Life is an exciting roller coaster for creative people trying to make a living with their creativity. The truth is, it is not an easy road. No matter how long you manage to make it work, you will run into a few hiccups here and there. With the internet today, there is a lot of advice for artists, some good, some bad, and some that are just complete bullcrap. Klee and I have a YouTube channel, a podcast, resources, we put art shows together, and published books meant to help those creative souls. Still, none of that is going to make the journey easy. In fact, our road isn’t all unicorn farts and rainbows.
The fact of the matter is that life is an ever-evolving and complicated thing. We recently moved, had to do repairs, and are currently in a rat race to get caught up both emotionally and financially. It is easy to feel like everything is not going how you want it to go, especially when you are waiting for a check to come in the mail and it never shows up. However, life is also wonderful, but even the most seasoned artists can make things complicated. We all know how to move forward without allowing stress to take over. The problem is that knowing is not doing.
Even though we all know what is truly best for us, we don’t always follow that path. It will eventually come back and bite you in the butt. My recent experience with burnout is a great example. Instead of enjoying the ride and making the most of it, I was allowing my days to get consumed by worry. This caused a downward spiral that I don’t wish on anyone.
Let’s be honest, worry doesn’t accomplish anything. It hinders your ability to move forward. In my case, it zapped my creativity, caused me to make poor choices, and didn’t allow me to see blaring red flags. This road is difficult enough, and being worried makes it almost impossible to navigate.
So, what do you do?
Stop thinking, and start doing. Clear your mind of all the bull and put one foot in front of the other until you get your joy back. Focus on what you appreciate and not what is going wrong. I know, it sounds like some crap that some self-help guru might be trying to pawn off on you, but it is true. You are either paralyzed by worry or striding forward and not giving a rip.
Here are mantras I take action on when I find myself in a creative slump or a downward spiral.
My priorities are mine, and I’m not in charge of anybody else’s priorities.
Just get up and do it, whatever “IT” is.
Take 10 minutes daily to clear your mind and focus on what is going right.
Slow down. Enjoy your food and focus on every single bite.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you.
Everything is possible. Spend at least ten minutes focused on that.
Don’t spend your time “repairing” relationships blindly. Evaluate and move on if you have to.
Get boots on the ground, and stop thinking and planning.
Put yourself out there and enjoy the process.
Create art, practice, experiment, and make a mess.
Don’t wallow on what went wrong. Look for the lesson and move on.
Agree to disagree and move on. Stop trying to win the argument.
Enjoy the moment, every moment. Life is happening right now.
Share moments with people you love.
Take five minutes to stop and breathe deeply throughout the day.
Define your own success and screw what anyone else thinks.
Live for the moments, not what you own.
Love the badass that looks back at you in the mirror.
Take ownership of your life, it’s not up to anyone else what you do.
Don’t get desperate, and do not make choices while feeling desperate.
Practice listening to your gut.
Look at your life like it is your most significant art in progress.
Sure, the journey might be arduous, but you can make it whatever you want it to be. What’s holding you back from making it fun? Are you waiting for other people to take you seriously? Are you waiting for someone to do it for you? Only you are responsible for your life. Only you can make the choice to keep talking or start doing it. Live your life the way you want to live.
If you do nothing, nothing happens.
It will not happen overnight, and if you have a habit of stressing out all the time, you will try and sabotage yourself to return to that status quo. However, only you can take yourself out of that pattern and embrace the awesomeness that is you.
Don’t wait around. Don’t hope that someone saves you. Just pick yourself up and do it. Getting yourself past self-sabotage is the hard part. This is the struggle. It is not what you might have blamed in the past. It’s not the things that went wrong, or the people who made things harder. It is you who needs to take responsibility for your life and how you want to live.
Success isn’t about fame, fortune, subscribers, likes, or anything outside of you. It’s about being who YOU want to be. Living the life YOU want to live, and feeling how YOU want to feel.
So go out and live it.