The life of the artist has many misconceptions. The mental state of the artist can be one of constant conflict, guilt and self-recrimination.

99% of artists and creatives all want the same thing. More time, more exposure, more money.

Yet most are unwilling to change the one most important thing — Their mindset.

“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

Common Misconception about life as an artist:

Misconception #1 :
Art and money are mutually exclusive.

The Truth:
What you create has value.

The world needs and appreciates your art. Nowhere in the rule book of life does it say that you cannot have both and then some. You can do what you love and be paid very well for it. It is a little silly to undervalue your own work, because you think the world has so little appreciation of it. How could someone else appreciate your work if you don’t value it yourself?

Another thing to keep in mind when considering the equation of money and art: Life costs money. Making art costs money. You actually need both money and artistry in order to have the staying power to consistently make art and become the greatness that you are.

You have put forth an enormous amount of time and energy in creating your work. What you want is for the energy you have invested to be returned to you in the form of money. It is an exchange of energy, no more, no less. There is no need to feel guilty about wanting this to be an equal exchange.

Misconception #2:
Artists must live a bohemian lifestyle of wild abandon, and discipline is overrated.

The Truth:
Most successful artists I know live a dedicated but simple life. Art takes a lot of energy to make. It’s hard to make art when you are constantly hung over, coming down and partying it up.

You should have as many varied experiences as possible. I believe we should seize every opportunity and experience life in as many different shades and nuances as possible. However, the life of a successful artist is the equivalent of working 2 jobs. One is of the artist making your art. The other is of the CEO dealing with the business end of your art career. To squeeze a fulfilling personal life into the midst of two full time jobs is hard. If you live a bohemian lifestyle, something will suffer. There are simply not enough hours in the day to recover from the hangover, return all the business calls and follow up with leads, and still make time to be in the studio and actually create work.

Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your art.”

Misconception #3:
You are an artist, nothing more.

The Truth:
Artists and creatives take great pride in what they do. You should. Being an artist is one of the hardest jobs there is.

We snatch ephemeral ideas from the ether and breath life into them and render them anew — we give it shape, life, form and a voice.

It’s an incredible high, better than any drugs.
It is amazing.
Humbling.

We devote time and energy to giving birth to excellent work, and then we walk away, leaving it helpless and fending for itself. We watch it from afar, unable to shift our mindset to become the champion it needs.

If you want to be successful, you need to be more than just an artist.

You need to be the mother, the CEO, the shameless promoter, the champion of your art. You have to fight for your art the way a lioness fights for her cubs. Your job has only begun when the paint has dried and you’ve finished the final edit. You will need to spend weeks, months, years relentlessly fighting to get your metaphorical child into all the right schools. It is not easy. But like actual child-rearing, it is the most rewarding experience one can have. Change your mindset about what your job description is. You can’t just birth the art and nothing more. You must care for it, fight for it, carry it around by the scruff of the neck the way a lioness does with her cubs.

You are courageous enough to dedicate yourself to one of the most difficult professions possible. Now you need to shift gears and re-frame the way you think. Change one thing and everything else will change. You will have more time, more money, more exposure.

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