I believe that our artistic and financial outcomes are a direct result of our daily, weekly, and monthly habits, or rituals. This belief comes from research and reading in the field of habits and behavior. Even more specifically, through a lifetime of being an artist, being friends with artists, and working with artists, I’ve discovered that there are 12 rituals that, when implemented, lead directly to artistic and financial success. With trumpets and drum rolls, here is a quick summary of the 12 Rituals for Art & Income.
RITUAL 1 — Stretch Your Spirit
Successful artists know that their work comes from a place of love, presence, and mystery. They honor that by getting spiritual: meditating, being in nature, honoring each and every emotion, and practicing forgiveness and loving kindness.
RITUAL 2 — Commit to Your Creative Ritual
Real artists do their art every day. They know that, as in a relationship, the fires of passion must be stoked daily to grow stronger and stronger. Making art isn’t just a fun hobby, it’s a commitment. They feel respect for the work and the process of growth. In the words of Steven Pressfield, they “go pro.”
RITUAL 3 — The Heart Habit: Empathy
Making art can be a selfish act, but to make it a loving one, artists cultivate a sense of empathy with their fans/peeps/market/customers. They find out what these folks love and what makes them tick. They talk to them about the art, and about the process. Successful artists communicate with authenticity – vulnerability, even – to their fans.
RITUAL 4 — Take Control of your Time
Never at the whim of others demands on their time, working artists learn to politely say “no” to invitations and demands when their gut instincts aren’t saying “Hell yeah!” This means the artist has plenty of time to make art. To make sure she does what she says she is going to do, a successful artist keeps an updated and active calendar at all times. She debunks the “flaky creative” myth by finding examples of artists who manage to find the time to have a career, business, family, etc.
RITUAL 5 — Another Heart Habit: Cardio
To avoid burnout and health problems, happy artists exercise daily. They often combine exercise with something that brings them inspiration, such as hiking, dancing, or horseback riding. For artists predisposed to depression, daily exercise is a vital part of a happy life.
RITUAL 6 — Website Magic
Artists who go pro create websites where customers can experience and purchase their art. When a successful artists has technical difficulties or feels overwhelmed, she seeks help from the Google or the YouTube fairies. She may also ask a friend or hire help with her website.
RITUAL 7 — List Lust: Building an Audience
Modern, entrepreneurial artists know that the best way to communicate with fans is through email. Therefore, their first priority when they meet a new fan is to invite that person to sign up to their email list. A smart artist’s website has plenty of opt-in forms where fans can sign up to get special, personalized communications from the artist.
RITUAL 8 — Abundance Mentality
Wealthy artists purposefully cultivate a sense of financial abundance. They stare down the sneaky “starving artist” myth and debunk it by looking around to find examples of wealthy artists they admire. They have no problem holding down a “bridge job” (one that doesn’t use the same skills that making art requires) while they work on building their art business.
RITUAL 9 — "If You Haven't God Your Health, You Haven't Got Anything"
Knowing how important their health is to their energy level, vitality, creativity, and ability to juggle all the balls that being an artist and entrepreneur requires, healthy artists add on at least one healthy habit per year.
RITUAL 10 — Challenge Your Creative Ritual
Without challenge, a happy artist knows her art will get stale and she will become bored with her work. Therefore, she constantly looks to improve her technique, to seek inspiration and ideas from a variety of sources, and to take classes when necessary. She sees failing as a normal, playful part of becoming a better artist.
RITUAL 11 — Support From Your Court
A happy artist is a well-connected one. She seeks mentorship, coaching, or accountability groups. She purposefully pursues positive friendships and communities that make her feel happy, loved, celebrated, and challenged.
RITUAL 12 — Give Back
A real artist is filled with gratitude and sees the truth of things: we are all dependent on each other for life. Out of her sense of gratitude and abundance, she writes thank you notes, gives gifts, teaches and mentors other artists, and donates to charity.
Take action on the 12 Rituals today. Which rituals are you working on right now? Which ones are you really good at?
If you have any questions, do let me know and I would love to answer them in the comments area.
I’m here to support, nurture, and inspire you to take the steps you need to make money from your art!