In golf, the number one rule of the game is “keep your eye on the ball”. Even though you’re aiming away from water and in the direction of the hole, you’ll never get there unless you forget the pin, look down, and focus on hitting the ball. Looking up too soon will ruin your shot.
The same is true of your art.
At first, you do it for the love of the process. You love drawing, speaking, taking photos. Then you get noticed, get a reputation, and realize that by making more of your art, you can get people to like you (or bring in a paycheck).
And that pressure ruins everything.
Jeff Goins writes in The Writer’s Manifesto:
Real writers don’t write for recognition.
They don’t do it for fame, accolades,
They do it because they cannot not write.
The key to making great art is to take your eyes off of the stats, forget the “likes”, ignore the accolades. Show up and do your art. For yourself, not for what any particular outcome. Then, and only then, will you get where you’re aiming.
Keep your eye on the ball.