Starving Artist No More Blog

044: Consistency is Hard

Nov 28, 2023
Starving Artist No More | Jennifer Jill Araya
044: Consistency is Hard

We’re getting toward the end of the year, when people employed in corporate jobs are completing their yearly self-assessments in preparation for performance reviews in early January. My husband, Arturo, who you heard from in last week’s episode, turned in his 2023 self-assessment last week, just before Thanksgiving. And yes, I am a self-employed creative entrepreneur, not an employee of a large company like he is, but I’m doing my own self-assessment right now, too: thinking about what went well over the past year, what didn’t go so well, and how I want to use that data to move forward with joy and creativity into 2024. As I’m thinking about those things and reviewing my own actions (and inactions) over the past year, I’m struck over and over again by one overarching theme: as a creative entrepreneur, consistency is necessary, but consistency is also hard. Today, we’re going to focus in on consistency in our creative work and figure out how we can be more consistent together.


Hello thriving artists, and welcome to the Starving Artist No More podcast. I’m creative entrepreneur and creative entrepreneurship coach Jennifer Jill Araya, and I’m so glad you’re here with me today! Right now, when this episode is originally releasing, it is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States, and I am still riding on the joyful high of good food and family and fun board games and listening to Christmas music. It’s been a good week for me, full of resting my spirit and reconnecting with the people who matter to me. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Before we dive into the main topic of today’s episode, I want to give you a quick reminder that next Tuesday, December 5, 2023, from 4-6pm ET, I’m going to be teaching a free workshop on goal setting for creative entrepreneurs. I am so excited about this event! I have experienced firsthand the incredible difference that supportive, nurturing goals can make in your artistic work, and I am really looking forward to sharing that with the workshop attendees. To register, all you have to do is visit the Events page of my website, This workshop is completely free, and while attending in real time is best since it allows you to ask questions and get feedback, even if you can’t attend live, I encourage you to sign up. I’m going to be sending a recording of the workshop to all registered attendees. But you have to be registered to get that recording. Again, the website to register for the Dream Big Goal Setting workshop is

And if you’re listening to this episode way in the future and December 5, 2023 is long past, I still encourage you to check out the Events page on my website. I’ll always keep that page updated with any workshops, seminars, or classes I have coming up. Who knows, maybe exactly the opportunity you’ve been looking for is coming up soon!

Now that I’ve given you that brief reminder, let’s turn to the main topic of today’s episode: consistency.

If you’ve listened to this podcast for any length of time, you have heard me talk about how important consistency is. As creative entrepreneurs, we need to be marketing and networking with consistency so that we can smooth out the flow of work into your business, kicking that dreaded “feast or famine” cycle to the curb. As artists, we need to incorporate supportive daily, weekly, and monthly habits that help us be our very best creative selves, and when you think about what it means to have a habit, “consistency” is definitely going to be part of the basic definition! And as the old writing maxim tells us, we need to get our “butts in the chair” consistently so that we are doing our deep, focused creative work with consistency.

Consistency in all of those areas, and in many more, will make a HUGE difference to how you feel about your work as you’re doing it, and to the quality of the work you create. If you’ve listened to this podcast before, you’ve heard me talk about those things. You’ve heard me stress the importance of consistency.

But something that I perhaps haven’t acknowledged enough is that consistency is HARD. Really hard. Doing something every day / every week / every month is really hard. I actually struggled with this exact difficulty – the struggle to be consistent – earlier this year. I took a break from my every-weekday social media posting habit back in early July, right after I got horribly sick following a book con (I got strep throat, and it turned into asthmatic bronchitis). At the same time, I had a lot of family commitments (all good things, but also all time-consuming), and something had to give, and that “something” was my social media posts.

But even after I was back to full, good health and had been for quite a while, I struggled to restart the social media posting. I knew intellectually all the reasons that I prioritize social media: it’s a primary part of my marketing strategy, especially for my coaching business. But I just couldn’t get myself over that internal reluctance to actually start posting again.

Side note: anytime you feel that internal reluctance to do something that you know you need to do, it is always a big, flashing, neon sign to indicate that you’ve got a mindset block and need to go back to the basics to address the root cause of the problem, which is how you’re thinking about that problem. I did that, and I am now back on social media, not in quite the same way that I was before, but in a way that still allows me to use my social media for sharing and marketing my work.

In that whole situation, I experienced firsthand just how hard it is to be consistent.

The holiday last week drove that point home yet again. I was already planning to talk about consistency and the importance of consistency in this week’s podcast episode, but as wonderful as this holiday was, and it truly was wonderful, it served to reinforce in my mind both the importance of consistency and just how hard consistency is.

Because this past week was a holiday week, my normal schedule got completely thrown out of whack. My sleep schedule was off. My workout schedule was off. All of my supportive daily habits were discombobulated. And yes, this was absolutely a planned disruption to my normal work habits, and I am glad I took that time away from my normal routine. But at the same time, that disruption did happen. I took time away from my supportive daily habits that help me be my best creative self, and getting back into that consistency this new work week has been a little rough in places.

There’s a paradox within consistency: consistency is necessary, and consistency is hard.

And I think that paradox is exactly where we need to start when thinking about consistency and how it relates to our artistic businesses: consistency is necessary, and consistency is hard. That paradox is the reality of the situation.

If we want consistent results in anything in life, we must be consistent with it. If I want to consistently have clean, healthy teeth, I need to consistently brush my teeth and consistently follow my dentist’s recommendations for oral hygiene. If I want to consistently feel good physically, I need to consistently do the things that my body needs to feel good, which for me means working out regularly, making sure I’m drinking lots of water, and eating healthy foods that don’t include any of the things that I’m allergic to. If I want to have good relationships with the people who matter most to me, I must consistently show up for them with my time, my presence, and my attention. Putting in consistent effort doesn’t automatically mean we’ll have the exact outcome we want – there are lots of things beyond our control. But in general in life, our input leads directly to our output, and if we want to have something consistently, we need to consistently do the things that contribute to the outcome we want. Consistency is necessary.

That is even more true as it relates to our creative businesses. The flow of work into your business is directly correlated with the flow of marketing and networking efforts out of your business, and if you want work to consistently come into your business, it is vital that you are consistent with your marketing and networking.

If you want to consistently create great work that is of high quality and that reflects the very best of your artistic skills and abilities, you must devote yourself consistently to ongoing growth and learning opportunities. If you just rest in what you already know and already do, your creative work will get stale, and it won’t be a reflection of your best artistic self. You have to consistently be working to learn more and be better in your creative work so that your work stays fresh and relevant and impactful. Consistency.

If you want your work to support you financially, you must consistently do the things that contribute to well-managed business finances. You must balance your accounts. You must keep good records of your income and expenses for tax purposes. You must consistently set aside money so you can pay yourself a salary (something I talked about all the way back in Episode 6). Well-managed resources go further, and if you consistently do what it takes to manage your money well, you can get rid of your financial stress and be financially supported by your creative work. But having that requires consistency.

And yet consistency is hard. It is necessary, but it is hard.

I’ve already shared two of my own recent stumbling blocks as it relates to consistency. But those are far from the only times I’ve struggled with consistency, and I’m sure you can relate. Goodness, if you want proof that consistency is hard, all you have to do is think about New Year’s resolutions! All over the world, every January 1st, people commit to being consistent over the next year with something they think will allow them to be their best selves, and by January 2nd, some of them have already fallen off the wagon. By January 31st, even more have given up. Consistency is hard.

I think it’s important in any situation to acknowledge the reality of that situation before you start trying to navigate your way through it, and the reality of this situation is that consistency is necessary and also that consistency is hard.

When you give yourself permission to recognize that this thing that you’re trying to do – in this case, be consistent in some specific area of your creative work – is legitimately hard and legitimately a difficult problem to figure out, that is when you can actually begin to problem solve your way through it. We’re not trying to work around the difficulty of consistency, or work against the necessity of consistency. In this case, the only way out is through, and finding your way through the paradox of consistency begins with knowing that the thing you’re trying to do, being consistent, is hard.

Give yourself a bit of grace. When something is hard, you don’t expect to be good at it right away. You expect to have to work at it a bit and struggle sometimes. Give yourself the gift of acknowledging, deep inside, that consistency is hard and you won’t get it right all the time.

And when you don’t get it right – when you’re not completely consistent, it’s ok. There’s no judgement here. After all, there is no shame in struggling with something that is truly, legitimately difficult. And consistency is difficult, so be kind and judgement-free to yourself when you’re not as consistent as you want to be.

After all, in most cases, doing something most of the time is enough. Yes, perfect consistency is always what we’re striving for, but just like we strive towards perfection in our creative work, while also knowing that perfection is not actually ever attainable, perfect consistency isn’t actually possible.

There will be days / weeks / months when you get sick and can’t do all the things you would normally do with consistency. You will have times when you have personal commitments or family emergencies that take priority over the areas of your creative work where you’re striving for 100% regularity. Or even, like happened to me last week, you’ll have a holiday that is a wonderful thing and that disrupts your regular routine, meaning that you’re not consistent because you’re taking time away from your creative work to spend that time with family and friends, eating good food and celebrating the holiday together. That’s a wonderful thing!

And it’s ok that consistency isn’t possible during those times. For most habits and practices, “most of the time” is enough.

If social media is a major part of your marketing strategy, and your goal is to post 3 times each week on your various social media channels, but you post two times a week for a few weeks before getting back to three times a week, that’s ok. You were still getting your message out there, even if you didn’t hit your “three times per week” goal every single week.

If spending a certain amount of time on your creative work each workday is your goal, but you miss an hour of creative work time on one particular workday due to a personal commitment, that’s ok – you still got in some hours that day, and the hours that you did get in are valuable and important.

If balancing your bank accounts on the 1st and 15th of every month is your habit, but you get busy with a creative project and instead do that financial work on the 1st and on the 25th, that’s ok! You’re still getting the work done that needs to be done, even if it’s a bit late.

Always, doing something most of the time is better than not ever doing the thing. And usually, doing something most of the time is enough to get the results you are hoping for.

Rather than aiming for 100% consistency and then judging yourself and beating yourself up internally when you aren’t able to attain that perfect level of consistency, give yourself grace. Set for yourself an “ideal” for your consistency, and work to achieve that ideal level of consistency, but also evaluate the situation from a judgement free perspective if you don’t quite get there. Perfect consistency isn’t always possible. “Most of the time” consistency will get you the results you need, in almost every circumstance.

Rather than focusing on consistency of the habit itself, focus on getting back to the habit when you fall away. Like the old saying goes, if you fall off a horse, get right back on. My daughter took horseback riding lessons when she was 12 years old, and I know from her teacher that, when you’re learning to ride, your goal isn’t to never fall off the horse. Your goal is to get right back on the horse when you fall off, because falls are inevitable, and they will happen. The key is to get up and get right back in the saddle.

This is directly applicable to your habits, process, and systems within your creative business. When you have an off day or week, or even an off month, get right back up and adjust back to your supportive habits and systems. When you fall away from consistency, don’t react with anger or judgment or self-recrimination. Just take steps to move you back to a place of consistency.

I experienced the power of getting back on track lots of times over the past year with this very podcast. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, in the first episode of Season 2 of this podcast, my first year of releasing this weekly podcast contained 40 episodes. And for a podcast that releases weekly, the first year should have had 52 episodes. I was missing 12 episodes. Where did they go? What happened?

Well, each of those 12 weekly episodes was an example of me not achieving 100% consistency.  At one point over the summer, I missed a bunch of episodes in a row due to the awful illness that I already mentioned. And the other missed weeks with no podcast released happened scattered throughout the past year as a result of a tight deadline on a project or a busy week in my coaching calendar or a packed personal schedule with lots of commitments in my personal life, or any of a number of other reasons. For one reason or another, for those missing 12 episodes in my first year of podcasting, I was not consistent.

But that lack of consistency isn’t the whole story. Every single time I missed an episode, I got back to it and eventually released more episodes. Even if my first reaction was to think negatively toward myself for not doing the work to release a podcast episode that week, I didn’t let myself stay there. I focused on fixing forward (something I talked about on this podcast about 6 weeks ago), and I released a podcast episode the very next Tuesday that I was able to do so. When my consistency wavered, I did what I needed to do to get back on track.

And I think I can say with confidence that, while those missing 12 episodes are not ideal, the 40 episodes that I did release during Season 1 of this podcast are helping me way more than the 12 missing episodes are hurting me. I wasn’t 100% consistent with this podcast over the past year, and it is still ok. This podcast is still allowing me to reach creatives and artists who need guidance with the business side of their business. This podcast is still helping me to grow the Starving Artist No More community of creative entrepreneurs. This podcast is still doing a world of good and helping artists learn the entrepreneurial mindsets they need to build businesses that work. Even if I missed 12 weeks out of the possible 52, this podcast still has a great deal of value.

When you fall away from consistency, get back on the habit. Don’t wallow in judgment or anger. When my daughter fell off her horse during her riding lessons, her coach would first verify that she was ok. And once she was shown to be just fine physically, her coach would give her the encouragement she needed to hop right back on the horse. Wallowing in fear or self-pity wasn’t an option. The only option was for my daughter to dust herself off and get back on the horse.

When you fall away from consistency, do a quick mental check, the equivalent of the riding coach’s check that my daughter was physically ok. Ask yourself, “Do I have mindset blocks that are keeping me from being consistent in this area in my business? Is there something in my process that isn’t working and needs to be changed to help me succeed in my consistency?” And then make those changes, if they’re needed, but also get right back on the habit. Take whatever steps you need to take.

What matters isn’t that you are 100% consistent. What matters is that when you fall away from consistency, you get right back on it, that you get back on the horse.

The final important thing to consider as you think about consistency is to prioritize consistency in the areas that really matter to you and your business. There are lots of things in your life that are important and matter, and where consistency would be super helpful.

But where does consistency really matter? What are the areas in your creative life and in your business where inconsistencies will truly cause you problems? In those specific areas, make staying consistent your #1 focus. Everywhere else, think about “most of the time” consistency, not “all the time” consistency, and give yourself that grace I was just talking about.

But in those uber important parts of your work life, focus on sticking to your scheduling and staying constant.

Some of my supportive habits are things where doing them “most days” truly is enough. One example of this kind of habit is my gratitude journal, which I’ve talked about in various podcast episodes and which I discussed in detail all the way back in Episode 4. I write in my gratitude journal most work days, and it is always a wonderful boon to my mood and to my overall sense of enjoyment in my work. Plus, if I’m struggling or facing a problem, looking back over the past entries in my gratitude journal can cheer me up and give me encouragement in a way that few other things can. But this is also an area of my life and work where 100% consistency truly isn’t necessary. I probably write in my gratitude journal about 20 of every 30 days, or something like that, and that is enough to allow me to benefit from the habit immensely. “Most days” really does work for this supportive habit.

There are other areas in my life where “most days” isn’t quite enough.  For me, in my artistic life, there are three specific areas where I work really hard to stay constant: working out, eating well, and marketing.

Working out multiple times a week helps me to stay both physically and mentally healthy. (Yay for post exercise endorphins!) When I don’t exercise and move my body regularly, I can tell a difference in both how I feel physically and how I feel emotionally. I know from experience that I’m not able to be my creative best if I’ve not been working out regularly. So running and biking and hiking and working out in the various ways that I enjoy will always be a priority to me. I prioritize it in my scheduling and in my daily life, and I make sure it happens multiple times every week. Like I always say, you get what you schedule, and because I know that working out makes me better as a human being and better as an artist, it is a priority and it gets scheduled.

In terms of eating well, I’ve shared before that I have a chronic pain condition, and my diet plays a huge role in how I manage that condition. Eating well is absolutely a daily necessity for me. I have to stay away from the foods that trigger my condition, and I have to make sure I’m getting a balanced diet of the foods that help me feel good. This particular supportive habit is one that isn’t just for me to be my creative best; it’s what allows me to function in my daily personal life! Talk about an area of my life where consistency matters! Eating well will always be a priority for me.  

These two areas are specific to me and my needs as an artist and as a person, and I’m sure you have a couple of areas like this in your life: things that you need to do on a regular basis that are unique to what you need to thrive in your creative process. Take a moment to think about those areas right now, and even pause this podcast if you need a moment to think or to journal about it. In terms of the supportive habits that you have developed around your creative work, for which ones does consistency really matter? Where is “most days” not quite enough? Don’t let yourself think of all of your supportive habits and practices and routines in this category. This is really reserved for those absolute top priority habits and routines that you need to function at your best. What unique areas of your daily, weekly, or monthly life are truly necessary for you and your creative process?

The third area where I know that consistency matters is an area that is not unique to just me; it is something that every single creative entrepreneur on the planet has in common: the need to be consistent in marketing.

I’ve already mentioned today that the flow of work into your creative business is directly correlated to the flow of marketing out of your creative business. If you want to even out the dreaded feast-or-famine cycle, if you want to keep work consistently flowing to you, you must make consistent marketing a priority. On the most basic level, no one will hire you for a project or buy something you create if they don’t know that you exist. Marketing is telling people that you exist, using the exact marketing strategies that are right for your creative industry and for your artistic business.

One of the six components of a thriving creative business, which I talked about back in episode 16, is a systematized process for marketing and networking. Whatever your marketing strategy is, come up with a system, a process, for how those marketing activities happen. Systematizing something allows it to become a clear process with an exact set of action steps that you can follow each and every time. Yes, you need to regularly reevaluate your marketing process to make sure the system you’ve chosen is still working for you and to make any tweaks necessary, but having that basic marketing plan for yourself takes the guesswork out of the equation.

For me, when Friday afternoon rolls around, I know it’s time for me to schedule all of my marketing activities for the following week, writing the emails and scheduling them for sending. I don’t have to wonder about what I have to do when. I can just go through the process that I’ve already figured out for myself and know that everything is going to be taken care of.

Sticking to your marketing and networking with true consistency is what will allow your business to thrive over the long term. It is absolutely one area of your work life where consistency really matters, where it truly makes a difference. So if life gets in the way and I do end up skipping my marketing efforts for one week, I do everything I possibly can to make sure I’m back on track and make up any missed marketing work by the time the next week rolls around. If I want consistent work to come into my creative business, I know that I must be marketing consistently.

For you, for me, for every artist business owner, marketing consistently matters. So I make it a priority, and I schedule it, and I make sure it gets done. If you make marketing a priority, and if you schedule it in, and if you make sure it gets done, you will be able to cultivate a steady stream of work flowing to you.

For me personally, a big part of making sure it gets done is seeking out accountability. I have talked a lot in previous episodes about my business accountability partners and how much they help me prioritize what really matters. I know that they’re going to be checking up on me. They’re going to ask if I got Task A done, and they’re going to give me support if I’m struggling with Task B. They give me that same kind of support around the areas where I know consistency truly matters.

There have been weeks in the past when, for one reason or another, I knew I was going to struggle to get my daily exercise in, and so I sent my sweaty selfies to Gail and Marni each morning at the end of my workout. I knew that, if I didn’t work out and if I didn’t send them the photo evidence, they were going to ask where my post-workout picture was. And that external accountability gave me the extra push I needed to get the workout done. We’ve supported each other with our marketing work, checking in on how our marketing efforts are going. And I’ve helped hold them accountable in the areas where they know consistency matters for them. Together, we’re all able to be more consistent, and therefore be our best artistic selves, because of our accountability to and with each other. We really are better together.

If you’re struggling with consistency, reach out to your creative colleagues. Get help from your community. Find another artist, or a group of other artists, who will help you be consistent. Consistency is hard – there’s no doubt about it! Working with others to be more consistent together helps everyone involved grow and learn.


Thank you for being with me for this episode of the Starving Artist No More podcast. I know how valuable time is to creative entrepreneurs, and I will never take it for granted that you choose to spend your time with me, listening to this podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving me a review. They really do help new listeners find this little creative entrepreneurship community, especially reviews left on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And of course, if you have a creative colleague who you think might enjoy this episode, or any episode of this podcast, please share it with them. Sharing is caring! As always, a huge shout out goes to my husband, Arturo Araya, who is the audio engineer for this podcast and who makes sure I sound great when you listen to me. If you’d like to learn more about how you can work with me, check out my website, And of course, if it’s before December 5, 2023 when you listen to this, I hope you’ll sign up for my free Dream Big Goal-Setting workshop! Just visit the events page on my website to register. That’s

Consistency is hard, but consistency is also necessary and really important. Acknowledging that paradox is the first step in allowing yourself to be consistent in the ways that matter to you. Recognize that, in most areas of your life and work, doing something most of the time is enough. And if you fall off the consistency wagon, don’t judge yourself for it. It’s not a personal failing or a sign that something is wrong with you. It’s just a sign that you’re human! Give yourself grace. Make changes if you need to, and get back to the habit, just like they always tell you to get back on the horse if you fall off. And at the same time, recognize the areas in your work and life where consistency is truly important, where it truly matters, and prioritize consistency in those areas. Especially prioritize consistent marketing, since that is what will keep work consistently flowing your way. And with all of it, like so much in life, consistency is best done with others. Everything is better together, and consistency is no exception. Find creative friends and colleagues who can walk this path with you, who can give you the accountability you need to be consistent in the ways that really matter. Consistency is hard, but it’s not impossible. I know you can do it, and I can’t wait to see what you create.


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