Every artist, it seems, struggles with something. For some, it’s fear of the blank canvas. For others, it’s the marketing. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Struggle is part of the deal, when you’re an artist.
The problem with struggles is that you can get stuck. Getting stuck is definitely not a good thing, because it impedes any further progress. There are some struggles that can stop you dead.
For me, I’ve recently become aware that the struggle I look forward to least and which stops me in my tracks is that part where I get my art out to the world.
It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s that the mechanics of doing so are arduous, to me. Of course, once I’ve set up a channel, producing and delivering more art into it gets easier. Writing blog posts on this blog site is like second nature to me, now, but when I had to set up a WordPress site, on my own, the very first time, it felt like I was climbing a mountain without oxygen. Every obstacle felt insurmountable. Giving up was ever so tempting.
What freaks me out is the thought that I might have overlooked a vital step, whose omission will later harm me. This is my big fear and the one I need to overcome.
Here are some of the things I’m currently struggling to set up:
1. Getting my music onto streaming and downloading services – I’d like to be paid for my music, yet sorting out all the accounts and agreements I need to move music I’ve already mastered into a place where you can buy it feels very difficult, right now. So many agencies and companies to deal with. I have so little idea what works best.
2. Publishing my own books – I have them written, but getting them formatted for electronic delivery and print on demand, attaching all the requisite ISDN numbers and listing them on sites for sale is something I don’t know how to do with confidence.
3. Podcasting – I want to put out some podacasts about some of my more popular blog posts, but it’s not the recording that daunts me. It’s setting up the audio hosting and publishing the podcasts on aggregation sites.
4. T-shirts – Every time I figure out how to get these printed on demand and into an on-line store, something better comes along and I feel like I need to do it that way instead. This is a fast moving target. Creating demand is also very difficult.
5. Product management publication – I’m working on setting up a site on Medium.com, but the number of moving parts involved in going live is astonishing. It’s not easy. I have the posts, but not the site. It scares me. I also have to use more social media accounts I’ll have to maintain, to build a following, using branding I’ve only just designed.
6. Company web site – I’m putting up a site for my limited company, on WordPress.com, but templates you’ve never used before are a bitch and so are the procedures for hooking up your own URL. Building an email list adds another layer of complication. This brings with it new social media challenges and obligations, too.
7. Guitar effects – making PCBs has changed a lot, since I used to do it. Learning the ropes again is taking time. Marketing the pedals on Reverb.com is new to me. Oh and this will require yet another web site.
8. Guitars – I have designs, but creating the CAM instructions is new to me, as is finding component suppliers that can reliably build to a CAD design. Creating demand is the other challenge. The guitar designs are good, though.
9. Novel digital signal processing algorithms for music – the design tools are a minefield. The learning curve is huge. I also have to find evaluation boards. Why am I doing this to myself?
10. Coding – I’m up-skilling on blockchain, ethereum, machine learning and distributed apps, while getting up to speed on serverless web stacks, containerised software and writing mobile apps. My brain hurts.
11. My personal web site has been neglected for the past couple of years, due to work commitments and now it needs extensive updating. That’s quite a chore.
12. Selling my paintings on-line – lots of options, but all require effort to establish and I have to photograph several hundred paintings and drawings. I also want to make prints. There are many obstacles.
The odd thing is that I know once I have these things up and running, incremental modifications should be relatively fast and easy. It’s setting it all up that grinds me to a halt. Usually, whatever I am doing I am doing for the first time and I constantly make mistakes. It’s very time consuming and daunting. My reserves of courage and resilience often run low.
Where do you get stuck?