Self doubt is a wicked, wicked b-word (this is a PG blog people!) Today I want to talk to you about why you should proudly shout about your love of creating from the rooftops!
You are probably feeling a little weird right now… if you are reading this, you probably don't FEEL like an artist right now, but don't worry… I can help!
A Little Bit About Me and My Career
So before I talk to you about what to call yourself, I want to show you my bona-fidees for being able to call myself something!
I AM an artist!
I was ALWAYS an artist… doodling and coloring and decorating my house all fancy. But it is only in the last few years that I have claimed the title of artist.
So what gives me that right?
I have a Youtube channel where I made a year of videos making art… ba ha!
I also have an Etsy store where I sell my art to the general public, and have sold over 30 things (I am sure that number will go up, but that number doesn't really matter at all!)
I have talked to an art agent and am currently stalking her to make her hire me so she can do the boring work and I can make art.
I am a WRITER too!
I have written hundreds of blog posts that get over a million views per year.
I have self published 25+ books, writing with my marketing besty and hit the best seller categories for specific areas in the marketing niche.
I publish a newsletter that is read each week by thousands of people, many of whom email me back and say my words helped them.
So there you have it… I am a creative person you can listen to and believe!
When You Are Starting Out
You want to know a secret? For the first 7-ish YEARS of my blog I didn't have many readers….sigh.
I wasn't very interesting and didn't know how to do SEO or write about things other people cared about. In fact, I even wrote a post about my cat's toenails.
For some reason all my blog posts updated in 2020, but that post is an OG (original) from my 2008 writing.
And YES! You can go back and read every post I have ever written to see my progression of writing skills… I leave all my old work up so I can look back and see how far I have come!
So now you… are you just a starting artist? Is your work terrible (to you)?
Here is another secret, we all are pretty bad when we start out… duh! OF COURSE we are bad, no one starts out good!
That doesn't give you a good excuse to be mean to yourself! So cut that shit out! (oopsies…. I just lost my PG rating!)
How Do You Get Better?
Here is the truly crappy thing about getting better… there is only one way… do your thing more!
Write more, create more, do more!
Then really look at the things you like or don't like about your work and do the things you like more and the things you like less, do less.
Ask for feedback
Okay, now we are getting into murky waters creativity wise… feedback can be wonderful or horrible and both will help if you don't get all twisted and give up!
Funny story…. I have started making surface pattern design and I am okay at it. Not great, but also not the worst… just “fine” right now because I haven't done it enough to get good yet.
And I post some of my stuff on my Facebook page and people weigh in on which one they like.
Most people are kind, but one lady will say something like, “I don't like either one of them”. ACK… wait right here while I pull the dagger out of my heart and get back to arting.
But I asked, and she answered… and that is fair. Maybe not kind, but fair!
Don't Give Up!
So when you get feedback from someone that they don't like your work, or they say it is childish, or you hate it… don't give up!
This is one thing in life where I totally believe keeping on is the ONLY way forward.
The only way you can lose your love and passion for making is to give up because someone said they don't like your stuff.
No one really has to like your art except you… and probably you don't like it most of the time… doesn't matter… keep making it!
There are people who have been doing what you want to do for a LONG time and they know things you don't know!
For example, I am taking a class called Make Art That Sells from a gal who has been in the business for over 20 years. She knows things that I just don't know and I have already learned to be a better artist in the way that I aspire to be.
Now, that is an expensive class and you don't have to start with paying a lot… I actually started by watching about a week's worth of Youtube videos before I even knew what kind of class I would actually need!
So learn from people that know more than you.
Keep Your Own Style
Here is something to think about… only you can make art your way.
The world will tell you that you have to do this or that. That unless you make realistic art, you will fail. That unless you make colorful art, you will fail. Black and white, fail, geometric, fail, kids, animals, patterns, fail, fail, fail.
Honestly, I have heard SO MANY WAYS to fail at making art, said by so many people who have no reason to believe they have been crowned taste masters of the world that I could scream.
You make art the way you want to and tell the rest of the world to go pound salt!
Calling Yourself An Artist (Or Writer Or Poet)
FINALLY, I am getting to the point of this article that you came for… but I am NOT sorry for blathering on so long.
If you don't have your head on straight before you read this, you will not believe me and all will be for naught.
You know when you are “really” an artist?
When you make art.
There are no rules, or governing body or panel that has the right to tell you when you are an artist.
If you make art, you are an artist!
Go get yourself some business cards, put it on your Instagram bio, shout it from the rooftops if you like!
As soon as you make that first dot of a doodle or put a brush to paper or cut an image… you are making art, which makes you an artist!
Writers, this goes for you too! If you write, you are a writer!
Should You Get A Degree, Certificate or “Official” Education?
YES! or NO!
If the only way you will feel like a “real” artist is to get a formal education, DO IT!
If you can be like me and declare yourself what-ever-the-heck you want, NO!
There is no right way or wrong way to do this… there is only YOUR WAY!
Do not apologize or explain yourself. Do not ask for a blessing or wait to start… you do you and just get going!