Does this scenario sound familiar?
You’re at a <party/meeting/wherever> and Smarty Pants asks you what you do.
I’m an artist, you say with confidence (of course).
Not missing a beat, Smarty Pants says, “Oh! My aunt is an artist. She does these …”
You restrain yourself – resisting the urge to stomp your feet and throw a tantrum while shouting, You don’t understand! I’m a REAL artist!
Okay, so what does that mean?
What is a real artist anyway? How do you know if you are one?
Please leave a comment with this post and share your experiences.
A neighbor knocks on the door and invites you to coffee during studio time. Mmmmm. Coffee would be good, you think. Do you take her up on her offer?
Everyone in your artist organization knows that you are the go-to guy to get stuff done, so they ask you to chair a committee for next year’s group show. You know your schedule is packed, but you feel a sense of duty. Do you give in and help them out?
Every time your father gets the chance, he insinuates that you aren’t a real artist. It’s really driving a wedge between the two of you. Do you say anything?
You hop on to Facebook to post to your business page and are tempted to click on an old (and previously long-forgotten) roommate to see what she’s up to. Do you do it?
In order to act confidently in these situations, you need to have a solid commitment to the boundaries around your life and career.
Bagging your studio time, agreeing to be the go-to volunteer, allowing people to poop on your dreams, and wasting time on social media are all career-killers.
Here’s how you can handle these situations.
Any change in your routine — holidays, illness, vacations, family deaths or weddings — can bring a slump in your creative work.
Even when you’re completely into your art, there’s often an inertia that keeps you from rebooting and being productive.
Cynthia Morris and I recognize this in our clients and thought it would be juicy content for a podcast.
But first … full disclosure … we went to a yoga class. It was an experiment. What would it be like to record one podcast, go to yoga, and then try another after taking a break? Would we be able to get back into the groove?
It was a tall order and it didn’t quite work. I think you’ll see that we empathize with the topic when you listen to this podcast.
The New Year brings a time for reflection, but also renewal. There’s a blank slate – a sense that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to.
These open-ended possibilities are often debilitating.
If it’s possible for us to do anything, why can’t we do everything?
Well, because you can’t. You just can’t.
You don’t have the time, the resources, or the energy to tackle everything you want to accomplish.
That’s why it’s important to prioritize, and this is where goal-setting comes in.
Some people may pooh-pooh goals, but I find that they’re a necessary step to not only getting things done, but also for feeling complete.
When we don’t have a goal and projects to mark off our list, we wander aimlessly and are never quite satisfied.
As you’re planning your year, what do you think is the most important goal you can accomplish in your art business in 2017?
One of the first things I ask of my Inner Circle members is to put together a calendar for the year so we can talk about what’s ahead for them and how my team and I can help.
If the year looks sparse, we need to get busy. You can’t earn more money or increase recognition without exhibitions and events on your schedule.
What’s on your calendar for the New Year?
I’m not talking about your appointment calendar. I’m talking big picture here. You can use a desk or desktop calendar for appointments. For this job, you want to get a clear overview of your year’s rhythm.
You’re looking for periods that you know will be particularly busy and others when you might be able to sneak away for a well-deserved vacation.
You also want to be aware of potential for too much overlap on your calendar. There might events you’d like to schedule, but might bump up against others that are already in place.
It’s confusing to schedule events that occur too close to one another.
It’s confusing to your fans and followers because everything looks to have the same level of importance. They don’t know which message to pay more attention to.
It’s also confusing to you because you’re promoting more than one thing at a time. You don’t know how and where to spend your energy.
There are numerous ways to plan your year so that you can envision its rhythm. Here are the two most important ones that I use.
The Wall Calendar
The framework for all of my planning is a wall calendar so that I can see the entire year at once.
I’ve shared previously that I love the Seize The Year calendar by Neu Year. Its biggest asset is that it can be displayed either vertically or horizontally.
A few days before Christmas is the perfect time to share some of my favorite things with you: business and personal tips, recipes, online email classes, and products I love.
Skip the famous eggnog recipe at the end at your own peril. Merry merry!
Tech and Online Stuff
Emil Pakarklis offers loads of info in his complimentary video tutorial for hacking your iPhone camera: 7 Hidden iPhone Camera Features That Every Photographer Should Use. I learned a ton and I didn’t even get to all of his lessons.
Later’s IG Email Class
Later.com is an online service that allows you to schedule your Instagram posts. They also have a fantastic free e-mail course on using Instagram for Business and regular tips via email when you sign up.
It’s totally worth it to learn more about taking advantage of Instagram. Check out their blog, too.
Seize The Year Calendar
You gotta have a wall calendar to see the rhythm of your year. I heard about this find via Jane La Fazio who I believe got turned on to it by Patti Digh. This wall calendar is uber functional and attractive.
The clincher is the way the months run into one another instead of being compartmentalized.
I also love that this calendar isn’t
You survived another year as a working artist. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to step back and look at all you have accomplished in the last twelve months. This is an annual ritual to take your mind off of the long task list in front of you and remind yourself that you really have done a great deal.
If you do nothing else, stop reading this right now and set aside time in your schedule to review your year. It’s too easy to neglect this exercise if you try to squeeze it in whenever you
I suggest committing to two one-hour sessions to start this process. You’ll need to gather your data from calendars, bookkeeping, and journals.
The format here is based on The See Plan (8 Cs for a balanced business). Please adjust and add personal accomplishments if you like.
And … begin!
1. Challenge Creativity
What artistic medium or skill did you attempt or master?
Recently I was talking with Cynthia Morris, when, in response to who-knows-what, she said with a scowl, “Ideas! I’m so tired of hearing about ideas.” Or something like that.
Right then, I knew we had to talk about it. I knew she was on to something.
Listen in to the podcast as Cynthia and I talk about why too many ideas can be a bad thing for artists. Cynthia also gives practical tips on how to choose among your many ideas for your next big project.
Show Notes – Authored by Cynthia Morris
Creative people are blessed with an abundance of ideas. New ideas arrive daily, pulsing through our awareness and lighting up our sense of possibility like a scintillating fireworks display.
How fun! We love inhabiting the land of possibility, where our ideas inspire us, energize us and make us feel like omnipotent creators. We could do anything!
The problem is, we can’t do everything.
This abundance of ideas can become painful when we arrive at the crossroads of what to make next. The fireworks we loved so dearly becomes a dissatisfying decision swirl, making us second-guess everything, including our desire to make anything at all.
So, how can we know which projects to work on, and when?
Which of the seductive ideas do we devote ourselves to?
If you’re like me, you still have a little (a lot?) of gifts to find for the people on your Christmas list.
So … let’s help each other out.
If you have been marketing something as a great gift for loved ones, please describe it and share a link to it in the comments. This might include:
- <Fill in the blank>
Be detailed enough that we want to click and see. You’re pitching your product.
Do it with gusto!
What I love most about the holidays isn’t receiving gifts. It’s giving them.
I love everything about the process: from trying to find the perfect gift for a special person on my list, to wrapping it and watching them open it.
I throw parties and give “lovely parting gifts” to our guests (as if the party wasn’t enough). I decorate envelopes to delight recipients.
The thrill of gift giving is sacred in my book.
Unfortunately, when building a business, giving gifts can be tarnished by the giver wanting or expecting something in return. It’s part of the list-building process.
In return for your email address, I offered 6 free video lessons or perhaps a checklist, special report, or webinar at some point.
These presents are easy for me to deliver because I offer a service. I have loads of content that will help you gain recognition and sell more art.
It’s harder for artists to offer gifts in return for email addresses.