Successful artists are the ones that get creative about how to work through their challenges.
Most of us artist have an essentially childish approach to problem solving. We throw our hands up in the air and say "I can't face this" or " could someone else take care of this". (Neither approach being very useful in terms of forward motion wouldn't you agree?)
Basically we are always dealing with our expectations (why isn't everything working out?) and our impatience (when will everything work out?)
Of course any roadblock feels like a mountain in front of us when we are struggling to reach our goals.
Your job is NOT to try and solve the whole problem all at once.
I generally suggest clients separate the challenge into bite size pieces that they can chew one by one until the problem is taken care of.
Self support is crucial to us as artists, it's a good thing to acknowledge that we feel stumped or anxious and to observe our thinking and our behavior around that.
How are we avoiding the issue at hand?
Usually by creating other tasks that are less daunting or by checking out completely with all the various ways humans have developed to distract ourselves.
How about instead we create a simple little step by step approach to problem solving that will allow us not to feel too overwhelmed?
What is it that has you feeling stuck?
Big show coming up and you have to get bums in seats?
Need to put together a band and don't know where to start?
Got a manager that doesn't seem to be active on your behalf?
Weekly tasks that slowly move us towards the solution can be a workable approach.
Say you want your band to be booked for summer shows. This is a process that takes time so of course you will be anxious throughout if you expect it to be over and done with in the click of a mouse.
The first week I would assign yourself the goal of researching all the potential venues in your market and collecting the contact info of the booker of each venue. Don't worry about contacting them yet, that can be your second weeks assignment. Then by week three you will follow up your initial e mails with a phone call, knowing as much as possible about how your act fits into their booking policy based on your research.
By week four it's a sure bet your calendar will have at least a few anchor dates in place and your desperation levels will have decreased significantly, allowing you to focus a more relaxed energy on the task of filling in the rest of the dates.
The key to artist progress is slowly building your confidence in your ability to meet your challenges in a step by step approach. It builds self esteem in even the most chaotic and insecure creative artist.
Artists may be like children but, like children we can be fast learners and if we have our own goals firmly in sight, we can be highly motivated to learn new skill sets!
E Mail Coach Micah Barnes about Career Work Groups at Singers Playground