Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My inner demon has reared it's ugly head! Time to look back over the month...

Well, it's coming up to the end of February which means that I have been working on this whole 'trying-to-make-a-living-from-my-art' thing properly for about a month and I think I need to stop and review what I have actually done. I've slept badly the last few nights (always do when Chris is away) and today the nasty little demon that sits on my shoulder whispering 'You can't do this' has reared it's ugly little head (I'm starting to feel like I've spent a lot of time in front of my computer but that I've not really achieved very much!) so instead of listening to it and having a wobble I'm going to stop and review what I've actually done! When I was at Uni I was taught the importance of reflection...of taking the time to review how you have spent your time, what that has achieved and what changes, if any, you are going to make to your behaviour/process going forward. So, given that I'm feeling a bit...., I thought I would do just that and actually write down what I have done so far (See, I do it may take me some time but I do get there eventually :-D). 

Right! I currently have five pictures in an exhibition, have received two commissions (I have not advertised my 'Family Home' and 'Family Tree' pictures officially yet so I am over the moon that I have secured two already), have worked out how I'm going to present my images, sourced proper ink and paper so I can make my own prints, have successfully made two prints (It was a bit trial and error but I got there), have done a ton of research which led to a change in my pricing and have started to update the listings I already have in my etsy shop. I have also been involved in running a creative workshop for people who have dementia and have written a report based on my experience of the workshop comparing it with the information I found when I undertook the literature review on arts & dementia. (It was the first time I've had the opportunity to combine my outreach work with my artwork and I loved every single second of it! The participants were working with clay and I watched them transform over the two hours we were there. As their confidence grew, they went from quiet and, in some cases, pretty withdrawn to laughing, joking and encouraging each other. It was fab and I learned a lot about running an art workshop from the experience which will definitely help me when it comes to planning and running my own).

I'm really glad I decided to write this cause reading that's actually quite a lot! (Ha, not so smug now are you Mr Nasty Demon?) (Note to blog readers: Yes, I am aware that I am now talking to my imaginary demon...please just ignore it and move on!). My goal was to have all the images on my etsy site up by now and because I'm not even close to that, as I said, I was feeling like I'd spent a lot of time in front of the computer but hadn't really much to show for it! Thinking about it can I run my shop if my pricing is wrong and I don't have the ability to produce what I'm selling? The answer to that is I can't! I have to recognise that the admin side of things is particularly heavy at the moment because I'm trying to sort out all the images. The downside of having a backlog of 70+ pictures is that I have a backlog of 70+ pictures!! Once they are up then I will be adding new art work as I go along and won't have to face such a mammoth task again but, like these things often do, it's taking me a lot longer to get it all done than I expected! But, you know what, that's ok...I am having to get to grips with new technology and software as well as having to frame each piece so it has a 'lifestyle' shot (Apparently people need to see a picture framed before they can imagine it on their wall at home). I just need to make sure that I balance my time going forward.

This has been a very good exercise for me...perhaps I should write regular monthly updates so I can follow my progress and evaluate whether I am actually making good use of my time or not!

Wow, a serious post! Don't worry...normal service will soon be resumed :-)

*goes off feeling sooooo much better than she did when she started writing this*


Blu said...

Because you cannot delegate the work to someone, it is bound to be time consuming, and it sounds like you have done a lots of the donkey work. Good luck with your new venture :-)

Potterix said...

That's loads!!! Well bloody done!!!

You're right about reflecting - I've even taken to looking back at the end of each day to see what I've achieved (and any nice things/moments that have happened). It does make a difference to how you feel.

But, yes, why does it takes so bloody long to get anywhere with stuff?

Carol said...

Blu - That is soooo true! Perhaps I need to bribe a friend (probably with wine) to come help me for a day!

Potterix - Yeah, it is quite a lot isn't it! Didn't realise that till I wrote it all down!

LOVE your idea of looking back at the end of each day...might try that :-)

I don't know why it takes so bloody long! Ach, I'll get there in the end...I always do!

C x

Vanessa Higgins said...

Thanks for sharing. I love to learn about other people!

Carol said...

Vanessa - Welcome and thanks for leaving such a lovely comment!

I can't be the only person out there who struggles with these things so figured that sharing would not only do me good but might help someone else who's going through the same thing. Battling inner demons is not much fun but it does help when you know your not the only one!

C x

TALON said...

*hugs* It's hard to be self-employed (and I can say this with some 20+ years of slogging through it myself. And recently, because I don't have enough to keep my insane brain occupied apparently, I have started to sell stock photography. And it's been good, but hard. And it's a whole new learning curve. But I figured I've got to do something with the 7,000+ photos I've taken over the last few years since I got such an amazing camera (gift from hubby who is a truly fabulous friend and honors his crazy creative wife) so I'm taking chances which is no small feat at 53 (sometimes feeling more like 103 and sometimes feeling only 3) and so I know how you feel. Just approach it with as much organization as you can. Block out periods of time on a day planner or something similar and stick to it. It pays off. At first it feels strange to know you have to sit *BIC* at certain times and be creative on demand, but it does work.

I have no doubts you'll be very very successful, Carol. Your spirit shines through in your work and your words.

* Butt in Chair


Mel said...

LOL. I'm adoring Talon's share. And I love that you do what I do....with much nicer language. LOL. Seriously....I cal these "fingers to keyboard" moments. And they keep me grounded. I have "an itty bitty sh**** committee " that lives between my ears. Putting it in black and white works to dismiss the little boogers! (See...much nicer language than I!)

And OMG the opportunity with that clay workshop....A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
Totally worth it!'re doing amazingly well. You have 70 just sitting there....and commissions?! AND you have the printing figured out AND you have an online place organized to any degree?! You need a mug of coffee and a new toy! Oh!!! A kaleidoscope!! Or a bubble gun! LOL. Toy freak that I am.....
Seriously....ya done good!!

Carol said...

Talon - I think it's awesome (and not in the cheesy sense!) that you are taking chances! And over the moon to hear that your doing stock photography cause you have a real talent for both words and pictures and it would be criminal to waste it!! You will never know unless you give it a try and life is too short to spend being too scared to try!!

Blocking out time is something I have been thinking about. I figure it will take a bit of time to figure out when I am at my best creatively and to get used to the 'do it on demand' idea but hopefully it will all flow once I have it all worked out! LOL at BIC. I think that is what will have to go into my planner. BIC time :-D

Mel - Yup, so did I. She is lovely and fabulous and extremely should check out her blog...I think you would like it!

There is definitely something about using the blog space to...was going to say 'vent' but that's not the right word! If I didn't have the blog I probably wouldn't have taken the time to write down what I have achieved so far which means that I probably would have gone into full on wobble! I think it is something about having a space that is yours to just 'be you' and that you can 'be you' with other like minded people that 'get' what your talking about and, like Talon just did, share their experience. ("an itty bitty sh**** committee " is a rather fabulous way of describing it...made me lol)

You are lovely you know that!! Ooohh I know what I need...I need a Spirograph!! Remember Spirographs?

*goes off to Google Spirographs*

C x

D..J. Kirkby said...

What a sensible thing to do (writing this post) and a great way to change your perspective. I quite like the idea of a monthly round up from a purely selfish standpoint because I am too busy to read posts more frequently than that. I do hope you don't stop posting pics of your art though, I do love to rest my eyes on those posts.

Carol said...

DJ - It was rather sensible wasn't it! Not like me to be sensible...not like me at all *grins*.

Yeah, I think a monthly update will probably help me keep track of what I'm supposed to be doing vs what I am actually doing! And I do know what you mean about being busy...I start work on my first commission next week so am going to be flat out today and tomorrow trying to get stuff done!

Awww, don't worry hon...I'll always post pics of my art :-).

C x

ladyfi said...

You've achieved a lot - more than a lot! Well done you.

Carol said...

Ladyfi - Thanks hon. It just 'felt' like I hadn't but when I actually wrote it all down...

C x

JJ said...

Every artist faces the same struggle - even if they are financially successful at their craft. I have had those feelings for years - and years! I finally solved the psychological dilemma when I read that Herman Melville only sold 300 copies of Moby Dickin his lifetime. Then I realized I was a writer regardless of how many books and articles I sold. After that, things started selling.

Carol said...

JJ - Really!!? Only 300!!? Blimey!! That does kinda put it all into perspective doesn't it! I just wish that I didn't have to go through the angst but then I suppose going through it pushes me to make what I'm doing better. *sigh*. I'll get there :-)

Thanks for the support

C x

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