There are so many artists out there.
That statement can have both a positive and a negative effect on you when you read it. The negative: feeling like you are lost in the masses of artists, not sure how to stand out or succeed when so many are in pursuit of a career in visual art. The positive: each of those people have differing ideas of what success means to them and your vision is unique to you. Many artists don't think about their definition of success at all. This is where our strength lies as art professionals whether we want academic acclaim, or suitcases of cash : )
On my journey I have often been confused by artists talking about the way they believe all artists should proceed in their careers. It's a long list of "Do this" , "Never do that", "That's not appropriate". But one thing I've learned as I've grown older - people love to talk, they love to have an opinion even if they can't prove it by their own experience. They try to proove it by observations of other artist's success but guess what - unless you are said artist you have no idea how they have actually acheived their success or if they even feel successful.
My advice to you is to strengthen your own vision - what do you see as success as an artist? What do you want for yourself? Get clear on this - write about it - share it with only those that you really trust.
There's pressure to exhibit - people often ask - where can I find your work? When's your next show? This is not even a necessary part of being an artist and so if it doesn't suit you - don't freakin' do it! I'm super serious right now.
Find out what you like and even if it seems like a strange way to proceed with your career, I guarantee that you will find your momentum there. But be prepared for the naysayers! Don't listen to what they say, figure out what you stand for.