My friends love to laugh at me when I say that deep down, I'm kinda shy. When I was a kid, I could only manage one friend at a time, and that didn't change until I became a teenager and more comfortable with myself in groups of people. What I discovered as a teenager is that having good friends who are going through what you are going through can get you through anything, including being a teenager.
A lot of people rely on their families for support-- spouse, siblings, parents-- and I think families are good for a certain kind of support, the unconditional "you-are-so-talented-everything-you-make-is-beautiful" kind. And that's great, we all need some of that. But colleagues who share your field understand on a deeper level what you are experiencing, and can give you more specific support. This is essential in order to not lose your freaking mind when you are trying to run your art-based business.
Forget the myth of the lone artist. The truth is, we all need lots of support from various sources on a steady and ongoing basis. Every artist should have a go-to person for:
- times you are so overwhelmed with work that jumping off a bridge seems easier than finishing all the stuff you have to do.
- nightmare customers who are making you lose sleep at night.
- creative block.
- money flow problems.
- production snafus, like not getting the supplies you need in the time frame you need them.
If you don't have a network in place already, get it in place. When I moved to the Bay Area, I started an art group of people who wanted to become professional artists, and I made great connections that way. If a shy person like me can do that, you can too.