choice and fear

I made a major decision today. I chose to pursue my art full-time and not look for a job, full or part-time. In other words, I am committing 100% to being a professional artist. This is a huge decision for me because it is something that I’m really afraid of, but also it’s the thing that I really want. I’m telling you this for many reasons, first of all I want to be held accountable for my actions. The second reason is that I wanted to let you know about what I’m up to. Maybe you’ll connect with something I wrote and get some value out of it, I don’t know, but I want to get this off of my chest and get my thoughts in order. I’m scared to share this post with you, but I think that the fear I’m feeling is showing me that this is something that I need to do. Please let me know what you think of this post, I would really appreciate the feedback.

I have so many fears about being an artist professionally, for instance:

  • putting myself out there in the world
  • people judging me because I don’t have a “real” job
  • people thinking that I don’t contribute to society
  • people thinking that I live in a fantasy world and that I need to wake up and stop dreaming
  • what gives me the right to pursue my dreams while so many people aren’t able to
  • being a leech on society
  • I don’t have what it takes to be a professional artist
  • my work isn’t good enough
  • etc.

Even though I have so many fears and reservations, I’m going to lean forward into the uncertainty and fear, because that’s where the potential for growth is. I know that most of my fears are irrational, but I still think them anyway. What fears are holding you back? What are you doing to overcome your fears? I have so much potential that I can’t let a little thing like fear stop me.

You might be wondering who I am, what I want to do as an artist, I am planning on writing a post on that, but I haven’t finished articulating my thoughts yet. I will add a link here once I’m done writing that post. I am a fine artist that works in a variety of media. I don’t know yet what I have to say, but I know that I have a voice and the responsibility to use it.

Right now I have the least responsibilities that I ever will have in my life, I am single, no kids, I have some money and if I don’t buy many frivolous things I can live off that money. I intend to live an intentional minimalistic lifestyle. I need to stop spending money eating out and going to cafés. Hopefully I will soon earn some money through my work that I can start saving some.

Starting to live as a professional artist will be hard, but if I don’t I will always wonder, “what if?”, what if I gave it my all, worked my hardest, what could I have done? How far could I have gone? I don’t know if I could live with that feeling and I have the means to do so now, so why not make that leap?

You might wonder what I mean by being a “professional” artist. To me a professional artist is an artist who makes a living from their art. I’m going to treat my art career like a 9-5 in that I will have regular hours and take it seriously. I will spend at least 3 hours each day making art. I plan on building up my body of work to roughly 50 paintings, then I will have a big enough body of work to approach galleries. I will also sell limited edition prints of a number of my pieces. I will continue to sell my jewelry on the side to make money, but my main focus will be on my art practice. I heard on a podcast, the thriving artist podcast, in an interview with Carolyn Edlund that professional artists spend half their time creating their work and the other half marketing. I’m going to create a schedule for myself and stick to it.

Thank you so much for reading this far and if you want to support me through this transition period while I make my body of work through a MARN (Milwaukee Artist Resource Network) micro-fellowship for a tax-deductible donation, Click on the link: here. To learn more about MARN’s micro-fellowship program click: here. To buy some of my jewelry visit my shop page To follow me and get updates on what I’m working on in the future sign up for my mailing list here

a shot of a work in progress in my studio
a shot of a work in progress in my studio

14 thoughts on “choice and fear”

  1. I think you a very talented and brave to pursue YOUR dreams. They are after all your dreams no one else’s. That is why it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Now is the time and have the means and resources available which you are already well aware of. Not many people get to do what they truly love and are passionate about. I wish you luck, you’ll do great!

      1. You are thinking clearly now. Brava ! Looks like you have a clear focus of what you want your life to look like and your art to support you in. That is the way to manifest success.
        Best to you!

  2. I followed along, looking for certain touch-points regarding money and your well-being… and you answered each question as I asked them in my head. You’re home, you’ll never get a better chance, your parents are supportive… I’m a little jealous, to be honest!

    1. Thank you for that, I’m getting more feedback from this one post than from any of my other ones, the opposite of what I was afraid would happen

  3. I have also just started a blog and in the past year have committed to producing and selling my art. I am a photographer, mostly landscape. I am very lucky to be able to do this with the help of my husband. I think everyone has those fears of not being accepted. I have never worked in a traditional workplace so I have pretty much experienced the non acceptance thing all my life. Just go for it you will always have some that do not like you or your work. It is an uphill battle but worth it.

  4. Good for you! You are living me dream–I’m not reay yet, so will follow along on your journey. Best wishes for your new adventure! If you’d like to read my blog about my current project, it’s at whyareyoufamous.wordpress.com

  5. Carly ~ You are a talented writer – the blog is interesting and well organized. And of course the poem you wrote for ARTiculate last year was lovely. I say go for it and follow your passion. Living simply and being responsibility free is a huge asset. I have been doing art professionally for 17 years and it took me a long while before I jumped into it full time. I had 23 previous years worth of restaurant work which allowed me the free daytime hours to learn my craft. I also grew up doing art but never took classes, music was my focus back then. I learned from library books with various media that piqued my interest and by just experimenting. Founding the Bay View Arts Guild allowed me to meet many talented artists and pick their brains – which is something I highly recommend. Make use of that MARN connection! Established artists know what pitfalls to look out for and can give you valuable advice. Staying diverse and having a supportive husband is my ace in the hole. I do murals, faux finishes, commissioned art, some crafts and art classes, website design (mostly for creatives), and teach piano lessons. I sell art online through Fine Art America, which is a great tool. Since 2010 I also have been writing a blog called A.R.T. (assorted random topics) by Anita which covers a wide variety of mostly arts related news. I know a lot of talented creative people so I haven’t run out of topics yet! I choose not to write only about myself because I think it has a broader appeal. Here is my latest… http://eepurl.com/bGjLeL I look forward to following your adventure. Good Luck and No More Fear!

  6. Good for you. Only thing is not going to cafes any more. Time to time going to the coffee shop to network will be helpful I think.

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