A few weeks ago, I interviewed 5 professional artists to find out how they got started on their creative careers, and what barriers they had to overcome to get there.
One thing I noticed that most of them mentioned, was that they had a lot of support from partners or close friends and family. I believe this is a vital ingredient in keeping up the motivation required to successfully launch a career as an artist.
Having someone around you constantly reassuring you and providing words of encouragement can be the thing that makes the difference between persevering until you succeed, and giving up when things get tough.
If everyone you talk to is telling you that you’re a fool to try and make a living as an artist, and constantly trying to discourage you, you are bound to find it much harder to stay motivated (unless you are extremely determined to prove them wrong, which may be a strong driving force for some people.)
Take A Look Around You
Look at the people you spend the most of your time with, be it your spouse, your parents, close friends, colleagues – and think about how they are with you when you discuss your artistic aspirations.
Do they encourage you and admire you for following your dreams, or are they very negative about your art career, constantly making you feel like you’re doing something you shouldn’t?
If there are both kinds of people in your life, try to start spending more time with the supportive people if you can. They will boost your confidence, and give you the motivation you need to keep the wheels in motion.
Of course, I’m not saying you should stop spending time with your family if they don’t motivate you, but if you find that they are always very negative when discussing your career, perhaps you could try to focus on other topics with them, and save the career talks for the people who encourage you.
Avoid Doom and Gloom
Some people might not even be negative about your career specifically, but just a bit pessimistic in general. Again, you should probably try to limit the amount of time you spend with these people, as their pessimism can rub off on you, and you may end up feeling like you’re doomed to failure, because that’s how your friends view the world.
Spend as much time as you can with positive and motivated people, so that you can share their optimistic outlook and keep yourself moving toward your goals.
If you find that there are only negative people in your life, you may need to look outside your current circles to find a bit of encouragement.
Show Your Gratitude
I’m fortunate enough to have a very supportive girlfriend, friends and family who have never questioned my decision to pursue a career in art. They have always been behind me 100% and they constantly encourage me when I lose confidence in myself.
I know that not everyone has that luxury, and I know it would be much harder without that support network, so I’m eternally grateful for that.
So if you are surrounded by positive and supportive people who help you through the trying times, make sure you don’t take them for granted, and remember to thank them for everything they do for you.
Are the people around you supporting you and keeping you on the right track, or are they dragging you down? If you rely on the support of amazing people in your life, feel free to give them a shout out in the comments below. They will appreciate it!