3 Ideas that will Transform Your Creative Business – Skinny Artist

3 Ideas that will Transform Your Creative Business

Getting started is hard.

The beginning of almost any project is almost always overwhelming. We’re excited to get moving, but at the same time, we don’t have any idea where to start.

So we put it off.

Instead, we focus on figuring it all out. We read some books, check out some blog posts, maybe take a course or two, and then wait until we feel confident enough to get started.

But of course, that moment never arrives.

Embracing uncertainty with movement

We get stuck because we never feel ready.

After all, the more we figure out, the more we realize that there is always something more out there that we may need to know.

It isn’t just getting started that’s the problem; however, it’s also the doubts and uncertainty that show up on a daily basis.

Maybe it’s the nagging self-doubt that whispers in your ear suggesting that you abandon your current project and instead pursue that other idea that you came up with yesterday. Or perhaps you are moving on to a new phase of your project, and you start to feel overwhelmed all over again as you face new logistical or technological challenges.

Instead of allowing this confusion and uncertainty stop us, however, we need to embrace it and recognize that this is all just part of the creative process.

We need to recognize that the only cure for uncertainty is not seeking more knowledge, but instead finding the courage to take that next step forward even though we may not yet know where we’re going.

Embracing discomfort with progress

Part of growing up is doing things that you have never done before.

In order to do that, however, we have to be willing to go back to the uncomfortable place of being a beginner. Back to the discomfort of starting over where we don’t have a clue what we’re doing.

It’s natural to want to stay in our comfort zone where we know exactly what to expect.

What we don’t like, is doing things we haven’t done before.

We finally finish writing our book, but now we have to figure out how to format and publish it.
We finish our artwork, but now we have to figure out how to market it and find interested buyers.
We finish our website, but now we have to figure out how to actually get people to visit it.

In other words, as soon as we get something figured out, there is always something else out there waiting for us where we don’t know what we’re doing.

Understandably, most of us are a little reluctant to leave the comfort of our hard-won area of competence and go back to square one where we’ll once again feel like the incompetent newbie.

Every time that we are willing to venture back into the unknown, however, we push ourselves and our abilities a little further down the path.

It means that we are moving forward and making progress.

Eventually, we learn that simply by swallowing our pride and embracing discomfort, we are able to grow and do things that we have never done before.

Embracing failure with optimism

Finally, we must learn that despite our best efforts, we often have little control over the results.

As writers, musicians, and visual artists, we are capable of creating some extraordinary things that the world has never seen before, which is the power of being a creative artist.

At the same time, we have little control over how our audience is going to react to our creation.

I’ve written things that I was extremely proud of that nobody else cared about. On the other hand, I’ve also written things on topics that bored me, but for whatever reason, something about it connected with my readers.

As creators, we often think that we are smart enough to predict what our audience is going to like or dislike, and depending on how well we know our audience, we are right to some degree.

But just as often, we are completely wrong.

That doesn’t mean that our work sucks. It simply means that the quality of our work is just one part of the equation when it comes to what work connects with our audience and what doesn’t.

Either way, we should learn to embrace failure with optimism.

We need to accept that not everyone is going to like everything that we do, and we will often stumble along the way.

We also have to have faith that because we are constantly evolving as a creative artist, that growth will be reflected in our next work, which is why we must find a way to keep moving forward instead of dwelling on the reactions to our previous work.

After all, failure is not a judgment but simply a chance to start again.

Or as the writer, Samuel Beckett once said, “Fail, fail again, fail better.”

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About the Author

Writer, teacher, and head custodian of the Skinny Artist community. His book "Getting Creative: Developing Creative Habits that Work" is all about finding the time (and energy) to live a more creative life.

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(6) comments

Great advice. It’s important to keep learning new stuff. I recently bought an iPad pro and started learning Procreate. As much as I love crafting cartoons with ink and watercolor, I knew that a digital solution would help me efficiently produce cartoon art for my blog posts. Like you wrote: “Part of growing up is doing things that you have never done before.” Have a nice Thanksgiving!

Reply

    Thanks John, and I think you’re right that it’s often too easy to stick with what we already know. However, like you said, sometimes learning something new can make us more efficient so it’s worth the struggle. My problem (one of many) is that I can’t always figure out what is worth learning and what is simply an unnecessary distraction or waste of time.

    Reply
Pam

I so agree with you, getting started, and then actually sharing your work with people is almost paralyzing to me. And then having to put a price on it, yikes! What if they just laugh? And even the ones that say they like your work, what if they are just being nice, wanting to encourage you? Talk about insecure, I am the queen of insecurity. I had a friend that just did the coolest artwork, she sculpted faces in leather and such. It was incredible work. Her husband did the woodwork to mount her pieces on and that was an art in itself. They went on weekends to craft shows and flea markets to sell the stuff and many many times they came home as broke as when they left and to me, it was just nuts that her stuff wasn’t selling. I checked out her prices and asked her if she would be willing to try an experiment. I told her I would price the stuff for her and just the one time she had to stick to the prices I set. No haggling, no apologizing, just stand on the price I set. She agreed, and when they got back home that from the weekend of selling, they had nothing left in the van! On almost every piece she had I at least tripled what she was asking, and some it was even higher. People didn’t even blink an eye and she also came home with special orders. I could have kicked myself though because I wanted one of her dolls! lol. My point being, I could see the value in her work and felt completely confident that she would sell her stuff at that higher price and her customers would be happy to pay it. But when it comes to pricing my stuff, downhill it goes, no confidence at all. It is a matter of believing in yourself and being able to show your confidence to others. And taking that leap like you said, vert scary!
By the way, how are your journals selling? I’m still enjoying mine although I have been skipping around in it, it’s really quite fun and interesting and I hope it does well for you. I think it should!

Reply

    You’re right, trying to put a monetary value on our creative work can often be terrifying. After spending weeks or even months on a project, it’s difficult to accurately assess what something may be worth to someone else. To you, of course, it’s your baby and seemingly priceless, but to someone else, the value may be significantly less. I also agree with you that it is in some respects a matter of self-confidence, especially when you will be negotiating with your customer face-to-face.

    Thanks again Pam for taking the time to share your thoughts with us and also for your kind words about the new journal. I really appreciate it :)

    Reply

Wow. You were speaking directly to me! Just want to thank you for putting yourself out there to help people like me.

I need to move forward with my next project instead of thinking about why I shouldn’t.

Amazing post and seriously felt like you’ve been listening to all my negative self-talk lately. Thank you.

Reply

    Thanks Susan! I think sometimes the fear when doing a post like this is that people are going to start telling me that it’s just me and they have never had to deal with issues like this. So it’s good to hear that I’m not alone on this :)

    Reply
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