The Timing Will Never Be Right

Members of the Artist Conspiracy often cancel their membership with this reason: “The timing wasn’t right for me.”

Students in my classes lag behind, ignore the class lessons, and are suddenly surprised that it’s the last week of class. They say: “Bad timing for me.”

As if there were a perfect time to commit to one’s career.clock

The timing will never be right.

There will never be a “good time” to have an exhibit, approach a gallery, write a grant proposal, or give your first artist talk.

You have to make room for your priorities, and we tend to put off things that make us uncomfortable.

I’m not saying my classes and membership program are your priorities. I’m just saying that you need to ask yourself hard questions before you commit – not just to my classes, but to an art career in general.

Of course emergencies come up. Those cannot be helped. Family and your health are always more important than your art career.

I’m challenging you to ask yourself if it’s really bad timing or if there’s an underlying fear of what might happen if you take bold steps.

Reality Check

Being a professional artist is a commitment of time, money, and energy. What are you willing to invest?

Spend your money wisely.

Invest your time wisely.

Every time you open your wallet, make sure it’s for something you plan on using. When you agree to participate in an opportunity, make sure it’s something you intend to follow through with.

Otherwise, it’s a waste and you end up feeling crummy because you think you failed.

The timing will never be right until you say so.

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12 comments to The Timing Will Never Be Right

  • So true! It’s so easy to get distracted and dive into things that aren’t beneficial for your craft. I’ve learned the hard way many a times unfortunately!

  • Wow – talk about PERFECT timing. I feel like you wrote this article to me. I’m an artist: scratchboard & prints, who opened up a small artisan gallery to promote my art amongst others’ work. I got so caught up in the hard work of running a gallery space and dealing with many different personalities that I lost site of my goals. 8 months later I’ve decided to ask the other artists to leave and use the space as my studio and try and get my work back on track. It’s scary to know I’ll be taking the whole hit for the overhead (at least until my lease runs out – who knows, maybe I’ll renew it!) but I’m truly excited to have my own time back. No time like the present.

  • Just a great post Alyson and so true.

    I have been thinking about this less concretely a lot recently in terms of how I teach my students and how I proceed with events in my career – and of course nothing is ever ideal. It is up to us daily to decide what we want to commit to and how we want to live our lives. Conversely we may hear the same things over and over again (title your work, have a dedicated studio time, update your mailing list and so on) without absorbing them let alone acting in accordance.

    Luckily as the Buddha said, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” and I have found this to be true as well. When I am ready to act boldly things leap out at me and find me like an article I clipped a long time ago or even this posting.

    Thanks for the reminder to commit and be bold!
    Jennifer

  • This post reinforced some decisions I’ve recently made. I’ve been doodling since I learned how to hold a pencil… (: I stopped taking classes after high school because every one told me there was no money in art. I still doodled and did projects here and there. About 2 years ago I was in a car accident. I stayed at home for a year recovering and fell in love with art again. I started doing research. It turned out that many people were making money with art. I studied and drew more. I got a few paid projects, got a fan page to over 100, and have improved my skills.

    Lately I have been at a cross roads. I feel as if I have all this raw talent but not enough skills. I feel like my hand can not put what is see in my head on the page. I know that I need to go to school and get the refinment I need. I need to learn how to use different mediums. I met with a school and they have encouraged me to apply. I know I need to but I feel disadvantaged going in.

    Recently I have decided to get out of my own way and follow my dream. I plan to start in the fall. I’m still apprehensive but fear will not continue to hinder my plans! (: thanks for this post.

    • H: What do you mean you feel disadvantaged? Sounds to me like you’re a whole lot smarter than a lot of students. I know you will love your art classes and that they will feed your curiosity.

  • Excellent post Alyson.
    Steve Pressfield’s “The War of Art” should be required reading for those who dream of doing just about anything and haven’t quite found a way to get started.
    It’s so easy to daydream about what you want to be “someday”. In 10 years of daydreaming, all you get is 10 years older.
    It’s much more interesting to tell a story about how you tried something and failed miserably than to tell a story about what you thought about doing someday…

  • “Every time you open your wallet, make sure it’s for something you plan on using.”
    That’s such good advice, Alyson. Three years ago I looked around my studio and realized that I had more art supplies than I would ever use, representing lots of money spent without a plan for actually using it, so I wrote myself a note on a Post-it and put it on my monitor: “Buy no art supplies; use what you have”. And I did just that, buying only what I really did need. The results have been amazing. I didn’t suffer. I wasn’t bored. I had plenty of paint, paper, canvas, fabric, mediums, etc. and it acted as an encouragement to think outside the box at times. I made lots of art… and I still don’t “need” to buy more, even with a 40% off coupon. But it’s an ongoing struggle to take emotions out of the equations when in a well-stocked art store.

    • Bonnie Funk

      I haven’t started using post-it notes, but I’m doing the same thing…I am not buying any art supplies unless I have used up what I have. I am also starting to give away stuff that I had plans to use, but I know in my heart that I will not have time to pursue. I’m trying to sharpen my focus.

  • Opened a gallery last year and hated it. Now looking to buy a building for my studio only and show only my work……..Great post.