Finding my way through the crazy world of being a self-employed artist.Read More
People who follow me on Twitch know that I recently went through a 5 day internet blackout.
I felt so helpless and frustrated, and by the end I was really starting to worry about my business. I could barely connect to a signal using my phone, but when I did, I saw that I had Etsy orders and commission emails coming in. That is usually super exciting, but I need internet to run my business!
5 days might not sound like a lot, but when you go from being connected 27/7 on Email, Twitch, Discord, Instagram, Twitter, Etsy, Patreon, YouTube, etc... to suddenly have no connection is a shock to the system. Day after day I had no answer or hope from my ISP that internet would return, so I was just drifting along doing my best to stay occupied.
The silver lining is that I had a lot of time to reflect.
120 hours is a long time. Subtract 40 for sleeping and I still had 80 hours to fill over those 5 days.
At first, time went slow and I was grasping at straws. Every time I got an idea for something to do, I remembered it required internet. So finally, I did what any artist would do.
Within those 5 days, I ended up painting both commissions and studies, as well as doing some hiking & plein air painting.
I also decided to record all of it. I had a light-bulb moment that I could use my internet-less time to make as much video content as possible for my new Art-centric YouTube channel! GAME ON!
I ended up making 4 videos during the last 5 days, catered specifically towards instruction/education and inspiration. I made them specifically for YouTube so that I could start to build a library of helpful content for viewers. It was actually really fun - and kind of addicting!
Here's an example:
I used my 5 days as practice for what will hopefully be a routine. Eventually I'd like to regularly produce 2 videos per week. Now that I have internet again, and I'm back to my regular routine and streaming, I have less time to produce videos, but I now have a good strategy for using my time efficiently, and a better idea of what it takes to make these videos.
- Watercolor Mountain - Narrated Time Lapse
- Medium Wars (Forest Scene) - comparing Watercolor/Gouache/Acrylic
- Plein Air Sketchbook Tour (Plus added narration/video of me painting in each location)
In addition, I've completely updated my Patreon Page, in order to better match my current and future artistic goals. The changes mean I'll be sending out less physical content each month, but providing more videos, process photos, and educational content more often, which is something people have been asking for.
Patreon is an amazing way for artists to support themselves, while offering exclusive content to their supporters.
Checkout my new intro video!
So, what started out as a disaster and worryfest, ended up being a period of reflection, production, and clarity for my business and goals.
I feel so incredibly motivated and inspired!!
In an effort to synchronize my online presence and create a more efficient experience for my followers, I've decided to change my username for all of my social media accounts!
The new name matches my business name, Sarah Burns Studio.
I'm completely overwhelmed.
The amount on my to-do list continues to grow, without the luxury of finding any more hours during the day.
I chose this life, I cherish it, but I have a tendency to stretch myself too thin with all the projects I want to work on. I love more than anything the feeling of spreading inspiration and helping other artists in pursuit of their dreams. Some of my projects benefit others more than me, and while I wish I could continue them all, I have bills to pay and I have to be realistic.
Why am I sharing all this? Aren't I supposed to make it seem like I'm a super successful artist and streamer?
Well if you've read any of my other advice to artists, you know that I talk candidly and open about the truth of being a full time artist. It's not all glamorous.
Success is relative. To me, freedom and daily happiness is success. I get by financially, sometimes just barely.
I have absolutely no social life, outside of the internet/social media. I choose to use all my free time to work on all these projects (studies, daily blog, patreon paintalongs, tutorials, etc), and since I focus on sharing positivity and lots of cool projects, it creates a public image that is often misleading.
It's so easy to get lost in the haze of anxiety and stress, and drift along until it's too late and all hope of progress is lost, but if I want to continue to be successful, I need to see things clearly, and make a new game plan.
Being a full time artist means constantly evaluating your personal goals and how to reach them based on your existing circumstance.
I'm only human, and I can't do it all. This is me, admitting defeat.
New Game Plan:
- This blog will no longer be a Daily Blog, but rather a "frequent post blog" - with no specified amount of posts per week, but at least one per week. I'm proud that I published something every day for the last 61 days, but in that time I've discovered how much planning, time, and work goes into making interesting content every.single.day. Lesson learned. I've lost time and momentum on other important projects - projects that pay the bills, and it's no longer a viable option to keep daily posts going.
Even though I admit defeat in this project, I think in the end it will be better for all.
- Work on reducing my debt. I still have over $70,000 in student loans to pay off. It's a huge monthly burden, almost $700 flies out the window each month, so it's time to take bigger steps in reducing that.
Eventually, when I'm no longer weighed down by this burden, I will be able to dedicate more time to my passion of helping others.
- Continue streaming full time and all the streaming projects - like monthly Paintalongs
- Try to make at least one new tutorial each week and publish to YouTube. Until now, I've been using this blog to inspire others and post tutorials and helpful topics. I'll still do that, but I want to get better at making video content.
- Continue to privately work on my Wanderer story. In only 2 months of writing every day, I have already noticed a difference in my ability to write. One of the goals of doing a daily blog was to be more comfortable writing. I can proudly say that is now true! Not that I'm a GOOD writer, but at least I'm able to get the words out, and go from there! Success!
- After summer 2017, I should have my UK visa situation handled, and I'll be on my way to settling in the UK. That stability will help me in making longer-term plans :)
Thanks to everyone who has been reading these posts, who have encouraged me, and I hope to continue to provide fun and helpful content for a long time to come! Check back each Friday for new content! I may post more often than that, but I'll definitely make sure to post for the weekend readers.
I know this is an artist blog, but I just can't help bring this up!!
Unless you live under a rock, you've heard about NASA's recent discovery regarding their findings in the TRAPPIST-1 system.
They discovered seven Earth-sized planets, three of which are in the habitable zone.
It's totally OK to geek out about this. This is history making news...this is a major discovery that humans have dreamed of but never found.
Check out NASA's article here.
Hope of discoveries like this have fueled the imaginations of artists and writers for years, and many of us have always believed/hoped/known there are other habitable planets out there.
Many of our favorite Sci-Fi movies are based on the premise that there is life in other galaxies. It's one of the coolest and spookiest ideas. We are naturally drawn to it with a primal curiosity.
I've been looking through some of the artist renderings of the TRAPPIST-1 planets and it's fascinating! Who knows how this will shape our future.
It's not like we can quickly fly over to this new solar system though. With our current technology they estimate it would take over 400,000 years to get there.
However, just the fact that we are developing technology powerful enough to detect these systems is promising.
I'm excited to see how far technology develops in my lifetime!
I've been trying to make my portfolio navigation easier to use, and I ended up with this method:
Rather than having an individual gallery for every single subject (like Forests, Mountains, Seascapes, Etc), I decided I'd like to share my work based on when it was created. I enjoy the fact that a viewer can see the progression while scrolling through the galleries.
I curated these galleries to represent the wide variety of subjects and mediums I work in. On any given day, I may be drawing, or painting with different mediums, and I feel like that is an important part of my process.
For now, I'm leaving some of the more specific themes as individual galleries (like Lord of the Rings and Digital Art). Down the road I may change it up.