Six Reasons Why Artists Can Be Grateful in Today’s World

Despite our current challenges, there's a lot for creatives to be thankful for.

It’s natural, but it’s not healthy.

As artists dealing with the rollercoaster ride of emotions that this lifestyle can bring, it’s understandable that we sometimes lose sight of the blessings of doing what we love. Stories of the difficulties of making money, finding work, reaching audiences, and maintaining our life balance can become a running soundtrack in our minds.  We continually face creative, social, financial and spiritual challenges, and if we’re not careful, those challenges can wear us down. That’s why it’s important to intentionally refocus on gratitude; we can’t survive as artists if we’re always looking at what’s wrong.

The fact is,  we have a lot to be grateful for. In many respects, we are privileged to be alive during the best time ever to work as creative professionals.

Sound far-fetched? Maybe not. Let’s unpack six reasons to be thankful as creatives during this time in history. They are:

  1. More Opportunities
  2. Greater Acceptance
  3. More Information
  4. Easy Access
  5. Total Independence
  6. Valued Individuality

1. More Opportunities

Despite all the talk about recessions, economic slowdowns, and changes to the creative marketplace, there are still myriad opportunities to create meaningful art and make a living doing so. The need for quality art has exploded as entertainment and media companies scramble to produce content for ever expanding and demanding audiences. Just look at the rising tide of series on Netflix and other streaming services. If you are a songwriter, filmmaker, actor or screenwriter, you’ve seen opportunities skyrocket before your eyes in the last decade. This means that there are more consumers than ever who are looking for artists who can deliver content that is fresh and new.  This doesn’t just apply to those who produce art for digital and streaming audiences, either. Many audiences, who are weary of the digital lifestyle,  are seeking artists and musicians who can create experiences for them in person in an authentic way.  Unlike other professions that can eventually be replaced by automation and the internet, the touch and feel of a live artist can’t never reproduced by a machine. As long as people desire to feel deeply, sing out loud, sense the human experience, and connect with others, there will be a need and a market for artists. We can be grateful that we work in a profession that is constantly offering us new, interesting avenues for work and fulfillment.

If you have trouble thinking of these avenues, and you are feeling discouraged, don’t let that feeling turn you off from exploring new possibilities. A grateful artist never looks at the cup of work as half empty. For every client, project, gig or opportunity that doesn’t work out, there is another waiting in the wings that will be perfect for you. You only need to keep searching and continue creating.

[For those musicians who are searching for new ideas of where to find opportunities for work, check out this listing of resources from David Cutler’s site The Savvy Musician, along with his book which we reviewed.]

2. Greater Acceptance

Maybe you’ve heard it before – “when are you going to get a real job?”  Or, maybe you haven’t. You may have noticed that being an artist is no longer seen by many as a fly-by-night pipe dream of a career. Books, articles, and corporate strategists are now bringing the artist mindset into the forefront. As the traditional 9-to-5 career becomes more and more rare, and the “side-hustle’ becomes normal for many people, the creative professions are less and less viewed as something outside the mainstream. Creativity, vision and insight are desired and celebrated more than ever by business leaders and cultural influencers,  and since we are already highly engaged in these types of activities, we reap the rewards as our work is valued and respected. No longer do you have to apologize for your decision to pursue your creative craft, whether as a growing passion or as a full-time career.  Be proud and thankful that the wider culture is beginning to better understand and accept your profession on equal terms.

 

3. More Information

In earlier times, artists and creatives who needed help and information had to seek it out through tedious research, moving to a new town, or seeking mentorships that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. However, now, again thanks to the internet age, every artist and creative has all the resources you could possibly need. If you want to write songs, work in mixed media, write a play, or design a building, you can find the information you need in a heartbeat through a Google search.  Social media allows us to instantly connect with other creatives who can help us find the answers we need. Remember, once again, that the internet isn’t the only source of information. Some of your greatest breakthroughs will happen when reach out to other artists on a personal level.   Groups all over the world give artists and creatives a space to connect, learn and grow, such as the local Con/Ex events sponsored by God and Gigs.  Be grateful for this wealth of information as you consider all the resources available to you.

4. Easier Access

Once upon a time, if you wanted to get your foot in the door of the arts and entertainment industry, you needed one thing – money. Whether it was a record company, a wealthy patron, or some other type of door-keeper, someone else held the keys to your ability to engage in the artistic community. Most simply did not have access to the tools and resources to make a big impact. Now? That time is no more. With hardly any money at all, you can leap into the fray of the creative industries and start to make your mark. The internet is the great equalizer in this case as well. With free tools, social media, cloud-based software, and other low-cost technologies, most artists can begin creating and sharing their art with no permission or blessing from a big company or publisher. It’s true that money is always helpful, but no longer is it the determining factor in whether you can thrive as an artist. Audiences, artistic fulfillment, and interesting work are at your fingertips. Be thankful for the fact that you can jump into your desire to share your art at any time, and don’t let any obstacle or person delay or deny that opportunity.

5. Total Independence

Few people really experience freedom in their lives, even if it is available to them. Artists, however, have the blessing of being able to form their own identity, code of conduct, and means of expression. You answer to no one but yourself and God, in the final scheme of things. This independence from the kind of ‘in-the-box’ thinking that many others are struggling to break out of is a wonderful thing. Celebrate your freedom as an artist by refusing to let the conventional way of things control you. Every once in a while, simply do something different because it is different. We thrive when we break away from the same way of looking at the world, and usually our best work comes when we are exercising our independence to its highest form.  Be grateful that you get to experience this kind of freedom simply by doing what you love.

 

6. Valued Individuality

A.A. Milne, author and creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, once stated, “The things that make me different are the things that make me.”  In a world where differences are often criticized and demeaned, this is perhaps the greatest thing to be grateful for. Artists by nature are always looking to express what is unique and special about them, and because you work in a time and place where those qualities are rare, you can rest assured that your individuality makes a difference in the world. No one person thinks like you, creates like you, or dreams like you. In fact, if there was a carbon-copy of you somewhere, there would be no need for either one of you. But there isn’t. Your individuality is valuable, both in your artistic life and in your personal life. By being authentic, you help make this world a better place. No matter how much people may insist that we are all the same, artists know that there is something special that simply can’t be replaced or replicated. Be grateful to God that he made sure there was only one you in the universe, and that your creativity is his gift to you as a means to express and celebrate your uniqueness.

Be Intentionally Thankful

After considering these six reasons, you should have a profound sense of gratefulness about your life and the creative spirit that you’ve adopted and enjoyed. Don’t let the worries and anxieties of your passion become a drain. Instead, remember that greatness starts with gratefulness. When you realize what you have, you’ll do even more with it, and find new ways to grow and evolve into the creative you were destined to be.

Question: What are you most grateful for? Which of these categories spoke to you most, and why? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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