Have you ever caught yourself saying this about another artist: “He could be so much more successful if he would just . . . “? Or “She’d sell a lot more work if she would just . . . “? If so, you might be a Fixer.
You’re frustrated because you recognize the talent in your artist-friends, and you want them to succeed. So, you start sharing with them what you’ve learned — perhaps some self-promotion or business tips from this blog. You can’t help yourself! You know what needs to be done, and you are excited to share the information.
Here’s the thing, though. You can offer all kinds of tips and advice to other artists, but it won’t do any good until the artists are ready. You can’t help people who aren’t prepared to receive.
When people aren’t ready to do the work, they make excuses. As you know from reading my book, some of the more familiar excuses for not promoting one’s art are “I don’t want to bother people!” and “I’d rather be in the studio!” An artist can have all the talent in the world, but without the strong desire to share her art, she won’t become a full-time professional artist. She’ll keep coming up with excuses! The motivation has to come from within her. It can’t be forced from outside.
As a friend, your job is to accept your artist-friends for where they are with their art. It’s not your job to push and prod and motivate. At least it’s not your job until you’re given permission to do so or have been asked.
Trying to mend situations and find solutions for someone who isn’t ready for your help is like banging your head against the wall. See what a huge energy drain this could be? You’re frustrated and your friend is annoyed. This creates unnecessary tension in your relationship.
You don’t need these headaches! You need all good energy for your art.
FINAL WORD: It’s not your job to be The Fixer. Your job is to focus on your own work and take care of yourself before you try to take care of others. Your other job is to accept your artist-friends for where they are at any moment in time.
Refer your artist-friends to the following resources until they’re ready for your personal help.
I’d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion (particularly the chapter on setting goals)
Where to begin when you want to sell your art (from my Hot Posts)
Forgive yourself (for not being able to do it all)
The weekly podcast is an audio version of this newsletter.