It's Good To Know
Top Tips For Staying Cool When You Work In The Arts
When the arts become your job, we can no longer accept payment in verbal responses and friendly compliments. Like any other job, we do what we do because we need to get paid for it. This changes everything, and instead of creating to satisfy our own private world, we are working to satisfy paying customers. Taking this on board is one of the biggest steps any professional creative has to make, ins and outs on the balance sheet are what it is all about for any employee, self employed or not.
The stress of this situation can be excruciating. Especially when the people who like what we do expect us to live on compliments alone! Don't be afraid of accepting this either, trying to hide from stress only makes it worse. Staying cool is paramount to remain on the good side of creativity. Once we let the pressure get between us and our work, both suffer. Once we can identify the pressures we are under, we can address them with particular mindsets that help us to thrive. We can prevent the natural pressures of being a professional artist from getting between us and our work.
How does this happen? We need to look at a few different things to build a big picture. They all boil back down to how we view our self, our work, and the world we are working in. Putting these things in equal terms is the main issue, and yet the dynamics between all three can be complex and so they need further definition.
It may seem obvious, but it's surprising how many people expect to be successful without learning how first. Simply because you have a knack for doing something well, it won't automatically qualify you to succeed. For any creative product, it must be marketed. Studying marketing is really important to understand how to package and describe your work and then how to get it in front of the people who are most likely to want it. We can learn marketing that is specific to your particular art, whether it's a book, a painting, or a computer game. There's a technique that will help you and it's simple to go and find the right course online.
Brainstorm Your Path
It's never clear cut and the routes to financial success with art are numerous. No two products are the same, and neither are their road. We must be able to plot out a journey for ourselves and actively seek the steps. Knowing where we are and where we need to be leaves us only the way to get there. Opportunities present themselves all the time, if we spot them we can pluck up the courage and see about getting involved. Always keep an open mind about how we can get to where we need to be, and also plan for change meaning don't accept only one outcome but acknowledge that we could go for a number of them safely.
Pull It Together
It's likely you have many projects and ideas that you run around in circles trying to water and keep going. These need to be consolidated or left alone. We will lose our energy very quickly if we try to run lots of various artistic ventures. Stick to one and then try to employ as many of your talents as you can within the main frame of what you do. It takes a bit of creative thinking sometimes to find the way everything can link up, but that's what you're in the creative industry for isn't it? You're good at this sort of thing.
It's Fine To Not Aim For The Top
Not everyone wants to be the next global sensation, and it's very possible to make a great living by being quiet and largely unknown. Think of the cafe on your high street, it makes a good living by serving several hundred people a day. If you were to go to the next high street along, it wouldn't be a well known landmark. We can be like that cafe. If we want to be KFC and become a global phenomenon, we must accept that to cater for many we have to do a lot more work.
Keep It Real
This isn't a game and we're not playing around. Be honest about where you really are in the arts world, and where others around you are too. It's not all about you and you likely are not where you want to be yet. So take notice of the truth and drop the wishful thinking. It's okay to visualise and it's okay to imagine the future but always keep your feet firmly in the now.
Enjoy The Process
It's really fun to learn and improve. Finding a method and pathway to success involves a lot of changes to how we work and what we work for. It isn't a drag to learn new skills when those skills provide us with the bread on the table. It's just a fact of life. It's really important to appreciate how much there is left to do and look forward to further study. Once we stop loving learning we won't be able to adapt to new challenges.
Keep Your Wits About You
Listen to your gut feelings all the time. It's really easy to be swept up in the razzmatazz of the arts world and fall for sneaky tricks. A lot of people just want your money without offering anything in return. Perhaps they offer a cosy publishing deal or a cosy arts contract. If it's cosy then it's too good to be true. Nothing is easy and that is especially true in the world of professional art. I will let you in on something now, when I was a new author, I fell for a publishing scam. Someone offered me a publishing deal, they said they had shops in the States and that I'd likely sell many copies. I went for it, and soon after I was asked for money to complete the deal. It wasn't much so against my better judgement I handed over a few dollars. The book did sell a few, and yet I never received anything in royalty. This showed me that with self-publishing I can control my income myself. There is a bit of prejudice still floating around with self-publishing, however anyone who cares to actually look will find all is in order with my work. No vanity intended.
Having Said That, Don't Intentionally Fail
It's easy to be afraid of what the next step could mean for you, your time schedule, and the things you love in life. Taking the job at the big firm will ruin your plans for the next few weeks while you get to grips with it. We all need to accept that change means adaptation and so having the right change that suits us is important. Not everyone can be able to do the things needed, meaning there is opportunity for all, not just you. For me, working at home works extremely well as I struggle with social anxiety. It also means I can be an active parent and also hold down a high pace job. Don't set yourself up to have to quit and also don't be afraid of taking on new challenges when you have the ability. Stop pointing out your flaws and weaknesses and focus on your strengths.
Love What You Do But Don't Expect The World To
In the art business, we are all in it together. Everyone cares the most about their work and yours is only a sideline to them. It will always be like this. We can't expect everyone to suddenly drop their agendas because we created something great. More often the creation will only push others back to their labs to find something that puts them on equal footing. It's not a community with you in the middle, and it likely never will be. Enjoy your place in the art world and stop fighting with it, learn to co-operate and work in unison with your peers. Have fun, and good luck!
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