What does it take to become a "real" artist?
How about if I move to an artist loft...that would do it right? By moving to a big space with no walls, and windows that look out onto a lot of other buildings, that will mean I'm dedicating myself to my art! This might work, but only if I get organized, really make art non-stop, network and promote my art.
I'll just take a year off and devote it to my art - this might actually work - but only if I really concentrate my efforts, get organized and hardcore about my commitments.
I'll buy a new camera/book/paper/film/lens/technique and that will be moving forward - but only if I actually use the new stuff to make interesting work and then get organized and start promoting the work.
Move to Paris... NY...? Take a class... a workshop...?
Here's the thing, some of these things actually do work. I've been energized by new techniques and I know that being in the right locale can make a difference. But, my general feeling is that often we're in the midst of pretending that "if only" we were very different, or in very different circumstances then all of the hard stuff would fall away and it would magically work. Let's face it Badessari became an significant artist while teaching public school in San Diego - Matt Black is an amazing photographer and he still lives and works in the California Central Valley.
There might be a different location, circumstance or whatever that would help you be a better artist, but if those things aren't around - then you've just got to work with what you've got. Plus there's something to be said for having restrictions. Look at Prince's second film - or the new Star Wars trilogy. The bottom line is, it's important to remember that more (or different) is not always better.