Venturing out as a freelance artist ain't what I thought it would be.

This was me the last couple weeks.  Very very emotional.  Part of it was the rain, part of it a really dark attitude, part of it were circumstances that I let bring me down.

I knew it was bad when I couldn't even respond to my dear mom.  All I felt was heavy heavy numb sad.


Life happens.  You have it in your mind that you can build something, that you can start your own business and be an artist.  But it is difficult.  Of course, I know it's worth it and it's all I've ever really wanted to do.  But I'll be honest, there have been a lot of things to heal.  I didn't think my ego was holding on so hard.  I didn't think that loosing a job and moving back home would sting like it did.  At first, in fact, I was excited!

So here's what I've learned so far....

If you're starting something new, expect to fail.

This is because you will have to learn new skills, and no one is perfect at anything the first time.  Sending out contracts, doing follow up calls, creating expense sheets, and all of that stuff still seems like a bit of a chaotic force that I'm just keeping contained in a dropbox file.  I feel like I'm doing it all wrong, but I still enter in the numbers and at least I know it's all there.

Here's a good list of business logistics to check out.  Some of it seems intimidating, but most of it is pretty strait forward, especially since google is on your side.  I know the pieces that I've stuck together has helped form a decent work flow and business model.  It's still evolving!

Be ok with not selling anything or not landing any jobs at first.  Keep working on the projects you love anyway.  Things take time.  And that's perfectly ok.  I've been lucky and had some contacts to work with, although I'm not making enough to live on my own yet.  But my student loans are dwindling at a faster rate than before.

Find ways to stop comparing and instead value yourself.

I might be the queen of comparing, and overworking myself into the ground to get to this imagined "ideal place".  But it's not sustainable and it's not fun.  It leads to depression and resentment.  I realize that I need to be ok with how things are right now.  I'm still working on this, but when my perspective shifts it was like a light turns back on.

I suggest you go to the gym, go for a walk, make yourself some tea and sip it with reverence.  Write poetry, watch some comedy, and hug the people you love.  Take care of yourself and get yourself back into your body.  This has all helped me immensely.  It allows me to feel taken care of so that I can continue to make work.

Make a plan for yourself that you're excited about and then...get excited!

Tony Robbins taught me this.  He asks everyone to clap and dance, and moan as if they're in ecstasy.  I laugh every time, but yes, I do this in my room when I listen to his recordings.  It's wild, but we really have access to all of the good emotions and we can choose to engage with them.  We just shut ourselves off from them, or think that the outer world contains the key.  But we are the key, damnit!  Turn it and go inside.  

It may feel weird, but after you get your plan in order, dance around and jump up and down.  Exclaim aloud, "yesssssss!!!!  I'm gonna do this!!!"

As far as a plan goes, I find my intention to create and complete is most important.  Setting aside time in my day is really helpful, but the more I'm excited about it, the more it gets done with gusto and in a timely fashion.  So plan however you please, but do it with intention.

Connect with others like you.

I like watching videos from illustrator/youtubers like Jess and Frannard.  They remind me how much I love art, illustration, and expression.  They also have lots of great messages to artists to inspire and encourage them.  This is because they're honest and share their story.  One of my favorite things.  

I also meet up with other artists and sketch together over coffee.  Or I skype a friend.  It all helps so much, and it never fails that I leave feeling inspired and amped.  Heck yessssss! *kicks and karate chops*

Share your experience.

I'd love to hear from you about your road less traveled.  And I think sharing on your blog, or in person with friends and family can be a major factor in healing.  We can truly lift each other up.  Like my parents and friends do for me every day.  Thank you Mom and Dad!