#008–“Being an Artist for Dummies,” or how do you make a living from two wildly different creative pursuits at the same time?

I was almost proud of myself when I made my “fool-proof” schedule a couple of weeks ago, with everything nicely color coded. Red was for exercise/health, yellow for story writing, green for work/volunteering, blue for blog, pink for painting, and orange for deadlines and everything else. I had spent a whole two days making it as flexible as possible, so that if work hours or opportunities changed I could just have the color codes indicate “need to do” instead of a specific time, and what needed to be done that day, like this story vs. that one. Another planner I got from somebody let me schedule each day in hour blocks if I wanted, so I could take the suggestions my original schedule allowed for and write down specific chunks of time around my work schedule.

I had it all worked out, even how many short stories I needed to finish/edit and figure out and how long I would give myself before moving to the next one. Hell, I had plans all the way through April on those stories, and I went to sleep thinking that at last I would do my best and get it all done, be focused and work hard. I would at last have my gym time and my writing time parceled out and ready to go, I could work and have energy and lose weight and be healthier.

Then I got a bad cold. No exercise, could barely stay awake, and I had several books to read before the new year. Those several days of planning were down the toilet in several hours. Oh, I was so damned angry!

At least I also built in time to tackle art, whether working on my models for a few hours, or drawing practice, or painting. The sad thing is, other than this blog right here, I haven’t gotten hardly any writing done at all–even my morning pages have suffered.

I joke that I need clones to help me do all the things I want to do. One could focus on writing stories, one could focus on painting, one could do volunteer work all the time, one could read books all day (or maybe I’d take that one), and one could go to work and make money for the rest of us.

But life intervenes. I want a more creative life, to dedicate myself to being a writer and building my skills so I stop being so shy and actually let my work out into the world. But now, I ALSO want to be a painter, and that’s been taking up my days when I’m not reading my books. Other than this blog, I haven’t written a thing for any of my stories in nearly a month. I just stare at the pages and don’t know where to go from there, and in frustration I pull out a book or do something else, hoping that the thoughts get unstuck and let me write again. Hasn’t really happened, at least, not to the point where anything I write sounds any good…yet.

It’s hard to be a good writer without consistency, but harder when you have no ideas, or too many ideas that you can’t figure out how to start developing. Several are scribbled into notebooks for later perusal, because I can’t bring myself to do them with over a dozen unfinished works already taking up space.

can-message-giving-encouragement-or-inspiration_G1mt-Bwd.jpgI have too many interests, not enough money, and I keep shooting myself in the foot regarding time. I am well aware that spending all those days organizing my time was a method of procrastination (and I’m getting a brand-new planner for 2017 to wipe the slate clean, otherwise I’ll make the same mistakes again, I just know it).

I know what tends to happen, but I can’t seem to stop myself. Most of the time, after all that planning, I just shut down and do nothing.

It’s like because of my profound ignorance, I sabotage myself before I can even get truly started. I am tired of being broke and miserable because I’m wearing those cement shoes and my mind is all over the place. I want to create and make a living at it.

Admittedly, I have no idea if I’m any good or anybody’d be interested in my work. But I have to wonder, how does one make money as an artist? I’ve read books on submitting writings and I’ve entered contests in the past, but am still stuck. I needed to re-work so many of my short stories and that’s why I haven’t even tried to submit in a while–but I never will at this rate if I can’t make consistency possible.

I really have no clue where to get information on making money as a painter. I mean, I’ve never seen anything about how the hell do you get out there and sell. How do you price your art? How do you develop interest? What if your stuff is abstract and you don’t know how to pigeonhole it into a category?

If anybody’s got good resources on making money from artwork, feel free to pass it on. I have a feeling it would be a tremendous help.

I am looking into art classes (free ones–crossing my fingers that they still exist–and some reasonably priced ones at the local art supply places). I also just found a local art gallery and workshop space I might be able to join. I always want to do things where nobody else I know does, so I can’t get pointers on what would work for me. I have to go out and explore, to find new places and people that can help me. I’ve tried that with a writing circle before, but it’s always a bit discouraging when I’m perpetually in places where nobody’s my age and they’re all so much better than I am (or at least give a good impression of having their shit together–that’s most intimidating of all because I feel like a damned mess).

Health Work Career Friends Signpost Showing Life And Lifestyle BalanceI do not have a steady full time job with steady hours. I get very little some weeks, and then I’ve got more than I can stand in others. It’s hard to make plans and make a consistent schedule, though after Christmas I’ll be at the gym by 5am again–otherwise I won’t work out. After that block of time for the gym and getting ready for the day, my hours vary so damn much.

And now, I want to paint and make a living from that as well. It can be pricey, but thankfully I’m using mostly older materials I bought years ago, so I’m not making myself broke yet (and plenty of unfinished paintings to touch up or re-work).

Seriously, what the hell will I think of next?

My mind and interests are everywhere, but I want to do them all. Not enough time and money, especially with those crazy part-time jobs of mine not letting me plan very effectively. When life is in the way, how do you make a living painting or writing or whatever. When there is no consistency, how do you make consistency? That’s the toughest thing–I can try to plan all I want, but one little deviation makes it all fall apart.

This is an aspect of failure I’m just so damned tired of. The only thing that’s popped in my head is to reserve my writing times for the mornings, and painting for the evenings. I just have to remember to get plenty of sleep in between (and waking up before 4:30 means nights just can’t be late ones…ugh).

Any resources on how to make money producing art would be fantastic, and how to create consistency when the personal “planetary alignment” makes it so damned hard. My thoughts are chasing themselves around the merry-go-round in my noggin, and it’s time to stop already–gah!

3 thoughts on “#008–“Being an Artist for Dummies,” or how do you make a living from two wildly different creative pursuits at the same time?

  1. Crystle Jenson says:

    I know you’d do amazingly well here with your paintings being sold at the farmers market which is open almost every day 🙂 You are like me. You’re creative. Let that be your “box” if you will. Don’t try to force yourself into something else. Be everything creative. That includes so many things not just one.

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