It’s incredibly easy to become frustrated, even disillusioned, with the life of a creative type. I do all the time. It frequently – for lack of a better word – sucks. Oh, sure, there’s the glamour of alcoholism and starvation to fall back on, but it’s really hard to be a starving artist when there are Hot Pockets in the freezer. (I suppose one solution would be to stop buying Hot Pockets, but I for one don’t want to live in a world without portable calzones.)
In this technically advanced world of shiny baubles and internet streaming, it’s difficult to get people to actually shell out money for creativity. Which means that more and more artists are forced to find their own ways to turn dreams into reality. We do our best, and hear just enough success stories to give us hope – only to have that hope turn into impossible standards once we hit a wall.
‘What does Felicia Day have that I don’t have?’ we ask ourselves when our webseries fails to go viral. ‘Why isn’t my Etsy shop selling out every week?’
Despite the instructional vid made for the Streamy Awards a couple of years ago, there isn’t a formula for internet success. So, periodically, we of the fanciful persuasion will want to throw in the proverbial towel. After all, if it isn’t instant, it isn’t gratification.
Though we all say we don’t make art for the sake of recognition, you can’t help recognizing it when you don’t have it – art is created to be shared. Making enough of something to fill a room that would put the people on Hoarders to shame, and then failing to find an audience (when 2.5 million people watch Hoarders) is enough to make anyone a little glum.
Is giving up the solution? From my experience, if you’re really an artist of some kind, you can’t give up for the very reason you started in the first place: the urge to create is too strong. I’m not saying fame and accolades don’t sweeten the pot, but one of the reasons artists get so frustrated is because we can’t stop making art even if we wanted to.
Even if I believed that I would never publish, I wouldn’t be able to stop writing. Unfortunately I also want validation for my work, even though I know I shouldn’t need it. And I probably don’t need it – but that doesn’t seem to stop me from wanting it. It’s a feeling that will probably never go away, and the best thing I can do to combat it is to keep going, regardless of reception. To just keep putting words, and crafts, and silly t-shirts out into the universe. To try and create something new every day.
And, if at all possible, win an Emmy.