You cannot call the Muse, like ordering a pizza, to work on your art. That is not the only myth of art: somehow, some way, somewhere, we departed dramatically from viewing art as both a gift from God and something that must be worked on daily. We entered an alternate reality about what it takes to be an artist.
Jeff Goins, writer and writing coach extraordinaire, just published a bestselling book The Myth of the Starving Artist. His premise is that when we are diligent, show up for work, do the work to the best of our ability, we won’t starve.
Myths are plentiful
My goal is to help you understand you can be successful at your art without the approval of the experts. If what you create appeals to people, they will encourage you and purchase your work. You must begin by understanding that you want to offer something people will want, while it pleases you as well.
Think about what Michelangelo accomplished. He created works that made his patrons happy, made him happy, and put money in his pocket. He did not starve to death. Sometimes one must paint the portraits of the patrons to later sell a landscape. Understand?
What is art?
This is contrary to the perceived myth. We have foolishly elevated the Starving Artist syndrome over the actual lives of people doing their art daily. That begs the question, well, what is art?
This business of defining art, and myth, for that matter, depends upon who is answering. That sounds nonsensical, but follow my labyrinth for a moment.
Find your own answers
Please, first I suggest that you don’t ask the academic community. Their expertise is limited to what they consider art, according to their rigid standards. Do you think I exaggerate? Recently a popular magazine on writing printed an article of an interview with a VERY successful author. Unfortunately, the interviewer’s biases were firmly on display in the condescending manner of the questions asked.
What? The interviewer asked the author how it was possible to be commercially successful and making tons and tons of money when the author DID NOT have an MFA. Yes, how could a writer manage without that all important Master of Fine Arts degree? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It is embarrassing that this attitude pervades the writing world.
Elitism versus your gifts
The same attitude is evident in other realms of art. I’ve made my point and don’t want to belabor it because it is much more important you learn to trust God and believe in your own abilities. If you are passionate about your work, then get busy with it.
If you want to work full-time in a artistic field, you must research what it takes in order to do so. If you want to be a musician, you will could have half a dozen part-time job. You could play in an orchestra, teach private students, teach in schools, work side gigs such as social events, and so on. That is not a down side, it is part of the job.
There are ways to bring in different streams of income as an artist and you can find the path that works for you if you really want to do so. But Jeff Goins wrote that book and you can read what he says.
My goal is to help you get past the idea you can sit around and wait for the Muse to strike you, or that you can summon it up at will. The best, most successful writers will tell you that they summon the Muse daily at 9 am when they sit down to write. In other orders, they take writing seriously, as work, and don’t pander to the myth.
The same thing is true for others. Do you think dancers and musicians sit around between engagements? No, they practice. You know the old joke about how you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
Your learning curve
Your desire must meet your willingness to do the work. Whether it is art, football, business, running a knitting shop, or anything else. You will succeed by desire, study, work, practice, and repeat. You can do all that you desire if you are willing to learn.
Remaining humble while learning always helps. Simultaneously, you must believe that you have been gifted for a reason and have some confidence in your ability to use those gifts. God created everything, and that includes you with all your gifts.
Go out and do your best every day. The creative work we do isn’t over until we die. And never, never, never give up. Churchill, as prime minister of England, told the people during World War II that they must never give up. In the face of all life’s difficulties, just pull up your chin and do it. You will be pleased with the results!
Have a great week and enjoy your life.