Dealing with Bumps in the Road: Remember to Persevere

After you’ve analyzed why your art isn’t selling as well as you’d like, take a moment and review these 7 key points.

1.  Remember that you are a work in progress.

You and your work will evolve over time, learning from triumphs and mistakes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and building on experiences. You must learn to deal with rejection and not take it personally.

2.  Remember to seek strong support systems.

I have worked with and known all types of artists from every background imaginable. It is very rare that an artist succeeds without having support systems in place. Whether your system consists of friends, family members or other artists, consider it indispensable. Your supporters are there for the good times, but they will prop you up in the bad times. Along the same lines . . .

3.  Remember to set boundaries—even with family.

If you can’t eliminate the naysayers legally, limit your time with them and tell them that certain subjects are off limits. You have to voice your boundaries before you can expect others to respect them.

Barbara Petterson, Out to Lunch, Acrylic on hardboard

Barbara Petterson, Out to Lunch. Acrylic on hardboard, 28 x 34 inches. ©The Artist

4.  Remember to nurture a happy workspace.

Clean your office or repaint your walls. Get a plant that makes you smile, add a trickling water fountain, or play your favorite music. To create ritual, post a sign with your studio hours on the door—even if the door is inside your home.

5.  Remember to recharge.

Do things that make you feel good and contribute to your mental well-being. Take a walk every day, answer email at a coffee shop, and attend inspiration art talks.

6.  Remember why you do what you do.

For you, art is a form of self-expression, but you get the most joy when you share your art with the world. Never let go of that purpose.

7.  Remember to persevere.

If you believe in what you do, invest in your future and persevere. I believe persistence is the number one reason most artists succeed.

FINAL WORD: You could be bummed and negative that your art isn’t getting the recognition you think it deserves OR you could invest in your future and persevere. Remember . . . the choice is yours.

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9 comments to Dealing with Bumps in the Road: Remember to Persevere

  • I agree that persistence is the number one reason that most artists succeed. Personally, right now, I need to keep in mind that I am a work in progress. I keep wanting to find “my style” or “my subject matter”. Looking at my work over time I do have a style and a preferred subject matter. It doesn’t feel that way as I hop through different mediums and different subjects, however.
    Thanks for this great list! Concise and each one vital to success as an artist!

  • I’d like to add to Alyson’s list:

    8. Go to art museums to get recharged and to learn. Realize as an artist you are part of a great movement of people who made the world a better place. I am glad THEY persevered.

  • I’m reminded of my commitment to my work every time I look at the art I’ve collected and have in my office and studio. It inspires and encourages me to keep going.

  • Thanks Alyson…Excellent points that I need to remember…especially being a work in progress.

  • This article on perseverence is very timely and serendipitous, too. I just bought Julia Cameron’s book “Finding Water: The Art of Perseverence.”
    Looking forward to its guidance. I appreciate Alyson’s newsletters for their reminders. I’ve been needing a lot of that lately. Getting back on track doesn’t always go smoothly for me.

  • Thanks for this – sometimes you need a reminder on how to keep going.

  • Perseverance: reloading until the site came up readably.

    I see perseverance as determination. So while I know why my art is selling as I’d like it to – finding the right audience – I am not dismayed but rather encouraged because I am working to rectify this. Point number two, putting together a strong support system is a work in progress but the key word here is “Progress.” It takes time when one is starting out with nothing for support . Yet, almost surprisingly, building a support structure (or system) can be done. Just not overnight. Alyson, her newsletter/blog, and her book are key elements in this, of course.

    Point three, familial boundaries, is less well established. In some instances it can’t be – I’m the primary caregiver for an ailing parent. I can, however, be more adamant in applying boundaries with respect to other calls on my time. Point four is, well, in need of being addressed and point six is easy.

    My point here is that at any given time any given artist will be working on all of these at different levels of accomplishment.

    Yikes, I am verbose!

  • I find that perserverance is key to my art, my life. I’ve been making a living creating my art for over 28 years. I keep making the decision over and over to create. That the more I believe in what I do and commit to it’s prosperity then providence moves. “Whatever you can do or dream, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.Begin it now” Goethe
    Goethe’s quote that leads up to that is brilliant. If I get a request I will put it up here. Make art! Anne Shutan

  • I do agree with you all the way! Point 7 is the most important to me. If you do not belive in what you do, you will never be successful and most of all – you will not be happy with yourself and that’s the worst that can happen … Great post!