Ok, ok. So, it took me a tad longer than a week to get back to you. Been pretty busy working on all the intricate aspects of starting up an art career. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
Recap from the previous post – 101:
Step 3: Decide on a Mission Statement
So, you’ve produced some art, and you’re feeling pretty hyped and satisfied. Awesome! This is the time when you should start asking yourself: “Why am I making art?” Brainstorm into existence a few concise lines that discern what you think your artwork and artistic process are really about. And boom, you’ve brought into focus your direction and path for the foreseeable future. Your mission statement should act like a compass in a fog, when you run into creative blocks along the way, and as an elevator pitch when interrogated about your art practice.
Warning! I know that some of you might be thinking that you should have done that before getting started on your initial production of artwork (i.e. Step 2). Thing is, the best art comes from the heart – as in from the most irrational bits of our brain. If you spend too much time thinking about it at first, it’s likely that you’ll lose touch of the most powerful magic in your creative arsenal, and that would be a real shame. So, be careful not to jump into a comfortable little box early on (or ever really!). Allow yourself the opportunity (on a regular basis) to be surprised by what you’ve got to express and how you end up going about getting down to it.
Tip #4: Although, the goal here is to come up with a couple of lines of text, I suggest you not worry too much about how expansive or scattered your reflections get. Use as many pages as needed to brainstorm. Jolt down keywords, feelings, thoughts that come to mind when looking at your pieces, comments you may have received that may or may not agree with you, techniques used, colors chosen, reasons that explain your decisions, anecdotes… throw all those dynamic dots on paper. It’ll help in detecting interesting and useful patterns.
Keep in mind, that many of the elements that will ultimately be discarded for the mission statement may come in handy later on for your artist statement, biography and project descriptions. So, don’t be too quick in throwing these out to the bin as soon as you’ve got your mission statement well defined; or believing that most of this exercise was a waste of time. Be sure to file away your notes for inspiration later!
Step 4: Come up with a preliminary plan
Knowing why you’re a Creative and where you hope to get to is crucial in setting goals. And setting goals is crucial in the process of making progress. They allow you to break down what may appear to be huge and unattainable tasks; keep you focused; offer hope and confidence in the form of milestones; help you keep at it and avoid burnout from being spread thin unnecessarily. Come up with short-term and long-term goals that together will make-up your plan to success.
Where would you like to be in 5 years? What would it take to get there? What would you hope to accomplish by next year that could help move you in that direction? What would you need to start with in the next 3 months to make the 1 year goals happen?
Warning! This plan and list of goals are not meant to bring you down or discourage you. You should not write it in a way that structures your time to the tee everyday of your life for the next few years and pushes you into a corner full of stress and guilt. The goals should remain relatively loose to leave room for creativity and change along the way. The farther in time the goal, the looser its shape should take. The plan should be a guide and anchor to remind you what’s a priority to you. Not a punishment or sinister object to fuel your darkest self-doubts!
Tip #5: Readjust your goals as you go. If they no longer correspond to current priorities you may have, or if new opportunities or situations offered you new insight, there is absolutely nothing wrong in modifying your game plan! Also – if you realize some goals are bringing you down, ask yourself why that might be. Maybe you need to break them down into smaller chunks that are easier to manage. Or maybe a goal just isn’t as important to you as you previously thought it was. In any case, it’s definitely NOT because you’re a failure! 😉
Tip #6: Go easy on yourself! Dream big- real big! - but don’t be your worst enemy. You are only as strong and as loved as you accept to be. If you’re feeling drained, it might just mean you need to recenter and slow down a little.
*** Reading Recommendation --> Read Chapter 1 of Jackie Battenfield’s “The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love”. Pages 3 to 23 are all about “Hot to Assess, Plan, and Take Action” and well worth the read!
Repeat Step 2 ad infinitum!
Throughout the process of setting up your art career, never lose sight of or ignore your creative bug. If you feel a little dulled out by doing brainstorms, writing plans, meeting people, prepping for shows, entre autres, do not hesitate to go back to the drawing board, canvas, etc.
Creativity is not planned and should not be forced. If you feel like throwing yourself into a new piece or project suddenly, you ought to! If you keep thinking, I got to do E and F and G … and postponing the production process to a the “right” time, it may never happen; or it won’t happen regularly enough; or you’ll start having negative associations to it. None of which are desirable outcomes and none of which will help you on your way to happiness!
Tip #7: That being said, not every project or idea needs to be gotten to right away. Some are brain farts that can be explored later on for sure. No need to interrupt what you’re doing every single time a spark goes off! (Which probably happens a lot, right?) To avoid forgetting them though, take the habit of writing them somewhere. I usually have post-its laying around my office and in my coat pockets, which I use to jolt these down. They get piled up in a decorative plate on my desk. Once there’s a few too many or I have five minutes, I go through them and integrate them into a quaint spreadsheet I can refer to later when I’m having blockages and need inspiration. It may be helpful to find a similar process to manage your own overflowing artistic mind!
[To be continued eventually, but hopefully sooner than later (!) in “Art Biz Steps to Take – 103.” See you!]