If you’re an artist of any kind and you’re trying to profit from your work, get used to pressure. haha

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I don’t know about every artist, but I often put more on myself than anyone else. I give myself deadlines, always want to have more content, and have trouble allowing myself time off because all creative markets are flooded.

Everyone wants to be able to enjoy what they do. I’m sure there are garbage men out there who enjoy the highly important service they provide, but most people want to be able to have a more relaxing job. There are worlds of self-published authors and indie artists who think they just need to show people their work and they’ll start “living the dream.”

There is some truth to this. But “the dream” comes with a lot of work if you want to actually build a sustainable career.

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Content is the most important asset for success. In order to market to an audience, you must have something to market to them. But what you create is also important. My mother could write a book in a week and slap it on amazon and sit around waiting for sales, anyone can, but in order to have a following there is more to it.

Quality is what really matters here. If you write a story and it is filled with repetition, adverbs, and bad stereotypes most readers probably won’t finish it or want to write a positive review. We all start out making shit. To pull ahead and stand out, one must hone their craft. Practice, get critiques, take classes, go to conventions. Get out and expand the knowledge of the medium.

Polishing work is something that a lot of indie artists seem to slack on. I have been burned by too many self-published books chocked full of sentences that are just poorly worded. Songs with bad tracks and shotty quality don’t touch hearts. Gotta polish that material until it shines like a new penny.

Publishing can be frightening, but once you start submitting and finding your fit it becomes routine. There are numerous companies that are always looking for artists to do cover work or companion pieces for stories. Some people can go it alone and break out without help, but even the most talented writers, singers, and artists need outside input to aid them.

Marketing, aww hell. This is the worst. Very few artists create just for profit and the ones that do seem to lack something no matter how good their technical skills are. But marketing doesn’t have to be a grueling job. Connect with people. Get out there and have deep conversations about novels and great works of art. Take the time to learn your fan base and interact with them. Nobody wants to support a smug asshole. People do sometimes, but I don’t and I don’t recommend it from either side. haha

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All of this is hard to balance. It can grate on you. It builds up and makes you anxious at times. But that pressure can also keep you going. The more people support you, the more you feel obligated to them. It’s scary and enlightening all at once.

Pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Use that energy. Write about it. Paint through it. Hit those high notes.

Just keep growing and trying to get better. If you’re good enough, you’ll see results, and if not, there are always other avenues.

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