Monday, April 13, 2009

Motivation Monday

As an artist, do you need help getting motivated to do all those non-art tasks that are piling up and making you feel guilty? Well keep reading, because help is on the way!

Last week, we looked at how important it was to have the perspective that as artists we are running small businesses. Yet many artists avoid the non-art stuff because well, it isn't art. So this week the goal of this post is to encourage you to shift your thinking once again. This time, you are going to change the way you think about non-art tasks.

How can you get excited about the business side of art? Simply start to see business tasks as creative tasks! As an artist, you love creativity. Stop limiting creativity to your art and start viewing all of your tasks as inherently creative. Do you believe that one can cook creatively, decorate a house creatively, raise children creatively, and garden creatively? Of course you do. Then, why can't someone run a business creatively? The truth is, the more successful a business is, the more creative it is.

Perhaps some examples might help. Think about designing a website. An artist needs to make all sorts of creative decisions as to the layout, fonts, content, and colours. Think of how diverse blogs are. Again, each one expresses the creative choices of the artist. Designing business cards, media cards and brochures are very creative endeavours. Here again as the artist and business owner you get to determine the content, colours, layout, fonts and so on. Do you have to create a display for doing shows? You will need to creatively choose the backdrops, display grids, lighting, and tables that will present your art in the best possible way. If you teach art, creating content for courses is a very creative thing to do.

Are you making the connection now? You love creativity and you enjoy having the opportunity to express yourself creatively. Well yippee, those business tasks you have been dreading and putting off are actually more opportunities to get creative!

Of course there are a few exceptions. Keeping your accounts in order - humm, maybe you can get creative and use multi-coloured pens?... Not recommended for tax forms. :-) But if we are honest, there are also exceptions on the art cleaning paint brushes or spending hours tweaking lighting, fabric and objects to get the perfect still life reference...dampens my creativity just to type it! Indeed, creative cooks have to grate carrots and chop onions and creative gardeners have to endlessly battle weeds.

Yes creating a new blog and creating course content might feel more like work than creating your art does. But, it can be enjoyable! Simply focus on the creative aspects of what you are doing. I encourage you to really make a determined effort to change your thinking about your non-art tasks. Consciously become aware of how these tasks require you to be creative. As soon as you do, you will find that these tasks are not a variety of horrible things that take you away from your creative journey as an artist. In fact you will find that they are part of your creative journey as an artist and as a successful business person. Honestly, just make the shift...


Laure Ferlita said...

Good article, Teresa. I also find that when I think of those "non-creative" business tasks as stepping stones and building blocks, as in a foundation, that make the creative side possible. Without them there is no creative side - it's still a castle built in the air rather than a solid foundation.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Laure, thanks for your comment. I agree, these non-art tasks are a necessary element in a solid business foundation.

As there is no way to avoid them, we might as well learn to enjoy them or at least appreciate them. I am all for finding a way to love what we do!

CountryDreaming said...

The "decorate a house creatively" at this point seems to be up at the top of the mountain, and I'm afraid that I have yet to reach the point half-way up the slope called "clean up clutter creatively!" I admire those of you who can easily say "of course" when it comes to such an achievement.

As for the business end of things, in college I used to write interactive fan fiction with a bunch of other "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" fans wherein my character was an eccentric intergalactic business tycoon with a flair for the sensational, so now I get to start actually living something that I used to just imagine and pretend. As for things like figuring out taxes, easiest and best decision I made was to hire a professional accountant. "Creative" and "math" I'm not too sure are the best combination?

You say, "But if we are honest, there are also exceptions on the art cleaning paint brushes or spending hours tweaking lighting, fabric and objects to get the perfect still life reference...dampens my creativity just to type it!"

Yeah, the cleaning paint brush thing was so intimidating to me as a newbie who didn't want to inadvertently do anything wrong and mess up the brushes that I painted with cardboard instead. However, when it comes to such things as tweaking the lighting, color saturation, cropping of photos etc in Photoshop, that sort of thing absolutely fascinates me to the point where I'll get lost in it, time will stop, and I'll realize that I should have eaten and/or gone to bed hours ago but am having too much fun.

Basically, looks like each one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to motivation. Someone's strength could easily be another's weakness. Glad to see people who have the strengths I lack ... that's where inspiration comes from.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi CountryDreaming, cleaning up clutter creatively...I'm visualizing lovely wicker baskets and decorative boxes to sort things into, with pretty label decals to boot. Does this help? :-)

Actually I do enjoy creating a still life...when things go well. I have had some stinker sessions though, I needed more clamps for the fabric, I could have used sturdier and taller stands for the lights, the camera seized up without reason, the flowers wilted rapidly, etc. I'm getting better with Photoshop though.

And you are so right, creative and math, not a good idea on your taxes! :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!