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#012 THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT AN ARTIST NEEDS

 

 In Northern Europe we are enjoying the last rays of summer.  Not only are the leaves turning but we return to our daily lives and you may sense a feeling of transition.

You know the saying....'A change is as good as a holiday.' But this change can cause some nasty habits to stick long after our vacation is over.

Our rhythm has changed, our sleep pattern changed, we eat differently and even-though vacations are great we can get wonderfully side tracked and it is difficult to get back into your creating routine.

Still small voice

Change and rest can also evoke a marvellous miracle. As we spend time in nature or in solitude we are reminded of who we are and where we are going...or not going. If we get quiet enough we may even hear that little small voice nudging us and reminding us 'why' we are here.

Mark Twain: The two most important days in your life, the day you were born and the day you find out why! 

Did you hear the voice saying...' you are an artist!' 'You are valuable and what you make matters.' It's time to start to take care of your artist heart again.'

Whether your break was for a few weeks, a day or even an hour, you don't have to wait until the new year starts to make changes. You can decide today. Declare it today.' I am an Artist and I am going to take my art heart and calling seriously.'

Saying it is one things but how do we actually find or get back into a creative rhythm that our art and work so needs?

The single most important ingredient our artist hearts need

If you wear glasses and it is safe for you to do so, then remove them for a moment. Without your glasses your world becomes blurred, you miss the details, can’t read or see, even colours become vague.

This is how many of us are walking around. We have a general idea of where we are going but we miss a clear picture.

I have broken this blog into 5 sections. We will have a look at what hinders our focus and what we need to restore it.  This resource will help you to foster new vision helping you move forward on your art journey.

The word FOCUS is at the heart of this process and so I have created an acronym to help you along.

Stepping out can be terrifying

Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most. Fyodor Dostoyevski/ Russian Novelist

F - Fear

Can you relate to the words of Dostoyevski? You are ready to take your art more seriously but you feel a resistance.  Your mind is clouded with those nasty 'What if's'

What if I am not good enough?

What is I am not original enough?

What if people will not take me seriously?

What if I am too old to start a creative career?

What if my family think I have lost it?

All artists need to face and combat this primal force

If you don't tackle this, fear will keep you locked away leaving you only wishing you could be more creative.

How do we get past our fears and start to unlock all our creative potential?

The key, I have found, is to face fear head on. Remember this is not a fear based on whether you should or shouldn't jump out of an aeroplane. It is an emotion that is triggered by the fear of failure and lack of confidence in who you are and what you can do.

Being a successful artist is less about what you do but more about how you think. You can master great techniques but if you don't believe it yourself you are going know where. We need to master our minds.

Expose the fear for what it is and decipher what it is you are fearing and why? Share your fears with your spouse or artist friend or coach. As artists we need to call things what they really are. Procrastination is not laziness. Feeling uninspired does not mean you can’t do it. There are other forces at work here.

Oppose fear with faith. Start to develop a healthy system of beliefs. Believe that what you do and who you are is precious and that you too have art to make and share.

O - Opportunities

If you set out on your artist journey there will be many opportunities that will present themselves. If we don’t learn to navigate and edit these opportunities,  we can easily lose our focus.

As artist we see possibilities in everything and it can be challenging to know what opportunities will fuel or extinguish our art dreams.

Why knowing your values can be a lifesaver

Start by deciding what you want and what is valuable to you. Do you value your freedom or do you need solitude in order to work? Are you passionate to help women in developing countries or do really want to move to Spain? Be clear about what is important to you and write these down.

These values should determine your yes or your no's. Does the opportunity bring you closer or remove you from what is important to you? Getting clear about this will not only be an energy-saver but it will propel you towards your artistic goals.

In the worksheet I have made for this episode I have designed exercises to help you set up a process to take the best and strategic decisions for your art and art career.

C - Consistency and Continuity are more important than your think

Don’t wait until you have all the answers. Action creates Clarity.

Your art goals won't materialise overnight. But if you keep going, even if they're baby steps you will get there.. if you don't give up.

It's not about getting it right or doing things perfect. Perfectionism will keep you focussed on the wrong things. It about progress, step by step, moving forward with steady momentum.

Set attainable goals

Little victories are great motivators. Getting one small painting down, writing those first few pages, sketching one sketch per day. Find something that is attainable and do it consistently.

Finding consistency that will impact your art

  1. Get real

  2. Create rituals

  3. Combat distractions

  4. Find cheerleaders

  5. Manage your time

Listen to the podcast:

00:15:54 >> find out more about these 5 points and how they can help you.

U - Understanding your Uniqueness 

 This summer I did something I usually hate to do. I took a personality test. I have an aggressive allergy towards tests. How can a few questions and my answers give any clear or even concise explanation of who I was and what makes me tick.

But because the summer was all about doing new things... I did it. I took Aristotles philosophy 'Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom .' to heart and worked through a personality test.

I am reluctant to admit it but I was surprised how accurate it was. There on paper we're words that seem to sum up who I was and described my behaviour.

We feel many things about ourselves and often only see the effect they have on others or on our work but why and what motivates us are often blurry and vague. I read the results of the test to my husband and all I could see was his steady nod and a big old grin. I think this is progress!

If you too want to take a little walk on the wild side then here is a test for you take.

Discovering what makes you unique and what gets you up and going is crucial when it come to staying on track. We are all different, all 7 billion of us living on this planet. You have a song to sing, or a painting to paint or words to get down! 

Don't live somebody else's life. Find out what makes you YOU and focus on that! It is only when truly connect with our uniqueness that we can shine bright!

S - Systems

'Systems' is not really a very artistic word but finding the right one can help you be more effective and help you keep focussed.

Here are some sassy systems artists can use:

  1. Email auto-responder - telling people when and where they can expect an answer
  2. Mail Chimp - an email service provider to help automate your emails
  3. Hootsuite - a social media planner 

 Finally this is not really a system but a powerful insight to keep you on track, especially when you are just starting out on your art adventure.

Keep your day job

What! shock, horror, NOOOOOO. Just relax... breathe. I understand that you want to make your art fulltime and this will happen if you work at the skills and art business on a consistent basis.

Having a day job even if it is a few hours a week can have some great benefits:

  1. Money
  2. Routine
  3. People that ask you how your weekend was
  4. No stress about how to pay the bills
  5. Connections
  6. Staying in tune what is out there.

 The only thing this job will cost you is time! But having a healthy regular routine is far more effective than having a lot of time.

Having and keeping your focus is vital in advancing your art career and as we head toward the final quarter of the year there is no better time than to start today!

Decide what you want and go for it...full force and with FOCUS!

 

Worksheet

If you want to go even deeper than I've prepared a worksheet for you to download. The questions and answers will help you gain a renewed focus and get clear and confidence about making and selling your art.

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