We hear about success stories all day. They come to us through links on the internet, we see them on tv and we read about them in the paper. We love to hear these stories of great success happening, especially when it does to normal people. A single mother who becomes a best selling author, a guy who had a rough life who turns out to be a great singer, an art student who is discovered by a big studio at a con… But there’s a danger here.
We tend to only look at these success stories and forget the hours and hours these people put into their craft, the countless rejections, the hardships they had to endure. The years in which this single mother was trying to write a book in between diaper changes and trips to the grocery store for example. A book doesn’t happen in a few weeks. You don’t get good at singing overnight. An art student who is this good this fast has spend countless hours honing their craft while my college years consisted of having fun with my friends and trying out new things.
Success hardly ever comes overnight. And it hardly every comes without a cost. We forget this. We look at a person’s success and think they had it easy, they somehow understood faster and better than us. And we think we’re doing something wrong. We want perfect, right now, immediately. After all, perfect and inspiring art is what we see on Tumblr all day. Surely these people never mess up, all we see of them is great art! We forget we`re not seeing the whole picture and so we don’t allow ourselves to mess up.
We measure the worth of our art on how many followers we have, how many comments we get. On how much work we get from clients. We don’t look at the journey. We think of ourselves as artists who are stagnant. “They are so much better than me” “why is this artists having this success while they’re so much younger?” We forget skills are growing things, not something we have or do not have. And everyone has their own journey in this respect. Not everyone’s time is “now.”
So here’s a reminder for this year: you don’t have to know everything right now. You don’t have to have a big following for your art to be valid. You don’t have to worry if you’re “not having success yet.”
Sometimes it just needs a few more years of hard work, a few more rejections, a few more weeks of crappy drawings, a few more months of uploading your work into the big empty void that is the internet.
It’s hard, I don’t deny that. We’d rather have the easy overnight success. But keep at it, take time to learn and make your best work possible with the skills you now have. Who knows when someone will notice, but at least you did your best. And please, have fun in the process.
Here’s a very good and encouraging video that I watched lately, by Adam Westbrook and it deals with this very problem. I highly encourage you to watch it!
Question: how will you be slowly growing your skillset this year? Share in the comments!