I hate art! I mean, I love it, but the number of struggles us artists are forced to suffer on a daily basis is ridiculing. I’m an introvert, spending the lone nights rolling around in my own company, like a dog in dirt. It takes persuasive encouraging to get me out of my personal space. Of course some artists thrive on social activity, but most raw artworks are made in solitude. To dive into deep exploration of yourself is extremely personal.
I had two weeks of holiday (well, actually isolation because of COVID restrictions) and an over-abundance of time to indulge in my craft. How splendid those two weeks were, doing exactly what made me happy, all day, every day! Out of curiosity, I asked a few of my active followers on Instagram the struggles they faced as an artist. I’d been frustrated that I always had short time to really unwind and let my creativity sprawl out; I HAD to know if this was a common issue amongst the community.
So, I compiled a list of the 8 most common struggles of an artist.
1. Putting Craft Aside For Job
Unfortunately, we all need jobs for money. Some of us are lucky to be living the dream, but most aspiring artists suffer having to put their art aside for their full-time job. Switching between work-brain and creative-brain is a challenge, and what’s worse is being struck with inspiration with no on-the-spot output for it!
2. Never Feeling Good Enough
We often put pressure on ourselves to make art worthy of others’ appreciation. Social media is a catalyst for low self-esteem. The number of likes and follows can consume us and we doubt the worth of our art. But seriously, what IS enough and not enough? Art knows no limitations.
For professionals, meeting client expectations can be a hassle. You have to think for non-artist thinkers with the reliance that you know and can do exactly what they want, even though half the time they don’t know what they want!
3. Very Time Consuming
Oh. My. God. Art is ridiculously time consuming. Especially writing, where it can take up to two hours just to write and edit a short little poem! To even make it to the editing stage is a life struggle. As blissful and freeing art can be, everything comes with a price.
Unless your craft is writing, unlucky. Painting, drawing, calligraphy, sculpting, photography, they’ll munch on your wallet, the pricks. It can be irritating for you low-budget people, who can’t afford to create as often as you’d like. Although, it makes for a good motivation to master the artform. Don’t punch holes in too many walls, you’ll be amazing and pay your way. Be patient.
5. The Fear of Honesty
Ironically, just as art is about self-expression, we can be afraid of our feelings. Art is exposing. The freedom we feel from creating comes from letting everything out. As mentioned before, everything comes with a price. Someone will always benefit from your truth. Always. If concealing a truth bogs you down, it’s necessary to release it. That’s a rule of thumb.
6. It’s Not Taken Seriously
Sure, it’s low or not paying unless you’re extraordinary, but that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve into an income stream. Art, to conventional 9-5 people, isn’t a real job. As a poet, art is incredibly freaking complicated. There is every personal obstacle to overcome; persistence, purpose, self-esteem, belief, patience. Just because it’s fun it doesn’t mean it doesn’t classify as work. Those people don’t understand, and they’re not meant to. Keep creating and being free. If you want your craft to be your main income, give it time, effort and belief. It’s not impossible. The first question you have to ask yourself: how bad do you want it?
7. Not Able to Express Properly
This hits home hard! It’s vexing trying to communicate what I mean. Feelings are like an invisible friend you’re trying to describe the facial features of, to a blind person. It’s not a flat drag strip to your heart’s centre. What’s even more annoying is having too much inspiration; it’s like a traffic jam in your hands.
And this carries us to the final struggle,
8. Most Commonly, Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is ANNOYING. You want to write, you have so much to say but can’t. It can be a heavy stress; backing up the workload and feeling distant from yourself because you stop creating altogether. I sympathise those with busy lives who end up wasting those valuable few minutes because of lack of inspiration. It makes me tetchy when I’m internally cluttered with words and feelings that won’t translate. I often don’t struggle with writer’s block because I don’t put pressure on my work. I release it in the ugly form it translates as, then edit it later with an outsider’s mind. And when it won’t translate at all, I take a day off and give myself a break-I write everyday anyway like it’s life or death.
My personal struggles;
I’m over-emotional but not unhappy. I find comfort in feelings, however, there’s a fine line between flowing with your feelings and overthinking and creating emotions off those thoughts. Over-thought emotions become toxic. It’s a fine line. I struggle with feeling like I have some mental disorder, I have to reassure myself that I like to feel my truths and secrets and write about them. I’m a writer, that’s all.
Not Having Enough Time Alone
No one wants to be alone, except an incredibly inspired artist! Artists work in solitude. It’s nothing personal, but even other peoples’ energies can be interruptive. When you’re spewing feelings onto paper or canvas, you’re undressing your feelings. Privacy please! I work full-time as a barista, so I’m constantly engaging and interacting with people, plus I have a partner and close connections to my family. I don’t get too much time to breathe.
I screenshotted the replies from everyone I asked for their opinions, and pasted them in the slideshow below. They elaborate on their personal experiences in the replies. They’re apart of the writing community on Instagram, so feel free to find them and their beautiful art on Instagram.
Thanks for reading! I’m cheering on those aspiring artists who don’t give up on their dreams. Those who are getting full-time pay for their hard work, I’m proud!