a full time artist 20 years ago. Here are things that I have done, that don’t cost a thing:
Create where you are, with what you have. In my early 30’s I created a pastel-like painting on a paper plate, using eye shadow for pigment.
(Our truck had overheated in the desert and it was a long time before help arrived. ) I didn’t care that I was making “throw away” art. The sheer act of creating took me to a better place.
You may need a ton of money to go where you want to go, but you don’t need a ton of money to get started.
Start now. With just a pencil and a piece of paper, you can sketch, write a song, or begin that novel.
There is always a way.
2) Network and or collaborate with other artists.
Artists have been there. They understand your journey. They will inspire you, encourage you, and give you that much needed boost when you’ve hit a wall. If this doesn’t sound like the artists you know, find new ones.
I meet with a painter and a photographer quarterly. We have a wonderful informal salon that is always inspiring. We take turns preparing the meal and our meetings consist of sharing our journey and our artwork.
Additionally, I play music with my family as often as I can. I love playing with them. It’s a beautiful experience and I learn something each time we meet.
I have also been blessed with a songwriting collaboration that is inspirational and has turbo charged my creativity.
I’m a huge hermit and need a lot of time to myself. But I am always a better person and much more effective creator as a result of these encounters.
3) Get out in nature.
Turn the phone off and get out in nature. Take some time to listen to the whisper of the trees. Watch the light dance with the mountains. Feel the spray of the ocean.
For me, spending time in nature relieves stress and helps me gain insight.
4) Examine your business model.
Yep, bidness. Take a good hard look at it. Do you have a plan? If not make one.
What’s working? What’s not? If you are having trouble seeing where you could improve, ask someone with fresh eyes, straight talk, and a kind heart to give your feedback.
That being said, I’ve made some big changes after I got unsolicited feedback from a nasty jerk. After a good cry, I realized there was some wisdom in the jerk’s tirade and made some shifts.
5) Take the time to make both short term and goals.
Where do you want to be in five years? I have short term and long term goals for both my creative work and the business. Figure out where you want to be, and do something on your list every single day to move in that direction.
For me, the way out is through action. In the words of Duke Ellington,
“I merely took the energy it takes to pout & wrote some blues.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you stay motivated during tough times…
Thanks Kasey Steinbrinck at CheckAdvantage.com for finding the perfect video to accompany this post: