How to become a full time artist and still live like a normal person

Every single day of my life I think; How can I paint full time and still live like a normal person? By normal I mean eating real foods instead of pb&j, have health insurance and still be able to pick up the dinner tab with my boyfriend once in a while.

Considering a number of possibilities from a plan b grad school degree, opening a gallery, and shit part time jobs I think I am finally beginning to figure out the way.

Firstly, get a studio even if its a room in your house, make a space that you can work in and is completely dedicated to your art. I have finally rented my first space that is not at home and it has made a huge difference in my work habits.

Make a plan! Map out your goals and where you see yourself in a years time write it all down and look at it often, make it flexible.

Act! If you are not happy with something, figure out what is not working and get rid of it. I believe when you start making movements toward what you want in life, the world opens up. One way in which I am looking to paint full time is by searching for artist residencies. Looks good on the resume, you can meet other artists and exhibit work. Print out applications for artist residencies and send them in. What do you have to lose? Many give the artist a stipend and pay for accommodations. Residency searches can also be modified based on a persons particular interests and needs. For me, I am looking for one in which I can bring my dog along with me.

Get a website and update it often. Send out your updates to your mailing list. This keeps people interested and up to date on what you are working on. Don't have a mailing list? Start by emailing friends and family and ask them to pass it along. Add potential galleries and other artists to your mailing list.
It is amazing how receptive and open people are.

Start a blog. Document your process and progress. This also gets you thinking critically about your work and opens it up for others to offer suggestions and encouragement.

Balance. Make sure that you are balancing your studio practice with quality well being. You cannot create art well if you do not nourish your body well. So feed yourself delicious simple things and try to make it a priority.

Start small, you can't move mountains in a day but you certainly can work toward it. Decide what is most important to you and cut out the things that are not necessary, that you can live without. If your like me and you hate to shmooze, don't. Your website and blog can speak for you. Keep a dialouge open with other artist friends and have them critique your work now and then. I prefer one on one or two one one meetings, I tend to invite people to my studio to see what I am working on amd offer thoughts or just talk.

Be willing to take risks. Nothing is ever gained by remaining stagnant.