The start of the year was tough. Like many I wasn't filled with excitement for the new year ahead, more a feeling of anxiousness and a worry that I was somehow failing at life. I'd had an exciting 2016/17 and now had to face facts, the money I'd saved had gone and in order to support myself I'd have to go out and get a job. I couldn't work out if I'd made a mistake by abstaining from the 'job hunt' for so long, now the idea of returning to employment filled me with a rush of queasiness; I felt a distinct knot in my tummy and a flush of red to my cheeks every time the thought entered my mind. Over the past five months I'd cultivated a life that suited me down to the ground. I'd wake up when I felt ready, eat breakfast and drink tea leisurely before getting started with a drawing in my makeshift studio. I'd write a little bit or record a video for Instagram. I'd sit in the quiet listening to the starlings fight over the last of the sour grapes on the vine outside and contemplate what I was going to make next for my next exhibition. I liked working alone. Having no one else to answer to and no small talk to make around a coffee station was ideal. Every action I took in a day was down to me, I wasn't working to anyone else's schedule or fulfilling anyone else's dream. I was doing things for myself. To know that my luxurious existence was coming to a close was difficult.
I didn't handle this idea of change very well. I felt teary a lot and resentful that others got to live their dream and I didn't. I knew that my circumstances were completely different to those I felt jealous of too, they'd worked hard for years to get where they were. I'd spent those years travelling, studying and working temp jobs because there were no art based opportunities in my area that filled me with joy and I wasn't prepared to commute or relocate for them. After feeling like I was walking around with a cloud of negativity around my head I decided to change my mindset. I gave myself some time to relax, to forget about it all. I binge watched Friends on Netflix eating leftover Christmas chocolate and tried to free myself from all the guilt, negativity and the feeling of January blues.
I started looking at the positives. And there were so many that I'd overlooked. I noticed that little things were going right in my art business. I'd reached 1000 followers on Twitter and much more importantly I'd found a network of supportive online friends who shared my work, complimented my drawings and sent me ‘happy dance’ gifs when I'd made a sale. And talking of making sales, I'd made quite a few. December had been a tough month in my online shop. While I watched lots of other artists and makers make lots of sales in the run up to Christmas I'd made none until just before New Years Eve. Then after I updated my shop with the remaining postcards from my 100 Day Project I made a sale, and then another, and then another. By the 11th of January eight of my drawings had been sent to new homes and I felt a resounding sense of relief and pride in myself. I'm not one for bragging but I couldn't help but share my good fortune on social media. I'd made something with my own fair hands and people liked what I'd made so much that they spent their actual money on it. I made a pact with myself there and then that I would always celebrate a sale and always make a big deal of it. With a new feeling of accomplishment I tweeted that you should always celebrate your successes. When you make a sale no matter how small, when you get your first commission enquiry, when your website reaches a few more people than the week before. Not every day will be one that you want to shout about, I for one have more off days than great days but when there is something (no matter how small) to celebrate make sure that you do. Just the act of creating and being brave enough to share it with the world is worth shouting about.
What have you done recently that is worth celebrating? Did you make a sale of your art work or write a blog post that you’re super proud of? Let me know in the comments below and remember to give yourself a pat on the back for doing what you do and not giving up.
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