INARTIST

6 reasons (not) to be a lonely and selfish artist

by InArtist Team, 13 Jul 2018

Have you ever thought that it could be about you! I mean: are you a lonely and selfish artist? If you think “no, it is absolutely not about me!” or “maybe, but only sometimes”, please move on reading this article. People who do not think to be lonely and selfish, are usually those who they are! We are not blaming anyone here, instead we are trying to understand ourselves in order to become better people. NOTE: if you think: “ I am happy the way I am, I do not want to change!”….well, try to make an effort and self-assess yourself . This is not a test (it does not have an outcome or right/ wrong answers) but could be useful. Up to you then to decide your life.

After all, it is all about your mind-set: “Yes, I can do everything, and I do everything, so I do not need anyone!”.

You should firstly consider the main pros and cons of being alone:

  1. The main advantage: you set up your own strategy, schedule your meetings, decide on the marketing…in one sentence, you are the main decision maker!
  2. The main disadvantage: you have to rely only on yourself for any strategical step, any meeting, any social media post or advertisement….in one sentence, you are the main decision maker!

…so it is about you and then you, and then again you! so the problem is YOU!

So it is about you and then you, and then again you! So the problem is YOU! No matter if you are a painter, a dancer, a writer. So what’s up? It is like being a one-man show, you are the clown, the acrobat, the fire-eating stunt, you are everyone….always on the borderline, and getting the full risk: at any time you can get applause or fail!

At first sight, this is not so bad. If it suits you so then great. But, you have to realize that you cannot go beyond a certain point, you cannot grow alone. And not because someone wants to become David Copperfield! But because of several reasons, let me try to list them:

  1. You cannot do everything alone. It is physically impossible, you can run to one place and then to another one, but life is not a marathon! And consider if something happens to you (we do not wish it! Touching wood!) but it could become a mess. But what about costs? Yes, the biggest obstacle to get a good career is money! If you don’t have some capital, how could you hire someone to develop a good website? It is not easy but, frankly speaking, you should be able to plan better and prioritize your main tasks. And consider that each decision costs a certain amount.

Personally I like using the cost/benefit approach. Care should be taken to not underestimate costs or overestimate benefits. Firstly, consider a conservative approach: make a conscious effort to avoid any subjective tendencies when calculating estimates. I mean: do spend too much on developing an amazing website, just because you like this stuff, and avoid investing in your artworks, or social media marketing.

  1. Are you better than others? Many artists think they can do things better than others. I have already heard: “Yes, I can do this” “No, I would do this instead” “Nobody else can do it” and bla bla bla. It is like looking through a hole, you can see just one perspective but what about all the rest? You can see that you are an amazing painter, but maybe you are not so good with marketing or social skills! You do not realize that you may have some strong skills, but maybe you are weak with others. So why do not you ask for help? Being lazy is quite common. You spend the whole day painting or dancing & you need to find time for learning from others or teaching to others: “Ooohh what a waste of time!” would be the typical reaction. Sometimes it is probably not worthy, let’s say the truth. But, without others, you cannot develop yourself neither! Every great artist has learnt from somebody else. There would be no Gaudí without Lluis Domènech i Montaner!
  1. You are learning every day from everyone. I mean not only from other artists, but also from the backer, from the nurse, from the pharmacist….never think that you know everything and you do not have to learn from others. Being arrogant does not help you, it could only make things only worse. If you do not believe it, you will realize it one day. So do not underestimate the value of being modest and nice with everyone. And no worry you are not alone, most of artists are not that nice. Then you start criticizing that nobody is contacting you. But of course! Only if you give, you receive, it is a mutual process. Please start thinking!

Only if you give, you can receive, it is a mutual process!

  1. Networking. Building your connections will provide you with an invaluable opportunity. Well, great, but then? What should I do with connections? It is important you remember that networking is mutually beneficial process. You never know which skills can be beneficial to or from others. So start contacting other artists, and if you are a painter, do not just contact other painters, go beyond it, you can learn from dancers, from magicians. Maybe the magician can teach some tricks that could inspire you or lead you to other connections. Never underestimate the power of getting connected
  2. Jealousy and criticism of others. You believe that being overly-critical of other artists (or other people) legitimises your resistance to putting yourself out there. It could sound brutal, but maybe you are jealous of those artists who are living fully as their authentic selves. The difference is: think well, these people, instead of sitting around “bitching” about an unfair life, maybe they are just proactive not only with their work, but also with other people, they go to events, they are nice responding to messages. And above all, they are not jealous of others!
  1. Fear. Do you fear of not being good enough? Are you afraid of getting poor or failing? Having a little fear is normal, I would be surprise if somebody would be very confident from his first day of painting. But if you start, you learn every day and you get better. If you never start or you are too afraid of learning, better to give up. There are hundreds of other jobs out there.

And last but not the least: try to be surrounded by smart trustworthy people. I mean, try to keep very high standards in your networking. You will probably always continue to hard work but at least you will have higher chance to grow and maybe one-day other people will desperately look for you (instead of the opposite). But how to “filter” people? Think well (or do not rely at all) about people who:

  • Usually do not respond to your messages or do not come to your events after being invited more times
  • Gave you strong recommendations without even having a clear idea of what you are doing. Distrust messages which sounds like this: “you are wrong. Instead, you should do this. Look, I graduated at the best music conservatory of the country and I know what I am saying!”. Someone who pretends to be your teacher even if he/she has never visited your website or listened to our music…
  • Never like or a comment your posts in your social media pages

My golden rule is: if you “give” and you do not “receive”, think about filtering out some people! Well, good luck, touching wood!

Paolo

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