"I can't even draw a straight line." Who hasn't heard this. As an artist I can't either, as a drafter I used a ruler or AutoCad. That's just drama, the real suffering when you are used to one environment and then it changes. You are full of learning and practising, and reference material, you want to create something all your own. You have to forget it all until it is needed at the point of doing it. How do you hush all the voices planning and telling you what to do every step and every stroke. "I can't hear myself", you yell at everybody and everything.
Many resort to mind bending substances or a job in production art or not in art at all. I was surrounded by folks who had no relationship with the art world, and no idea that I was interested in that world. That casual social steering via acquaintances is like quicksand. Even the geeks know to hang with the geeks to maintain the geek life. Artist are feeling people, tend to get too close, too accessible. Artist at least visual ones like drawers, painters are solo performers. How the heck do you put away your social network long enough to go into your artistic process to make your mark.
I am learning to work amid interruptions, constant changes and endless suggestions (help). There is nothing like sweating for years at something and getting aid from ones who only want to say they helped you. I am being selfish I've been told. I now know the utility of cursing. My art, while in the process of my doing it, is my personal space, tread lightly, tread very lightly. Art is an enlarged personal space for the artist. When it is done, then he invites his audience to share, not before then.
Which brings me to critics and folks who need an explanation. "I would have done it different!", "What is it?" They force you to lie. A line of bull goes a long way. Gee, if I wrote down all the stories, it be a great book next to the bed stand. If you do realistic stuff, understandable stuff it's just "hum", "huh" and "aah!" The more symbolic or abstract, the more a good yarn is required. Do you personify the fib you are tell them, are you that deep, that shallow (I am shallow but vast, a very wide dude)? "You told me it was like this and now you say it's like that!" Hey, I am the artist and telling the lie of what it is is also art. I told you what you wanted to hear at the time I told you, for them it's different.
It's not all so harsh, sometimes it is all amusing the interactions of artist and audience. This is why we of the artistic bent need to get away, then come back, then go away again. The light changes, the people are varied, the times different.
After a good while, you know your own voice, you can use your training to extend your talents, you have a sense of people, not bothered by working alone or with another or taking an occasional help of a tagger. I laugh, an old guy just beginning to see all this 'an artist must suffer'. It is a lie and it is true too.