Discouraged with your art

This is a message to you who sometimes feel discouraged about your art.

Firstly, you’re not alone. It happens to all of us regardless of how “far” we’ve come on our art journeys.

In fact, it just hit me real hard this very moment, which is what motivated me to write this article.

Since the post of potentially quitting Instagram for good, I decided to not just let my emotional spikes go to waste.

Instead, I want to embrace those moments. Because it’s in moments of emotion that we stand at a cross-road. Either we get drowned with our own emotions of discouragement, or we can use it as fuel to create something that matters.

Something that allows us to move forward and process what we’re going through. How does it makes us feel? And how can we use it to our benefit instead of creating unnecessary blockages?

Truth is:

No matter what you’re doing, whether you’re a professional artist or do it as a hobby; You will always have your low days.

It doesn’t matter how much you love to create and do art, every day will not be as fun to go to the studio.

An interesting quote that I heard many times (but unfortunately can’t remember from where), is the distinction between an amateur and a professional artist:

“An amateur creates when he/she feels like it. The professional shows up every day no matter what”.

I found this concept profoundly impactful. Because it recognises that you are still doing something that can be hard.

As creatives it can be easy to fall into the guilt trap whenever we face adversity or hard-ship. “Oh but I should be so grateful”.

Of course! Everyone who is able to create for a living, or even create for yourself on a regular basis is grateful for that – It’s a dream! But it doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, and that is OK. It still involves a lot of hard work even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time.

So what is the discouragement about this time?

Remember the reference to how Instagram can be detrimental for your creativity and motivation as an artist?

The same can happen on essentially any platform that allow you to get a glimpse into someone else’s practise. If you don’t keep your guard up, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison, which is what fuels essentially all your discouraged feelings.

And before you know it, you’ve spent 20 valuable minutes scrolling on the other person’s page convincing yourself how much better they are.

BULLSHIT

Who knows if they’re better than you? And does it even matter? You’re colleagues, not competitors.

I say this as much as an honest reminder to myself as a recommendation to anyone reading.  If you want to truly enjoy the benefits of your art and see where it may bring you, you must stop comparing yourself.

Think of fellow creatives as colleagues, not competitors.

In the arts it’s difficult to find genuine colleagues, perhaps because it’s very difficult to make it as a visual artist hence the innate competitiveness…

Personally, I think this is a shame. I wish we could share more. Don’t be too closed to the way you create your pieces, because none can do the exact same thing anyway.

This is for example why Charles and I are so passionate to share without limitations inside of the Charles and Elin Academy. Because YOU ARE OUR COLLEAGUE. YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR SUCCESS.

None like you

There is another reason why the colleagues over competitor argument is very important: There is only one you.

If you’re an artist, you will never create an exact identical piece as someone else (unless you are a professional copy:er I guess). And if you’re an art educator, you will always have your own way of teaching even if it’s on the same subject.

Some people will connect with you and others will prefer someone else. That’s just life regardless of whether you view your fellow artists as colleagues or competitors.

Hence, do yourself a favor and choose to see companionship instead of rivalry and you will save yourself a great deal of stress.

Art as business

A big difference between most online businesses and that of the art niche, is that I truly think “researching your niche” can have more harmful effects than anything.

Because it’s not just about checking out what others are doing;

  • How are they marketing?
  • What do their sales funnels look like?
  • Do they have an engaging audience?
  • What offerings do they have?

And so on…

Simultaneously, you will also be exposed to all the amount of artworks that they put out. The amazing talent they have.

So this is a friendly note to you who may be an upcoming artist: Grant yourself the ability to NOT do market research.

Instead, follow your creative instinct. Your desire to create new things with your hands is the only thing that will bring you forward.

Because at the end of the day, what matters the most is the fact that you create. Your art. Your heart.

So don’t get stuck in the comparison bubble – you will only do yourself a disservice.

Emotional beings

To be creatives, means that we are most often more sensitive and receptive to our surroundings. This is another reason for why it’s of enhanced importance to take care of your inner peace.

You are worthy. Your work is incredible. So don’t. Stop. To. Create. Your. Art.

Highly sensitive persons

About ten years ago I read a Swedish book about highly sensitive persons.

At first, I thought that to be sensitive was something negative. But when I understood how it’s actually a blessing to be able to observe and feel your surrounding on a deeper level, I realised that I also need to protect that gift.

Perhaps, it’s another reason for why many social media, especially those of Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter and snapshat completely overwhelms me at times..

Isn’t it ironic then that I’ve amassed an Instagram following of over 200 000?

I guess everything has it’s time.

Some things may serve you for certain periods of life, while at other times it no longer serves you. And to recognise (and especially act on that realisation), is what will make all the difference.

Do you feel discouraged sometimes?

What are your triggers? Reflections? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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