A survival Guide For The Creative Mind

Being a professional artist comes with its fair share of challenges so – through trial and a lot of error – I came up with a basic survival guide on navigating the creative life without going bonkers.

Value yourself

Get a sense of your own value and the value of what you do and can create. When you express yourself authentically, you are unique and that is  priceless.


We’ve all seen those infamous rejection letters received by artists before they became household names. People joke that those execs and decision makers must regret turning them away. But it’s possible that rejection caused those artists to go back, review their work and improve it. So, rather than being the enemy, rejection may be the fuel that makes us better, so embrace it. It can be our friend.

Review your early work

This is a great way to chart your progress. If you look back at your earlier efforts, hopefully, you’ll now see how much you have improved.


Comparing yourself to anyone else is pointless. They are on their own path and have their own luck, rejections and successes to work through. Comparison to others will only welcome resentment and jealousy. Instead, simply aim to be the best version of yourself. 

Chart your progress

One of the biggest pitfalls is listening to that voice of doubt in your head which spews negative feedback. One method that helped me combat this negativity was charting my progress on a spreadsheet. Seriously! Down one side, I had things like exercise, opportunities, income, across the top, the date. Everyday, I graded each area, using a colour code. One glance at the chart reassured me that I was progressing even if the doubts in my mind told me otherwise.

Treat it like business

You are the CEO of a very important company. Your artistry is the product and you are the boss and what boss spends all day on an Instagram, Facebook loop. Furthermore, flair, individuality and fun needn’t be compromised by bringing order, professionalism and process to what you do – in fact it should help create space for you to flourish. 


A successful career won’t fall into your lap without a strong work ethic. Realising your goals requires discipline (I sound like the dance teacher at the start of Fame). We get out what we put in so to craft the career we desire we need to put our heart and soul into it.


Make sure you rest. Even if you love what you do, rest is important. In fact, it’s part of the process. Go for a walk; have a day out or binge watch your fave show. Allow your brain to have space away from your career. This has all kinds of restorative benefits – and the best bit? It allows inspiration in.

Trust your gut

Trust your gut on your choices, on what your next move is, if you need to stop, change lanes, seek help, look for answers, knuckle down or even take a break.

And if you need help learning to distinguish when you’re being steered by your gut or the fearful noises in your brain, seek coaching, therapy, incorporate a daily spiritual practice or perhaps a good podcast on creativity can help (Yes, a shameless plug). All this can provide the space for you to listen to your inner compass. 

Let it go

We chose an artist’s life because we believe it will bring us pleasure so let go and simply do what makes you happy, every day. Do this and as the saying goes, you’ll never work a day in your life.  “But what about my goals?” I hear you say. 

Of course you have dreams, goals and tasks but when our happiness becomes tied to achieving those things it can mean we’re only happy when we’re achieving and that can be a trap. 

Creative Sauce Podcast

Instead, by getting happy, we magnetise the things we desire to us. Remember, the moment we visualise our desires, they’re out there simply waiting for us to call them forth into the material world. How? By using your artist’s survival kit.

Grow, love, flow. And come join the creatives’ convo over @creativesaucepod!

First published May 2014

My debut novel, Asking For A Friend is out now – order from WHSmith, Amazon, Waterstones or support your local bookshop at Bookshop UK

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