For much of my life, I have had the faith that eventually my writing and storytelling would become my full-time job. I worked hard to make that a reality, studying the craft of storytelling and diligently (or so I thought) attempting to improve my written prose. I was so confident that I had it figured out– all I needed was the skill to back it up.
But I wasn’t even that close. While listening to podcasts by Jeff Goins and eagerly awaiting his new book coming out, Real Artists Don’t Starve (RADS), it occurred to me that there were other pieces of the puzzle missing. Once the book came in the mail, I read it as quickly as I could. In the book, Jeff continually used the example of Michelangelo as an artist who understood that he could thrive with his art. He went further explaining what exactly Michelangelo did- taking advantage of presented opportunities and allowing himself to be teachable.
And this is where I make my first definitive statement with this blog- I am going to work diligently to listen to those who know more than me and to act on the opportunities presented when that happens. I am looking to the examples set before me in both of these great men, Michelangelo and Jeff Goins, and I will search for a way to share my stories with the world.
But there’s this struggle I can feel bubbling up. Some who know me personally know how hard I have been working at this. They’ve seen me try and fail at many ventures- some artistic, some business-minded. These individuals have encouraged me, despite the many struggles I have had along the way. For those people, I want to say thank you. Your encouragement has helped me get to this place where I am now starting a new blog, Story Focused Life.
With this blog, I plan on posting in three main areas. Truth in the areas of storytelling, the Holy Spirit, and being a person of prayer. I am defining success for this blog as consistently posting, even if I receive no subscribers.
However, that success doesn’t guarantee that I will be a thriving artist. If Michelangelo was content with just creating, he would not have shown the diligence and listening skills which were required in order to impress Lorenzo de’ Medici, his first patron. He had already proven tenacity by demanding a paid internship under the famous artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio. Then he was teachable enough to listen to some words of wisdom by an individual observing his work. This individual turned out to be Medici, who hired him after being impressed by Michelangelo’s skill AND teachability.
The story doesn’t stop there, both Jeff Goins and Michelangelo have seen the importance of working with others. It seems clear that many artists struggle with the idea of having to rely on others, often wanting to be considered a solo artist. But I’m tired of that struggle. Michelangelo received help from patrons and teachers, and I intend to do my best to follow suit. So with this, I’m going to work smarter, not harder, and take advantage of opportunities presented to me.
I have been reading Jeff Goins’ book, RADS, since it came to my mailbox on June 6th. Immediately I was caught up in the frenzy of what I could possibly do in order to become a thriving artist. The book brilliantly sets up the juxtaposition between a starving artist and a thriving artist. Frequently it references the habits which both types of artists perform, and why these habits produce continuous expected results.
Unfortunately, I realized most of my habits were in line with those of the starving artist, and I am not thriving solely based off of my art because I have not yet put into practice the necessary habits in my life.
In my opinion of the book, Jeff gives the equivalent of a Master’s level class on what important habits an artist must use in order to succeed on a financial level. He uses Michelangelo as an example of someone who refused to be a starving artist.
But the lessons don’t stop with one successful artist in history, referencing individuals from Elvis to the Inklings (the group C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were a part of).
After pouring over the book three times in the last week I realized I need to change some of my perceptions, my habits, and my network if I truly wanted to thrive with my storytelling. If you’re an artist who wants to see their work reach others without having to ‘starve’ in the process, buy and read Real Artists Don’t Starve- It has 96% 5-star rating on Amazon for a reason.
And if you’re interested in following me on my blogging journey, sign up to get the latest blogs as they post. Depending on which blog you end up reading, I’ll be covering my approach and belief in storytelling, the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives, and the power of prayer.