How I Move Past Defeat & Rejection

For this West Coast abstract artist, dealing with rejection is just part of putting myself and my art out into the world. 

In the past week, I have received 2 rejection emails for articles I wrote, very little response to a social media challenge that I’ve been working 2 months on, and an art show that yielded no sales. Oy…all of that sure doesn’t feel too good on the old confidence level.    

If you know me, you know that I have a very healthy work ethic.  I’m a goal oriented doer.  I have the ability to get more tasks done in one day than most and this didn’t change for me, as it does for some, when I started working for myself at home.

So, when I received a flurry of rejection this past week, the work horse side of my ego took a supreme hit.  “What the hell?!  I’ve been working my ass off! Doing ALL THE THINGS that I’m supposed to do to grow my business. Why isn’t this working?”

Being a professional abstract artist means consistently putting one foot in front of the other, but sometimes a rest is in order.

 

I received advice from my artist group and my mother (who is a novelist) that it might be time to take a little rest.  This is not my instinct.  My default to “failure” is to work harder.  But this advice, mixed with exhaustion and a touch of sadness, led me to take a few days off.

bacon blue cheese burger comfort_foodSometimes I just need some good ole comfort food to take the sting off of rejection.


After two days of loafing around, one cheeseburger with tater tots, a carton of chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream and more episodes of “The Good Wife” than I care to admit to, I was ready to get back to work with a renewed sense of optimism.  That makes rejection recovery sound pretty simple but I have to note a few things about dealing with “failure”:

By doing the following, I am able to renew my creative energy and confidence and get back to making abstract paintings.

 

  1. Shift your perspective, Woman. I need to stop using the word “failure”.  These periods of time when more people are saying “no” than “yes” are not total defeats.  I’m new at what I’m doing.  The fact that I’ve only been at this 6 months and have had multiple acceptances (2 shows under my belt and another in August, articles published, press from local media…) and multiple rejections mean one thing:  I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, which is putting myself out there and which also means I’m going to hear the word “no" often…but I also have heard “yes” plenty of times too. 

 

  1. Chill Out, Lady. My Mom told me that early in her career, she and another writer friend of hers decided that when rejection hit particularly hard, they deserved at least one day of feeling sorry for themselves and room to mope.  I’m a sensitive artist.  Sometimes ignoring negative feelings is not effective for me to move on.  I have to honor the crap-ass feeling.  Usually this happens when I’m more tired than I realize anyway and rest and relaxation is exactly the remedy.

 

  1. Get back on the damn horse, Artist. This week I continued work on a botanical and nature inspired series that I’m doing for my August show.  The style of abstract painting is different than what I have been doing and the change was refreshing.  I’m also deciding that it might be time for a strategy change in my marketing and PR efforts.  I still haven’t found all of my audience and after six months of my current tactics, it’s probably time to move on to new ones. 

That doesn’t mean I’ve failed!  It means that I’m making progress.  I know more now than I knew last year and I will learn even more in another 6 months. 

I am a sensitive artist by nature.  Sometimes exhaustion, frustration and sadness just have to be honored in order to move forward.

By now, you’re probably all familiar with the old WWII British motivational poster, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  I’ve seen many satires of this poster all done in red and white with the crown at top that say things like: “Run Around and Freak Out” and “I am Latina!  I Cannot Keep Calm!”  I often thought there should be one for artists that says “Keep Painting and Cry Often” (maybe with a cheeseburger on top instead of a crown). 

All joking aside, sometimes the emotional release is necessary for continuance.  So is rest.  And the funny thing is that once I cried, ate junk food, slept and binge watched Alicia Florrick, I was able to be calm and carry on.  Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to glimpse defeat in order for the fire of persistence to start burning again.

Marigny_Goodyear_Art Pelicans Flight in BayouRest and relaxation allows me to take flight once again.

And so, I shall close with a silly poem as #4 on my list should be “don’t take myself so damn seriously”:

This isn’t happening overnight. 
Rest is needed to take flight. 
Sometimes ice cream is the thing
to making art work fresh again.

Onward. 

The details seen in this blog post are from my painting "Pelicans, 36x36, Paper, Acrylic, Graphite and Crayon on Canvas".  
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Want to Make Money While Making Art? Treat Art Like a Small Business.

I have officially been a professional West Coast Abstract Artist for 1 year.  By treating my art like a small business, I have seen growth that many professional artists have told me they didn't see until about 10 years in.  

I have had a successful first year in that I held 5 art shows and made my first-year revenue goal by selling 15 pieces of original art plus 1 commission.  I have my first comprehensive marketing plan in place for this year.  2018 will introduce a few different revenue streams into my business model including art product pop-up sales and the involvement of Patrons into my process (which I’m so excited to introduce you to soon!)...

...And I can almost hear the crickets and see the blank stares as I talk about this stuff...the boring side of the art biz that no one asks me about.  The questions I get most often are “where do you find inspiration?”, “how long does it take you to paint that?”, and my favorite, “you make a living from this?”.  Seeing as the creation of art is really how I spend only 30-50% of my day, I thought I'd let you all in on what it is like to make AND sell art for a living. 

I initially went to college for art.  I entered Boston University School of Fine Arts in 1994 with dreams of learning to weld and design large scale sculptures.  I graduated from BU in 1999 with a business degree.  Huh? 

Yup.  I did what a lot of kids end up doing which is changing my major half way through college to something that was 100% different from what I started in.  When I made that switch, I thought my life as an artist was done.  Over the next 20 years, I worked in various professional positions from hotel management, advertising executive, to junior broker at a financial firm...and I never felt that any of those roles fit me at all. 

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that I embraced art again.  When I did, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and I thought, “Right!  This is what I have always loved!  I should do this for a living!”  But there was a caveat…after a few hours in the studio, I found that I was over working my paintings and felt that I was “forcing” creativity.  Creating is exhausting work.  I still had a day job so it wasn’t a big deal at first, but the thought began crossing my mind…can I really do this full time?  But then, something pretty cool happened.

Marigny Goodyear Art Small Business Owner
Welcome to my office where I spend at least half my time.  That reminder on my window encourages me to bring it, 150%, every day.

Artists are also small business owners...whether we want to be or not.

As a professional artist I am, by default, also a small business owner.  It seems this is not a role that a lot of people with artistic brains are comfortable in.  But for me, it has been a stimulating challenge that excites and motivates me.  It also means that I get to switch back and forth from making art to marketing art and tending to my business, which turns out to fit me perfectly. 

In high school, I lived in the art room and art was one of the few classes that I got top grades in.  The other classes that were my favorites?  Math and any science that involved math.  In college, I loved my accounting and finance classes.  There is just something about numbers and organization that my OCD brain has always been attracted to.  But art and math sure seemed a strange combo… 

As it turns out, I am perfectly suited to being an art business owner or “artrepreneur” as I like to say.  I love to create art.  I also love creating spreadsheets that track my finances, marketing schedules and social media engagement.  I find immense pleasure in creating revenue plans and taking online courses about marketing in the age of social media (which, BTW, is VERY different than the marketing classes I took 20 years ago).  

All on my own, I have built a website, created a social media presence and grown a mailing list that I send correspondence to multiple times a month.  I have started and continued to write this blog (a pleasure that still surprises me).  I now know how to write press releases and engage with media outlets. I send out surveys to better identify my ideal client and this year, I’m creating a few different ways for those clients to buy my art and be part of my art community at various price levels.  

And when I’ve spent 4-6 hours in my office doing all of the above, I move to the studio and make art for the remainder of the day.  

Some people’s eye glaze over when I start talking about this stuff.  Some people are fascinated.  And some still think that artists cannot make a living without gallery representation and a presence at one of the huge art fairs like Miami’s Art Basil.   

I simply want to make my art and simultaneously make a living.  I do not need to hang in MOMA.  I do not expect to see my work on the auction block at Sotheby’s and I don’t really care if academic types think my art is below their standards because I sell it online.  If MOMA comes a-calling, I will gladly answer the phone, but that is not how I measure my success. 

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art Whales
Pinstripe Whales, 24x24, Acrylic, Paper & Graphite on Canvas.  My passion is the ocean.  Why wouldn't I strive to be there as much as possible? 

I want to make art.  I want to live my life by my own standards.  I want to make my own rules and be independent in my decision making.  AND I want to make money while doing it. 

I think that I’m REALLY lucky.  I like both the creative and the analytical parts of my business.  I also love to surf and strive to build a life where I can jump in our van and enjoy the ocean often…like for weeks at a time often...all the while working on the road.  

Some may think that I’m unrealistic, but I don’t think so.  I think I have the ability to create my ideal life.  To do what I love despite the opinions of other people which, by the way, I hardly listen to anymore.  

Is it easy?  Hells no!  But it’s me, all me and nothing but me.  I am responsible for my own destiny.  I have found a way to blend together what used to seem as totally unconnected interests.  And I truly believe that it is something that all of us have the ability to do, if we so wish. 

So, for all you lovely people who like to write music AND balance your check book, who love to create recipes AND alphabetize your canned goods, who design and sew your own clothes AND make spreadsheets of your textile inventory…  YOU are the natural Artrepreneurs of the world!  

Yeah…you’re also probably pretty weird and never really “fit in”, but that’s OK, if fact its great!  Embrace your eclectic nature!  Find ways to use ALL your talents together.  For you are the masters of your own universe and the creative do-ers who innovate AND motivate to get the shit done!   So, go on with your weird self and create the world that you want to live in. 

And for Pete’s sake, don’t listen when people tell you that it’s not possible or you’re doing it wrong.  When people use the words “unreasonable”, “unrealistic” or say that “great artists don’t make money” (yes…someone actually said that to me…) just walk away.  I am going into 2018 choosing to believe in myself and my mission.  I’m doing this my way.  Yeah.

 

The painting at top is Deep Dive, 24x24, Acrylic, Paper & Crayon on Canvas

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Tiny Buddha Blog Post #4 - Saying Goodbye to the Hamster Wheel

I am a highly efficient person, West Coast abstract artist and business owner.  Sometimes I have to remember that balance in work and play is important.  

Thank you to TinyBuddha.com for publishing my article titled: There’s More to Life Than Work: Goodbye Hamster Wheel, Hello Balance.

I love my work.  I love it so much that some days, I forget to eat.  I get so wrapped up in my art business that my "other" life (you know, family, friends, self care and such...) gets neglected.  Really, what I strive for is balance.  That's easier said than done sometimes.

I suffer from "hamster wheel syndrome" which UrbanDictionary.com defines as: when someone just keeps running in circles (and making the same mistakes) in their life instead of progressing.  At times, my brain is firing 10 ideas per second and each sparks another 10 ideas.  Ultimately, that leads to me not knowing what the heck to do and so I do nothing.  Sound familiar?

Check out my latest post on Tiny Buddha to read more about how I deal with this struggle.  If it resonates with you, please share.  

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How Writing Brings Me Emotional Clarity

It’s been a bit over a year since I started writing a blog about my path of becoming a West coast abstract artist.  What started out as a necessity for creating content for my website has become a most pleasant surprise and joyful practice in my life. 

I’ve never put much emphasis on writing.  It’s not that I didn’t like writing, it’s just that visual arts have always had the strongest pull on me creatively and so I never really investigated writing as a creative outlet.  That and the fact that my Mother is a writer…well…I guess it just never occurred to me that I would end up doing what my Mom did for a living. 

When I started developing my website, I was encouraged to start a blog as a way to create content.  I have to have content in order to drive web traffic to my site and so a blog, I was told, should always be an active part of marignygoodyearart.com.  I was given a bit of guidance in that my first couple of blog post should be my “pillar posts” and should tell people all they need to know about me and my art.  I worried about what I could possibly share with people after that. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Heron SketchJust as sketching helps me to see the path to a painting, journaling brings me towards emotional clarity.

Keeping an artist's journal is a path to understanding.

I started to keep an artist journal in my studio that I would write in after my art practice for the day was done.  I would just reflect on what I did that day and how I felt about it.  Well…from that I came up with idea after idea about me, my art and why I do what I do, how my personal struggles contribute to my art and how my art contributes to my life.   I learned things about myself that were there all along, but I had never been able to put words to.  Writing fixed that for me.

I’ve written about my art process, my struggle with anxiety and depression, the things I’m grateful for in my life, how I deal with stagnation, my passion for surfing, nature and doing things out of my comfort zone…  The list goes on and on.  1 to 2 a month for over a year now.  Because most of my writing revolves around my own self-development, my articles fit into a “self-help” category but my intention is not to fix other people rather to heal myself.  

We are not alone in the hardships of being human.

I have received emails, messages and comments after posting blog posts that have shocked and humbled me.  People have reached out telling me things like “I have struggled with this same issue but didn’t know how to put words to it until I read your post.”  One woman told me that she was about to end her relationship but after reading my blog post on the problems with having too many expectations, she realized that she too had been expecting her partner to know what she needed without her having to communicate it, and it always ended with disappointment for her and frustration for him.  

I want to repeat that I don’t intend to help people with their problems.  I don’t think I know how to solve everything and I sure don’t want the burden of helping people through darkness.  If I did, I would have become a therapist or something.  But having people reach out to me from all over the world and tell me that they relate to me and that my writing has helped them put things in perspective has been a powerful experience for me.  Powerful in that I didn’t know that I could help people but even more so in that I know that I am not alone in the dark times. 

For a person that has felt extremely isolated for the majority or her life, it is a comfort that I had no idea was out there.  Just to simply say the things that I have always been scared to say and then have people respond that they feel that too.  Wow.  We are never alone.  No matter how dark I can go, I now have an understanding that I am not crazy.  I am not abnormal.  There is nothing wrong with me.  

Being a person is hard.  My most important job as a human is to learn how to be human.  I think that means showing compassion and kindness to all of the insane appearing emotions that come from my head and my heart.  Until I learned to do this, I couldn’t get anything done.  I lived in a place of not understanding the voices in my head and feeling unsure of just about every step I took.  Until I started writing, and sharing my writing, I had no idea that I wasn’t totally alone and that my problems are not unique.

I am no longer scared of my imperfections.

Now, I am an open book.  I am honest about my emotions and I’ll talk to most anyone about them.  Really.  I’ll never forget being at a party where a woman that I just met shared with me that she was a bit uncomfortable because she didn’t know many people.  I responded that I feel uncomfortable in social situations about 75% of the time…even when I do know people.  I said that it was ok though, because that was just how I am and I’ve learned tools to deal with it and be social or tell people that I’m just not up for it and stay home.  At first, she looked shocked that I would share such a thing and then a look of relief spread across her face.  She wasn’t alone. 

I’ll talk to you in the middle of a party about my struggles with alcohol, anxiety, insecurities, depression, how hard I can be on myself when I feel like I can never do enough…  Whatevs. Bring it.  I’m not scared to identify these things anymore.  That is what writing has done for me.  It has allowed me to process some of my deepest secrets and thus took fear out of the equation.  Writing takes vague and uncomfortable feelings and turns them into concrete words.  Seeing them in black and white makes them less scary. 

Now, I laugh at the judgement I used to have when seeing a bunch of self-help books on someone’s book shelf.  I realize that it was my own insecurities I was uncomfortable looking at, not theirs.  Seeing someone embracing their problems made me cringe.  I get it now.  Having organized words explain difficult emotions is a powerful thing both for the reader and the writer. 

Our emotions are what make us human and if we meet these feelings with an inquisitiveness, compassion and understanding, that is what will allow us to grow.  So, thank you for reading and for reaching out.  I’ll keep writing openly and honestly.  We are all human and we not alone, ever.

Happy New Year everyone.  Onward we march into our unknown adventures.  I, for one, am pretty darn excited to see what is around the corner.

Marigny Goodyear Art Never Stop ExploringPhoto Credit: Chris Goodyear 

The photo at top is a sketch for a duo of whale paintings that I'm working on.  

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Pressure and Nerves and Stress...Oh My!

As 2017 is coming swiftly to a close, I’m looking back on my first year in business as a West Coast abstract artist, and wondering how to alleviate all the pressure I put on myself.

What a year it has been!  I quit my day job back in January and since, I’ve been working my butt off in an attempt to gain some momentum within my business…and I’ve had tremendous results.  By the time you’re reading this, I will have had 5 art shows in two different cities, been in numerous publications both local, regional and one in Canada, and I’ve started selling my art.  Hooray!!!!

It helps for me to list out my accomplishments because for the most part, I live day-to-day in a stressed state wondering what else I could be doing and if I’m doing enough.  I don’t want to give y’all the impression that I’m a nervous wreck or anything, but dang, being a small business owner is exhilarating at times, exasperating at others and no matter which one it is, I live with butterflies in my stomach and the constant feeling that something amazing is about to happen, or about to be overlooked. 

I wake up and exercise. I meditate. I eat well and get good sleep.  I make good use of my time when I’m working and maintain a social and family life outside of work.  I’ve started seeing my therapist again.  And yet, I’m still a ball of nerves.  I keep waiting for the day when it stops…but will it ever?  Is this what being an entrepreneur is?  Or is this just how I am? Should I just expect to break out in illness every few weeks and be tired ALL THE TIME?  I really hope not. 

I understand that the person putting the pressure on me, is me.  I am aware that this is something that I do in all facets of my life, and that it is not a new struggle.  But can someone, anyone, please tell me what I can do to make it stop?  I feel like I do all of the right things and yet, still I struggle with the nagging voice of doubt telling me that it’s not enough.  That it is NEVER enough.  I absolutely know it IS enough yet I still feel stress.

How does one care less?

 

Marigny Goodyear Art West Coast Abstract Artist
My paintings sure look peaceful...


I have written blog posts on how I deal with anxiety, depression, everyday hamster-wheel brain and yes, I use the tools that I write about to keep my head above water.  But at the end of the day, I feel like I’m JUST above water with moments of fatigue that put me under.  I’m just really tired of caring So. Damn. Much.

The fact that I care shows in my art work, business growth and organization.  I’ve had some pretty amazing results this year.  I don’t want to change that, but something has to give.  I don’t even feel like I’m over-working.  I work 8:00am-5:00pm with a one hour lunch break and maybe even a break for a quick bike ride.  I am of the impression that it isn’t the work load itself that is killing me.  It’s the pressure that I’m putting on myself.

I have no top 5 list of ways to remedy this.  I have been trying my whole life to be ok with myself and the work I do.  The fact that I’m now doing the work that I truly feel like I should be doing and STILL feel this way shows me that it really doesn’t matter what I do.  I’m always going to feel this weight until I drop to the floor, unable to move or I have a perspective shift.  I would, of course, prefer the perspective shift. 

Unfortunately, that is something that seems to have to come on its own.  It cannot be forced or scheduled.  If it could, then it would have been done already as I am very efficient.  The bottom line is that my art business means a lot to me and I don’t see how to worry less about something that I care so deeply about. 

An old surfer-dude once told me that he doesn’t stress.  “Stress is optional”, he said.  How do I choose not to feel the way I feel?  When he said that, it made me think that something might be wrong with me that I put so much pressure on myself and no matter how much progress I make, it just continues to build.  So, great.  Now I feel stressed AND like something’s wrong with me. 

Is this the way our culture is now? Do we all feel like we can never do enough to live the life we want to live?  Why can’t I be content now?  I suppose I go through times when I am.  I just happen to be in a period of transition and so it’s hard to even point out the harmonious times. I know they’re not unicorns.  They do exist. 

 Marigny Goodyear Art West Coast Abstract Artist PelicansFunny thing is that when I paint, I feel this peaceful.  It's the rest of the time I'm a stress mess.

My brain has been telling me these things my whole life.  How do I change 41 years of thought patterns?  I know that it’s possible.  It has to be.  I don’t have the answer though.  I don’t know what else I should be doing aside from maybe finding a good behavioral therapist.  

All I can do is to keep moving on and have faith in the path before me.  I do believe that I have found the path that I’m meant to be walking.  I suppose I just need to engage the auto pilot and hope that she knows what the hell she’s doing.  

Logically, I know I’m an able person and that I’m doing well in my life.  I just need to worry less about the outcomes.  They will be what they are and all I can do is my best right now.  I just wish that my brain would believe that my best is good enough. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and although I feel like I have wasted a lot of time in my life doing silly things, looking back in a critical way is not going to serve me right now.  Plus, that’s a load of crap.  Everything I’ve spent time on in the past is something that is serving me in my art business now.  I need to be my own best friend and lift myself up instead of tearing myself down.

So, here’s to the end to 2017 and the beginning of a new year.  I really hope that I can turn off the pressure cooker and just be.  Because in the end, it is what it is.  I try my best.  I care a lot.  And really, that’s all I can do. 

Happy Holidays everyone.  May the New Year bring us all a fuck-ton of peace.

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Tiny Buddha Blog Post #3

I am an extremely sensitive artist type person.  Fear, anxiety and self doubt can cause stagnation in my abstract art practice, and life in general.

But thankfully, I have found tools to help get past these times of sluggishness.  One of these tools is surfing.  There is nothing that puts me in the moment and shows me my place within the universe quite like being in the waves. 

Thank you to TinyBuddha.com for publishing yet another one of my essays, How Surfing Helped Me Turn My Fear and Anxiety into Confidence.    Take a read and comment below and/or share if it resonates with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  Don't forget to get outside and play after all that turkey and pie!

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5 Ways Self-Employed Artists Can Battle Loneliness

After 18 years of working in restaurants, hotels and busy offices, suddenly I find myself able to pursue my passion of abstract painting…working all alone in my kitchen studio and home office and well...loneliness happens.

Sometimes I talk to myself more in one day than I speak to other people.  I’m not kidding.  I talk to myself out loud throughout my work day because, frankly, I get tired of the quiet.  I listen to music pretty much constantly, but sometimes I just want to hear other people’s voices.  I’m not quite desperate enough to have the TV on all day but man, do I yearn for humans sometimes.

Before jumping full time into my career as a West Coast abstract painter, I worked in many different environments.  Happening restaurants, bustling offices, full Yoga studios…I’ve had so many different careers but they all had one thing in common: I was always around people. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Abstract Mixed Media Painting Day DreamWhile I'm in the studio, I often day dream about being outside.  Loneliness can make me wish to be anywhere but where I am.

Now I find myself alone in my house all day.  Sometimes I relish in the quiet.  Sometimes I feel the silence is WAY too loud.  As a person who battles anxiety and depression, that quiet can sometimes feel utterly stifling and although I have a loving family and many friends, I can begin to feel pretty darn lonely.

Compound the physical loneliness with the fact that my daughter just turned 16, now has a car to get herself around and a very busy school and social life…well...I’ll just say that this year has been full of more transition than I was really ready for or expecting to deal with.  Transitions are always harder than I think they will be.  I knew that working from home and being self-employed was going to be challenging to begin with.  But throw in early empty nest syndrome and suddenly I find myself alone in my work AND in my role as a Mom. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art In the StudioJust me...alone and thinking away. 

Oddly enough, the loneliness can make it hard for me to motivate to be around people.  Weird, huh?  It’s like the sadness can wrap itself around me and I just don’t want to have to talk to anyone, even though all I really want are for people to be around.  I also find that when my friends reach out to me, it’s always at inopportune moments…like in the middle of my work day.  I vacillate between irritation when my friends call to wondering “why is no one calling me?!”  Oh Lord…

I started working with a marketing firm who tells me that I should be posting pictures of me doing fun things with my friends once a week.  I guess potential collectors also like to know that they’re buying from a well-rounded popular artist.  Well guess what…I have lots of photos of me making art alone in my studio but very few of me doing fun things with friends.  Queue violins here.

Oh me oh my! Whatever should a lonely artist do?  Well, having good cries every couple of days is a release, but does that really help me battle the loneliness?  Now, don’t feel too sorry for me.  My life really is great.  I have a loving and supportive family, amazing friends, and an incredible opportunity to follow my dreams.  Unfortunately, knowing this only makes me feel guilty in my loneliness.  So now I’m lonely, sad, AND riddled with guilt.  Oy.

I am an extremely goal oriented, organized, efficient person.  My social life has never needed managing.  I used to have dinners, parties, coffees and live music dates multiple times a week.  It used to be effortless, but life has changed.  I’m older, not drinking anymore and immersed in my art work. Now, 9 months into my new business venture, I am realizing that perhaps I need to apply new strategies when it comes to being around people on a regular basis. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art In the studio day dreamingWhen THIS is what I'm thinking about while I'm working, it's time to go outside and play. 

5 Ways Artists Can Battle Loneliness:

  1. Schedule a coffee, a hike, a dinner, an anything – Duh. This is so obvious that I’m not sure why it took me so long to do.  I schedule everything from exercise to social media posts so why it took me so long to realize this is beyond me.  I now try to schedule time with a friend at least once a week even if I have to do it a few weeks out.  It’s good just to get dates on the calendar.  

 

  1. Allow social media to boss me around– I mean, I already do. I have to post to social media every day and to do that I have to have content to post.  So, I’d better be getting in my studio to make art every day or else my followers are going to get bored with me.  Since I have been told that I need a friend post once a week, that means that I actually have to be physically next to a friend at least once a week in order to have photographic proof that I’m not an isolated hermit. 

 

  1. Talk to my family when they get home – This is harder than it sounds. The 16-year-old, while she still seems to like me ok, doesn’t want to be bombarded with me talking at her as soon as she walks in…or at all really.  My husband gets an ear full when he comes home.  It continuously surprises me how many words come out of my mouth when I’ve been alone for a whole day or two.  He’s a very patient and kind man and gives me ample time to vomit words before we surrender to exhaustion, fall down and go boom.  Bless him.

 

  1. Talk to a therapist – Yeah yeah yeah.   I went back to her this week after not going for about three years.  I’ve gone on and off since I was 13.  I won’t go way into this except to say that if therapy works for you, as it does for me, every couple of years a check in is a good thing. And let’s face it, talking to a therapist is different than talking to friends or family.  I don’t have to censor myself at all, which can feel really liberating. 

 

  1. Get outside and play – I know…this is on every single one of my “How to cope with _______” lists. But it’s true.  Being outside helps with just about everything.  Sometimes, I get up and go for a morning walk before anyone else in my family is up.  Oddly enough, it’s alone time that I feel is really good for me.  I don’t have to think about work, or anything in particular at all.  I just get outside and get some exercise while the sun is coming up.  I suppose when I’m in tune with nature, I feel I’m closer to something bigger than me and that is very comforting.

 

So yeah…I get lonely working by myself.  I am getting better at applying old strategies to my loneliness, which is merely a new problem that old solutions will work for.  I’ve just never in my life been in tune with this particular issue as much as I am now.  As I’m typing this, new solutions are presenting themselves: I’ve just been invited to a meeting with 6 other professional artists this evening.  So, I can now add to my list of strategies: “Get involved with local artist community.” 

It makes sense…I mean…anyone who works alone is familiar with this particular struggle.  Why should we have to struggle alone? So, I’m going to motivate and reach out more so I freak out less.  Because even though I’m living my dream I’m also going through new experiences and transitions.  Change is hard and loneliness can happen, even in noisy, crowded rooms. 

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