Top Lessons Learned on this Journey
Top things I’ve learned since becoming Art At Dawn
1. Inspiration is everywhere– Every waking hour is fodder for my art. Sometimes it trickles up from my memories and other times I know it the moment it occurs.
I felt that very keenly this summer when my family and I took that trip out West. Inspiration enveloped me and penetrated all my senses. Look for upcoming posts on how it has begun to influence my work.
2. Consistency is key– I’ve found that I’m most productive when I keep myself on a schedule and hold myself to self-imposed deadlines. The times I flounder are when my goals are unclear or vague.
As I wrote about it in this post, I have developed a weekly schedule that helps to keep me focused. I feel lost the weeks that I skip it.
I wish I could say that all this consistency allows my creativity to flow abundantly. Not so. There are times that I have to force myself to keep at it. The important thing, I’ve learned, is just to show up and keep stoking the fire. If the fire goes out it takes a lot longer to start it up again and feel the warmth of its glowing embers which feeds my art.
3. Time is precious– There are only so many hours in the day, and only a portion of them can be used for my art. The trick is to use the time I have to the best of my ability and not kick myself when I run out of it. (The best way to estimate my time? Take the amount I think it will require and double it!)
But there is another side to the coin. When I lose myself to my art, I often lose track of time as well. I get in The Zone. It is a great place to be in but requires the freedom of time, as well.
4. Art supplies need not be expensive– that goes for studio furniture, too! Over the years I’ve amassed a lot of art supplies and learned some tricks on how to maximize the supplies I have lying around the house.
That goes for studio equipment and furniture, too. I’ve also found some great deals at consignment stores and Craigslist, and am always looking out for discounted items to supplement my studio wishlist.
5. My talents are valid– It’s easy, in this field, to look around at my highly talented peers and convince myself that I don’t possess the skills and creativity that they have. But I can’t do that to myself. I can’t discount the feelings of excitement and happiness that often overwhelm me while creating a drawing or painting.
If I am passionate about my art and business I need to trust that others will see it and want what I have to offer. (The trick is getting it out there where they can see it, too!)
6. Feel the fear and do it anyway– At times I am unsure of myself; where I am going with my art, and what I am doing. I must allow myself to experience those feelings but then forge ahead. What other choice do I have? Giving up is not an option!
Sometimes I feel fearful when I am in a new situation or approaching someone about my art. I’ve found that what helps ease my anxiety is to think to myself, What’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps I‘ll get rejected or feel out of my element, but the world will still spin and life will go on. So I swallow my pride and keep going- because I must!
7. Make time for family and friends– It is so easy to lose sight of the things that matter, if I allow it, especially if I’m wrapped up in a big project or preparing for a show. I’ve learned that I constantly need to take a step back and look around me. I need to take in the big picture and remember what my core values are.
I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to be using my God-given talents, but I cannot forget those who encouraged and helped me along the way. I am so grateful to them, and I never want to forget to be thankful!
8. There is an answer out there for everything– I’ve had to forge many new streams in creating my business. I’ve had to find resources and learn to navigate them. Sometimes I’ve even had to learn new skills by watching tutorials or taking an online class.
I may have to dig for it, but the answers are out there. Thank God for Google!
9. Make a decision and stick with it– This has not been an easy lesson to learn. Everywhere I turn there are decisions to make, and it can get overwhelming. From what kind of art I should do, to where I should show it; decisions about what my art and business is about, and how I should run it. Only I can decide and stand my ground- otherwise it would all get washed away in the current.
But then there are times when something doesn’t work and I need to let it go. That’s not an easy decision, either, but a necessary one to keep developing my art and business.
10. Prioritize– It’s remarkable how long its taken me to figure this out. There are so many things that need my attention and if I don’t prioritize, I wind up taking little nips but never finishing anything.
I’ve learned to choose 2-3 things each day that need to get done and then fill in with everything else. Often, I find that it’s better to get the more dreaded things out of the way first, as well. (ie: book-keeping!)
11. Make Connections– It can be hard to get myself out there and approach strangers- even if it’s in the name of my art. I literally have to push myself to do it. But 9 times out of 10, the people on the other end are friendly and helpful, and have led to more connections. These contacts have been invaluable and make it easier to go out and do it again.
12. Don’t be afraid to fail– Not that I set out to make mistakes, but they happen anyway. It would be easy to curl up and have a pity party every time they occur. But I can’t. Every failed attempt becomes an opportunity to learn and grow.
So bring it on!!
Do any of these lessons resonate with you? What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your own business and/or creative pursuits?