Hello! Welcome to my blog, “Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
I’m a Career & Life Coach for artists and other creative people. I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area but work with artists throughout the U. S. and all over the world.
This is the fourth installment of my blog, where we’re reviewing a checklist of 10 behaviors that make a difference in an artist’s career. It gives you a way to think about what you’re doing (and not doing) right now.
Checklist for a Successful Art Career (26 KB)
Let’s take a look at the fourth question: “I’m comfortable using technology.”
If you grew up in the early days of computer technology, you are constantly worried about making a mistake, thinking the computer might crash and you’ll lose all your data. (Yes, this actually used to happen!) Anyone watching a 3-year-old pounding the keys of an iPad knows such disasters are unlikely now, but your fear lingers on.
Often your first step in building confidence and skill in any field is to learn the names of things. When I take my car in for service I need help from the guys who speak car. I used to say: “the funny-shaped light you were supposed to fix last time is flashing again.” With five minutes of homework (reading their receipt) I came up with: “the SES light is on again, and last time you replaced the exhaust cam solenoid. What’s next?” This question made me feel smart, and I got faster help because I spoke the right language.
Your computer speaks a foreign language that sounds close to ordinary English, but isn’t. Many terms (like function or format or interface) are abstract and opaque to you. Other terms sound familiar but actually have a different meaning, like firewall or application, or my personal favorite, cookies. When you don’t know what a technology term means, look it up. Internetslang.com is a good place to start.
So what should you do to become more comfortable using technology? The best approach is to identify a short list of technical tasks you need to do to advance your art career, and then set about learning them. These are basic tasks that you stumble over frequently and make you feel incompetent. Here are some examples:
If you don’t know how to do these basic tasks, you can hire someone to teach you, look at YouTube videos, or you can teach yourself by asking Dr. Google. If you prefer the third option, as I do, go to Google and enter “how to create and send a jpeg image.” You will get many links in answer to the question, so look at a few and then choose an entry that is written clearly and provides step-by-step numbered instructions. PRINT OUT the instructions and put them beside your computer.
Now practice doing the task several times, following the instructions, creating and sending images to yourself. You will mess it up at first, and then eventually it will work. You might not know what you did right, but you will smile proudly when you see the result in your inbox. SAVE the instructions for next time.
Eventually you’ll discover that your learning comes more easily. You learn how one thing works, and then see that other processes work in a similar way. This is what people mean when they say that a process is “intuitive.”
In the next blog I’ll be talking about question #5 on the checklist, “I use the art resources in my community.”
Mary Edwards, Ph.D.
Career & Life Coach for Artists