Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stop Beating Yourself Up

Note: this is a repost from 2016

For Valentine's Day: a love letter to artists.

You are doing a brave thing.

You could have gotten a "normal" job with a steady paycheck. The reliable and safe career your parents wanted you to pursue. You could have defaulted to the cultural norm of talking about how much you hate Mondays and "live for the weekend." Jokes about the "rat race" and how your boss is such an idiot. In the words of Timothy Ferris, you could have settled for "a tolerable and comfortable existence doing something unfulfilling."

But you wanted more than that. Whether you're a freelancer, employed at a studio, studying at art school or working a day job while building up your portfolio, you've chosen to do the hard thing, the scary thing.

You've chosen to jump into a career that is unpredictable and uncharted, a job that's full of rejection and criticism, a field that's highly competitive and notoriously low-paying, work that our culture considers "not a real job." You're choosing to brave all of that because you can see better things on the other side. You want to create something that you're proud of. You have skills that few other people have and you're taking a chance that many people are too afraid to take.

So, artist friends: stop beating yourselves up. Stop criticizing yourselves for not producing more, not being more successful, not having a clear direction for your career, not getting more online attention, not networking more, not studying more, not blogging more, not having this whole thing figured out already. Stop tearing yourselves apart for every little mistake and perceived shortcoming.

Treat yourself with kindness. You are doing a brave thing.


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