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  • rileysoloner

Work & Play

Yesterday I wrote about gently putting down my show for sanity and creative sustainability reasons. I received a lot of kind messages of gratitude and well wishes. Reading them felt nice. Thank you.

And then I went outside. Ironically, it was comments in the real world about my internet life that threw me off balance. What once felt like the terms of peace to which I had come around, suddenly felt up in the air once again.

“Don’t get a real job. Keep making stuff. Your followers will support you. People who do so much less than you make so much money by just doing their thing.”

I was being spoken to like an artist, by an artist. I knew everything they said was true and right to them. They have found their success by sticking to their guns. It was difficult to hear and accept because, of course I wanted this to be true for me too. I've grumbled these same points to myself all the time. I’m drained by these thoughts.

It’s time for me to accept my reality. Yes, I've been doing my thing and charging money for it. I’m grateful for what I receive, but I can’t survive on it. I can’t expect myself or my work to dramatically change and live this way. It has taken me so long to come around and think differently. I want to do this in a different way.

I’m making a head choice, not a heart choice. One thing I’ve never done is seriously pursue a non-art job. I’m doing that now to hopefully achieve some sense of security.

I wish I could say I’m a full-time artist, whether or not I’m paid like one. Maybe then I could feel even more puzzled about why things aren't panning out. Creative work is more of a part-time hobby for me. Time I could be spending working on my craft is lost to distraction, avoidance, and analysis paralysis. No idea feels good enough to flesh out, because nothing seems like the thing that could pull me out of this precarious position. Seeds of ideas are ground into dust before being given patience to sprout.

I want balance. Work to keep me stable, art to keep me creatively alive. I couldn’t find the words in the conversation last night. It was my own meek delivery of my plan to “get a real job” that caused them to object so strongly. I'll try again:

Getting a real job isn’t my escape plan to stop making art. It’s my map to making more art with less fear.

And furthermore, I see a future where the new skills I develop will merge with my creativity and open even more doors for my art. Wouldn’t that be something?

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