“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

― Andy Warhol

Somehow we’ve gotten this weird dichotomy in our heads.  On the one had, being an artist takes tons of dedication and self-sacrifice while being a lifetime’s vocation.  On the other, anyone can do it since you can become a successful artist over night so therefore it’s completely appropriate to compare yourself as you are right now to the most famous people in the genre of your interest, find yourself wanting, and simply give up.  What these two polar opposites serve to do is prevent most people from doing anything and makes anything they do less than, bad, and irrelevant.  These two units of measure keep people from trying and make people attempt’s a set up for failure.  No where in there is a creative life that is lived in happiness and productivity.  No where in there is the joy of making.  And there is certainly no place for the progress and milestones and 90 degree turns which real life gives us.  It is the exceptional set as the baseline for normal achievement.  If only we could Photoshop our lives, right?

Something I point out for my clients, and it’s by no means an original concept, is no successful artist starts out at the top of their game.  Not a writer, a painter, a dancer, a singer, a cartoonist, a musician, no one.  Every single one started out not having any idea of what they were doing.  Some have amazing talent, others have mediocre talent that they have worked at and found their sweet spot.  Others develop talent through sheer tenacity and joy.  All of them have created a body of work at the beginning that was everything from not so great to OMG! STOP! *shudder*  The thing is, they didn’t let that stop them.  They didn’t look around and say “I’m not as good as those people over there so I can’t do this and I’ll go be an accountant now.”  They may have gone to be an accountant but they kept creating. The only way to get better is to keep going.  The only way to find your voice is to use it.  The only way to become an instant success at your art is to work at it every day as if success doesn’t matter. (This may take a moment. Instant success usually takes a while to achieve.)

Don’t create because you have to.  Many people could wait their entire lives to have that kind of compulsion and never get it.  Create because you want to.  Create because there is something inside you that says “I want to say/do/make this thing.” It doesn’t have to be grand or impress the masses or be something people will run you down to buy.  It needs to be your creation.  It needs to be an expression of you.  Maybe once you’ve been doing it for a while people will buy it.  Maybe at that point you won’t care because you’ll just enjoy making.  Maybe making and selling will come together and out of nowhere you become an instant/overnight success and people will ask you how you made it happen.  Then you too can laugh and talk about how you didn’t make it happen, you just make stuff.