How To Get Rid of Shame And Guilt

Jul 1, 2016

äóìIt seems like I’m cheating,äóù I say to Rachel. äóìI’m not paying my dues as an artist.äóù

Every Saturday morning at 11am, I touch base with Rachel of Rachel Brask Artworks. We have a virtual check-in meeting where we discuss what steps we’ve made in the past week to move our art business forward, how things are going in our art business, what we are celebrating, what we’re avoiding, and what we need help with. The check-in meetings are part of the Art Career Success System (ACSS) course that we were both taking given by art business career coach Alyson Stanfield.

One of the course modules relates to income projections. This module forces artists to really think about where their revenues come from. It forces artists to think about STRATEGY for making profits from their art. I’ve been procrastinating this assignment for weeks. I’m an accountant. I already knew the answer to this. Even without creating a spreadsheet, I knew I wasn’t breaking even. I need a day job to fund all the expenses relating to my art.

2 Options for Incorporating Art Into Life

What is more important: creating art or insisting that the art be a self-sustaining business? I figured making the art is more important. Ok, so I thought, I’m 47 years, if I want to make more art in the future, I could do the following:

1. I could work part-time, maybe work 3 days a week and then devote 2 days to art. <äóî- This is my current goal.

2. But I also began to think of another possibility. Why don’t I just retire early, like when I’m 50? That’s 3 years away. In this scenario, I could devote all my remaining time on earth to art. If I do this, I could choose to have my meager pension paid out monthly. A financial advisor said once that the 40s-50s are the capital accumulation phase of someone’s life and I would be stopping too early. And because I would be drawing on this pension early, the monthly payments will not be much, but it could cover my living expenses at least. I don’t have any debts at all so I’ve disciplined there. The only risks that I could see would be how I would cover catastrophic events like if I were to get really sick.

And that’s when feelings of guilt, shame, and cheating began. Most people don’t have a pension. Most people have kids to worry about. I don’t. I felt that I would be cheating since I would have a monthly pension to depend on as I devote my time to art.

Rachel listened patiently to my rant (It didn’t really take more than 5 minutes. It takes longer to write this blog post). As I was talking, she was drawing a mind map of all the words I was saying: guilt, shame, cheating in huge letters.

äóìYou know what you should do with this,äóù she says. 

 She begins to tear up the paper into pieces. 

 äóìThat’s what you should do. There it’s gone. All those feelings are gone. They’re gone.äóù

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