Top 5 motivation tips I’ve learned from being a working artist

Whether you’re stressed out that you still haven’t made it, or worried that now you have made it you’ve sold out being an artist is hard work! Here, I’m going to share five things I’ve learned in my years as a creative, in the hope that they’ll help keep you motivated in your own art career.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned:

  1. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a hard slog!
  2. People will criticise your career choice
  3. There will be meltdowns!
  4. You end game is your own
  5. Creating never loses its magic
success doesn't happen overnight it's a hard slog to become an artist text on pink

Success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a hard slog!

You will fail over and over before you succeed. Heard of James Dyson? It took him 15 years and 5,126 attempts to create his famous vacuum cleaner *. Everything worth doing carries the risk of failure, accept the hard knocks as shaping you into the best artist you can be.

People will criticise your career choice as an artist text on pink

People will criticise your career choice

Honestly if I had a dollar for every time someone criticised my career choice I wouldn’t need to sell any artwork! Joking aside, from the first mention of art school to the dreaded ‘What do you do?’ question at parties…there are some bitter people out there who will try to tear you down. If you listen to the haters you’ll stop creating.

For all the critics out there, there are many more genuine art lovers who will become your tribe of cheerleaders. Stay your course.

There will be meltdowns as an artist text on pink

There will be meltdowns!

Art has a love hate reaction. Some days you will feel like the worst artist in the world because you didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel.  The secret is that you don’t have to create ground breaking work to be an artist. Be authentic to your creative self, whatever that manifests as. Working artists are often cash-strapped and working in isolation. Build yourself a support network to lean on when the meltdowns hit.

Your end game is your own artist motivation text on pink

You end game is your own

Focus on your own end game, not someone else’s. I radically changed my mindset by focusing on achievable goals and defining where I want to get to in my own art practice.

What is your end game?

Do you want to make sales? Be a world famous name? Travel a creative journey for its own sake? Enhance your mental wellness through creativity?

For most artists the end game is a combination of things.

Whatever your endgame, challenge yourself to do the best work you can. Art isn’t a members-only club, so whether you’re a PhD or self-taught find your own why.

Creating never loses its magic artist motivation text on pink

Creating never loses its magic

We all have nightmares that we forget how to draw, paint or sculpt…

For all the alarming moments questioning ourselves, creativity is magic. Everyday you have the power to wake up, create and battle the neigh-sayers, internal and external.

There’s some science behind the magic. Creative tasks do reduce stress more than non-artist ones as explained by Abbott, Shanaham and Neufeld here. For all the stress of having an unorthodox often fiscally challenging career, the activity of creating beats everything else hands down.

Before you chose to become an artist, you discovered the joy of making and the power of art to instantly make things better.

As artists we’re insider in an ancient club of creativity that stretches back as far as humanity itself. We’ve covered five tips here that can help keep you focused and motivated on your art journey.

Got tips and tricks that you rely on? Share them below or find me on Instagram. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


*James Dyson on Using Failure to Drive Success (

Try, Try Again: Lessons From James Dyson’s Invention of the Vacuum |

Stress reduction from creativity

Art therapy in the community

My sister site


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6 responses to “Top 5 motivation tips I’ve learned from being a working artist”

  1. I love this post. It’s rare that I tell people that I am an artist. I do have a day job but I’d rather focus on my art. Most people will say oh I admire that as I can’t draw figures. Me either ha! I draw flowers. I write words of wisdom.


    • Hi Mireya, thanks for the comment. It’s tough when everyone has an opinion on what a ‘real’ artist does, right? I love how you’re using flowers and that collage peacock is wonderful. I’m also a big Eric Carle fan (the mixed up chameleon is still one of my favourite books).

      Liked by 1 person

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