I was reading an article about "Pinterest's Ben Silbermann to 'Treps: Make Something Beautiful" on Entrepreneur.com. Though the article lists three pieces of advice for entrepreneurs, it struck a chord in me. A resounding echo that could be solid advice for artists and makers. Each one builds on the other.
Below is my short version for finding success:
Follow Your Own Path. Close the books on technique. Invest in play and experimentation to find your own path. This is a solitary, lonely activity. Many books and studies of cognitive thinking demonstrate that it takes around 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. Become an expert in your own work.
Be Resilient. Overnight success and instant fame are fairy tale fantasies. Invest time and commitment into following your own path. Everyone, yes, everyone is rejected and discouraged along the way. Learn from your mistakes, analyze failures and successes. I don't care whether you can only work one hour a day on your own work. One hour a day is seven hours a week. 30 hours in a month, and 360 hours a year. This is enough time to make one fabulous artwork a year.
Surround Yourself with Positive Energy. Ignore the naysayers. Ignore the devil on your shoulder. Listen with half an ear if there is any credibility to the comment, and the other side needs to be resilient and keep moving forward.
Don't listen to all those negative "it can't be done" opinions. Ignore people who say, "It's too hard," "Don't care so much", " It's not your job". Ignore them. Surround yourself with positive energy even if it is one beautiful flower. Be resilient and follow your own path.
Develop a thick skin. Whether or not you make money from your art or craft, money is a poor measure of success. Surround Yourself with Positive Energy, Be Resilient, and Follow Your Own Path.
Be Passionate. Passionate may mean you will work harder. Passionate should definitely include working smart. Day or night, be passionate about your goal, or the big idea, even when it is inconvenient and no one else cares. Passionate about your singular path, holding on tighter, pushing through the barriers.
You can learn the tools you need. You still have to follow your own path, be resilient, surround yourself with positive energy, keep your thick skin and be passionate.