I want to focus on the mental battle of an artist's day to day practice and where other experiences like procrastination and depressive thoughts come in to play. I want to highlight the realities of what an artist goes through operating as a professional.
One of the main differences between a professional painter, author, musician and chef and an amateur is the fact that they show up to work most everyday of the week. Back pain, illness and injury. All part of the job just like any other day job. They will show up many days uninspired and desiring to be at the beach or eating a pizza with their friends. But they know from 6 am to 3 pm or 9 pm to 4 am is their work shift where they need to be creating the best quality work they can.
The aspect that the artist's work ethic doesn't seem to remedy is the feeling of struggle or inadequacy. You can ask just about every artist. There are multiple points in an artists life when everything seems so out of reach, giving up is the more obvious choice. So many young artists are told they wont make a single dollar selling art and they can't find art jobs beyond being a high school teacher. This is mentally draining and one of the springboards into an artist's depressive mindsets.
I have been through mild depressions a few times and as time goes on, I have a better mindset towards dealing with these ideas. Now when anxious feelings come over me, I assess them without losing control. I realize that if I allow them to distort my focus, I can not work on improving. I will just feel suffocated by the idea of future loss. Now, I can't go meet people. I can't put time towards pursuing all that is important to me. Failing thoughts can only breed failure. In other words, allowing these thoughts to grip you and allow you to postpone your dreams only hurts you. Use that energy and demand something positive from it. Make something so moving, you shut yourself up. You have had that moment where you see the finished artwork and thought, " How? How did I do that? I know I was there but this is so beautiful." Work for that. Fight for that feeling. Earn it and reap the reward.
When I was about 21, I said to myself, "Holy crap. When I am just thinking of a future where I am not successful and not paying bills..." I'm just laying on the bed confused of what to do. I realized, "I could be working on my paintings and doing what I know it took to improve my art and my sales."
From that moment forward, I implemented everything I saw and accidentally learned without knowing the importance. This led to me doing things like upgrading my storage and materials in order to cut long term costs. Now I know where everything is and I don't overstock. I keep my paint on a glass palette in a wet tray for the mixed paint to last longer. That is hundreds of dollars saved over a year. I have a drying area for paintings and a safe and secure system for delivering my paintings and creations. I file my paper work, contracts, receipts, notes, notebooks, etc. I do my best to keep a professional standard in everything I do by continuously working to improve. The by-product is never focusing on failing. Ironically, this is what helps me maintain the health of my art business.