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 next installment of my blog, where we’re reviewing a checklist of 10 behaviors that are characteristic of successful artists.
Use the checklist (“Free Tips for Artists” link) to see how you’re doing.
Checklist for a Successful Art Career (26 KB)
Don’t worry—nobody does everything every day. The goal is to build more of these behaviors into your own life, whenever you can.
Let’s take a look at question #8: “I’m clear about the goals for my art practice.”
When I mention goals to artists, many think I’m talking about reducing their art practice to an excel spreadsheet, with timelines, income projections, and cost/benefit analyses. Artists rightly resist this form of goal-setting, but don’t realize there are alternatives.
Goals are important, especially when you are stuck, or just wanting to make more progress in your art career. Start with your own vision of what success looks and feels like for you. Remember that artists are “right-brained” creatures. This means that you are a visual thinker. Your ideas and intentions only become real when you can see them. We all think visually to a certain extent, but for artists a picture isn’t just “worth a thousand words,” it’s the whole dictionary.
Try to see yourself successful. Let your imagination run free, and discover what you really want. You might see your work in a gallery, or see yourself teaching or giving a talk, or spending all day in your studio, without interruption. Just let a picture arise from your imagination. Your goals are embedded in your vision of success.
Now try to capture your vision: draw it, or paint it, or make it into a collage. Give tangible form to your vision of success so that you can look at it as you work in your studio or at your desk.
If clarity about your goals does include a business plan, try to make it visual. Here’s an example of an “artist-friendly” plan in the form of a pie chart, where each slice of the pie represents a percentage of overall income:
The artist whose income is pictured here never quite understood her business until she saw the different colors of her plan.
After you have a picture of your own goals, what happens next? You need to break down those goals into tiny action steps that you want to take. That will be the subject of my next blog!
Mary Edwards, Ph.D.
Career & Life Coach for Artists