It’s hard to be an artist. It’s hard to be productive. It’s very hard to be grateful.
For this summer I set out with a plan: to be a “full-time artist.” I didn’t have a full-time job. So I decided to embrace the opportunity. I had many dreams and plans.
Stuff popped up. Everywhere.
I worked for a month at the dining hall. One week I did 46 hours, which I didn’t see coming. I discovered I’m still addicted to computer games. And while I was disciplined at the beginning of the summer, it has fallen through now at the end.
When I look back through this summer I realize I made very little money through my art – even as a “full-time” artist. But I did work and I have to stop denying that.
I wrote blog posts, made images for them, figured out layouts and promoted myself on social media. Believe me, that last one is harder than it sounds. It’s like you’re a little brat jumping up and down with pompoms trying to get people to look at you. It takes a lot of confidence to keep doing it.
This summer was hard because again and again I was putting myself on the line. I was putting myself into my art, and my art into the world, to be looked at, criticized or even just ignored.
Being productive was also hard because I lost my wallet. And because I had to do my laundry. And cook. And buy groceries. And pay bills. And clean my room. And figure out what to do with my broken car. And pack and travel. And help out my family with a quinceñera. And and and and. AND!
But. I need to stop. I’m tired. I’m tired because I worked. I’ve been making myself write, and draw and paint, and take criticism and feedback and incorporate it – “throwing away” whole pieces just because they were off the mark.
I was heavy. Broken. Scared.
I needed a time to see. To see what the work of my hands have done. To see and be grateful. To celebrate what I accomplished this summer. So I decided to make a list with numbers of what I’ve done this summer. A time to celebrate the fruit of my hands.
I wrote 40 blog posts, and with the help of my team there’s been 20 that were edited and posted (with my team’s help)
I made around 20 images, including quotes, for blog posts
I got 172 visitors on my blog, with 295 views
I made 5 new prints for my Etsy store (which is closed right now because I’m currently travelling to Honduras!)
I’ve worked on 5 commissions and am working on 3 more
I did 5 fanart sketches and paintings
I made 2 small GIF Animations
I worked on 3 freelance posters, with 4 more underway
I made 1 semi-animated video
The Learning and Growth
I read 15 graphic novels
I read 2 non-fiction books
I took 1 screenprinting workshop
I listened to 3 online talks given by artists
I absorbed numerous YouTube videos, podcast episodes and online articles
I had 1 critique session with my art teacher
I went to 1 publishing and editing training seminar
72 Posts on my Facebook art account
37 Posts on my Instagram account
1 Twitter account started
Sometimes I forget how much I’ve done. Sometimes I have to stop, and look. See what I’m doing and what I’ve done. Breathe. Remember. See the small steps taken and where it’s heading. Be grateful. For the time I had, for what I accomplished.
Relax. Enjoy it. Smile at my past self: he hasn’t completely ruined my whole life, yet.
If you want to do this list exercise, feel free to post it in the comments below! It can be about anything – self-care, productivity, reading, learning, exercise, social media, whatever you can think of!