Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Goodness- What I Learned at TCC

Sometimes I try to trick myself by sternly telling myself that the things I want to do are actually things I have to do. That puts them on par with the rest of my to-do list. When I signed up for The Creative Connection I had all kinds of reasons for how it would be so good and beneficial for my business when really I just wanted so badly to go and play and be with other creatives, other randoms. I'm so glad I did. Not only did I get some really solid business advice but I got those things that satisfy that other part of ourselves, the part that needs interaction with others like us, that needs an influx of colors and ideas and pretty things to stimulate us. I loved the art play that I was able to partake in during this event but far more valuable to me was meeting other artists and creatives and learning their stories and hearing their thoughts about the creative life. I have to admit the business panels were not my favorite parts of the event but I did learn a lot that will help me grow my business. I want to share some of the insights I gleaned over the weekend with you but it will be a pretty random list since I'm still absorbing and processing it all.
Fabric Flower Brooch by Ruth Rae


- Most art careers happen organically. HOWEVER they need a start. You have to do something to begin the process. It can be a super small step that will begin a huge life shift.
- Often we're journeying towards something before we really know what that is. Be patient with yourself and leave time for those tangents that seem impractical or even like time wasters. Later you'll see how they were actually super important aspects of your journey.
- Do take chances on the things you really believe in. Don't take risky chances unless you're prepared to invest your whole self in their success.
- When you plan, plan for success not failure. Instead of asking yourself what you'll do if your product or business doesn't succeed, ask yourself how you'll deal when it does. For instance, if your hair accessories go huge will you be able to manufacture huge quantities? Will you be able to source materials? How will you cope with all the incidentals of succeeding? Have systems in place.
- It's ok to work with a trend but don't make the trend your product. For instance if you're a painter, work at developing your personal style- you can pick up on trendy subject matter, like mushrooms or owls BUT it's doing things in your own style that will allow you to remain flexible but still relevant.
- Learning a new skill is never a waste of time. Investing in your self education is really what will pay off the most for you as an artist.
- Be careful of what and who you allow to surround you. I think this is especially true as artists because we're so receptive. So find friends who will walk alongside of you, encourage and inspire you and not hold you back. Spend time in art museums or outside soaking in the gorgeousness and beauty of nature.
- Don't ever tell yourself that you can't or it's impossible (whatever it is).
- To the best of your ability, make sure the majority of your time is spent doing what you do best. Doing things you hate sucks a lot of the passion and creativity out of you. So an investment in a book keeper might not be as extravagant as you might think if you really really hate that aspect of your business.
- If you do have to do something you hate, try to make it less hateful (do it with a glass of wine or do it with your favorite tv show or podcast playing) and then suck it up and get it done with. Don't procrastinate and obsess- it really will harm you creatively.
Lauri Meseroll Teaching the Vivid Vignette
- Be you, be authentic. It saves the time and energy of keeping up a pretense, it's much easier, and you'll draw those who are like minded to you because of it. Honestly, there will be people who don't get you or your art- don't take it personally. We're all different, we all make different things. You probably don't care for their work either and that's not a bad thing.
- Gush about the good stuff. Revel in it, love it, soak it up.
- Be grateful that you were given the gifts you were given and know that you were also given the responsibility for developing, using and protecting those gifts.

So there you are. Some of the main ideas that I heard expressed over the weekend as well as some of my own thoughts. There were a lot more amazing opinions, expressions, as well as some cautions that I thought were worth remembering and I'll try to share those with you as well at another time. I would love to hear what does strike you though as you read this as well as any truths that come to you. I think it's a way to be generous and if we all share a bit I think we're all much richer because of it. So please leave a comment!


Lorrie Everitt Studio said...

great post ... sounds like you got a lot out of the Creative Connection Event.

I think that I've been "learning" that sometimes you just have to take a step! If you are really excited about something and it makes you happy ... go for it. Stop over thinking everything ... push away those negative thoughts (like ... I've never done this before, how am I going to work this into my other responsiblities, what if I don't make any money, what if I invest money and no one buys my "products")... sometimes you just have to believe in yourself.

Unknown said...

I love the "gush about the good stuff" part. Too often, people are afraid to revel in the good-- fear of being seen as a show-off or something? But it's important to feel successful in order to have further success, I think.

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness! I LOVE and NEED this post. I am printing it out as we speak and I'm going to hang it in my studio so I can soak up all the wisdom in it while I work. There are many points that I need to work on that you've talked about here! One point that I liked is that the art career is organic... lately I've been feeling frustrated that I don't have THE ONE BIG GOAL to work towards. I have a variety of smaller, more varied goals, and honestly I am starting to think it is a healthier attitude. But does that mean that I get distracted? Sometimes.. OH well. I'm doing the best I can. :)

Mousy Brown said...

What a lovely encouraging post with some really great advice! I popped over to say Thank you for a previous post(Happy 2nd Etsy-versary!) which was a step in me getting around to opening my Etsy shop today - your enthusiasm and kindness went a long way to getting me started and I wanted you to know how much I appreciated it! Thanks for being so inspiring Em x

Nic Hohn said...

this is all good stuff...plan for success really struck a cord with me, with systems in place.Having the systems ready to go is affirming the next step of success after you've created the product.

Jen I'd love to hear the rest of what you learnt. Please post it soon!!