“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.”
I’ve been following Seth Godin’s work for many years. He just gets better and better. This podcast episode got me jazzed. If you’re considering freelancing or being an entrepreneur (or if you believe they are synonyms(!)) this podcast is for you:
Here are notes from the podcast:
First of all, entrepreneurs are people who start companies, make money while they sleep and employ people. Freelancers actually create the work and usually work alone (might shop out aspects of their work, but mostly do it themselves). When he said this, I realized I am definitely not an entrepreneur! But being a freelancer resonated with me when it comes to my personality and goals.
Choose an industry that is glad to see you arrive.
Possess hard-earned skills. You can charge a lot, but deliver more than what people pay for.
Focus on the smallest viable audience – not a large one [This is the opposite of what so many failed businesses do!]. As a freelancer, you can only handle so much. This small group of people (your customers) will talk about you and wait in line for you.
Commit to the discipline of prospecting – you need to do your work and spend time getting work (building your business). Dedicate some time every day to honing your skills, finding new tools, spreading the word, earning the privilege of working for others (NOT networking parties).
Godin uses an example: He knows a photographer who shoots in a specific location at specific times and only those for clients. She
What gets you picked is you being in the Category of One. No one can substitute you. Get beyond being One of Many. Do quirky, unique, exceptional work – work that sounds like you, looks like you….the work that most people do not like. (Are you trying too hard to be liked by everyone?)
I’ve always wanted to draw. I had a babysitter (Julie) who shut that dream down when I was six. She told me I couldn’t draw or color well.
Yet, when shopping for art supplies for my daughters, I’ve always lingered in front of the pencils and drawing tablets, the paints and brushes a bit longer than necessary. I’ve saved tons of art supplies for “someday” when I have time to take a class.
I realized that “someday” is pure imagination. We only have TODAY.
For my birthday, I treated myself to Lisa Congdon’s book, 20 Ways to Draw Everything. It got 5 out of 5 stars! I’ve watched her videos. She’s really good. It arrived in the mail today. But page after page just shows 20 dogs, 20 rabbits, 20 flowers, etc. perfectly drawn! There are no step-by-step directions. In the very beginning of the book, she instructs “Draw the big shapes and lines first, then add in the smaller details.” Really?
I need a lot more help.
So I drew and drew and the whole time, my inner critic was talking snidely to me. Seriously, do you call that a leg?
Look at Jazz. He looks like he’s had a craniotomy.
Oh for Pete’s sakes! Why do all of your dogs look pregnant?
Precious looks broken.
Is Brutus a dog or a deer?
I have to laugh. My inner critic is funny. My drawings are funny. I want to get good, but in my own way. I’ll never be Lisa Congdon good and that’s OK. I also ordered Milk and Honey. Look at one of her illustrations:
Her illustration is not “perfect.” It’s impactful. Her poetry has resonated with so many readers that her volume of poetry is a New York Times Bestseller.
So, I’m not going for perfect. I’m on a quest to develop my own style.
Screw you, Julie!
Beginner’s Mind is a term in Buddhist thought referring to how fresh “things” are to someone who is just beginning. I am a beginner when it comes to art (just completed my first online class)! Our society tends to laugh or look down at beginners. But when and how else are you to get good? You have to start at the beginning.
I love learning about basic lines and curves and putting them together to create art. Wow. I surrendered to it. I don’t judge. I just draw. Using Skillshare’s free classes (to start with), I took “Become a Pencil Ninja.” After completing it, my eye caught one of the feedback comments, “This is a perfect class for children.” I had to laugh…for children, indeed. I am a child when it comes to drawing.
Next up: a self portrait. This looks like it will be much more challenging!
Skillshare is pretty cool. You can teach classes as well ask take them. Check them out! Skillshare.com.
“If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse yourself, tell yourself you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; since for the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
I recommend reading Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. This book is a collection of letters 27-year-old Rilke wrote to a 19-year-old cadet who was seeking guidance and feedback on his poetry.
His book will ground you and connect you to the true beauty of creating art…of being an artist. He reminds us that the beauty is in expressing our true selves through our craft, not in expecting fame or money.
Rilke died at 51, a successful novelist and poet.
Artists are powerful because they appeal to people’s hearts and minds. Painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists are changemakers. Writers, for example, can be drivers for social equity.
Two Asian actors in “Hawaii Five-O” just left the show. When they signed on, they were the big names. No one really knew the two white lead actors (Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan). Daniel Dae Kim was coming from “Lost” and Grace Park was famous for her work in “Battlestar Galactica.” The Asian actors were really the draw for the show. Now, seven years later, the Asian actors are still not making as much money as the lesser known leads.
NPR had an intriguing and informative interview with writer Rick Najera and Jeff Yang (podcast host). Najera made the assertion that the power lies in the hands of the writers:
NAJERA: The writers’ room can decide whether that actor is a supporting actor or a leading actor. So it’s very easy to make that decision. So you can sit there and say, well, we have two Asian actors on a show set in Hawaii, which is predominately very Asian, let’s make them leads. They can make that decision early on. I think Hollywood’s kind of catching up to that thought and wants to. It’s just everyone in Hollywood wants to be second, no one wants to be first.
I believe artists outside of Hollywood – the independent filmmakers and artists – are the people who will make (are making) this happen.
Be the first!
Elizabeth Gilbert, American Author
“Perfection is the death of all good things, perfection is the death of pleasure, it’s the death of productivity, it’s the death of efficiency, it’s the death of joy. Perfection is just a bludgeon that goes around murdering everything good. Somebody once said I was disingenuous for saying this, because surely I try to make my work as good as it can be. And that’s absolutely true — but there’s a really big difference between ‘as good as it can be’ and perfection.” – TED, September 2015