So you’ve become an Artist. You’re extremely excited, full of inspiration and confidence.
Your friends and family tell you that you’re extremely talented and you’re going to make it far in the art world. So you throw everything on the table and put your work out there for everybody to see. Then you sit back with your hands behind your head and smile as you wait for people to praise your work and hand over their money. You’ve got this in the bag.
Some time goes by and things aren’t looking as great as they used to. You’ve received some praise, some likes and some follows, but not nearly as many as you’d hoped for and your wallet doesn’t seem to be getting any bigger either. Doubt starts setting in and starts affecting your work. You lose momentum and stop creating. Discouragement hits and you’re thinking of throwing in the towel. You start feeling that you’re not good enough.
The art world can be a tough world full of disappointment and failure. Most artists go through a point in their career where doubt and negativity set in. But I’m here to tell you that all is not lost. You can get out of that dark place and you can do something great! This applies to everybody feeling discouraged. Not just Artists.
Take a step back and think for just a moment.
First, think back on why you started doing what you do. What did you find appealing about your art medium or business that made you want to jump in head first? Once you have figured out what it was that you loved so much about it, hold on to that and use it as inspiration and motivation. Next, think about what has made you discouraged and what is making you want to give up. Now, take that out of the equation completely!
For me, it was when I started doing portrait photography. That’s when I began hating what I was doing. (No offense to all portrait photographers! I respect every and all art forms.) The people were just too demanding. Everybody wanted something different and always wanted “photoshop” work done on themselves but didn’t want to pay for it. I began doing headshots for actors and boy o’ boy, let me tell you something. There are some crazy “actors” out there!
I started dreading working with people. And when I became unhappy with it, I simply just didn’t want to pick up my camera at all. So I took people out of the equation and went back to what I loved. Landscapes, High Speed, Still Art. Pretty much everything that couldn’t talk back! I was happy again!
Rediscover your passion.
It’s very important to get back to that point of your life where you were having fun and loved what you were doing. If you’re not having fun and find it to be more stressful than enjoyable, then you need to reevaluate why you are really doing it. You need to love what you do and do what you love. Once you have truly accomplished that, you will never feel like you are working a day in your life.
People can be very cruel.
Let’s not sugar coat this one. Not everybody is going to love your work. That’s granted. Not everybody has the same taste. That’s not saying you are bad though. You can be the most amazing artist out there, but there will always be somebody that just flat out doesn’t like your work and will have an opinion about it. Sometimes, somebody comes along and criticizes your work even when you weren’t looking for it. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable.
But there is one thing you can control in this situation. Only you can decide how you take that criticism. Does it bother you that somebody has said some not so nice things about your work? Yes, of course. But you can’t allow it to destroy what you love. Instead, use is as fuel to make your fire grow. Let it build your inspiration and bring back the passion you once had to create something bigger and better.
We could all use some constructive criticism in our careers.
Not everybody is out there to be mean and break down what you’ve been working so hard for. Some people do actually want to help and give you a better insight into what you may be doing wrong. It’s up to you on how you decide to use that advice. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and have a fresh pair of eyes take a look at our work. You can only benefit from learning new things from your fellow peers. So why not give it a chance?
Do it for you and not for them.
The obsession and the need for approval from others has grown into an enormous monster ever since the birth of the Internet. Social media was introduced and along with it, a big popularity contest with limitless contestants. Mankind has always looked for approval from others, but it was never as bad as it is today. A lot of Artists put their artwork out there for the world to see only to be better than the other guy that has thousands of followers and constant praising. So what happens when those Artists don’t get nearly as much attention as the other guy? They get discouraged and feel like giving up.
When you stop creating your art for others and start creating it for you, your whole world will be so much brighter and happier. If your art is your career, then exposure is necessary. However, the competition of followers and approval from others is not a requirement. As long as you market yourself properly, find the right audience, and keep producing more quality work, you will get noticed.
Get Inspired by Others
Rather than seek approval from others, get inspired by them. As I mentioned before in my Jump Start your Creativity in 8 Easy Steps article, start an inspiration board. Start looking at what others have posted and what works for them. Use that to fuel your desire and willpower to get back out there and create something new and amazing.
But be careful with this one because when you are feeling discouraged, seeing other people’s success may lead to more discouragement. You have to be in the right frame of mind to be able to successfully do this one. Go into it with a clear head.
Take a Break
Thinking about something too much and working too hard can be a huge trigger for discouragement. You overwork yourself and overload your mind with worries, stress and anxiety. We could all use a break from time to time.
Step back and breathe. Go outside and get a breath of fresh air and let your mind relax. Go out for some ice cream or a cup of coffee. Or maybe take a few days away from what you are doing to reevaluate everything and rejuvenate yourself. Don’t confuse this for giving up though. This is far from it. This is a chance for you to rediscover your passion and find happiness again. Once you have a fresh mind, jump right back in and see where it takes you. You may just surprise yourself and create something you never expected you could.
You’re Not Alone
We all reach a point in our lives where we just want to throw in the towel and tell our problems to go where the sun don’t shine. No matter what your situation is, just know that there is hope and you can and will overcome this. You have the power to make yourself strong enough to fight discouragement and not give up.
I encourage you to join my new Creative Community and meet others like you. You never know who’s going to inspire you and open your world up to bigger and better things!
Together, we can make the world thrive with creativity!
I too have been really discouraged and have been tempted to give up. What really motivated me recently to continue working hard was the inspiration of another blog and program. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed doing research and trying to accomplish so many things at once that I began thinking nothing I was doing was good enough. So I took a break, logged onto my Twitter account to see the latest notifications and that’s when I saw a new follower. The one that inspired me and made me realize this is just the beginning of something that can be so amazing! It was my “Aha” moment. I am no longer discouraged. I’m the exact opposite. I’m full of so many ideas and hope!
Meet Christina Delay & Kerry Schafer from Creative Wellness Retreats!
After spending some time reading their blog articles and checking them out, I realized there is so much more I want and need to be doing. (None of which I can say right now since I’m in the research stage of it all). The simple act of getting inspired by somebody else led me to a whole new world of opportunities I didn’t even know existed.
I invite you to take a look at what they have to offer. If you are searching to rediscover your creative self, look no further! I encourage you to consider their upcoming Creative Wellness Retreat! You won’t regret it!
Thank you Ladies, for inspiring me and keeping me focused on what I need to do. I look forward to seeing more amazing things from you!