When To Slow Down Your Artistic Journey

Most of the time, I say go for it. Take a step. Leap, and the net will appear. Just do it. It’s audacity, not talent, that makes the artist successful. 

It’s true, the creative act itself promotes another act, and another, and pretty soon, you’re in the cycle of regular creating and your identity as an artist is sharpening daily, and your heart bleats with ecstatic fortitude at regular intervals. 

But there’s another side to the coin of the artistic journey: too much, too fast, and you can come undone. 

The artistic soul when not on a moderate creating track seems to oscillate between two dramatic moody tendencies: scared timidly from trying something new, and a brash, over-confident demeanor that has grandiose visions.

Grandiosity inevitably leads to failure to achieve expectations or burnout, as it’s too fast and furious, your engine hits on the pavement, and then you go back to square one, timidly hiding out, defeated. 

Usually, I try to take it step by step. I’m learning, I tell myself. Yes, I spend precious money on supplies and classes. No, I don’t have a job. Yes, that’s okay. 

But in the roller coaster ride of creating children, I got confused. The acute postpartum pang of loneliness and unactualized ambition combined dangerously together, and I hungrily gnashed it down, as a holistic solution grew in my stomach. 

I need a studio , I growled. I got one. 

I want to curate an exhibition, I said. Approved. 

I want to host a gallery show, with eight pieces of work I have not yet created. Accepted. 

All fantastic leaps for me artistic level, all made with little sleep to even out the jostling on tendons unused to such artistic pursuits. As my body still continued to realign its organs. 

Life tipped me from side to side daily as I ran after these abrupt shifts; ecstatic, triumphant, miserable, defeated. Around again. Tip, tip, tip. 

Then I woke up one day,six months in, drunken from a good nights sleep, fueled up with clarity and gratitude, and I looked around in equilibrium. 

I shook my head to clear it out, and found myself in a professional dream at the wrong time. 

My baby looked up at me, wide eyed and smiling, and I purred at her, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was gone so much, running every which way.  You and me, we still need to get in rhthym.

I think again. 

I pull myself back from the edge of the creative cliff. 

I’m a learner, I remind myself. I’m beginning. 

I pray to enroll in a class. I take a breath.

It’s going to be a long journey, and I’ll need all the breaths I can get. 

Marcy Nehorai1 Comment