So, it’s a new year. It is a time for looking back to see what we have accomplished, and for looking forward to see what star we want to steer by.
If you are, like most artists, striving for something, this can be a particularly challenging time. Most artists, serious ones, that is, are borderline neurotic when it comes to trying to decide what sort of steps they should be taking to further themselves artistically in the coming year.
Well, for those of my neurotic brothers and sisters, I have good news and bad news:
It doesn’t matter.
This is bad news because when all is said and done, there is an inescapable quota of damned luck that takes place that will either skew whatever result you have into being successful or unsuccessful. No matter how carefully planned and plotted, no matter how closely you follow your scheme, your wife gets pregnant, or you break your leg, or lose your job, and the whole thing goes to hell.
This is also good news because, in spite of your pitiful efforts, despite your (to you) obvious flaws, incredible and magical things, lucky things, will happen too….putting you into places you could not have foreseen and doing things that you never expected you would be doing.
So, now that you are staring down at your notebook scribbled with plans or your hopeful production spreadsheet in Excel with tears in your eyes after having read that last bit, what CAN you do in spite of such relentless luck? It’s actually simpler that you think:
You make art.
That’s all. That’s your plan. Do the work, show it to someone however you can. Don’t waste time obsessing over the best place to showcase your art for maximum visibility….concentrate on creating the sort of work that fills you with joy. Learn from your failures and move ahead with each new piece leaving you feeling like you’re going to ask that really cute girl out on a date. Nervous, hopeful, full of dread, but determined to do it anyway. Because after that piece, success or failure, is the next. And the next. And the next.
Don’t worry about luck. Play the odds.
Sooner or later, you’ll have successes. You’ll learn from your failures and make fewer of them. Slowly, piece by piece, you will become more of the artist you want to be.
And when the next year rolls around and you look back, you know what? YOU WILL HAVE BEEN AN ARTIST. That’s all you need to be.
Now, go do art!