Feel like you’re doing everything right in the pursuit of your dream but nothing is changing?
Here’s some slightly unconventional advice that could be the missing piece of your puzzled artistic pursuits in Los Angeles.
1. Leave Your Art by the Wayside and Work to Save
Typically, what you see in Los Angeles are artists exhausting themselves by simultaneously working a job they hate, while trying to juggle the demands of pursuing an arts career. Though this alternate option may not be right for everyone, consider dropping your dream for up to a year and pursuing a career that can make you money instead!
With the consolation that, once you have hit a certain amount in savings – you will take that savings, downsize to a job that works part-time, and devote your time, energy, and savings with renewed vigor into your art.
It can be painful to let go, but consider it like “resting the troops” while strategizing a full frontal assault. Just don’t forget the reason why you’re taking a break and why you’re making this sacrifice! It should be for you!
2. Study a Science or an Unrelated Craft or Trade
Many great artists find inspiration in the cross-pollination of various disciplines. If you’re feeling stale in your art, finding your inspiration is more self-indulgent than a loving act with your audience and the universe, why not try to find a new angle by taking up an interest that is furthest from your career? If anything, refuge in a discipline or study that seems to have nothing to do with your art can be a welcome break for your creative brain.
3. Go to Therapy
What’s your inner child been screaming about?
So you’re not advancing as fast as you’d hoped to as an artist in LA. What if the problem isn’t your talent, your looks, or your lack of connections, but the painful truth that you are getting in your own way?
What if your reliance on the idea that the success of your art will give you happiness is keeping you from evolving as both a person and as an artist? There are very few people alive who couldn’t benefit from a few months of guided self-awareness, i.e. therapy. You may discover it’s what’s been missing all along, or at the very least, you’ll know for sure that you’re not the problem.
For those who can’t afford it: The Maple Center in Beverly Hills accepts clients on a sliding scale based on budget. You’ll be seen by a psychology student, but one that is closely guided by professionals. Some healthcare insurances cover therapists with a reasonable co-pay as well.
http://www.tmcc.org – The Maple Center
4. Ask Your Parents for Advice
In my day…
Some parents stay mum when it comes to your arts career, either out of unfortunate disapproval or outright befuddled ignorance:
Why don’t you get an agent honey?
Others offer advice that feels way off base:
Maybe if you got married and started having kids, things would happen for you?
But what if you came to your parents with really specific questions? After all, they’re the people who absolutely want what’s best for you. Even if some their advice is off, telling them what you want out of life, can only be helpful in having them support your actions and possibly help you get there.
If this isn’t an option, consider talking to your close siblings or close friends. Having people that know you and your personality in and out can be an invaluable asset to strategizing on how to make your dreams come true.
5. Schedule Like You’re a Medical Student
As left-brained people, we often ended up that way because we abhor the skills that right-brained people have that we do not.
If you want to make a business out of your art (i.e. making money) you must schedule, organize, and implement your activities and goals with precision.
Write down weekly, monthly and yearly targets. Give yourself assignments that must be completed. Stay on top of relevant information that can help your career.
Lastly, find people that you feel kinship (and hopefully that share your career aspirations) that can hold you accountable for these things, similar to a study buddy.
If becoming a doctor requires tireless and strategic effort, so should becoming an actor, dancer, or any other profession in these highly competitive markets. You only have so many hours in the day. Be sure to take advantage of it.
6. Quit Drinking and Doing Drugs (or cut down at least?)
My guess is that out of all the things on this list this might be the hardest for most people to do or not do.
Our culture, like so many other cultures don’t really know how to have a good time if it doesn’t involve drinking. Sure, you’re young and you want to meet and mingle. The pressure can be hard.
As I keep hearing the band Best Coast sing on the radio: “Here in the west coast, we have a saying, if you’re not drinking, then you’re not playing.”
Consider the benefits of quitting. Not only will you see a possible substantial boost to your physical and mental health, you’ll also notice a sudden boost in your wallet size as well. Granted, some social groups will start to dissipate, but are you really making the contacts you need from these bar-hops and late night binges?
And what is stopping you from going to these parties sober and being fully present when you have the opportunity to talk to people that might be able to help your career?
LA is About Sacrifice
Ultimately, if you want that dream career in the arts, you have to be prepared to make some painful sacrifices. What would be the hardest thing for you to give up, or to start doing? What if that was the key to making that breakthrough you so sorely need? What if even if that breakthrough didn’t happen, you still became a happier person for it.
Would that be such bad advice?