PSA: Look for the Helpers
We’ve all heard the term “starving artist”. I remember my first week as an art major at Texas Tech, I was required to take some new “intro to arts” course where they discussed in a brief summation of why no artist should have to starve. Well, I wish I’d been more intentional about taking notes, because that info might better serve me now. Whether you consider yourself an artist or creative, making a living as a creative entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. The world of a creative can often be a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and lest you be nestled snugly in one of the lows, here is your PSA to look for the helpers.
This gorgeous piece of advice actually came from the mother of one Mr. Rogers.
Do you remember?
Mr. Rogers talked about when he was scared as a little boy about things going on in the world, his mom would encourage him to “Look for the helpers. There will always be helpers”. He went on to say that often times they are in the background where it’s not obvious, but if you look, you will always find them.
The life of the creative is often filled with the highest of highs and the lowest lows. It’s sudden bursts of inspiration so powerful that concentration can be challenging.The exhilaration of taking an idea from concept to reality is unsustainable and can often give way to temporary valleys when expectation of return takes longer than you thought. It takes grit and long uncompensated hours of trial and error. Earning living creatively comes with a cost that is often great--and I’m not necessarily talking about money, though that is part of it.
In my own experience I often relate to the story of Nehemiah when he was building with one hand and using a sword to fight off enemies with the other. My enemies aren’t the same as Nehemiah’s; In my line of work, they look like busyness, the struggle for resources, tedious daily responsibilities that build up, the struggle to land exhibitions, or a failed concept.
It can be overwhelming. And when it is, take a step back, breathe deep and look for the helpers in your life. They are always there.
Last week it looked like an unexpected phone call that connected me to a new friend and a group of artists/moms more established than I to learn from. I am ecstatically grateful for the opportunity to connect and hopefully give back in one way or another.
This week, it was an email that contained a tiny deposit of hope in my dream bank.
So should you find yourself struggling...remember Mr. Rogers and remember to look for the helpers.