Every artist is in the process of ascending a mountain. At the peak is their vision. The peak keeps getting higher and higher but that’s ok because the more you climb, the closer you get to it and the better your art gets. The only way up the mountain is through work. Making art: that’s the only way.
Along the way up, there are demerits and credits that are the world’s reactions to your work. The former are your failures which give the sense you’re sliding down the mountain, reverting your progress. The latter are your successes, which give you the sense that you’re climbing it faster. In reality, neither is true, and the result of negotiating either only affects the work in the slightest, most superficial manner.
The real work happens independently from all this and it arises from ideas. Ideas are not the same as thoughts. Thoughts have no meaning in and of themselves. They are fickle. They come and go. They make us happy or sad or whatever. But they don’t plant roots.
Ideas are pure consciousness. They are the powerful ether that we cannot hold but merely excavate and witness; ideas don’t belong to us, and we feel that. Only when you carve with this pure ideational manna are you doing the work, and continuing your climb. Nothing else matters.