Nothing in world is quite as romantic as the idea of the starving artist. Genius and eccentric, the artist lives in the moment and is unrestrained by ideals and standards set by modern society, a slave only to his work. Many dream of devoting their life to art, but few succeed, mostly due to monetary constraints. You don’t have to starve to create however, small changes and steps can help you to harness that talent you’ve always had.
Step 1: Find the time to create
If you hold a steady job, you may have to wake up early or stay up late, but this is desirable. Your lovely muse has always found that a lack of sleep helps tremendously in the creative process, perhaps the brain is less censored during this time. The morning is a wonderful time for new ideas to take effect. The air right before sunrise is crisp, fresh, and alive, and everything is still, before even the birds are awake. And the night is just as wonderful, when the darkness softens edges and makes everything more mysterious, when the day’s responsibilities are over and done with.
Step 2: Create even if you think it’s terrible.
The world would be a much different place if every bad idea a genius had was made public to the world. As an artist, you are your own worst critic, but it would be terrible to waste talent and inspiration due to self doubt. Whatever your medium is, writing, painting, sculpting, song, or performing, the best thing to do is dive in. Write until your hand cramps, paint the first thing that comes to mind, sculpt that sculpture you’ve always seen in your head, and write that song that has yet to come to life. Audition for all the plays, and practice monologues in your spare time. Remember, bad art is always better than no art.
Step 3: Share your work
The internet is big wonderful place, with enough space for anyone and everyone who has something to say or be seen. Create a blog, a tumblr, a deviantart account, or a youtube. Post to reddit, twitter, facebook, anywhere you want your art to be seen. Take feedback with a grain of salt of course, there will always be trolls and people wanting to put you down, but constructive criticism can help you look at your work through a different eye.
Step 4: Create with others
Artists can be found in the largest of cities and the smallest of towns. Seek out those who share your passion, and don’t view them as competition, but rather as allies. Artists tend to be introverts, but it’s worth it to put some effort into friendships with the right people. We use different parts of the brain during face to face conversation, so get a group together and discuss ideas over a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine, it might just be the creative spark needed for your next masterpiece.
Step 5: Decide that YOU are an artist
Society puts many labels on people, but it’s what you call yourself that will have the most impact on your self perception. You don’t have to define yourself by what you do to pay the bills, or who you’re dating, or where you live. Rather, define yourself by your values, by what you’re passionate about, and what you want out of life. Instead of introducing yourself as a barista/salesclerk/nurse/etc, introduce yourself as what you consider yourself to be, and see how much better it feels. Just because you have a “day job” doesn’t mean you are that day job. If you introduce yourself as “John the Poet” and people ask you what you’ve published, and you haven’t published anything yet, just make something up. Maybe one day it’ll be true. Consider it practical performance art. The phrase “Fake it till you make it” had never been more true, and as long as you have a love and passion for your work, you will always be a true artist.
-your lovely muse.