You might get struck with a bolt of inspiration after going through a bad breakup, losing a loved one, or having a near-death experience. The worst moments of your life can work as fuel, launching you toward your next art piece.
However, glamorizing starving artists does a disservice to the industry. Misery is not a requirement in order to be an artist. Pain and creativity don’t always stroll hand-in-hand. You should not wreck yourself in the name of art. You should not cultivate self-destructive tendencies out of fear you will run out of ideas once you reach a place of self-acceptance.
Some artists create their best work when they are in healthy, stable relationships because they have less distractions from their work. They are able to devote all of their free time to their craft because they are not dealing with unnecessary drama. Their mind is not cluttered with worries. When they are working, they are fully engaged with the task at hand. They are able to immerse themselves in their art.
When you reach a place of calm acceptance, it will be easier to concentrate for long periods of time. It will be easier to avoid picking up the phone and scrolling through social media. It will be easier to get focused and stay focused on whatever you are working on.
When you feel yourself slipping back into bad habits, you have to remind yourself you entered a creative industry because it was what you loved to do. You chose to follow your passion. You chose to listen to your heart. You should not ruin your fun by assuming you need to be depressed in order to create something great. Draw from your happiness the same way you used to draw from your misery.
If you cannot imagine creating something positive, something cheery, then try reaching back into the past, back to a time when you were unhappy. You are allowed to draw from old experiences. Just because you are in a good place now does not mean your history has been invalidated. Even when you are in a happy relationship, you will remember what heartache felt like. Even when you make a name for yourself, you will remember what failure felt like. When you run out of dark thoughts to explore, you can finally focus on exploring the good ones.
It’s dangerous to think of happiness as a curse. When you make a living from your art, you have to learn how to create in any mood, in any circumstance. You have to learn how to channel your positive thoughts into art the same way you channel the dark ones.
Even though starving artists are admired by some for their sacrifices, don’t fool yourself into believing their way is the only way. You are allowed to enter a healthy, happy relationship filled with love and respect. You are allowed to save money for an apartment where you feel safe and secure. You are allowed to take care of your mental and physical health without worrying about what repercussions it will have on your career. Pain doesn’t have to precede great art. Suffering is not a necessary component to being creative.
You might create your best work when you are in the most exciting stages of your life. You might be able to come up with brilliant ideas at a much quicker pace when you are relaxed, when you are composed, when you are in a healthy state of mind. You might be surprised at how much more creative you are when you are really, truly happy.