Do you know that feeling when you can feel yourself falling behind, like time is running away with you and you just can’t catch your breath? You may feel like you are not working fast enough, that life just gets in the way. I know I have been feeling that way recently and I have seen people within our community feeling it too.

Have you set yourself some big goals this year? Is there something you are setting your sights on to achieve? Something you really, really want to do? Perhaps you are feeling pure overwhelm?

Know that this is normal. I am feeling it massively at the moment. There is so much going on behind the scenes as we are getting everything ready for our annual Your Art Matters event.

It’s running from 4th to 8th April. The theme for this event is “art is…” and we are asking people to share what art means to them and complete the phrase “art is…”!

The purpose of this event is to really celebrate the diversity in the arts from all over the world. There will be daily art prompts to get your creative juices flowing, a daily live video, including drop-in art sessions, talks with artists, motivational lessons and a digital copy of the ‘Your Art Matters’ Magazine – with art recipes, inspiring articles, inspirational cut-out pages and lots more.
To come and join our event, sign up here.

Pushing yourself

This year I am really pushing myself. When I created my vision board I had all these big ideas and dreams that I wanted to achieve over the next few years and there are some that I want to achieve this year. I really wanted to push myself more than ever – crazy I know – but with this comes the massive feeling of overwhelm.

I want to learn this year how to deal with these feelings so I can handle them better. Life happens and things change, that is how life goes. We can’t change it. No one can. However, this doesn’t mean you are falling behind.

Comparing yourself

So for example, I am in the midst of writing a book. I’d set goals and timeframes for myself and I massively underestimated the timings on this. A year later and I have only just finished writing my proposal. It’s taken a whole year. Now, I could start sitting here and really compare and knock myself down for how long it took. People in the book writing course I took, most already have a book out in the world. All published. Done. I am nowhere near this. There is still a mountain to climb but I have to stop myself from comparing.
Everyone has different life circumstances, different jobs, families… the list is endless. This was a massive lesson that I’ve learned over the years about saying “I’m behind, I’m behind”. I don’t say those words anymore.

I don’t say I’m behind anymore, because what I’ve realised is we’re not in a race. I am not racing against anybody to get my book out into the world. You can only be behind if you’re in a race with something or someone, and I’m not in a race here.

Now, when I get this feeling, I just sit for a second and remind myself to trust the process. This is what life has thrown at me. I can’t change it. There is nothing I can do with my situation other than to sit back, relax and enjoy my ride.

Since doing this, I have had a completely different outlook on life and work. Sitting there fretting doesn’t help so there is just no point.

Don’t ruin your journey

Another thing I have come to realise is that even though you’ve set yourself some goals, you need to be careful that your focus of the goal doesn’t impose on your journey or your life. It’s all about the journey to achieving your goals and enjoying that process is so important.

You are the captain of your own ship, you can move the demands, change the goalposts. You can lift the pressures, it’s within you. Doing this can really empower you.

When life gets overwhelming and takes over, like the book has done with me, you can move the goalposts. That is okay. You aren’t failing. You are being realistic and allowing yourself to ride the waves of your journey.
Once I realised this, I stopped feeling like I was falling behind because I am not. The journey to writing my book is supposed to be this way and it will be okay in the end. I will get there and publish my book.
I am where I am meant to be and I have started to just trust the process. Yes, I would love to have finished it by now but I understand now that it’s a much greater task than I ever imagined and I had to learn so much along the way, so adapting my route on the journey to embrace the learning is okay.

It’s not always about making

I often hear from people within our community that there are so many other elements to being an artist and running your own business that sometimes you feel less productive because you aren’t making art.

As artists, you have 101 different plates to balance. There is the finance side, accounts, sourcing materials, marketing, sorting a website, bios and statements… the list goes on, and sometimes your goals and journey may not be focused around making. You may need to focus on a new website or work out your marketing plan, so don’t feel bad for not making art. This is still part of your journey to being an artist.
Remember…

I want to really emphasise to you, it’s okay to have these feelings of overwhelm, to sometimes question whether you are falling behind. It’s completely normal to feel this way from time to time but also know that it’s your journey.

Don’t let your goals overcome your journey. Ride the waves. Enjoy it and embrace it.

Much love,
Michelle x