Re: Izzy H: Depression is no place to live & happiness isn't something one achieves. Take a step back & think about the good in your life. Think about the bad. If you begin to compare, that's where the problem starts. There are people who have countless problems or things that some might consider monumentally burdening, but as long as they have their certain things (kids, family, hobbies), they're able to overcome all the bad, no matter how disastrous. It can be so hard to just focus on the good, but that isn't what's right. Think about the good. Think about the bad. It isn't fair to force yourself to feel one or the other. You've locked yourself in the house that is depression, but that's not your home, and you have the key. Consider all things.
Re: Brandi R: There are many ways you can exhibit your work. One way is to gather a bunch of friends or other local artists and make your own show with everyone's artwork. You can do this by literally hanging up your art inside someone's house (maybe it's an option to rent a place that'll let you hang work on the walls), then create a Facebook event to invite people there, and post flyers around your city to advertise. Voila! You've got your own DIY exhibit.
You can also have luck going as a group to a gallery and inquire about having a show there.
You can inquire at your local coffee shop, as long as they put up artist's work, to see if they'd be interested in hanging your work for a little while.
You can follow galleries on social media to see when they're asking for work submissions.
Also there are often plenty of opportunities to submit your work online for web or print magazines.
Keep in mind most of these situations are going to cost you some money and you're not guaranteed to be selected—worth a shot though!
When is it a good time to express your negative feelings without bumming the other person out… and how can I not bum THEM OUT?
Re: Brandi R: First of all, it's lovely that you're expressing consideration for the other person involved; however, it's important to realize that it's just as important for them to show you the same consideration. It's healthy to express your negative feelings. We've all got them. And we need to start feeling comfortable in expressing that. Find those people you feel comfortable with to express yourself. If they're uncomfortable with you then I guarantee you'll find someone else who is. Don't feel bad if they didn't respond well to your negative feelings because at least you put yourself out there. You can then say you've been vulnerable which is something a lot of people are lacking. We all need to get better at honestly expressing ourselves. No guilt. It's important we let ourselves feel things and sometimes other's feelings are going to impact us, but that's good because it means they're empathetic. We all need to be providing places where we can feel open to expressing our feelings both positive and negative.
Re: Izzy H: I think the chances of the other person not even feeling the slightest bit the same are slim. Unless you are being completely normal and have not expressed any concern, it shouldn't be hard to convey how you feel to this person. The hardest part will always be "letting them down easy." In this case, if it's just a friend that you feel you've had a falling out with, or don't appreciate something they did, then it's slightly easier. It's simple. Be honest. Everybody appreciates honesty. Don't drag it out & definitely don't make it more than it has to be. Odds are, it'll relieve a lot of the pent up tension and hopefully you and this person can resolve things.
Re: Brandi R: Thankfully we live in a time where networking has become easier than ever due to social media; however, that can also make it more daunting—don't let that hinder you. If you are currently taking any art classes then start by talking to other students in your class. Even art teachers can be helpful to get to know. You never know who could recommend your talents for something or who can help your work get to where you want it to be. And it's easiest to start with those consistently around you. If you're not in school for art, you can seek networking opportunities by going to art events such as: opening exhibit receptions and art festivals. At these places you may have other local artists, curators, other members of society, etc. to network with. And if you don't feel comfortable immediately going up and talking to people then look towards social media. Obviously, the best option is to look towards instagram considering it's abundance in people posting their art. Look up, follow, comment, and direct message local artists in your area or other artists you admire. Get a conversation going. You could even see if they'd be willing to do work on an artsy collaboration because that could help you grow as an artist, but also it could reach new viewers. Submitting your work to other online zines or magazines—just like this here, Pinstripe Zine—to get your work out into the world is another great way to explore networking opportunities with other like-minded individuals. Basically, put yourself out there and keep trying!
Re: Izzy H: Just like you did here; reaching out is the best way. Send messages to people who HAVE figured it out, and ask them. Be humble and respectful, always. It's ok for other people to be better at something. With clients, maybe start close. Reach out to family & friends and people that you know support you and can help spread your brand or your name. Local zines and scenes are another good place to not only put yourself and your work out there, but to connect and make friends as well as potential connections with other people. See if there are local fundraisers or festivals that you could set up shop at. The world is there, you've just got to get it.
Re: Zee: This is a tough one. As someone who struggles with depression and other issues, this is something I also regularly deal with. What I’ve learned through therapy and through my own experience - is that you can’t control how you feel, but you can control how you act in response to those feelings. When you wake up feeling shitty, you don’t have to let that determine the rest of your day. Maybe try some morning meditation! I’ve found the app Insight Timer to be really helpful. They have thousands of different meditations just to listen to to start the day. Try looking up “self love” or “sadness”, and a list of guided meditations will come up. Another way to combat this would be to create a happy morning playlist. As you get ready for your day, listen to a playlist of energizing and happy songs. Showering in the morning has also been proven to help productivity and energy levels.
I’m really sorry you are feeling this way, but I promise it won’t last forever. If these suggestions don’t work after you’ve tried them for a while, I would suggest talking to a therapist.
Re: Tiphanie W: I struggle with this myself sometimes. Something I make it a goal to do is watch what I eat and consume before bed! This is not just food but the type of media you consume as well. Other than eating hours before going to bed and making sure I have plenty of water and fresh foods. Try listening to meditative music before bed or while you sleep. I found an amazing hypnosis track a few months ago that actually wasn't fluff and rather I was hypnotized or not it was amazing ASMR for me to fall into a deep sleep and feeling refreshed once I woke up.
Re: Leilani J: Without giving you a set description of how-to’s or a rigid morning routine (which can seem far more overwhelmingly specific or completely arbitrary), the following answer is more of a letter about how to find what works best for you. This could be the start of a series of questions, but by no means will it turn into a magazine-quiz-series of yes/no questions tracing down to one of three possibilities at the bottom of the page. Your specific raison d’etre may be totally different from the next person’s. Your practice may differ completely from someone who *seems* to have nailed the whole up-and-at-’em experience, and may even differ on a day to day basis.
Do you find your body responds best to waking up early? How early? One may feel emboldened by a surge of productivity at 5am, and another may find this is simply not conducive to their schedule of life/work/sleep/family/friends--all valid factors! Waking up early, of course, goes hand in hand with a good 7-9 hours of sleep. Once you find a rhythm conducive to that routine, try to commit and set that kind of consistency in motion for your body. When you wake up, you might find it helpful to drink a cold cup of water or set your metabolism in motion with a cup of your favorite tea.
However, if you are just starting out, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to embody. The hypothetically perfect morning person. Too many goals at once can quickly become overwhelming; take it one step at a time. No goal is too small, and these steps are part of a lifestyle: ease into it, find your comfort, and the process will align into your routines naturally. If you’re used to 3-4 hours a night, perhaps shoot for at least 6, or develop a habit of being in bed by 10:30 every night. Getting enough sleep is a fundamental part of preparing to get out of bed in the morning, well-rested and fully-equipped.
How do you usually begin your day? Reflectiveness can support more intentional decisions moving forward. Earlier this year, I would make a grab for my phone every morning. *Cue twenty minute IG scrolling rituals and comparison* One of my first challenges was to not routinely open Instagram first thing in the morning. I developed a substitute. What else can you occupy yourself with. It can be helpful to take a few moments and determine positive intentions for the day/reflect on what you’re grateful for to root your mindset in a positive and capable place. This positivity and humility anchors an attitude of strong intentions for the day, short and long-term goals. Perhaps you find it most productive to verbalize these thoughts, or write in a journal other days.
Besides becoming more attentive to emotional health and sleep, how do other parts of your physical health throughout the day weigh in? If you have time set aside for exercise, do you schedule a routine before bed/after waking up? Perhaps it could help to set your gym clothes/headphones/exercise mat aside in advance, and make your bed/”tidy up” so that you have a clear space for a clear mind to return/wake up to. Following through on these small “chores” can really allow you to actively participate and challenge a creeping attitude of passivity.
Developing a routine might take time as you learn what works best for you, but making decisions that allow you to navigate some of the day’s first major decisions can allow you to structure your days with a stronger momentum and defined purpose.
Re: Zee: When something no longer serves you and no longer brings you happiness, it’s most likely time to leave. If you have a gut feeling about this, go for it! If this job is your only source of income though, it can ease the transition by finding another job before you quit the one you have. Remember, you can still maintain your work relationships and keep friends, even if you no longer work at the same place.
Re: Brandi R: If you're asking yourself this question, then chances are you should move on from the job. You must not be fully content in your job situation to be questioning it. Although things aren't always that easy. It's good to think things through—try to answering these questions...
"Is this job benefiting me in anyway?" If yes, then try to put a value on how beneficial it is. You could also re-phrase this by asking if this job can help you grow in some way.
"Does this job make me feel better or worse?" If it makes you feel worse, likely not a good situation to stay in. Although sometimes you have to stick through a difficult job situation.
"Do I need this job to be financially stable?" If yes, then ask yourself, "Can I get another job pronto to stay financially stable?" If you can, then move on. It's usually smart to have another job lined up before moving on.
Short answer—make a pros and cons lists whether keeping the job is worth more than moving on. Best of luck!
Re: Izzy H: The ideal situation would be to have another job already ready. Depending on your situation though, it is hard to say. If you feel mistreated, there is no shame in putting your 2 weeks in, immediately. If you're just bored with it, ask yourself why, and if you can't fix it or it doesn't/can't get better, tough it out while you look for another job. If you want to just not work, then that is up to you. If you are able to not work & still be able to live, just without a little extra money, then kudos to you. You do that if it is what you desire. Just make sure that whatever your situation is, your decisions are thought out and prepared for because the future is imminent & a job may be necessary one day.
Re: Lucas N: I have been a screenwriter and a working freelance writer for a few years. I've come to detest the term 'writer's block'. Honestly, any kind of creative block is just imaginary, it's all in your head. I've talked to a few aspiring screenwriters who have told me they struggle to finish their screenplay because of writers block. I feel that my default mode of working is writers block, when I have a burst of creativity and just write and write for hours, I consider that phase a patch of good luck. The only way to overcome it is to just keep writing, no matter how tiring and draining it may feel. Your brain has no shortage of good ideas, so just keep going and don't stop until you're satisfied with the work you're done. If you wait around until your mind compels you to get to work on your writing, it'll take you far too long to finish a project.
Re: Leilani J: My first semester as a Writing Fellow in English 101 at my university, I wrote a “Digital Literacy Narrative” elaborating on my creative process and how I’ve coped with creative ruts and expressiveness when I feel fearful of sharing--I’ve included a shortened version of that reflection here, and really hope it helps. All in all, your creative process is your own, and it can be most helpful sometimes to take a deep breath and just jump from that diving board:
In the first few pages of The White Album, Joan Didion stresses storytelling as a human inclination. People assign meaning to the disparate and collective events that they then call life and assign meaning to. We do it “in order to live;” “We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices…” For five years through the late sixties and early seventies, she began to doubt the weight of those narratives.
When someone creates something, they allow themselves the space to reflect and say something, sometimes without words, sometimes without speaking. The sound of our own voice can feel off-putting sometimes, or messy, or confused, just not matching up with the perceived eloquence or cool of a favorite writer. Attempts can feel more forced than powerfully iconoclastic.
In the process of making anything, there can certainly be a lot of fear. According to the NY Times, “81% of Americans feel they have a book in them -- and that they should write it.” Now, much like the author of this article, I am not suggesting that every person should try to write a book, but I do believe that we all have something to say, on whatever scale. Whether or not it is important is for the audience to decide, but that actual act of sharing--of storytelling, of capturing life soon enough to save the changing photograph of memory from warping--is a valuable act of preservation. Our creations are no testament of the totality of our being, I know that. In an old journal from tenth grade, I write, after a moment of slow-hitting shock, Will anything I ever create ever be 100% reflective of myself?
Aside from a short script (the existence of which collaborative work motivated), I haven’t written anything in a long time. I’ve been listening to a lot of American humorist Fran Lebowitz, a self-proclaimed writer who doesn’t write. She is afraid. She has had many a past success and much praise; she quips that if you are a writer with a compulsion to write, don’t worry, just take out a book and read, it’ll pass.
My first note to you is a confession: I have not written anything for myself in months. This was so the summer after junior year, too, a grueling three months of I have to write/draw/make something, haunted by the instructional phrase Writer’s write a clerk repeated to me at an antique store counter years before. It doesn’t escape me. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I abandon the art world altogether--even at my “lowest” points, my smallest attempts at creativity, I construct mood boards of collected images and blog. I don’t usually say I do, as it feels like a rather detached attempt at creativity, at a lack of much creation.
I can’t recall who said it, but the words were roughly: Art doesn’t imitate/come from art. Art comes from life. For much of my childhood, however, my freedoms were limited. My parents were quite strict; I never had friends over, we seldom travelled. Probably as it goes in many childhoods, most of my life was centered around home, school, and church. Art and books and eventually films were my self-curated escapes, often excusable indulgences my parents weren’t bothered by. In high school, I eventually decided to take a fiction-sabbatical and read purely non-fiction: on David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Matisse--all those hyper-commercialized names of the great exclusive art world. If this is what success meant--even if not every artist intends to find a traditional form of success through fame or immediate cultural reception--my journey was a how-to guide for thinking like an artist, for becoming so absolved in art that it could become a way of living. I started a journal, a catalogue of everything that meant anything to me: playlists, collages from the National Geographic and thrifted magazines, quotes, book recommendations of my favorite creatives, lyrics.
Journals are not survival guides because we can exist without them, but they offer a kind of raison-d’etre sustenance that can empower us to think and live differently. In an attempt to understand the means of Stephen King’s success, I drank up his memoir On Writing, whereupon I stopped journaling because King said he never logged ideas (a good idea will stick, he said, that’s how he wrote all of his books). So, trust the process, I followed this bestseller lead. However, although King doesn’t log his ideas, he still writes every single day, so it isn't that he isn’t sticking to his craft intensely, or putting forth less work than other writers. My intensity, I discovered, manifests in journaling; its what my creative process looks like. Of course, it’s tempting to stay in that space of inspiration, forever cocooned in the eventual promise of, I’m almost there, I’ve been feeling very inspired lately, I’m sure I’ll write something soon. It can be nauseatingly difficult to motivate enthusiasm for the work, an excited determination. We all have different ways of externalizing, and there are many unlike my own, but we are all attempting the same thing: to become better writers, to hone the craft. I’m interested in the things that facilitate creative energy, and am always interested in learning about different sources of inspiration, and sometimes suggesting a few I’m familiar with. There is no one right way. My process is lengthy and hard-laboured; if it’s not my best work, I’m wasting time. It’s not surprising to see unmotivated writers, as institutionalized approaches can be jading. Not everyone is “meant” to be a writer, but that doesn’t mean we don’t each have a story to tell/something to say. We don’t have bestsellers just because people string together pretty words and sentences, but because the human experience must be validated and challenged and allow us to connect with each other. Allowing a space to exercise that voice is intrinsic to validating one’s experience as a person, especially contextually.
My biggest fear, I communicated recently to a friend, is saying something that’s already been said. Something cliché. A friend recently countered that experiences are valid; what’s important is that it means something to you, and if you arrived at that point independently, your perspective isn’t any less valid. I often fear that my work will speak negatively on who I am as a person, and so the level of responsibility and accountability with which I approach my work is often intense. Language is powerful, and, in that way, empowering. Writer or not, everyone has a voice. To reiterate, allowing a space to exercise that voice is intrinsic to validating one’s experience as a person, especially contextually. The kind of practice the studio [ENG 101] offers requires me to be very intentional about how I converse with others and open to understanding that their unique experiences have prepared them for “this” statement, and the getting-there part may be inconclusive as of--which is ok!--one which is constantly developed and refined. As romanticized the idea of the writer holed up and hungry in a small apartment suffering for his/her work, no writer writes alone. We can all get there, but we find ourselves needing a second and a third and a fourth opinion and an audience, each other, so we do it collectively.
Re: Lucas N: Quite honestly, the only way to book shows is to start off small and go bigger at a reasonable rate. Some bands try to start off big and bombastic then get into a situation they're not quite ready for. Play an open mic, play a bar, play a mall, and get a feel for putting on a show and how to work with venues. After that you can start booking at legitimate venues, get your friends to go, eventually you will amass a fanbase then can book for bigger crowds. One thing that's important to remember is that once you start playing bigger shows, you should still book smaller gigs in between. This summer my band opened for Blondie at a big theater in LA and the night after we played two shows, one in a friends backyard and the other for a friends private birthday party. This keeps you playing constantly and keeps your performance skills sharp, but also makes more people aware of your presence. If you just play big shows you won't be playing as often, and it will actually make it harder for you to get your name out there.
Re: Nicholas B. (Permission To Fly): Three things: For one, have *good* music, an *engaging* performance, and be *good* people after shows. Do more than your part to make the show go well and get the crowd going when you're watching. It helps to clean up after as well. Second, If you genuinely enjoy music, going to shows, and playing; Put on your own shows! I have dropped about $1000 on equipment now, but I started with just $300. When you put on these shows, don't prioritize your own band. Bring in other bands and make friends with them. Finally, follow people who put on shows, other bands, and venues on social media. Be cordial and funny in the comments section. Social media is the new town square where everyone is talking. The thing is that everyone is talking but hardly anyone is listening. So... when those people post, have stories and you think the posts and stories are genuinely funny, tell them and keep that funny energy up! It's like a preview for when you come and be #1 in person. Don't comment just "yuh" or "yeet". Unless the context is established where you don't need to prove your cordiality and can easily joke around. But if not, put authenticity and effort into appreciating what those people are saying. People like being listened to.