Allow Yourself The Same Patience You Would A Baby

I don’t recall who it was that provided the link. I want to credit Maria Popova at Brain Pickings because this is the sort of thing that appears there.

But someone directed me to Stephen McCraine’s Doodle Alley web comic. Specifically his Be Friends With Failure comic that urges beginning artists to have patience with their self and to realize that the process of developing their skill is going to be fraught with mistakes and missteps.

In many ways, it is similar to Ira Glass’ talk about the gap between your creative taste and your ability to execute it I wrote on last year.

I really liked the whole  Be Friends With Failure strip, but the frames that got me were these:

you faildont treat self like baby

McCraine has his strips indexed by general topics of advice for artists like setting goals, improving and motivating yourself. It appears he finished his series last month. There are about 25 strips so it is easy to get through them all in a relatively short time. He tackles some interesting concepts like “Practice Does Not Make Perfect” , “Know Your Artistic Lineage,” “Diversify Your Study,” and “You vs. You.

The answers to all your problems aren’t going to be encapsulated in a short web strip, but I think the medium and execution are an effective shorthand reminder to help steer yourself back on track. You may not have the time or inclination to pick up a text that discusses these concepts, but I think the format is such that you would more quickly return to it for a little boost of motivation.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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