This week I’ve compiled a list of seven things a creator must do to be taken seriously in their pursuits. By no means is this ALL a creative must do, but it will surely pave the way for future successes in their endeavors.
Eventually, I’ll be diving deeper into these different areas, but for now, here’s a brief overview.
I know this person, that, whenever we talk, refers to themselves as an artist. But the truth is, they’ve been working a corporate job for the last 15+ years and haven’t picked up a pencil since college. While they might identify as an artist, the truth is to be an artist, you have to create.
Think about the last time you gave yourself permission to create something. Has it been a little too long?
One of my favorite quotes is by Pablo Picasso, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
I know it’s easier said than done, but start making things. Stop caring about the outcome and worry about the process. If you have doubts about your abilities, the process of creating will eventually knock off some of the dust, you’ll find your voice and a more comfortable place of inspiration and motivation.
Maybe you’ve been painting for decades, writing since you could lift a pen and scribble a thought, or have mastered your instrument and are considered a professional in your niche. It’s easy to feel like you know a lot about your field. But learning new techniques, materials, and skills can help push your existing knowledge in bold, exciting new ways.
Even if it’s not within your creative field, learning new skills, for example, public speaking, is great for personal growth. Being a more confident public speaker is essential for any job that requires the ability to influence, persuade, and motivate people. Which, if you have any interest in selling your work, is invaluable. And these learning experiences will also lead to new stories, new inspiration, and new ideas that can be incorporated into your work.
If you can’t afford workshops or classes, make it a point to devote some time each week to seek more understanding or skill through free sources like your library, online platforms, or local meetups.
Create a Cohesive Website and Social Media Presence
I’m sure you could make a pretty convincing argument against this about some artists who lack a social media presence but are wildly successful in their pursuits.
However, we live in a digital world. It’s important to keep up with the times to stay relevant in a constantly changing environment.
I think it’s important to have a cohesive presence on social media and a personal website. Making yourself and your product find-able on a global scale opens you up to millions of new opportunities.
I’ll get deeper into social media/website stuff in subsequent posts but just know this... try, to the best of your ability, to have your screen names and website domain match as closely as possible. And ask yourself, does it accurately reflect what you do and who you are?
Make it undeniable that the same artist is running all accounts.
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing someone on Instagram with “graphicdesignerjosie” and a Facebook with “josiepaintswatercolors” and their personal website can be found at “josiesmithson.com”
P.S. These are just hypothetical examples, I don’t know Josie Smithson, she probably *doesn’t* own all of those accounts. Don’t at her, please.
I feel like most of the creatives I talk to tend to be more introverted. I think that’s a necessary trait to be able to spend long hours engaged in the creative process.
But equally important is the ability to meet and talk with new people. Being able to branch out and make contacts working in both your industry and other industries will benefit you in the long run and present opportunities you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Not sure where to start? Start by looking for people in your field who are achieving success and see where they spend time networking. Research groups and organizations that the people you’d like to work with frequent. And find community members that are in the know and well connected (chamber members, real estate agents, city council, etc… they seem to have tabs on everyone and everything going on where you work or live) and get involved.
Work On Your Confidence
Similarly, most of the creative types I’ve met are often self-critical, or worse, self-deprecating. Especially since you’re going out to start going out to connect and network, working on your confidence is necessary.
Luckily, as you start to learn more and gain knowledge and skills, naturally your confidence will be boosted as you’ll be able to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Similarly, as you spend more time talking to people and practicing your networking, you’ll feel more confident with your social skills. It’s all about repetition and practice.
But until you get there, what do I recommend? Fake it till you make it. Dress nice, put some effort into your appearance, and act positive (even if you’re a natural cynic). Be genuine and generous. Things will start to fall into place and you’ll have more confidence than when you started.
Learn Some More
I’m not just talking about courses and workshops. Often times our biggest challenge to achieving anything is the thing sitting between our two ears.
Some people believe that their intelligence and abilities are fixed traits, that they are born with a certain amount and that’s it. Other people understand that anything can be developed through persistence and effort.
Usually, people aren’t completely on one side of the spectrum or the other. You might believe that, “Yes, I can continue to get better when it comes to [X], but I’ll never be able to get better when it comes to [Y].” Try to approach [Y] with the same growth mindset you do [X] and realize shifts, no matter how small, are possible.
Take your mistakes and learn from them. Be adaptable. And don’t let your mind sabotage your health and happiness down the line.
Value Your Time
Both figuratively and literally.
There are 162 hours in a week. Even devoting 15 minutes a day to your creative endeavors will get you closer to your goals.
Consider how you are currently spending your downtime?
More often than not there are people who are messaging me on Instagram telling me that they don’t have the time to create. The action of telling me you don’t have time... takes time.
What would your day look like if you disconnected from your phone/social media? Netflix? YouTube? Be honest with yourself... how much time do you spend on those services weekly? How much time could you potentially free up for your passion?
Also, value your time and what you are creating.
I know that some of you are learning new skills and don’t necessarily feel comfortable selling your work. But, please, put a price tag on your skill and time.
You can always raise the price, or lower the price. Never be so scared to price it incorrectly that you never put it up for sale.
So that’s it, those are my seven things you should be doing right now if you want to be taken seriously as a creator.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What would you add to this list if it was yours?