I met with a friend yesterday and he suggested that I needed a diagnostic tool – a way to know what my readers needed so I could point them to existing entries (there are over 150 posts already here at The Thriving Creative) but also so I can continue to target your needs.
But I need your help….
I can only help you if you tell me what is most standing in your way.
I’ve once again bared my really awful artistic skills (though I love using Paper 53 to give it the old Boy Scout effort) to try and suggest some main areas that might be standing in your way.
What do you need to go from (barely) surviving artist to thriving artist (however you define that term)? If you tell me, I promise to use these pages to help you come up with a solution.
Let’s bust the starving artist myth together, okay?
Hit the comment button below and tell me your number one obstacle to being a Thriving Creative.
David Lyndon says
The number one obstacle to my thriving as a creator is my need to earn a living wage and the demands that makes on my time, energy and self-esteem. I think I’ve reached a pretty good balance in recent years but every hour spent ‘funding my creativity’ in a totally unrelated field is another hour stolen from the work I want to be doing. Hope that helps.
Hi David, thank you for that. Yes, this is a problem we all face – how do we earn a living in a way that’s acceptable to us both using, and not using, our creative talents? We’re talking about issues of project-based working, compartmentalising, identifying transferable skills, managing multiple income streams, maintaining our artistic identity even when not working in our field, and probably time management so we can still find time to feed our artist even when working a full-time job. It isn’t easy. I’ll try to address these issues in future posts. Best wishes, Steven
Yvette Williams Elliott says
Lack of self- confidence scuppers me every time. I have loads of ideas and enjoy the making, but I have a battle with myself when I need to get my work out there, and this affects my pricing too.
Hi Yvette, thank you for this contribution. I really appreciate you flagging this up and I will consider how to tackle it. My initial instinct is that self-confidence is increased slowly over time. Every time we stretch ourselves towards a larger self-image, whether through doing a marketing mail out, or upping our prices by 10%, we find that a) the world doesn’t fall off it’s axis because we’ve pushed the boundaries and b) it wasn’t nearly as hard as we thought it would be. Each of these little wins improves our vision of what is possible for ourselves. I think what doesn’t work is to expect big gains to happen quickly. By focussing on tiny, actionable baby steps towards what you think would be a more self-confident stance as an artist will be far more successful. I teach singing students at the London College of Music and I always think that my role as a teacher is to hold a larger vision of the student than they currently have for themselves and help guide them to step into that larger picture of what is possible for them. I think we can do the same for ourselves… What would 10% more self-confidence look like to you? What actions would you take? How would you present yourself? Create that vision fully in your imagination and then work your way towards it as slowly as you need to. Does that help? We’re all different – do you believe in self-actualisation? This is a great topic and I’ll write more on it soon. In the meantime, thank you for sharing with me. All the best, Steven
I’m excited to see on that diagram that I have the time, space and connections, so I’m doing pretty well! I think in my case it’s valuing my work correctly, and waiting to be paid the right amount, instead of caving and doing something for less, incase something else doesn’t come up! I’m getting better at assessing my own value, but I think sometimes, looking at how other people move forward with their nine-to-fives, their savings and stability, it feels a little like you’re never ‘getting to the next level’. But that comes down to how you define success, I guess! Sorry, that’s a lot. Basically, money. Money is always my limit.
Hi Andi – thanks for responding. Yes, money is always a hot topic. And I think it really is connected with our self-worth. Measuring progress in an artistic career is also a challenge – there’s no clear ladder upwards. This gives me some good ideas of future topics to address. But hang in there and ask for what you think you’re worth (plus at least 10%. Slowly bump it up over time by testing the limits). Your work is good. Demand to be paid accordingly. All the best, Steven
I think the thing that would really help me would be to somehow force the necessary “business” aspect of myself as an artist to grow the hell up. The artistic side is self-motivated and disciplined to the Nth degree (retrained my entire voice after emergency surgery which actually cut my throat, always immaculately prepared for any work, practise like clockwork, etc). The business bit, however, is prone to scrunching down into a toddler-like tantrum of “It’s not FAIR! My agents should be doing this,” rather than doing concrete stuff to help them promote me in a scarily shrinking market. It doesn’t help that I have colleagues for whom the system works, and who *don’t* have to concern themselves with the business aspect. And I have benefited greatly from your blogs – I have at least come to realise that there is a double-edged aspect to growing one’s artistic career (nope, no idea why that idea had eluded me for so many years!). I find, though, that the more I try to confront, or indeed encourage, the business aspect, the more it sticks its hands over its ears and screams NOOOOOOOO…
(PS quite embarrassing to realise that I appear to be commenting from the Cheezburger site… ahem…)