Thursday, 24 May 2018

When it all goes quiet

Working as an artist has it's highs and lows; sometimes it feels like a breeze, and at other times it can feel like climbing a mountain, fraught with obstacles and challenges.  When it's going well I am inclined to coast along on cloud nine, enjoying the flurry of sign ups to my Art Letters, the sudden, and magnificent reach of a post on Facebook, the shares and the likes, and the sales...yes, when it's in the flow it's a wonderful feeling and worth all the hard work and effort invested.

But the lulls, the quiet times, and the absolute tumbleweed times...those are harder to navigate.

Showing up in the world as an artist (or indeed, any kind of creative soul) is a vulnerable process,  and sharing our work with others can leave us feeling exposed and often at the mercy of validation.  When the kind comments and likes are coming in, it feels great.  We want people to see what we are doing and to cheer us on, and when we don't get the interaction it can feel so demoralising.  We can't understand why it didn't work out, or what went wrong.

But what do we do when it all goes quiet?

This month things have gone quiet, and I'm not going to lie, it can make me feel incredibly nervous at times.  I noticed a recent post by Just a Card saying something very similar, and so, although it's easy to feel like it's a personal thing and you're the only one it's happening too, rest assured it's probably not.
There are fluctuations in the market all the time which can account for these random periods of quiet.  Sometimes there is no obvious reason for why sales slow down and nobody sees your posts on Social Media.  The silence can often feel scary and never ending but I want to urge you to keep going.  Don't give up.

Keep going.

Use this time to plan out some engaging marketing - share your beautiful art, ask your customers questions, send your emails. 

When things slow down for me it makes me work even harder.  Behind the scenes I am beetling away on marketing posts and dreaming up engaging content.  I will sometimes go to a coffee shop with a journal and work out how I can keep my business going - I'll create a list of ideas, what new services could I offer my customers? What new products might they enjoy?  And if you don't know - ask them!  People love to be involved, and who knows, their responses could be the beginning of a brand new product or path for you to follow!

It could be that your latest creation just didn't hit the mark.  It happens.  In this case, and if you sense this is the reason why (and you'll intuitively know) then dust yourself off and start afresh.  Take some time to allow yourself to feel inspired.  Have a browse on Pinterest, look in magazines and see what catches your eye, maybe grab a sketch journal and see what evolves.  Go slowly and let things unfold naturally, inspiration cannot be forced or happen on demand. 

Talk to fellow creatives.  

I am so lucky that I have a fab bunch of women who I've connected with online and become good friends with, and we often chat, sharing our worries and our successes.  Again, talking things through can be really helpful, they may be feeling the same way as you!  Conversations with like minded souls can sometimes lead to fresh inspiration, a boost of enthusiasm or simply just a chance to share your concerns and be heard.

As well as doing this, I paint.  When the ideas come I get them onto wood or canvas and I share my process and keep myself in the loop.  I keep going. 

Remind yourself that everything is temporary, and things are always changing.  Keep yourself present, keep yourself positive, and focus on what you love.  Keep going, bravely showing up and sharing what you do.


  1. I am a florist working solo and sympathise with your worries. Here too it is very quiet and I find it so difficult to be motivated when I don't see any immediate return. I have plenty of ideas and tasks to do but have to continually kick myself up the bottom to keep the momentum. I agree that you need to be inspired by what else is going on in the creative world.( I've been viewing Chelsea competition work) Hopefully it will pass and will be stressed with too much work!!

    1. Thanks so much for your reply, and I'm sorry you're having a quiet spell yourself, I understand how scary it can feel at times but you're doing all the right things - keep yourself inspired and believe it will turn around. Lots of luck xxx

  2. I find it easier to be creative during quiet times, but it can be a struggle not to worry during those times as well.

  3. I think that's a very true statement. The quiet does give us space to explore new ideas and get on with things doesn't it? Thanks for your comment xxx

  4. I often miss the social media posts. I am still in e-mail mode, so I look forward to the newsletters and every so often I click the old bookmark to your blog and use the link to hop over to the new site. I also enjoy browsing your shop and I am very happy with the cards I purchased. I gave some away to people who would understand how special they are, and I kept a set for myself. I've been wanting some of your art for years. I would enjoy watching some of your videos, but I am not sure where to find them.

    I work in scholarly publishing (monthly science journals) and we have lulls too. One month can be chock full and another month not so much---especially when universities are on break or when our European authors are on summer hiatus. Alexine in Maryland

    1. Hello Alexine, thanks so much for your comment. I was delighted to read about how much you liked your cards, thank you! I have only ever put one video on you tube (a studio tour, only short, and it’s under my name) but I’m hoping to start filming tutorials very soon. Sending best wishes, Julia xxx