As an artist, the experience of creatively expressing yourself for a living is incredibly rewarding but requires a high degree of commitment and focus. This can be quite draining and before you know it, you have burnt yourself out and cannot look at a blank page or canvas without having a minor panic attack.
I remember when I had just started out as a full-time artist and was able to sell a number of my pieces, I threw myself headfirst into creating as much art as possible. I had led myself to believe that this attention and positive feedback that I was getting was for a limited time only and I was hell bent on getting the most out of it. Well, as you might have predicted, I was mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the year and had to take some time to think of ways to recharge my batteries and be consistently productive with my art.
What I eventually found out was that it is important to maintain balance and flexibility between your art and your life, or as I like to call it the Art & Life balance. To remain creatively inspired and recharged, it is important to have healthy boundaries set and practices to keep your work and life in an equal divide.
So, for this blog I wanted to look back at some of my writings and reshare a couple of tips and habits that have served me well over the years in keeping my art and life thriving…
- What led you to art?
As we get consumed by the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and the mundane seriousness of adulthood, we tend to forget why we loved making art in the first place. Was it to say something important and significant about issues that are close to our heart? Or was art just our way to express our repressed emotions and deepest thoughts for people out there to relate to? We need to keep reminding ourselves what our purpose was when we first picked up a paintbrush or a sketch pencil. I suggest, sitting down and writing yourself a letter about what you wanted to achieve with your art. Once it is written, keep the letter somewhere safe, for a time when you desperately need a reminder of your purpose as an artist.
- Stop trying to be perfect
Perfectionism might be the biggest obstacle that we all face on our way to creating something or even just being productive. It is rampant in any sort of creative field. Trying to be perfect is often our subconscious way of justifying our procrastination. We take refuge in our research and “planning phase” of the creative project instead of actually doing it.
A blank canvas or page is a very intimidating sight for many, as it beckons us to express ourselves on it and we are afraid to tarnish its blank beauty with an idea that we might consider half baked. We have to let go of this idea that everything that we create needs to appeal to the masses or should be deserving of critical acclaim or should have the ideal conditions to start creating. We should take solace in the fact that we have something to express and have to do so with all its flaws and imperfections. Believing in perfection in art is a myth that should not be believed in, as it single-handedly stops an art career even before it blossoms. Moreover, perfectionism is a time-suck and will literally take over your personal and professional life if you let it.
- Take a break!
I know, I know…this is an obvious one. But sometimes your fear of losing your “creative steam” can have you glued at your workstation, producing subpar work and not looking after yourself adequately. Not taking short or long breaks at regular intervals are not only taxing on your health but also your art suffers. You will not produce artwork that is reflective of your creative standards. So, take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack. Everything will be there when you are back from your break, no matter how short or long. The goal is not the quantity of your artworks but the quality of it!
These are some of my tips and thoughts that I want you to reflect on when you are balancing work and finding yourself on the verge of overworking and neglecting your health and life. I know, the process of creating and expressing yourself is very satisfying and incredibly addictive if you start making an earning from it. But always remember…you cannot keep creating, if you stop living in the process!
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