Stress as an Artist

The goal of this post is not to personally vent and complain. I want to educate younger creatives of different disciplines. From hair stylists to musicians. We all do contract and freelance work. Similarly, each field has its own unique ways of driving business and creating opportunities.

The most consistent factor for most creatives is just irregularity of income. After years of experience and exposure to new avenues, creatives learn how to earn a base income every year. They also know that their income will come at different quantities at different times of the year. Some profit during certain events in their city or circuit while others rely on the holidays to make the bulk of their sales. Each artist must determine the minimum income that can be earned each month and find out what are generally their slow vs. busy months.

Almost everyone knows that is the reality for creatives in our society. Even millionaire actors and actresses lose their expensive life styles when the work they were getting slows down or is at a lower pay rate. What they don't think about is the daily anxiety and stress that comes with the profession. Sure, getting work is stress ridden but when the experience of wasting expensive paints, canvas, and now storage space, it can be tough how to weigh the burden of keeping or destroying the work. (The art you make can also be gifted and donated to better homes!)

This is usually the beginning of the professional stresses of being an artist: Operating as a small business. You are the boss. You are the receptionist. You are the innovator. You are the janitor. The only person who cares if you show up to work that day is you. You are the one responsible for your success. No one else can execute your visions and give you the lifestyle you desire. If you are an artist that dreams of doing grand things, you must be able to handle the small things with efficiency and ease. If you don't know the cost that goes into creating something, you may be paying customers to work for them. Even if you feel you are doing right by them charging such a great price, you are pushing your business farther into the ground. You must also account for wasted materials and time and be able to mitigate those areas in the future.

There are many obstacles a budding, rising, and established creative must learn to hurdle. But even through much of these stresses, there has never been anything comparable to the joy I bring to people with my work.