How to Guarantee Discipline and Persistence in Your Artistic Career

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There are many artists out there who have not yet let the world know what they are up to. Even close friends and family members do not know that these artists write, play music, act…

What gives? Why would an artist keep his talent from the rest of the world? A big reason behind not admitting your goals is the fear of failure.

While the safety blanket that anonymity affords is comforting, it is also keeping you from capitalizing on possibly the greatest mental leverage you may find. Often, it is not money, but people, who are the greatest motivations for success. Announcing your artistic goals to the world is like taking out an insurance policy on career discipline. The more eyes that are looking forward to your success (or failure!), the more it spurs you on to prove them right (or wrong). I talked about this a little when explaining the purpose of accountability in the Bootcamp.

I have found that, the more people who know about what I am working toward, the more I am inclined to work hard not to fail. I have found that being right and proving my worth are the two most powerful motivations I have. I have put myself on the line. I have told everyone I know, everyone I meet, and even perfect strangers I’ve never seen in person, that I am writing a novel. This puts me on the hook.

Even my family has put me out there. I went to an event that my husband’s company put on and all of his clients, people I had never even met or heard of, were asking about my book! They all knew I was writing a book and told me they were looking forward to seeing it published! Now if that doesn’t provide motivation, I don’t know what does.

While it is important to safeguard yourself in your early stages of creativity, once you have a handle on your artistic talent and aspirations, you need to take the leap and stand naked before everyone. Admit what you are doing. You will gain strength in knowing that, now that everyone knows, you cannot fail. This is the genius working now. This is the magic here. IT BECOMES WORSE TO FAIL THAN TO GIVE IN TO THE LAZINESS AND INACTION OF NOT WORKING TOWARD YOUR GOALS.

You have now boxed yourself in. You are backed into a corner and your only choice is to throw the fight – something you will have to live with for the rest of your life – or you will have to come out swinging. Eureka! You have now built discipline and persistence into your career.

So, while you may think that keeping your goals a secret protects you from the possible admission of failure, it may be the very thing that guarantees it! Put your art on the line. Puff up your chest and be brave. Admit it. And gain all the strength of your newfound allies and enemies. I know no better motivation than that.

Stay hungry and stay Well-Fed.

– C.R. Cohen

The Well-Fed Artist – featured in the 9 o’clock hour on Radio Soapbox every Monday night.  Listen live or listen to the archives.

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C.R. Cohen’s love affair with words and the arts has lead her on a lifelong journey as a poet and writer and an art activist, founding Artists Underground, to bring networking, resources and advice to artists, and joining forces with Soapbox Nation to provide creative career consultations and artist services to help artists get further faster.
About C.R. Cohen
C.R. Cohen’s love affair with words and the arts has lead her on a lifelong journey as a poet and writer and an art activist, founding Artists Underground, to bring networking, resources and advice to artists, and joining forces with Soapbox Nation to provide creative career consultations and artist services to help artists get further faster.

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