When it comes to planning your way toward an envisioned future, milestones work much in the same way that markers along trails do. When a given milestone is encountered, that marker communicates that you’re moving in the direction you envisioned and that your efforts are paying off as you anticipated. — Sexy + Soul-full
Earlier this year, I started asking myself: If I want to earn money from selling and teaching art, what are some of the milestones that tell me I’m moving in the right direction toward achieving my goal?
I looked at some resumes of artists I admire and one aspect that stood out was publication: Having their work featured in books and magazines. This looked like a tangible milestone to me so I filed it away as something to aim for.
When I saw that Brush Magazine had a call for artists for their second issue, I decided to give it a try.
Even though I had a piece ready, I came so close to talking myself out of trying. Do you do that? Often, I tell myself that my work is not good enough or that I haven’t got anything unique to offer. Mostly, I think I’m trying to avoid the pain of rejection or the feeling of disappointment I get when my efforts don’t pan out.
Another thought that got in my way was I began to worry that I couldn’t produce a high quality photo. That’s another way I sabotage myself sometimes: I start believing that I don’t have the skills or technological know-how to overcome problems. When my thinking gets distorted like this, I let myself get bogged down in problem solving, even when I think I know what to do.
In the end, I procrastinated almost to the deadline then lucked up on a sunny afternoon. I ran outside, photographed the piece, and sent off the submission before fear could talk me out of it again.
As the publication deadline got closer, I hadn’t heard from the editor. I began to rehearse my “at least you tried” speech. But suddenly, to my amazement and delight, my piece was accepted! I’m on page 26! I feel so grateful and elated. This is such a beautiful milestone!
What about you? What milestones are you aiming for in your development as an artist? What kinds of encouragement do you need to help you to keep going and continue trying?