Why, you may be asking, is there a photo of my ugly, dirty, sneakers at the top of this second post about being a full-time artist? Well, this morning when I was jogging with my dog, I got to thinking, as I often have, how jogging is a metaphor for my new career (and any career for that matter, or life in general).
You see, I don’t really like jogging, so I often find myself thinking while I jog about the nature of my relationship with jogging, and why I find it so hard to get motivated to jog. Don’t get me wrong, I like making art a whole lot more than jogging, I love it in fact, but the elements are the same: some days you wake up and feel great, you go out on a run, and you feel like a well-oiled machine. Other days, you can barely summon the motivation to put your sneakers on. This is life—it will always be like this, there will always be up days and down days, and how do you get through it? You put one foot in front of the other.
It is the importance of “putting one foot in front of the other” that I have been realizing so much about my art career this week. As I mentioned in my last post on this subject, this week was my first full week of being a full-time artist. How did it go? Some great moments, some scary moments, and a lot of in between—just the doing part of the art (the putting one foot in front of the other).
The great moments can be summed up by: “I can’t believe I get to do this all day every day (and not set foot in a boring office job for one second of the week) and “Wow, I’m really doing this!”
The scary moments can be summed up by: “Oh gosh, what will I work on next? I don’t want to do that. But I must, because I’m doing this all day, every day.”
The in between moments can be summed up by lots and lots of little steps and uneventful, but wonderful consistent work that helped me bridge the gap between the great moments and the scary moments and come out feeling successful. I am struck again though, by the jogging metaphor. I think we all focus a lot on big accomplishments, but I realize, especially during this week, that it’s the little accomplishments that are amazing—being able to say, “I finished this small step, now what’s next?” and then actually succeeding at going onto the next part.
It really hit me earlier this week that I am now the master of my own time, for better or worse. I have to face myself head on, every day. It’s completely up to me now, whether or not I get the work done—there are no more excuses like another job getting in the way. This is no surprise to me, but the reality of it is different than just thinking about it before it happens. Your neurosis don’t vanish, they exist, and you have to learn to work with them, or around them, or despite them. This is where “putting one foot in front of the other” really helps: when things get overwhelming, I just remind myself, “all I need to do is take one little step, do one little thing.”
And now I will salute all of you self-employed people—I have so much respect for you, especially now that I’m living this reality.
In summary, this was a wonderful week of learning about myself and creating. Unfortunately, many of the creations I am working on are not bloggable at this point because they’re part of larger projects that I will unveil all together when the time is right, but here are some ideas of what I’ve been up to:
-greeting card designs for a greeting card company that approached me in the summer
-a small book (chapbook/zine size) I’ve been scheming for some time and now actually have the time to work on
-some tiny artworks for the upcoming holidays
-one other new idea percolating about a way to expand Blue Bicicletta in a little bit of a new way
That brings me to one of the things I love about being an artist, and now being a full-time artist: you can build your work around lots of different, wonderful, creative things that you love.