Happy New Year Y'all!
Not wishing to do too much other that sit and listen to my stomach digest New Years day I really did not intend to post any thing on my blog, but it's a habit I have, a good one for a change and so here is it.
Like a lot of folks I have been reflecting on 2014 and looking forward to 2015. Not being a person that makes New Year's resolutions, I just don't ever bother, but I am always trying to find ways to improve my art practice and get creatively motivated. My motivation the past few months has been non-existent but thankfully something has shifted and I'm feeling that I have decided to get off my duff and am even feeling like making some art.
I love this quote from Andy Warhol that I believe speaks to resolutions, time, and making changes.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol
So I did a search about resolutions for artists. I found this helpful list on Artweb.com that can be useful any time you are feeling inclined to make some changes. This is a list of are specific, tangible steps to take, that I think can make a real difference in creativity and productivity.
After receiving a beautiful art journal for Christmas I have started to make immediate good use of it, and will be writing these suggestions in my journal today.
1. Take stock of 2014. It’s always easy to think about the things we haven’t yet achieved, the dreams we haven’t made happen, and the sales we have yet to make. Yet many of us forget to look back on the past year, to consider our successes (and of course, maybe some of our less successful ventures). Write a list of all of the things you achieved in 2014, big or small, and then write another list of the things you could have improved upon or taken more advantage of. These will be a good starting point to thinking about areas to develop for 2015!
2. Write a list of things you’d like to achieve. Think about all elements of your art business – how many paintings would you ideally like to produce a month? How many exhibitions would you like to be in this year? How many Facebook page fans would you like to acquire after 6 months? If it’s possible to set deadlines for specific tasks, plan these out on a goals calendar (e.g. by the end of Jan you would like 20 more followers on Twitter, and to have made 3 new works). Put this calendar somewhere you will see it every day, and keep on top of your aims.
3. Improve your website. Your online profile is always centered around your portfolio, i.e. your website. Making improvements to this as soon as possible will give you a satisfying confidence boost, whilst improving your professional image to others. For tips on how to create a new website or build on your current one, see our articles on the topic: Increase artwork sales through your website and 8 Ways to Improve your website.
4. Think small. Rather than focusing on huge tasks, break things up into easy to manage chunks. So if you really want to make 5 paintings this month, try and think about how many hours per day that will involve realistically. Then set yourself daily goals based on those numbers (e.g. make time for 1 hour of uninterrupted painting per day). See motivation techniques.
5. Work on your online presence. We’ve long since talked about the importance of social media in expanding your network (see here!) but we can’t stress enough the value of building your online voice. If it all seems really overwhelming, it’s more effective to focus on one social network and put all your efforts into connecting people that way. Start with building a Facebook page, which couldn’t be simpler with ArtWeb’s Facebook syncing capabilities – find out how here. Also, it’s worth making use of linking your social media accounts, so you can update more than one at once!
6. Manage your time. Part of the reason many resolutions are forgotten in a few weeks (or days) is due to poor time management. Although most artists lead busy lives, often working full or part-time in addition to their practice, it’s important to prioritize your art, and there are always methods to focus your time and become more efficient. Start by make a list of all of the unnecessary procrastination tasks you do instead of art-making and try to cut them out. For more tips on managing your time see our article on Managing your creative productivity.
7. Begin a mailing list. Having a contacts database is important in itself, so if you haven’t started collating one already, start on the 1st January! In addition, it’s a good idea to send out regular newsletters to remind our network what you’re up to – including achievements, exhibitions, awards, and workshops. There are lots of easy ways to send newsletters – try Mailchimp.com
8. Experiment more. If you find you’re getting stuck in a rut, why not try a totally new medium, or join a one day workshop. All too often, when artists lose confidence in their style or medium, they can stop making work altogether (the all too familiar artists’ block). Get out of your comfort zone, and keep producing work, in any format or medium you haven’t explored yet. You might hate it, but at least you’ll have created something, and it might be all you need to get that brainwave you’ve been waiting for.
9. Stop making ‘test’ works. This might sound contradictory to the last point, but what we mean here is to not fall into the trap of continually testing your ideas as an excuse to not finish things, or to distance your ownership over something you’re not confident about. It’s all too easy to show someone a recent work and just say ‘Oh I was just trying things out, this isn’t really the art I want to make’ etc. Believe in every piece of work and experimentation as part of your ongoing practice, therefore making the process is as important as the output. When talking about this, emphasize the positives of trying new things.
10. Don’t sell yourself short – know your worth! This is a resolution all artists should be making and keeping. Talk positively about your work, be confident in your art, and sell it for what it’s worth. Consider your time and materials, plus get to know the art scene and your competitors and peers (see pricing your artwork). Remember that not everyone will like your art, but that doesn’t matter… what matter’s is that you believe in what you’re making, and there will plenty of people out there who agree – it’s just about finding them.