Dear Struggling Artist – Some Words of Encouragement
Dear Struggling Artist,
You write of your anxiety, your fears, your uncertainty about your calling. Wondering if the artistic life is even right for you, or realistic, or doomed to be one of constant struggle. You ask if it’s worth it, if you should heed the advice of all those who “love” you and just get a normal job, with normal pay, “job security” – as they call it.
You wonder if you can do this thing. If you’ve done it once, or twice, or ten times, you wonder if you can do it again. Whether you’re good enough (what is enough, anyway?) and if you’ll have what it takes. You want to know if you can count on this life to sustain you and worry that there’s just too little chance of “making it” or “losing it.” And so your heart beats a little faster with fear. You lie awake at night worrying about making ends meet, distrusting yourself. You see everyone elses’ work and theirs all looks so much better, younger, in vogue, desirable. You look at what you haven’t accomplished, your unfinished drafts, the auditions you couldn’t bring yourself to do, the ones you lost, the successes you’ve had, the next great big vision that seems so very far from reach or reality (which is it?) – and you wonder if it’s worth it.
Shouldn’t it get easier the longer you practice your craft? Shouldn’t you be in a better place by now? Shouldn’t you be beyond lying in bed worrying about the same damn things?
No. You shouldn’t. And you know why?
Because you’re human. Because the artistic life is a journey and the cold hard truth is you never “arrive.”
All the success in your field will never equate to security. It’s the nature of life – expansion. It’s the nature of art.
There is no top of the mountain. You. just. keep. climbing.
So, in response, dear struggling artist, I would tell you: keep going. Pause and breathe when you must, but don’t stop. Keep climbing. Keep going back to the keyboard, the audition, the next script, the next possibility. Keep letting yourself dream. Keep believing. Keep trusting that the Universe hasn’t brought you this far just to drop you now.
Because it hasn’t. You’re here, right where you are, no matter where you are – beginning, middle, end of a career- for a reason. You’re exactly where you are “meant” to be.
So breathe. Relax. Trust. You’re called to be an artist. To live this life as a creator. Don’t get to the end of your life wishing you’d taken more chances, believed in yourself more, changed your thoughts about what is possible.
Keep climbing. You’re worth it.