I’m an artist, yeah, big freaking deal.
People think of romantic visions of me stowed away in a cabin with a caregiver pampering me with tea so I can continuously work without worries. That’s not even funny anymore. I want to throw up when the fantasy is implied. Next time someone asks what I do I’m telling them I am a HUSTLER. Not in the Paul Newman sense but I grab every opportunity to make it count. I don’t stop because I am hungry or tired.
That’s not true—I shove my pie hold to handle the stress
No check simply shows up. I can work myself to exhaustion and there are no guarantees. It could be months later to see the benefits. Coach Pat Riley nailed it with this quote in his book .
“I learned the hard way about approaching my work this way and disregarding myself, my body, my health.”
“If you are willing to work hard enough, you can achieve anything.” I love that saying. But there should be a disclaimer to it. I am worker and if hard work is between me and my goals of success in my business than step aside sister, no one will out work me. I’m your horse in this race, put your money on me. Though you can work yourself to death.
So what happened in my banner year of progress, turning pro and building my career as an artist and a designer? I broke. Everything broke, not just one thing. The kind of breaking where everything stops dead in it’s tracks. In the middle of the ever illusive and holy “momentum” we all dream of? I got sick. Today’s work as an artist is unrelenting. It’s not enough to create a painting. Then you must photo, edit and prime for web or print. Then you need to market, share, network, exhibit and blog your career.
The reality is we are all one-man shows. There is not backup crew or guy who comes in to prep for us while we sleep. There is a ton of pressure. I feel a kick in the gut when that universal gestalt happens and I see what I originally created already made, published or shared. A HARD KICK.
I went from running a half marathon in April to working day and night trying to make up for lost time in both my careers as a jewelry designer and as a fine artist. I was annoyed by coy advice to meditate or breathe deep. I consider time I have to shower or drive places where I have no choice to be out of the studio the time to multitasking my enlightenment and do such things. I’m no doctor but all that stress breeds buckets of cortisol, welcomes chronic illness, love handles and disease. I was no exception.
Now I am going to tell you the only option available is to keep up working. I realized I had to protect the hard work I love so much by going slower. Seriously, it hurts to say that, worse, to live it. Artists know ON and OFF. There’s little mercy to ignoring the ebb and flow of inspiration for an artist <tweet> but my longevity and reputation counted on it.
Quality began to suffer as I was working while feeling ill. My work now became my respite with a shift in perspective. My work cannot be just a push anymore. I see the magical quality my work has to take my mind off worser ills and ignite me. The way it was before all the pressure flowed in to manifest my success in a hot minute.
Four Ways to Create Boundaries
- If you work in your home, set working hours. There will always be exceptions but creating a “work day” helps you keep honest to your intentions more than not.
- Don’t check email first thing in the day. If I do this I am dead in the water. I will find myself at dinnertime still in my pj’s. Email and the internet never stops.
- Find a routine ritual. Mine is exercise, a decent breakfast, getting dressed out of PJs— a must.
- Remembering and saying often that I love my work, because I do. I am happy to have it. I don’t want it to end. This makes all the difference in the world.