The Case For Focusing Your Creative Energy and How To Do It

the case for focusing your art

You have so many ideas. You’re full of creativity and ready to apply it to any material you come across.

You paint for the pleasure, you paint commissioned work, you make jewelry, you snap photos, and you teach. You know who you are. You’re going 90 miles an hour in every direction with your hair on fire.

People say you should focus – pick one thing and get on with it.

There’s that “s” word again: should. Beware of this word. I’ve been guilty of using it a lot myself, but I’m becoming increasingly aware of how dangerous it is.

The only thing you should do is to be in integrity with your goals, your purpose, and your vision. How this manifests itself in your life is a delicate negotiation between you and the Universe.

There is, however, a reasonable argument to be made for concentrating your creative energy in one area.

The Case for Focusing Your Art

When your work is moving in multiple directions simultaneously, at least four problems arise.

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Your Year-End Review for 2013

2013-review

You survived another year as a working artist. Congratulations! Now it’s time to step back and look at all you have accomplished. This is a ritual to take your mind off of the long task list in front of you and to remind you that you really have done a great deal.

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In the Zone of Discomfort

Dharma-Small-Basket

Attendees at Art Biz Coach workshops are deliberately placed into uncomfortable situations. They are asked to 1) meet everyone in the room before the end of the event; 2) share workshop exercises with people they don’t know; and 3) change seats so they sit next to someone new. I do this because dealing with discomfort is necessary for growth as an artist and as a businessperson.

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Beware of Poisonous Relationships

poison

The second principle of no-excuse self-promotion, according to I’d Rather Be in the Studio is: “Connections are critical to your success. To succeed, you must make an effort to meet new people and to maintain relationships.” But not all connections are equal. Some connections can be detrimental to your art, your emotional well-being, and your growth.

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Track Your Business Growth

My tracks at Nye Beach, OR. Photograph ©Alyson B. Stanfield

For years I’ve been tracking monthly numbers in my business. When I slack off on the tracking, my numbers decline. It’s the exact opposite of “Ignorance is bliss.” I believe that tracking numbers tells the Universe that you are committed to your business. And the Universe doesn’t give you more of something until you’re ready to accept more.

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Is Over-Planning Killing Your Art Business?

Planning has its place in any business, but there is no such thing as a fool-proof plan. I believe in planning a little and then taking a lot of action.

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To Goal or Not to Goal

One year ago I had the pleasure of interviewing artist and coach Jennifer Lee as a guest for the Artist Conspiracy. Jennifer and I discussed why artists don’t like to set goals and how you might be able to find your own way of achieving your heart’s desire. I invite you to listen to the interview.

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12 Artist Resolutions to Steal for 2012

One of my first-ever free gifts for subscribers to my newsletter was a list of Artist Resolutions. Today – being January 1 and all – seems like as good a time as any to update and share. Steal and adapt what feels true to you.

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Acknowledge & Celebrate Your 2011 Accomplishments

The end of the year is often accompanied by a tinge of regret. Maybe you didn’t stick to your New Year’s Resolution or accomplish all of your goals. I’ll bet you did more than you think. Take time between now and December 31 to write down all you accomplished in 2011.

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Week 26 Income Check-up

©2009 Shane Cooper, Clemintino y Javier. Oil on canvas.

This week marks the halfway point in the year. How are you doing on your goals?

©2009 Shane Cooper, Clemintino y Javier. Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 inches.

Because my primary concern is about your business goals and financial well-being, let me remind you of a couple of articles about achieving your income goals. Have you read these?

6 Steps to Identify Your Income Goals

The 7th Step to Achieving Income Goals

Get Real with Where the Money Comes From

My income-achieving process is daunting for some artists who find it a challenge to face the bottom line. But ignoring your financial situation based on fear or lack of knowledge doesn’t make it better. It just makes you an oblivious businessperson.

The process is based on multiple streams of income for your art business (art sales, teaching, greeting

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