Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American lecturer and poet wrote about individuality, freedom, and the ability for one to realize almost anything. Realize almost anything? How about realizing that, “Every artist was at first an amateur”? Emerson actually said this in one of his lectures.

Photo Courtesy of: Creative Commons

I feel like we are living in this time where everyone wants to be an artist, but know one wants to be an amateur. What’s up with that? What has happened to hard work, dedication, and perseverance? Have people turned into a bunch of sissies expecting everything is going to fall in their laps without some hardwork?

I think people need to get up off their anuses and realize that no one, and I mean no one, ever became an artist without first starting as an amateur. You are probably sick of hearing this, but here it is again, “You got to work to become an artist.”

Think of some of the greatest artists of all time like; Picasso or Michelangelo, do you think they didn’t put in the work to become known as some of the greatest artists of all time? Do you think they sat around waiting for a sliver spoon to be delivered on a platter? No way, they worked for it and so should you.

I think back to my amateur days racing motorcycles. I was broke, tired, male nutrition, and still going from race to race each weekend believing in something greater. I think I might have been crazy, but I believe if you want to be an artist you better be a bit crazy.

I remember traveling across the county, sleeping in vans, and selling the bonds that my Grandma had given me from the time I was born. I was passionate and willing to do whatever it took to accomplish my dreams, even if that meant not eating, not sleeping, and coming close to dying (One time I fell asleep at the wheel and drove of the highway in Texas). I know this was pretty dangerous and stupid looking back now.

If you want to be an artist you can, but first you have to start out as a pittley little amateur. Also, it is important that you understand what it means to be an amateur.

Here is what it means to be an entrepreneur:

1. Amateurs more often than not work for free or almost free.

2. Amateurs eat ramen noodles and sleep on the ground if they have too.

3. Amateurs travel thousands of miles just to be some where they need to be.

4. Amateurs dig ditches, pour concrete, and do crazy things to get the finances they need to keep going.

5. Amateurs sacrifice sleep, food, and pretty much everything for something they love and feel called to do.

6. Amateurs have no real playbook.

7. Amateurs are self motivated and self starters.

Every man, woman, or super hero, started out as an amateur. Being an amateur isn’t easy. In fact, it sucks pretty bad, but if you keep at it you can be the artist you always dreamed of.


Discussion Question: Where are you at? Are you an artist or an amateur?