What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up
We all experience bad days. For illustrators, we have bad drawing days. For designers and writers, we might get the infamous creative block.
Usually we jump into a new endeavour with full optimism and determination. Then somewhere along this timeline, there’s setbacks, there’s failures, there’s an opposing force telling you maybe it’s best you do something “safer”. Then, we decide to give up.
If giving up is not in your blood, I spud you. But if you’re on the edge, I’m hoping I can pull you back into the ring.
It’s easy to say “don’t give up” when you’re on the advice-giving side. So I’m going to try make this post as practical as I can.
Not every piece we create will be a masterpiece. Hopefully you know this by now. But if all you create are masterpieces then you have to email me how because I want to know!
Never Assume People Will Be Interested
If you’re posting illustrations day in and day out and you’re just not seeing the engagement you hoped for or the attention you thought would gather, you might start questioning “Am I even good enough to be a part of this industry?” or “Is this worth pursuing still?”.
The lack of responses begin to kick down your confidence. They’re telling you, you have a lack of ability.
I know, I’ve been there. The determination falters.
It’s at this point, some people turn around and drop their pursuit and sadly, give up.
An idea will always feel great in our minds because we’re in the moment of “Aha!” and so that drive is carried through until we fulfil the idea. But, not every piece you create will be your best—that’s why I say screw perfectionism.
Also consider, how long have you actually been posting? I didn’t see meaningful results for two years and I’m still not seeing the results I’m aiming for.
Which brings me onto my next point…
Learn To Be Patient
Nothing will go right all the time.
You’re going to work and see little to no results. You’re going to work and have little rewards. And you’re going to have to put out a tonne of content to get noticed.
Starting a creative business is a long game and requires a long-game mindset. Be ready to not see true return on investment 2-3 years in. I’m not about the short-term success, so if quick results are what you’re looking for, then my blog will be of no use.
I’m not sure if patience can be taught?
But it goes back to one of my favourite quotes “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.
Thinking you’re entitled to have things your way, is small-minded and just dumb. Not everything is instant noodles, you need patience sometimes. I’d argue, all the time. And that’s super important if you’re building a creative business, building an audience or improving your skills.
Every failed piece of work you do, whether it goes unsold or you didn’t get the attention you imagined, is a piece that gets you closer to one that will see success. You will receive the results you deserve.
You’re already on your way to success if you’re consistently putting out your illustrations and design work. That’s more than any other person who’s sulking about their work not receiving the "likes" they think they deserve—and yes that’s actually a thing, but I won’t get into why likes and hearts is the wrong way to define your value. Will save that for another post!
Believe In Those Silent Admirers
Now that might sound a bit cray-cray. But allow me to explain.
There’s huge amount of people browsing content every day. Some of that content will be yours. If you ever looked at your analytics, you’ll see stats like impressions and unique visitors and some numbers next to them. Those numbers, are real people. Those youtube views, are views by real humans.
Continue practicing daily and share your work regularly. Because there’s more people who are admiring your work than you think. And if you’re not confident in an illustration you’ve made, go ahead and share it anyway! What’s the worse that can happen? You get a snark remark? Why not shift your focus to the comments that do matter, the comments that actually encourage you to do better next time.
There might even be someone who is professional and kind enough to help you improve your work. A win for me is when a brand reaches out saying they love my work and want to start a project! It's possible. However...
You will not receive the help you want if you don’t share your creations.
Also, don’t think your work goes unnoticed. Whatever the reason, understand people may not have the time to comment on everything post they see. So it’s your job to build trust with this person and provide value every time. They’ll reach out, you just have to be patient.
Your Success Is Determined By Your Willingness To Hustle
When someone dislikes your work, never take it to heart. You don’t know this person and you know the internet, people have more balls to say negative things while they are behind the screen.
Some people do get it easy. Some people have the right timing, the right connections, or the right job. But for the rest of us, what is the secret to success?
Work. Work. And then more work.
This doesn’t mean you should work every waking hour of your life. Without mistakes and bad pieces, you will not grow into the creative you want to be. And if you didn’t get the result you want, hey it’s only a setback. But if you decide to give up right now, then you have reached your conclusion.
The real failure is giving up.
Three Actions You Can Take Away Right Now
- There’s always a reason why you started working in the first place. Remember that reason.
- If you’ve spent less than two years working on your side hustle, don’t expect to see any results.
- Not every creative does this, but if you’re thinking to throw your work away or delete—don’t. There’s value in seeing progress!
A lengthier post than usual! Only because I had a lot to mention on this topic. How to not give up? There’s just so much more I can go into, but I hope this was enough to flip your mindset and keep you in the ring.
As always, tweet me @jaytenart! Would love to hear what you’re working on!