Persistence As An Artist


I don’t often post or talk about my feelings much. To be honest, as an Enneagram 5, I would rather spork out my eyeballs. However, I don’t want to be another person on the internet that says everything is amazing all the time.

I recently posted about self-care and creativity, but today I wanted to talk about a different aspect of the life of an artist. So often I see people who have started their creative business journey get discouraged. They start off full of high hopes and big dreams, but then they get rejection after rejection. When they don’t see their dreams come true after the first year or two, they decide it isn’t worth it. Sometimes this is a clarifying experience for people and helps them see that they aren’t on the right path, but for some it can be very easy to give up when they don’t see the progress they want. I can get caught up in this mindset too. I think in times like these we forget about persistence.

We live in a society that doesn’t accurately depict the reality of life. Yes, there are mountain top experiences and also deep valley experiences, but most of life isn’t one or the other. We are constantly living in a mash up of good and bad feelings, and that doesn’t change when pursuing your dreams. In James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” (which I recommend here), he writes about the valley of disappointment - which is essentially the gap between our expectations and reality. We think that the amount of work we put in should match up 1:1 with outcomes, but this is rarely the case. Often, we have to struggle for a long time before we start to see rewards.

We are constantly living in a mash up of good and bad feelings, and that doesn’t change when pursuing your dreams.

I appreciate what Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her book “Big Magic” about how there is always going to be a shit sandwich that you are going to have to eat. We are never going to get to a place in life where we only do fabulously fun things. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I also have been thinking about how much of a privilege it is to be able to choose the shit sandwich I eat. There are many people out in the world today who through circumstances beyond their control don’t get to do that.

On days like today, when I wake up discouraged and tired of being a one woman business show, jill-of-all-trades, master of none, I remind myself that it is a privilege to be here pursuing what I love. Life isn’t what it looks like on the Insta highlight reel, and we all have to make hard choices. I’m choosing today to show up, be persistent, and extremely grateful for all the small wins I see.

Have you been feeling disappointed lately? What is one thing you have been thankful for recently?