For a few good weeks in April, I was consistently posting and putting art out on Instagram. The likes were coming in, and the comments too. And it felt nice. But I didn’t feel like I was improving.
This month on Instagram has looked very different. I haven’t been posting as much. And the reason is that I’ve come to realise just how early I am in my illustration and art career. I’m in an artistic career change.
Up until December of last year, I’d been working for six years as a software/web developer and have all that experience in that field behind me. And prior to that, I’d studied engineering subjects for five years. That’s a total of eleven years of software and development experience. Imagine if I’d invested all of that time into art…
Now, when I try to post on Instagram. I have to stop thinking that I’m an artist with eleven years of experience behind me. And I have to stop thinking I can produce at that level. I’m not a senior developer walking into a developer interview. I’m a hobbyist artist competing with wonderful artists who have that eleven-years experience of art study and work. I’m a junior in an Instagram sea of professionals and seasoned veterans.
I’m in the middle of an artistic career change.
So why should I be so hard on myself with social media?
And that’s my relationship with social media right now. It’s wonderful that I can reach so many people and be discovered. But on the flip side, it’s dangerous to think that I can keep up the pace and not get burnt out. I’m still very much learning and upskilling my art. I’m catching up on the years that I didn’t otherwise get to study. And anyone going through an artistic or whatever career change should give themselves that space to learn and readjust too.
Not saying I’m not grateful or appreciate my years doing software. I can always go back to it if I’m in a financial pinch. And I’ll still have those skills and that professional experience in project management and teamwork. But a career change means starting fresh. And so I must remind myself that my knowledge base is still very much at a junior entry level, even if I sometimes feel like I should be further ahead than where I am.
My point is this. I’ll still share on social media, because sharing is fun. But I no longer will be trying to keep up a daily posting pace. And I especially won’t be paying attention to the likes or the follows, hoping they go up.
The more I learn, the better I get. And the better I get, the more value I’ll be able to put out into the world.
I can make professional work too. But not at a daily pace. I’m giving myself patience while I’m early in this artistic career change. And that will pay dividends in the future.