Being an artist is difficult business. As I mentioned in my blog last week, you're constantly putting yourself on the line. Your work is a part of you, and sending it out to be judged by others is exhausting.
As such, I constantly struggle with how to sustain the energy necessary to keep soldiering on. Starting and running a business (or--in my megalomaniacal aspirations--a design empire) requires a constant input of energy and time because you always have to be thinking about the next step. Working in a corporate job has its own set of emotional drains and problems, but there is an odd comfort in knowing where you're going to be each day and knowing what you're going to do. For those people who aren't threatened with lay-offs, you also can always count on your paycheck. Artists know that whether they can pay their rent or not depends on their ability to generate money off of their talent (which can be subject to arbitrary whims, as I also mentioned last week).
Something I realized not too long ago is that the easiest way to keep up all the energy to keep fighting is to find good people. Last year when I decided to redesign my life, I also purged all of the friends who didn't get what I was trying to do and who thought I was a bit of a weirdo. (I am, of course, but I shouldn't be judged for that!) These days, I surround myself with friends are supportive of what I'm doing, even if they're not artists. And they are my greatest resource--if I'm feeling anxious about a decision or feeling drained, they keep me motivated.
Any time you venture off the beaten path, it helps to have a few cheerleaders in your corner. Good friends will always be there as your personal pep rally. Don't waste time with nay-sayers. Chances are they're wrong, or they're trying to dismiss your dreams because they're too scared to follow theirs. And don't waste time talking to people who don't get what you're doing. Talking to people who don't understand art is a lot like talking to medieval peasants about the stock market--they're not going to get it. (As an aside, if you are doing that, you're totally wasting your time machine.)
Chain mail jewelry