After several discussions recently with artist friends, I have come to realize that the most important thing an artist can do is show up, every day, in the studio, and work.
Easier said than done.
Sometimes it's pretty easy. Go into the studio, paint. But then there are those other times. Those times when you question absolutely everything you are doing, and you think there can be absolutely no benefit to society in this endeavor that is painting. I am alone, painting one picture after another, agonizing over some, effortlessly revealing others.
It is at such times - those times of doubt, when one must find other creative people who are doing what we are doing, or have done what we are doing. They can reassure.
You can listen to a great piece of music. Your soul is lifted. You can visit a museum. You are awe-struck. You can watch a great dancer/ice skater/actor. You are transported. You can read a poem or book where something really speaks to you, almost as though it were written for you alone. Then, you are reminded that yes, there is a benefit in creative endeavors. Others are changed by what you may do, if not by something you do today, then by something you do one day.
For all of my creative friends (which is almost all of you, whether or not you admit it): keep on, keepin' on!
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is or how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open”
(Martha Graham was considered the "Picasso of modern dance." You can read more about her here.)