Marketing Your Art the Right Way

Selling Art, Not Selling Out

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“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” Quote Art

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”

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Inspiration is a cruel master. It pushes us to create. It tells us what to work on. It dictates what we do.

The problem often lies in when inspiration strikes. It is a great giver, but it is also a fickle master. You can’t summon inspiration on command.

That’s why many of us have trouble coming up with our next great idea. We will spend countless hours wracking our brains for the next great idea but still come up empty handed. This brute force tactic rarely works.

You know what does work? Creating consistently and building good habits. I know what you may be thinking. You like being an artist because you are free to create whatever you want whenever you want to. You hate restrictions. You like the freedoms being an artist affords you. But this way of thinking only leads to more frustration.

The key to building a great creative practice is to build a habit around it.

Let’s take a quick look at that quote again. “I only write when inspiration strikes.” That sounds like many of us who like to create on command. But the second part of the quote is key. “Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” This seems contrary to the first statement, but it isn’t. It speaks to the fact that you can’t just pull inspiration out of thin air. Inspiration comes when you build a habit and schedule around creating.

You know a saying has merit when you can’t attribute it to a single person. In the case of this quote, it has been attributed to at least six people including William Faulkner.

These people all believed in the consistently working on your craft, whether you want to or not. They believe it is important to keep a schedule instead of waiting for inspiration to strike.

If you constantly rely on inspiration to create, you won’t create much. That’s why building a consistent habit is so important.

The time you choose to create is not important. You can start right when you wake up or right before you go to sleep. What matters is that you stick to the same time and make it a part of your daily routine.

Stop waiting for inspiration to hit. Build a habit around your creative process and inspiration will find you.

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Photo by Dariusz Sankowski

Brett Michael Innes on Adapting to Your Situation, the Power of Mentorship, and Not Giving it to Fear – Cracking Creativity Episode 84

Brett Michael Innes didn’t know if he would ever fulfill his dream of becoming a film maker. As a teenager, he knew he wanted to make movies but there were a few things that stood in the way of him accomplishing his dream.

During that time, his family went into debt, so he couldn’t afford to go to film school. He also had to work at a call center just to support himself.

After some introspective thinking, Brett decided he wanted to pursue his dream of film making. So he worked a year at the call center so he could afford to go to film school. With the help of his parents and a scholarship, he was able to finish with a degree in film production.

Although Brett wanted to major in directing, he was forced to get his degree in film production. This ended up being a stroke of luck because this experience with production helped him land a contract with M-Net, the HBO of South Africa.

With the help of M-Net, Brett was able to work on his novel, Rachel Weeping, and his movie Sink, at the same time. Both the novel and movie were met with critical acclaim, which has allowed him to continue work doing the thing he loves, making films

In this episode Brett talks about adapting to your situation, why mentorship is powerful, and not letting fear get the best of you.

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Cebo Campbell on Putting Everything Into Your Work, Taking Your Time, and Striving to be the Best – Cracking Creativity Episode 83

Cebo Campbell grew up with a father and a community only interested in one of his talents: football. When he was a kid, his father was the coach of his football team where he stressed one thing, be the best you can be. Cebo took that advice to heart and became a dynamic football player, but due to his height, only got a football scholarship from one school. So he took it.

This is when Cebo started to shift his focus from athletics to academics. He was always creative, but it wasn’t until his teacher encouraged him to major in writing that he truly started to focus on it. When you’re a football player, your teammates shun you for being smart, so Cebo always tried to hide that part of his life. But after winning a writing competition as a freshman, he realized there was something there, so he ran with it.

After graduating and spending a short stint on the west coast, Cebo moved back to Florida and worked at a hotel. While working at the hotel, he convinced the owner to let him work on the hotel’s website. This would be the second big shift in his life.

Cebo became interested in everything he could accomplish with website design and writing. So much so that he went to a conference centered around it. That’s where he met AJ Leon. Cebo and AJ hit it off immediately. This fateful meeting ended up being the beginning of a great friendship, and eventually a job as the creative director of Misfit Inc.

In this episode, Cebo talks about why you should put your all into your work, why you should take your time, and why you should always strive to be the best.

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Erik Kruger on Lessons from Failure, Letting Principles Guide You, and Creating Value for Your Audience – Cracking Creativity Episode 82

Erik Kruger is like many of us who became entranced by the idea of lifestyle design. He read Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Workweek and felt the desire to work as few hours as possible so he could “run around and do other things” with all his extra free time.

So he tried to build businesses that let him live that lifestyle. His first attempt was a local freelance network, which fizzled out. He also tried to create web directories for physical therapists, gyms, and models, but those never gained traction either. He describes all of these unsuccessful projects as his “graveyard of domains” because of all the sites he tried and failed to build.

These failures taught him a valuable lesson. When he started out, his main goal was trying to make a lot of money while working as few hours as possible. But over time, he discovered he was focusing on the wrong thing.

Luckily for Erik, our failures often lead to our greatest success. His success came in the form of Better Man, a site dedicated to helping men change their behaviors to become more productive, habit driven, and successful. This project has grown into a thriving community of like-minded men driven to make the most out of life.

In this episode Erik talks about the lessons we can learn from failure, why you should let your principles guide you, and the importance of creating value for your audience.

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Ja-Nae Duane on Vulnerability, Staying in Touch with Creativity, and the Power of Mindsets – Cracking Creativity Episode 81

Ja-Nae Duane has worn many creative hats in her career. She started off as an opera singer where she performed at places like The Met and the White House, but soon realized it wasn’t a sustainable career.

So she branched out and started working for a social networking company, which was the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey. While working there she realized the major difference between the way men and women approached entrepreneurship. This led her to start a group called Wild Women Entrepreneurs, which grew to 55 chapters in nine months.

After a stint running her own companies, Ja-Nae realized other people probably needed help with their own entrepreneurial journeys too, which is why she wrote The Startup Equation, a book that helps owners throughout their business journeys.

In this episode, Ja-Nae talks about how vulnerability leads to great work, why you need to stay in touch with your creativity, and why your mindset is so important.

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Angela Ferrari on Believing in Yourself, Having Fun, and Struggles and Success – Cracking Creativity Episode 80

Angela Ferrari has always lived a creative life. When she was young she lived in a rural area where she figured out creative ways to play. She would build tree forts, spray paint plants, and turn her mundane environment into stories.

Angela continued that creative streak in college where she studied studio art and painting. After college, she moved to Portland, Maine and started working at a restaurant. While working as a waitress, Angela forged relationships with the restaurant owners and patrons. After a while, Angela was able to quit her job as a waitress to work on her art full-time.

For some, having a successful business as an artist would be enough, but that wasn’t the case for Angela. One day while doing yoga,  she had a vision about a dog doing yoga. This would eventually turn into her first children’s book Digger’s Daily Routine. Even with three completed books and a newly released podcast, it still feels like Angela has more creativity to share with the world.

In this episode Angela talks about believing in yourself, having fun, and how struggles can lead to success.

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Henry May on Leaving His Respected Job, Letting Ideas Develop, and Taking Action – Cracking Creativity Episode 79

Henry May spent his childhood playing with LEGOs. He loved the outdoors and harmless mischief. He thought his life was pre-ordained. He thought our paths are set for us.

This all changed the summer he joined Teach First. The two years he spent here, changed his thoughts on the education system and his role in the world.

After his time at Teach First, and a short stint at Procter & Gamble, Henry took a trip to Colombia through Teach Colombia and fell in love with the country. But he also heard horrible stories about the public schools there.

These were the driving forces that pulled him to leave everything he knew in London and to start CoSchool in Colombia.

In this episode Henry talks about why well respected jobs aren’t always right for us, why good ideas take time to develop, and why you need to stop waiting and put your ideas into action.

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Kristen Fagan on the Downside of Perfectionism, the Power of Play, and Following Your Intuition – Cracking Creativity Episode 78

Kristen Fagan has always been a creator. Even when she was young, she would create coloring book drawings for her younger family members to color in. That creative mindset helped her get a degree and a job doing graphic design.

After a few years working in design, her interest in art was reignited. Her job allowed her to work on her art while also working in design, which fueled her interest in paintings and drawing. Her passion for art grew so much that it even led to creating her own painting workshops.

In this episode, Kristen talks about letting go of your perfectionism, the power of play, and following your intuition.

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David Smooke on Taking Incremental Steps, Community Building, and Unleashing Your Potential – Cracking Creativity Episode 77

David Smooke studied economics and creative writing in university because he liked to write and felt economics had real world applications. He believed these two areas of study would be practical skills to have for his career.

After graduating, David got a job as a journalist, but felt his creativity was being stifled. He was given assignments, and was given very little leeway in how he could apply his creativity.

So he saved up a few months rent and moved to San Francisco. This turned out to be the pivotal moment in David’s career. It was here that he got his first taste of marketing while working for a startup.

At the startup David honed his marketing and community building skills. The lessons he learned here allowed him to start his own marketing firm called Art Map Inc.

In this episode, David talks about taking small incremental steps, the importance of community, and why you shouldn’t hold yourself back.

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“Make each day your masterpiece.” ― John Wooden Quote Art

“Make each day your masterpiece.” ― John Wooden

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We all have aspirations in life that seem so far out of reach. We keep climbing the mountain towards success, but it feels like the weight of the world is holding us down.

We so badly want to believe we can achieve success, but it feels like the destination is so far away. Then doubt creeps into our minds. “How do other people do it?” we ask ourselves.

While our goals might seem like a pipe dream at the moment, the truth is, they probably aren’t that far off. The problem is, far too often we are so concentrated on achieving our long term goals that we forget to live in the moment. We are so transfixed on the destination that we forget to concentrate on the present.

When we look at how far we have to go, we have trouble seeing everything we’ve already accomplished. We become so worried about the future that we don’t recognize how much progress we’ve made since we started our journeys. We don’t enough time celebrating our victories. That needs to end.

Every day presents a new opportunity to create a masterpiece. John Wooden didn’t win ten NCAA basketball championships by just looking towards the future.

He did it by focusing his efforts on the now. He realized that you can’t live your life worrying about what might happen in the future. He realized it would be much more effective to make the most out of every day by concentrating his efforts on the now.

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Photo by Sabri Tuzcu

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