The reality is that no matter how hard you work or how talented you are, you might not ever become a self-supporting artist. You might toil in relative obscurity for all of it. It’s possible that no doors will ever really open very far, that the fates won’t choose you. It’s possible that nothing will ever get out of the way enough that you can really just sit down and work without being exhausted. You might always struggle, swimming upstream in a river that never changes. It’s possible that you might have a career where small victories are your greatest ones, where your art impacts a few people but it never extends very far beyond your own studio doors. It’s possible that life will always always get in the way. You might always have to bear the burden of a desk job and the desire to make art on the same two shoulders for the rest of your life. The rock might always only budge just the tiniest bit no matter how hard you push. You might have to watch all the others whose rocks are really rolling and they can rest easy in the idea that their pushing made all the difference. Or maybe they believe they have a special gift that makes the rock move… I’m pretty sure that there is nothing certain, ever, in trying to make it as an artist. Especially if by “making it” you mean simultaneously having the money and the time and the energy and the desire to make things.

 

And because of these things, you’ll never really have any evidence that you’re working hard enough or that you’re even the slightest bit talented (whatever that is anyways). You’ll never know if what you make matters at all. You might not ever make enough money with your art to work only 8 hours a day instead of 16. You might make enough money but you’ll be old and your energy will be gone. So that leaves only one question: will you keep doing it anyways? Will you keep doing it even though you have to sacrifice sleep, and conversations that might matter, and a tidy house, and all the other things you have to sacrifice to make the time and space to create art? Will you keep making it even though there are zero signs from the universe that you should keep doing it?

 

Can you live with yourself if, at the end, you stopped trying because it was too hard?

 

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