How to Stay Happy as an Artist

A few months ago I hit a bit of a low. I was exhausted and weary and seriously reconsidering whether I wanted to continue in the arts industry. To help myself recover, I reached out on Facebook to my artist friends to ask them, “What do you do to keep going in those low times?”

The arts in undoubtedly a challenging industry. Mostly I look back and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved… but my gosh some days you just need a hug.

If you’re in one of those slumps, I hope this list (compiled as a summary of my friends’ suggestions) gives you something to hold onto.

The Happy Artist

Move on.  Keep busy.  Keep working.  Keep making art.  Make stuff happen.
Try another artform when your usual one is getting too much.
Think about something other than art.
Do something other than work.

Listen to inspiring music.
Talk to friends.  Talk to other artists.  Remember we all feel like this sometimes.

Read:
The Artist’s Way
The Creative Habit
Letters to a Young Poet.

Go for walks.
Exercise!

Go travelling. Experience art that inspires you. Take your art to a new audience.

Be specific about what you want.
Think about the future – positively.

Laugh.  Sing.  Maybe get drunk*.  Maybe get angry for a bit.
Remember, ‘This too shall pass’.
Remember you have the potential for joy and happiness at any time, but you may need to actively choose it.

Take criticism in your stride by recognising the source’s personal issues at play.
Find the useful feedback in the criticism.
Let go of the need for approval.

Smile.  Pat yourself on the back.  Look how far you’ve come!

I hope you find something useful here. Keep on truckin’!

*Not for those under 18! 😛 Or 21, in some countries! Maybe eat a large pizza…

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