Here’s the latest installment of reminders to myself.

Are you even good enough?

Stop trying to make a living from what you love to do.

Make a life from it, by all means. But unless you’re already making a killing (and this involves a fair bit of luck as much as anything else… whoever says it’s all talent is full of shit), for the love of God stop trying.

Focus on the doing. For it’s own sake. Because you are creating something beautiful, because you are filling a deep hole in your soul, because the doing makes you feel alive.

The market rarely rewards great art in its own time. And because of that, great artists throughout history have depended on patrons to survive. In ancient Rome they were wealthy benefactors with big family names like the Medici’s. More recently they’ve looked like record companies paying advances to young artists to keep them in beer, weed, and takeout (although those days for the most part are also ancient history). And in every era in between, moneyed people have supported struggling artists they believe in until the market catches on, if it ever does.

So you don’t have a wealthy benefactor, huh?

I see.

No one’s hiring you to paint the Sistine Chapel for an absurd amount of money?

I see.

Have you committed every free waking moment possible to getting better at what you do?

Before school, after work, when the kids have gone to bed, have you been focusing on mastering your craft?

In other words:

Are you even good enough to paint the Sistine Chapel?