I'm an upbeat sort of person...regularly full of energy, high-octane creative work ethic....blessed beyond belief. I post all the amazing, exciting things that happen to me on FB almost every day. I blog here full of enthusiasm, humor...hopefully inspiring you. In the workshops I teach, especially my marketing class, I am big on saying "hang in there." Afterall..sometimes you're the windshield...sometimes you're the bug. IT happens.
And from time to time people e-mail me and say they are struggling with their art careers, but they are not sure if I will understand because, based on my FB entries, my blogs, and my comments in class, everything is smooth sailing for me and business is falling from the sky. But let me tell you something...basically I am a person who keeps the down days to myself...just my style I guess...either that or I just refuse to give anymore energy to a bad day than it is already getting...BUT I have Jonah days all the time. Jonah, if you know your Bible stories, was swallowed whole by something much bigger than he was...a whale. Definitely NOT a good day.
So this week... the whale swallowed ME. Orders were canceled, workshops for visiting artists in my studio were canceled or postponed, refunds needed, utility bills for my studio doubled in size, stores didn't pay me on time, almost every order I got at the Denver Gift Show decided on May delivery (great for May-not so much great for now), the new video we're making for my on-line marketing class is being problematic...and I'm behind schedule with it. I usually get along wonderfully with my step-son...but we've been head-butting all the way this week. Jonah days.
Everybody has them. But when those days (or weeks) happen...the trick is to learn how to dance in the belly of the whale. Visiting Artist classes didn't work out...figure out why so next time they do. Order canceled...get another one. Everybody wants May delivery...get a head start on those orders...May will be here in fifteen minutes. Bills eating you alive...get on the phone and call every store that carries my work. Stores not paying....get on the phone. Arguing with step-son...get HIM on the phone. Talk to him. In other words take charge. Lead the dance.
I have worked hard for ten years to create the life in art that I have...but you never get to the place where you say "There. I did it. Smooth sailing from here on in!" Nope. Doesn't happen that way. The whale is always out there...always waiting to swallow you whole. And when he does and all the fears and negativity start holding a conversation in your head, making you doubt everything you know. When that happens....I literally speak out loud to it. "Quiet!" I have been known to almost shout it. "Quiet!" (Try it.) Get thee behind me.
So dear friends...whether you are artists or not...when the Jonah days happen...just remember...dance in the belly of the whale...you won't be there forever. Jonah was only there for three days...the whale finally got tired of his strength and fortitude and released him.
And when the Jonah days pass and the whale discards me on the beach...I will dance there too...with gratitude and joy. Then I will get to work.