What's Your Social Media Schedule? (Curious Monday)

Creative Content Camp begins on June 17. For 6 weeks this summer, artists are going to be developing loads of ideas for their newsletter, blog, and social media platforms.

One of the things we do in Content Camp is create an editorial calendar so you know what you’ll be posting and when.

This naturally got me thinking about what your social media schedule is like.

How frequently do you post? And to which platforms? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest?

What time of day do you post?

Do you schedule posts or always post live?

What types of things do you post?

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What Is Your Morning Routine? (Curious Monday)

Ruth-Anne Siegel painting of coffee cup

If you ever doubted that routines are important for doing strong creative work, read Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit.

What is your morning routine?

What do you do each morning without thinking? What do you wish you would be able to do in the mornings?

Do you rise and shine early? Or are you a late starter?

Respond on this first Curious Monday post.

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3 Simple Actions To Avoid The Tax Time Crazies

Alicia R Peterson Painting

Even if you work with a bookkeeper and accountant, as I do, there’s still much work to be done this time of year.

Every year I learn something new at tax time that I wish I had known in advance – insights that would have made the filing process much easier.

These three actions are a compilation of what I’ve learned from my experiences and those of my clients, which should eliminate some of the crazies around tax time.

1. Take charge of your business finances.

Don’t rely on a spouse to take care of your business finances. You, as CEO and CFO of your art career, need to know how to manage the money. You must take 100% responsibility for your future.

As sad as it is, I’ve heard many stories about people being duped out of their life savings by spouses who made poor financial decisions. These weren’t features in the paper or characters in a television exposé. These were artists and clients.

At the same time,

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21 Mindless But Productive Tasks for When Genius Takes a Hike

Miller-Judy-Mist

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could call up your genius whenever you needed it?

Hey, genius! Help me out with writing this article, please.

What would be even more amazing is if Genius would come running whenever you issued this command.

But Genius runs on its own time and has a pretty smart mouth.

My Genius lets me know who is boss:

  • I’m tired. Leave me alone.
  • You really should have used me when I was in better form. You know … like 6:00 a.m. That’s my power hour.
  • Are you kidding me? You spend the last four hours doing diddly-squat and now you expect me to drop everything and run to your rescue?
  • Hey, lady! I worked hard for you today. I’m entitled to stupid time.

Stupid time. That’s what I call the hours when my brain can’t make sense out of words or come up with a single creative idea.

I imagine Genius is taking a hike, sweating it out at hot yoga, or gulping down a green smoothie. You know, because Genius is Genius. She doesn’t need naps. She only needs to refuel.

Whatever happened to Genius, I’m left alone to endure stupid time.

And then there is someone else’s time. This becomes an issue when

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Lessons From The Past Year

©2012 Michelle Paine, Pilgrimage: St. Peter’s. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

It’s hard to keep up with weekly emails about your art business, so I thought I’d point out some things that you might have missed or forgotten about this past year.

These are 12 valuable actions, from 12 different Art Biz Blog posts in 2015, to help you grow your art career while staying sane.

Marketing Your Art

1. Reduce the Boring Factor: Add Variety to Your Marketing Message

Why it’s on the list: Please, for the love of Pete, read this before you send another email.

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send the same emails and social media posts for your promotions. They get a little stale after a while.

I have some ideas for you.

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Wrapping Up the Year with Your Personal Review

©Margaret Dukeman, Reflections of Lilies. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Used with permission.

I thought I could get by without a personal review for one year. Or at least I thought I would skip mine.

Then I thought that you probably don’t need a reminder either. Who will notice if I don’t send? Who has time to do a personal review anyway?

Then I thought again. (There’s been a lot of thinking going on.) It’s a terrible idea to skip the personal review. And it’s a worse idea to let you think it’s okay to skip it.

As an entrepreneur, it’s critical to review actions and to celebrate accomplishments before moving on to the next phase. We’ll never improve our results until we understand where we are and how we got here.

So, it’s time to look back on your year and assess your progress.

This year, try using the elements of The See Plan – the 8 C’s – to structure your questions: creativity, commitment, clarity, community, connection, confidence, completion, and celebration.

Grab a notebook and a pen and get started.

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Empower Yourself By Taking 100% Responsibility

©Jean Reece Wilkey, Mango on Silver Creamer. Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.

Jack Canfield

It was in Jack Canfield’s seminal book, The Success Principles, where I first read about the necessity of taking 100% responsibility for your life. In fact, it’s no lower on the list than Principle #1 in the book of 64 principles.

He’s pretty clear. It’s not 100% responsibility for this or that. It’s 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. This means:

  • You have to give up all of your excuses.
  • You have to give up blaming.
  • You have to give up complaining.

Here’s the thing about taking 100% responsibility: It puts you in charge.

I understand that this amount of control can be daunting for a new business owner, but wouldn’t you rather have control than to cede it to others?

Embrace this power!

If you’re frustrated by your results, or lack thereof, don’t blame the economy, the online platform, the weather, other artists/people, or the venue.

Instead, consider the things you can control. This is taking responsibility and being a savvy businessperson and more enlightened human being.

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How Much Time Will Your Art Career Take?

John Salvest, Forever

How much time do the lessons take? How much time should I spend on social media? How much time on marketing vs. making art?

©2013 John Salvest, Forever. Secondhand romance novels on metal armature. Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery.

These are questions I’m often asked to which there are no easy answers (except maybe the last one, and I take a stab at that below).

Everyone wants to know “how much time?” because time is sacred, and we should be choosy with how we spend our time.

There is a better question than “How much time?” Ask yourself: How much time and effort am I willing to invest?

The key word is “willing.”

When you’re committed, you don’t care how much time something takes. [Tweet this] You’ll find a way to get it done because it

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Dwelling In Your Zone of Genius

Zone of Genius

There comes a point in every artist’s (every entrepreneur’s) business where you can’t grow without hiring someone.

It might be a paid intern, your kid, a website helper, or a bookkeeper, but you need the extra hands if you want to expand.

Who do you hire?

What will they do?

Your primary focus as an artist is on making art. That’s when you are in what Gay Hendricks calls your “Zone of Genius.” In his book, The Big Leap, Hendricks writes:

In your Zone of Genius, though the time you spend there produces great financial abundance, you do not feel that you are expending effort to produce it. In your Zone of Genius, work doesn’t feel like work.

I’m certain you know what that feels like. Bliss.

Your goal is to take those tasks off your plate that aren’t in your Zone of Genius – the tasks that keep you from making your best work. It’s the art you produce in the studio that nobody else could do.

For example, you might be competent at updating your WordPress template, but it’s not your best work. It takes you away from your best work.

Consider how lovely life would be if you could dwell in your Zone of Genius most of the time. How would that feel?

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A Blueprint for Producing Your Artist Newsletter

blueprint for your artist newsletter

Producing a newsletter is a project that consists of multiple tasks in order to complete. That’s why I use the word “producing” instead of “writing.” Writing is only one part of the newsletter process, and even writing the content can be broken down into multiple stages.

If you’ve had “write newsletter” on your task list for too long, it might be because you haven’t identified the individual components that will be needed. You will always get stuck when you see a project on your to-do list rather than single tasks.

I’ve been producing a newsletter every week since March 30, 2002 without skipping an issue for any reason.

We’ve had the current system in place for many years, so it’s a well-greased machine. I thought reading about my system might help you create a blueprint for your newsletter process.

Capturing Newsletter Ideas

I store newsletter ideas and an editorial calendar in Evernote.

Most of my ideas come from questions you asked on a webinar, on my Facebook page, or in an email. I try to listen for what might make a good newsletter or blog post topic. If you’re asking it, chances are good that someone else has the same questions.

If I can see a clear date on the calendar that would be good for publishing the topic, I add it to my editorial calendar, which is arranged by date. Otherwise, the topic is captured in one of my Evernote notebooks under Content Ideas.

With the ideas stored in a single place, I can quickly add notes, images, and resources when they come to mind.

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