There’s a lot of advice available to artists on how to have a successful career. At the core of most of this material there are a few things an artist needs to know.
1. Art should be one’s main pursuit. If that’s the case, everything else will be in support of art making. You don’t want your art taking on a secondary role. This includes lifestyle activities, second careers, day jobs and hobbies. One should even consider the effects of raising a family on an art career—at least the career should be off and running first. Too often, since the art career is very slow in developing, an artist pushes it to the back burner and lets more immediate needs take precedence.
2. Find people who have a vested interest in your success. It is almost impossible to grow a career without third-party validation. These people will help an artist as the artist helps himself/herself. One can’t do this alone.
3. Work on numbers 1 and 2 above without worrying about money. Money will follow as one moves forward on step 2.
If these three things are distasteful to an artist or in any way cause conflict to how an artist is living, then that artist is not a professional. He/she is an amateur and there is nothing wrong with being an amateur. It does not mean being a novice. With that said, living a well rounded life where art making is not a major activity is still honorable and can be rewarding…but there definitely is a difference between an amateur and a professional.