An update and a thought.
First, allow me to apologize for the lack of posts in the past few weeks. We are navigating an upcoming move and believe me when I say it is no walk in the park. Never in my life have I had to fill out so many forms and find so many old documents buried in boxes to prove I exist.
I have a few drafts I'm working on for you, but in the meantime, I wanted to leave you all with some advice I recently gave an artist who was feeling a little stuck.
This person (let's call her Sara) was feeling like things weren't happening quite the way she imagined in her creative career. They weren't moving fast enough or opportunities just weren't “big” enough.
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I quickly learned that Sara was closely modeling her career path on one particular artist she admired. Right away, I identified this as the main issue.
It's one thing to study the path of other artists (or other professionals), take a little idea here or there, and incorporate some of what you learn into your own practice, strategy, approach, etc.
But if you narrow your focus to just one person you admire and try to replicate their professional journey, you will most likely get frustrated or disappointed.
It's not because you are less talented or capable. And it's not because you are not perfectly copying the steps they may have taken to get where they are.
It's because of the millions of factors you can't copy: where and when this person grew up, their friends and family, mentors, professors and teachers, financial resources, clients who happened to require their services at the very moment in time they discovered them …
Family dynamics make an enormous difference in one’s life.
Your neighborhood and town and schools make an enormous difference in who you become. And this changes over time. Neighborhoods change. Schools change.
Everything is constantly changing.
The moment you realize this and accept that your path is your own and it's pointless to beat yourself up over not achieving what others have achieved simply because you followed the same steps, then you are free to truly appreciate everything you have achieved and are currently achieving in your own journey. Furthermore, you can spend more energy looking for the unique opportunities that only exist for someone like yourself, in your specific circumstances.
You can feel proud of what you are doing, right here and now. Think of the obstacles you have overcome to get where you are. Don't compare them to those of the people you admire – you rarely see the full picture. It has been “cropped” to make it simpler to understand; they likely had a helping hand (or a dozen) and the “supporting cast” sometimes gets lost in the story.
Their path was theirs, alone.
This does not mean you can't learn from them, but it’s healthy to pull inspiration and guidance from multiple sources. And do remember to appreciate your unique situation— let it happen as it is happening without expecting the results to align perfectly with those of others. This is unrealistic and unfair to you. Be kind to yourself!
I hope you found this helpful. I'll be in touch very soon.
By the way, I recently had a most excellent and enjoyable conversation about creativity and drawing with the one and only Morgan Harper Nichols. She is even doing a promotion with us where we are giving away one free month of my meditative drawing app, Lines of Zen. You can get that free month here. Please feel free to share that link with anyone you like.
Until then, take care of yourselves, take care of each other, remember to be kind, and I'll say, Ciao for now.