Throughout all my schooling, I learned about some of the world’s most amazing artists. Some were writers, painters, musicians—really any form of art. And, you want to know what a good chunk of them have in common? Strong emotions. Sadly, a lot of those emotions are negative and stem from a tragedy of some sort. And many of those feelings led them down a very dark path and in some cases led to their untimely demise.
But, I don’t want to delve far into the “dark side” of that. I do, however, want to focus on the emotions that drove them. Being an artist (regardless of the medium) is a lonely life. Sure, we may have a great fan base and a wonderful support group, but our fans and friends can’t do the work for us. And, I think that’s where we artists get in sucked in those negative emotions sometimes. We feel the weight of our own work being thrown against us and it can be frustrating and sometimes scary.
Like many artists this past year, I went through a “down” time, a time where I felt like my work was going nowhere and it totally messed with my every day life. My co-workers noticed I was off, my family felt helpless at times, and I was just angry. So, I decided to find someone to talk to—an unbiased “friend” if you will 😉. It was the best decision I’ve made so far in my adult life.
I went and saw her a number of times and of all the times I did there was one phrase that changed everything for me. “It’s okay to feel that way”. In this world that we live in, we are influenced from every side. We are inundated with how we should feel whether that be the media, movies, books, music, popular opinion, celebrities, and the list goes on. I learned that we don’t actually need a reason for why we feel the way we do—not even from ourselves. That was my hang-up, I was feeling all these negative emotions from the failure that this past year has brought to my writing career and I felt that my feelings weren’t valid. I needed a reason to feel the way I do, but I don’t. It’s how I felt and I learned that that was good enough.
Accepting how I felt was only the first step, though. The next wasn’t as hard as I expected. I had to move forward and not dwell on how I felt. I told myself on several occasions, “Okay, so you’re angry with how the year turned out. Great. What are you going to do next?” It became almost like a mantra, I was constantly asking myself, “What are you going to do next?”.
Being aware of how I felt and accepting that I didn’t need a reason for it has made my writing life so much better. And, I feel I’m not as demanding of myself. Is my emotional life perfect now? Ha! Not by a longshot, I’m constantly working on myself as an artist, working to improve my craft, and also taking moments to pause and be aware of how I am feeling. This new realization isn’t a quick fix, but it’s helping me become a better person and artist! 😊