Dear Fellow Artist Friend(s),
As the season chugs on, I wanted to say hi.
I wanted to say, I see you.
I wanted to say, I get that your worried about your bank account.
I wanted to say, I get that maybe you're sad about not spending time with loved ones this holiday, because, well, you booked a gig and the show must go on.
I wanted to say, I understand that while you're excited for your friends booking new gigs and getting more work, you're worried about where your next paycheck is coming from.
I get it. I see it. I understand it.
And it's ok.
You can still be happy for them and worried for you.
But, hard as it may be, try to keep the worrying and the wondering and the beating yourself up to a minimum.
Cut yourself some slack.
Whether you're an actor or a writer or a singer or a designer or a director or a creative entrepreneur or a creative that cannot fit one label or title - cut yourself some slack, and quit playing the comparison game.
So what if they booked the role and you didn't?
So what if they have a book deal and you don't?
So what if they're nominated for the awards and you aren't?
Does your work make you proud? Does your work make this world a bit brighter out there for someone else?
Words and art don't have to resonate with millions of people to matter.
If your work resonates with just one human - I'd call that a win.
This artist life is tough to explain to others who aren't in it - believe me, I struggle with explaining it, too.
Sometimes it feels like you’re treading water in the deep end for a couple of hours, desperate for someone to throw you a life raft. Or one of those donut hole floats, preferably a sparkly one, with handles, and cup holder for a drink that sports an umbrella.
But alas, I digress.
The best I can say is don’t stop treading water.
Look, I'm not pretending to have all the answers. At all.
But I do know that this has helped me, and maybe it'll help you, too - let the envy of those who get that sparkly donut hole float fuel you, not sink you. Learn from your fellow artists - those who have come before you, and those who come after you. As in the case for all professions, it never hurts to learn more. Grow more. Listen more.
Everyone can teach you something, even if it’s what not to do.
For my fellow artists, all I can say is this - surround yourself with people who push you, not depress you.
In the words of Lin Manuel-Miranda, be in the room where it happens. Even if it’s just to listen. Even if it’s just to watch. You can learn so much from listening to one another, watching one another, being present for another person’s art. So go to the shows, listen to the music, and be part of the experience that is the play.
Focus on your own work, your own dreams, and your own voice - but don’t squelch the voices that surround you. For we can all learn something from one another, and being open to that, well, that’s the mindset that allows glorious things to happen.
I'm rooting for you.
I hope you're rooting for you, too.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!