Starving artist is a term used by many to describe those who sacrifice material well-being in order to reach new heights through their own art; whether it be designing, writing, or music. Unless you were born into wealth, it’s likely that you are more than familiar with the phrase.
To fully dedicate yourself to your own virtuosity or succumb to a 9-5 and create financial security? This is something that many battle with. In my opinion, the arts is one of the most valuable industries but also the most challenging to plant your feet in the ground.
It’s important to recognize the art of effectively balancing work while pursuing any craft. Take advantage of the stability provided, and any opportunity to ultimately better yourself and your talent. If your day job isn’t necessarily related to what you “do,” there is always a lesson to be learned in anything you are doing whether it be leadership, or time management.
When you make the decision to venture off into a career that isn’t “recession proof,” having a strong support system to motivate and keep you going when times get tough, when your ideas aren’t flowing, and designs aren’t selling, is just as important as the drive itself. Be mindful to surround yourself with people that motivate you to want more, those that won’t let you sleep at night knowing you only put in 99%. In a room full of talented people, remember that you bring something unique to the table; find your balance and work just as hard for you as you do for others.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a little push.
- Write Down Your Goals
Have you ever had a thought but was hesitant about saying it aloud because once you speak it, it’s officially real? Writing down your goals is similar. Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book, The Secret, has taught us that thoughts become things. However, thoughts can only become things if you work hard. We’ve all had daydreams about things we hope to achieve; take those thoughts and write them down on paper.
It’s one thing to write down your goals, but it’s another to put them into action. Writing out a timeline of how and when you plan to achieve your goals is equally as important as the goal itself. The timeline acts as your list of building blocks that will lead up to your ultimate achievement. Through these steps you’ll grow, gain experience, take home some victories and losses, all while preparing yourself for the big win.
- Give Yourself Deadlines
Here’s where those goals you wrote down come into play. 30-days, 3-months, 6-months, 1-year; where do you want to be? Give yourself deadlines for your short and long term goals. I’ve learned that when you put yourself on a timed schedule to get something done, you work harder because the pressure is on. When you leave things up in the air, it’s easy to forget about them or feel like you have time. Your deadlines will also help you analyze your growth and assess your work ethic.
- Do Something Each Day
It’s important that you don’t sit idle. Sonia Sanchez once shared a quote from a college professor who told her, “you have to write on cue because if you wait for this muse to drop down on your shoulders, it might drop once a year.” There’s no rule of how big or small your ‘something’ should be, but each day you should be making a move that will add value to what you’re working towards.
- Save, Save, Save
This is vital. Save! It’s important to save whatever you can, whether it’s $10 per pay or $1000, no amount is too small. There will come a time when you’ll have to invest in yourself or feel ready to take that step and quit your day job to focus solely on your dream. When that time comes, you want to make sure you’re mentally and financially ready for that leap.
As author A.S Byatt said, “I think of my writing simply in terms of pleasure. It’s the most important thing in my life: making things. Much as I love my husband and children, I love them only because I am the person who makes things. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all those other people.”
It’s important to act on things that we’re truly passionate about because essentially it’s who we are as people. You can only be what you are for others if you’re being who you need to be, for you.