To Be on Hard Times, or Hard Pressed for Time?

photo courtesy of becky.sm on Flickr

Artists, how do you do it? Seriously. I might need some tips.

The last 2 weeks have proved to be very difficult for me to squeeze in any time to make anything. Mostly because of the extra hours I’ve been putting in at my job. I’ve come to know 9 to 10 hour days very well lately. Granted, it’s not the worst problem to have because it does pad the pockets with a little extra green. But seriously, it’s those times that I come home from a long, trying day at work 4 – 5 days out of the week that the LAST thing on my mind is getting home and finding the extra push within me to make art – one of my favorite things to do in life. What sounds better than that, you ask? These days, it seems to be:
– Rest/sleep
– A mindless hour of playing video games
– A couple of mindless hours surfing and researching stuff on the internet
– Netflix
– Personal hygiene and upkeep
– Social interaction OFFline (Facebook and Twitter don’t count.)

Before I can even glance over at a canvas, it’s right on back to the 9 to 5 and the cycle continues. Isn’t that sad? The things that have been balancing me out lately have nothing to do with picking up a paintbrush or an Illustrator pen tool.

“Man, say what you want, but that ‘starving artist’ ish is not cute.”

I suppose the argument there could be posed that maybe I just don’t want to do it bad enough. I can see why one would think that. I guess my only defense to that is, hey I’m human. At the same time I also know that sometimes, wanting something “bad enough” and focusing solely that one aspect of life doesn’t mean I’ll always benefit from that kind of drive – the kind of drive that people lose themselves in and neglect families over. There are only so many hours in a day, my situation isn’t that bad, and my body and mind can only take so much. And let’s face it, sometimes a person’s priorities just have to shift – at least in my case it’s only temporary. I know I’ll regain momentum again soon enough. Maybe these things sound like excuses, I don’t know. I guess that doesn’t make me a “true” artist then. Honestly if I could, I’d say nuts to this 9 to 5 crap, drop everything and just throw myself into figuring out how to profit as a painter…straight up. During the periods of burnout like I’m experiencing right now is when I feel that urge the most! Then there’d really be no excuse because I’d HAVE to make art my life. That sure sounds noble, but is it really THAT easy? Is that a realistic type of life anymore? Or have I been fed the wrong images of making a living as an artist? (see above)

I live in one of the most expensive areas to live in the country, and I’m not the type of person that has vast amounts of Luck paving my path. Man, say what you want, but that “starving artist” ish is not cute. Even having said that I STILL would do it if I could, because I know I’d still be able to achieve a certain level of happiness. Unfortunately I have to be realistic and continue to figure out a less extreme route. Too long of doing the “noble thing” with no way to take care of myself and unable to continue doing the very thing I gave up everything for would certainly have me yearning for 50 hour work weeks and W-2 forms again. I’m just sayin…

At the end of the day, I just seek balance. That’s all. Painting is important to me, but like all other things in my life I won’t die if I can’t get to it all of the time. I notice the void, but production always picks back up eventually. Thank God for this blog and the accessibility of it. I think this platform is probably the loophole to my creative stalls. It’s a way for me to stay connected to that part of myself and maintain an outlet for expression – which now that I think about it, is probably the root of what I need anyway. Maybe as long as I find SOME way to do that in the midst of it everything else, I’m not losing as much as it may seem.

Your thoughts? Can you relate to this at all? Please enlighten me! What do you do when your passion has to take the passenger’s seat? (Or in some cases, the backseat?) Are you waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night over it, or is it not as deep to you? Are full-time artists really starving and broke?

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