I am a part-time artist. As tame as a declaration as it is, it is an important one for me to state. Outwardly. Inwardly. It’s important because it affects how to build my days and focus my time. It’s also, weirdly, something I didn’t actually realize until very recently.
Part-time vs full-time isn’t straightforward math. It’s not the difference between having 40-hours-a-week to focus on your art vs 40-hours-minus-the-exact-number-of-hours-of-your-parttime-job. The math looks more like:
-Minus the exact number of hours of part time job(s)
-Minus the hours spent thinking about part time job(s)
-Minus the hours of transport to and from part time job(s)
-Minus the hours transitioning mentally and emotionally from part time job(s)
-Minus the hours spent exhausted from part time job(s) and therefore not working on your art.
For the past four months, I’ve been a part-time artist but I haven’t realized it. I’ve been setting goals and standards based on an erroneous assumption. The result is feeling discouraged and fully fatigued.
But this isn’t a woe-is-me post. It’s actually a celebration post. There are times in my life where something feels off and then I come to understand it’s because I’ve been working under false assumptions. It’s actually really hopeful to realize that I’ve been feeling bad about art because my expectations have been out of alignment with reality. How great to now have an opportunity to realign my schedule and goals with real intention.
In short: There are amazing part-time artists doing great work. How do I work towards becoming one of them? I’m not sure all the answers yet, but I do know I need to get some true habits ingrained so that I’m not facing constant decision fatigue. For the month of July, I’m going to put art aside and focus on setting a schedule for my part-time jobs and my health. Come August (and my one-year marker as being an artist full time...er, part-time) I’ll try folding art back into to a more set lifestyle.