As an artist of any medium (words, paint, digital, etc.) you have your highs and your lows. You start off your day feeling fired up and like a god as you let your imagination take over. You bust out a few chapters, get some rocking sketches out, and feel as if your future is secure.
Then you hope online and find some’s “just a sketch” or “early draft” and you question everything. Suddenly, that epic first chapter seems like a total snooze fest. That bomb painting; yea, you messed up the eyes big time. You begin to downward spiral as you question your own abilities. Heck at this point you should just go and apply at Walmart since you’re not good at anything.
Before you hit submit for that Walmart job application, let me give you some of my tips for pulling yourself out of the slums of artist’s depression.
- Start a Pinterest Board
Since graduating college I have been through so many highs and lows I’ve taken to creating my own sort of vision board on Pinterest. While most of the pins are meant to help those with their weight loss journeys, I feel like it fits for those who want to make it in a creative (and highly competitive) field. Sometimes you just need those witty words on a plain (or completely random) background to put you back on your feet.
- Create a Playlist
When you’re in the slums of artists depression, the last thing you need is a depressing playlist on your Pandora. I have a playlist of songs I go to whenever I’m feeling like my life isn’t going anywhere fast, or like I should just give up.
To name a few:
- Remember All of the Dreamers Who Barely Made It
Now when I say they barely made it, I don’t mean that they barely had the chops to get published. I mean they almost never got noticed for their talent. Dr. Seuss became a success on the day he was determined to give up. The only reason he became an author is because a friend stopped him from throwing his first manuscript in the trash and took it to an editor he knew. Same for JK Rowling. If they struggled to get where they are, then that means your struggle isn’t in vain either.
- Everyone Starts Somewhere
If Stephen King had to start by learning his ABC’s and still managed to become a best selling author then you can keep working on your manuscript. You might not be the best in your field right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become your very best with time and effort.
- You’re Not the Best, But Your Not The Worst Either
Really, you shouldn’t be comparing your work to that of others. You have your own style and you will never look like or sound like them. You are you, not whoever you’re comparing yourself to. But I’m a realist, and I know that I’m still going to look at the work of others and get depressed sometimes because I feel like a nothing in comparison.
Comparison is a hard one to pull yourself out of since it’s never a small pool of amazing people who are all better than you. But while you’ll never be exactly like them, you can remind yourself of the work you’ve done thus far. You’re not the best (yet) but you’re by no means the worst. You’re growing and can do nothing but get better from here on out. If Fifty Shades of Grey can get published and become a movie, then you can publish your novel or post your latest art project (there’s no way in hell it can be as bad as fifty shades).
I hope this helps you whenever you’re feeling low as an artist. Just remember, you’ll never get anywhere if you give up now. Don’t let your inner critic stop you from accomplishing something great!