We chatted yesterday about giving up, and that can be a hard thing, but some times choosing to keep going can be even harder. When most people choose to keep going, they don't just choose it once, they find themselves having to choose it over and over and over again.
During my senior year of college, one of my art professors brought in a professional photographer in to speak to us about the challenges we might expect once we graduate and get out into the world. By loading our schedules with art classes, she explained, we are pretty certain to maintain a steady art practice. We'll be in the art building and studio all time. We'll have homework and projects to complete. Our practice is secure.
But out in the world, we'll experience even more things competing for our attention. We'll have the pressure to make money and will need to prioritize that for our survival. We'll get married and have families. So many things will happen and it will be easy to put our art practice to a side.
Then she said, "You're going to have to choose your art every single day."
I didn't believe her until I found myself working a corporate job, too exhausted in the evenings to even pick up a sketchbook, and completely miserable. It slowly dawned on me that I had stopped choosing my art. I chose other things. I chose sleep and tv. I chose to work the corporate job. I chose good things like chores and errands. But I did not choose my art until it came to a point that I was so miserable about not creating art that something had to change.
Then, one day, I did choose art.
I wasn't consistent in my choosing art. Some days I chose it and other days I didn't. However, slowly, I chose my art more days than I didn't.
So, to keep going, you just have to keep choosing it. Remind yourself why it's important to you. Remind yourself how fulfilled and happy it makes you. Remind yourself of whatever you need to until choosing it becomes automatic. That's how you keep going.