I recently received a sad Facebook text from an ex-student. He was feeling as though his creative spirit were being crushed by a society that no longer seems to prize its artists. He was feeling lonely. I advised him that an artist's life can indeed be lonely, and yet I explained the difference between being lonely and being alone.
Loneliness is usually a sad feeling of melancholy, and artists often feel it, especially when we are hoping for others to understand our work, and appreciate it. Yet it is clear that this path leads to frustration and deeper depression. In order to keep our sanity on a level playing field, we must know that we are artists by choice, and it is what we love to do. Not many people can say that they really love what they do, but most good artists do. Having said that, we must consider that loneliness does little to enhance our art. Being alone, on the other hand, gives us the solitude that we need in order to create.
Platitudes will come in time. I'm sixty-two, and my writing career is just beginning to take off after forty years! Yet, I have never written to make money. I do it because it makes me happy, and if I can make others happy as a result along the way, then...there's the icing on the cake.