Do you feel like you have a good support system for yourself and for selling your art?
The majority, overall, answer “yes.” But the highest percentage say yes with the caveat that they sometimes feel overwhelmed.
Are you surprised? I certainly am not! Remember I, too, am a practicing artist. I am writing from a perspective of almost 10 years working full time at my art.
Just like you, I have learned that overwhelm goes with the territory. So the good news is that if you are feeling overwhelmed, you aren’t the only one, and it isn’t just you. Like any self-employed business person, the Artist finds herself responsible not only for creating the product, but also for all the administrative, marketing, planning, budgeting and go-fering required to keep any business running. And since she is usually working at/from her home studio – why of course she can walk the dog every two hours, clean up after breakfast, do the grocery shopping and take care of the myriad details of running a house. And every now and then take an outside job to fill in the financial gaps.
It’s a wonder we all aren’t in a coma!
Last year I blogged about 11 ways to avoid a solopreneural meltdown. I’ve grown wiser since then and realize that 11 ways are too many ways. While trying to be helpful, perhaps I only added more “things I should be doing” to your already over long list. Not good when you’re in the midst of overwhelm.
Today I’m not going to overdeliver and give you 5 ways to deal with overwhelm instead of just 3. I’m going to give you exactly 3 things to think about when the demons are clawing at the door shouting how you just aren’t good enough to [fill in your own demon's particular message here].
1. Be grateful – yes, even for your demons. They are the voices of your yesterday – and they are letting you know, even before you realize consciously, that your old ways are dying and you are already on a new path. Thank them for helping you realize that you’re growing in ways you can’t measure by marks on the door jam. And now that you know you are growing, start acknowledging all the ways you’ve grown into new and glorious ways of being in this world.
2. Know that you are the hero of your own story – and heroes are always flawed – they are imperfect. But they go on their hero’s journey anyways. And it is never the destination, but always the journey that makes them, and you, a hero. Perfection not required. Knowing the way and how: not required. All you have to do is go because the Universe loves a hero and things and people and events occur that no one – least of all we, the flawed and imperfect heroes – expect. Pay attention to the unexpected gifts (that almost always look like challenges). Be grateful.
3. Connect: on-line or in person - notice others who are on the artist’s journey. Share your journey and listen to them. Be grateful for those who help you divide your sorrow and multiply your joy.
Here’s a lovely post by Molly Gordon on “Why Neediness is Essential For Your Business”
And a wonderful Ruth Davis post at her Spark the Heart blog: Action Comes before Inspiration
Wylde Women’s Wisdom
…I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life
- Mary Oliver, The Summer Day