Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gauging if you are a CREATIVE SUCCESS

Are you trying to decide whether or not to continue a creative endeavor
on the basis of whether you’ve been “successful” or not?

Does engaging in the endeavor itself, feel transparent to you? (like breathing)

example:  I love to cook and when I get in the kitchen and start whipping together a
grouping of fresh ingredients (some from my garden) I quickly become immersed (in a most positive way).  The finished product, whether adored or merely tolerated does not matter.  The cooking itself is reward enough.

Are you trying to sell your creative result and do you judge its success on $ales figures?

Many artists never even attempt to sell their art because their artistic creation is intrinsically rewarding or it hurts too much to contemplate the rejection(s) of prospective buyers.  This question really boils down to how “identified” you are with your artistic work.  If you are trying to get personal approval through your work, you are likely to get more hurt and pull back when being rejected.  If you can separate from your work and let it navigate its own way, then you are more likely to have the patience to see through a work to its fruition. 
Usually publishing houses simply choose what they believe has the greatest chance to sell effectively period.  (staying in business is job #1)

Can you earn the bulk of your life survival expenses without creative revenue?

You’ve probably heard, “Don’t give up your day job!” enough to know that very few creative people make full-time salaries from their work.  Most artists build up their following over several years, if not decades.  Staying humble, soliciting and listening objectively to others feedback, while continuing to produce and submit are the marks of mature artists who gradually earn a living through their creative work.

Build long-term relationships with successful creative arts media people.

When you finally breakthrough and get that first work accepted and produced, nourish the relationships with the key people that made that endeavor a success.  It is much easier to replicate a successful production with channels that are proven.  Example: Even great actresses like Meryl Streep had to know how to be as well liked by agents, producers and distributors as her large audience following.

Set and evaluate realistic goals

Make a five-year chart,  Start with modest goals and a gradual increase.  At quarterly intervals mark special recognition activities for the people who help make your work a
commercial success.  Thank you letters, in-person visits, gifts, postcards, public acknowledgements, whatever touches the hearts and keeps your hard-working fans continuing to invest in your (hopefully mutual) success.

Are you vulnerable and transparent about your artistic work and process?

People inherently wish to help others.  If you are open and vulnerable about your work, you are way more likely to engage the marathon-supporter organ of teammates, their hearts.  Be up front and truthful about what you wish in specific, time-detailed terms.

“I would my short story to be published in a major magazine, like Harpers by the end of 2015.”  “I need help getting in front of the publisher at Harpers, can you help me?”

Build a small cadre of acquaintances, who give you reliable feedback on your work

Don’t subject your friends and family to being your sole art reviewers.  Patiently recruit others who find the occasional review refreshing and desirable.  When you reach a critical mass, say 9, of people who give you definitive approval and say things like, “this is as good as anything I’ve seen in our Metropolitan Museum.”, then move forward full speed ahead.

Make your creative time sancrosanct and well-known to everyone you know

If everyone knows that from 7-9am you are in your studio, making “xyz”, you will not be disturbed, and you will have every opportunity to fulfill your daily creative productivity quota (set this in advance!).

Set non-negotiable daily rewards and practice them and your artwork like clockwork

Every day of the year I meditate, do yoga and get a walk outside – the three take about 90 minutes out of my day and they make my life a work of art, regardless of whatever else happens.

Do you find you are more prone to acceptance, happiness and patience when you are practicing your artwork, your daily rewards and maintaining good boundaries in all your obligations?

Restlessness and soft addictions (procrastination, food-binging, etc.) are the signs of a moldering integrity.  When you are fully engaged with both your art and your life, you are a happier human being.

Are you regularly surprised by how your work touches others?

Years ago I met a woman in a hair salon whose husband had just died.  I read her a poem from my book.  She bought a copy and said, “I will read that poem daily so my husband’s soul will rest easy.


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