I Got Myself Into This

Last week I wrote about how some successful writers/creatives swear by posting daily. I mentioned a few examples. One I didn't mention is Seth Godin. He calls getting his thoughts published "shipping," and does it daily. Last night found me spitballing to my family about ideas I have for Packing Lust, and about how I was playing with this idea of posting daily. My sister said that Seth Godin had a daily challenge coming up soon.

I looked it up, and of course it was starting tomorrow. With such serendipitous timing, I couldn't say no. Or rather, I couldn't just imagine I would do it at some vague point in the future. So I got myself into this 7 day challenge led by Winnie Kao, the Special Projects Lead for Seth Godin.

This is what happens when you say your intentions out loud. People give you suggestions and opportunities. It happened last night and after tweeting my intentions out publicly, I was committed.

I'm doing this as an experiment to see how the rhythm of posting daily feels. I tried it years ago and I couldn't maintain it.  Why'd I fail back then? Maybe I can explore that this week and figure out a way to avoid whatever the reason was.

It feels good to start following my own advice.

 

http://yourturnchallenge.strikingly.com/

The Power and Difficulty of Connecting Daily

I'm learning so much from my research into how artists make a living from their creativity. One thing that keeps coming up for folks that have quickly built a solid income up from zero is communication with their audience or fans. Not just any communication, daily communication.

 How to Get Rich Quick(er)

These creatives attribute their success almost entirely to the daily post. It's a ticket to success -- and transparency or honesty, which is a huge factor in our ability to connect with our audiences or market, no matter what line of business we are in.
I'm thinking of a copywriter/ online marketing expert who writes an email every day to his followers. He teaches all his clients to write the daily email, saying it is his key to success.
I'm thinking of the author of a diet book who posts a daily vlog to YouTube sharing what she's eating and how she's living a healthy lifestyle daily, as well as advice for those who want to be healthier. She has over 300,000 subscribers.
And I'm thinking of artist Jolie Guillebeau, who built her art business up quickly by sending a daily short email with a photo of the day's work and a story or observation about it.
She still sends those emails. I'm on her list and love the daily peek into a painter/potter's mind.

It's Too Hard

So why don't I do the daily post? Why don't most creatives?
It's like the story I heard in Hollywood. A well-known screenwriter regularly teaches a sold-out seminar where he takes hours to break down and analyse the structure of the classic film Casablanca.
At the end, he promises that if all present would just repeat the exercise regularly, they will because successful screenwriters. How can he make such a promise, he asks? He knows very few, if any of his students will follow through. No one is willing to spend the time on such a tedious exercise.
Daily posts take a lot of time. I tried it a few years ago and gave up because I felt I'd over committed and couldn't keep putting in the time to come up with thoughtful posts every day.
The other major obstacle to daily posts is feeling vulnerable.
There will come a day when you feel you have nothing to write, or that what you have to share is something that feels too honest, too vulnerable. But that just might be what connects you most to your audience - what creates a strong sense of loyalty.
I'm not saying that you have to post daily if you want to make money from your art. I am saying that if you want to build an audience relatively quickly, posting daily is a tried-and-true method. Of course, one you have an audience, you have do have to actually sell something to them. But that's another topic for another day.

 Don't Do What I Do

So, do as I say, and not as I do. Post daily if you want to quickly cultivate a passionate audience for your work.
And maybe one day soon I'll find a way to post daily too.

3 Powerful Rituals to Stretch Your Spirit

I've been meditating daily. Sometimes I feel twitchy. Sometimes I get sleepy. Sometimes I feel completely unable to sit still, and just be. But I’m proud to say I’ve been sitting down (or sometimes lying down – that’s ok, right?) for meditation for 15-30 minutes almost every day this month.

Soggy Cement vs. Hard Cement

January traditionally is a month for focusing on new habits, or rituals, and Stretching Your Spirit was my habit of choice to zero in on this month. It’s one of the 12 Rituals that I've written about before.

If you want to focus on Stretching Your Spirit, then plan to practice a new ritual for 30 days. Some studies say that 21 days is all you need to cement a habit, but I find that my cement is still a bit soggy after only three weeks. I need a full month to make something a firm habit. I suspect this time varies from person to person. Experiment to discover how many days it takes before you do something on autopilot. You’ll know it’s a habit when you get a “something’s missing” feeling if you don’t do it, or if you find yourself doing it without realizing it.

Here are 3 rituals I have personally found to be amazing for stretching the spirit.

Spirit-Stretch

1. Meditation: a Sacred Stillness

The essence of meditation is presence. We make ourselves comfortable, and then tune in to what’s going on inside.  Slowly, we let the brain-chatter die down, and we focus on our breath. Some find it helps to focus on a mantra, one word or phrase that calms the mind and gives it focus. When thoughts bubble up, as they often do, we let them pass without holding on. Without analysis. We return to our breath or our mantra.  One of my favorite meditation resources has been the Oprah Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenges provided by the Chopra Center for free from time to time.

2. When the Spirit Moves the Body

Spirituality and movement go well together. Yoga helps calm the mind while stretching the body. The combination of a calm mind and a sense of well-being in the body can bring joy, a fact evidenced by the massive and ongoing popularity of the Yoga movement.  It’s global.  There’s a popular yoga center where I live in the developing country of Palestine. Another kind of moving meditation is one that I learned in Los Angeles: feminine movement. To learn more, I recommend taking a class in feminine movement, such as a belly dancing class or a sensual movement class. A moving meditation is a highly personal meditation often done alone. It can take the form of dance, Tai Chi, stretching, prayer or yoga. It’s an outward expression of an inward emotion: a desire to connect with the divine. You can witness a moving meditation in the way that Catholics stand up, sit down, and kneel during a celebration of Mass. You can also see moving meditation in the way that Muslims pray.  The spirit moves the body, and the body moves the spirit.

3. a Powerful Partnership

While our friendships can certainly be a source of spiritual growth for us , setting an intention with one friend to pray for him or her can help us grow spiritually more than leaving things to chance. When two people mindfully share their desires, struggles, and intentions, and commit to praying for each other, amazing things can happen.  Knowing someone is on your side, sending love to God on your behalf is incredible, and praying for someone else keeps us focused on what’s important. I have most valued my prayer partner when in the middle of making important life decisions. When looking for a prayer partner, seek someone who is nonjudgmental, optimistic, kind, and honest.

What do you think?

I hope these three rituals inspired you or gave you a new idea about how you’d like to stretch your spirit! Please comment below and share with us what top three rituals you have find most helpful for your spiritual growth.

Yours,

Genevieve

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo credit: blinkingidiot via photopin cc]

Your Worst Enemy

two-unicorns
This is a guest post by my wonderful, funny and wise grandfather, Trog. Thanks for sharing, Trog.

I recently wrote about enthusiasm being your best friend. So, if enthusiasm is your best friend—then what is your worst enemy?

 That would be the opposite of enthusiasm, optimism, and happiness.

that would be pessimism, unhappiness, darkness, gloom and meanness.

I once had a friend who I worked with. Sometimes we went to lunch together, and sometimes we had to work on a case together. He seemed just like a regular “guy,” but spending time with him usually depressed me. He seemed to have no love of life. There was no excitement or happy expectation of anything. I think he was trying to be sophisticated by being unemotional.  He was blase, bored, and disappointed with his life. He seemed to think that he was too high and mighty to be doing such a dull job.
There are no jobs that are “dull” only “dull” people who don’t know how to make their job interesting and exciting. I’ll grant you sometimes it takes a lot of creativity and imagination. Sometimes you have to “work at it.” But, life is all about how you perceive things… another case of attitude controlling your altitude.

the lesson to learn is don’t let these unhappy complainers, and critics drag you down to their level. don’t let them grind you down. sometimes it is hard to resist joining them in their weltschmerz  (german)—”world woe”; romantic melancholy and sentimental pessimism.

I’ll end this missive with a tag line from the film The Bridge on the River Kwai (William Holden and Alex Guinness). The director of the film was David Lean–who also directed Lawrence of Arabia.
 You probably know the story- locale –a POW camp in the jungle of S.E. Asia. The POW’s are captured British soldiers who are being starved and beaten and made to work on the railroad. The Japanese Colonel in charge of the camp–stands on a box and addresses newly arrived prisoners. He says, the motto of this camp is: “Be happy in our work.”
(Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoomar/145322737/)

The Blender Story

This is part of the Don’t Be Like Me series, a new column of mostly true stories illustrating what not to do in life.Email me if you’d like to contribute. We all have a story. blender

When Prince Charming recently came home from a three day trip to Gaza, he was all “Agh… this really stressful thing happened…. someone almost got arrested and I lost my right foot in a freak accident, do you still love me?”

And I was like “AHHHH! That sounds horrible but this blender, and arg, and I am so frustrated. Pay attention to my needs first and then I’ll try to listen to you better.”

Prince Charming:  Ok, what’s the problem? (I love him so much.)

Me: I should have used the food processor for this but I don’t know how to use the d____ thing and I f-ing hate it!

(I’m attempting to use a butter knife, spatula, and chopstick simultaneously to dig the cementing pie-gel from under the sharp blades of the vitamix blender.)

Me: I HATE COOKING!!!

Prince Charming: You know, I can show you how to use the food processor.

Me: No! Cooking shouldn’t be like that! You should’t have have to assemble a complicated piece of machinery to cook! And then you have to wash it. And it’s so dangerous! All those moving parts. Ah! I want to push a button and do it! Cooking should be, like, easy. If I can’t figure out how to do it by myself, it isn’t worth it! AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! WHY IS MY LIFE SO HARD???

Charming: So you didn’t have to learn how to use the oven? You just naturally know how to do everything?

Me: You probably have a point but I really don’t want to tell you that right now. That is why I said that first part in a quiet Shy Ronnie voice AND THIS IN MY LOUD YELLING VOICE:  ITS NOT THAT I KNOW HOW TO DO EVERYTHING, IT’S THAT WITH A LITTLE EXPERIMENTATION, YEAH, I CAN FIGURE ALMOST EVERYTHING OUT. BUT I’VE MESSED WITH THE FOOD PROCESSOR FOR LIKE TWO HOURS AND I STILL CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT. I DON’T WANT TO NEED HELP, I DON’T!!!!! OK?

You can probably see where I am going with this. It’s crazy to think you can do it all on your own. No one ever accomplishes anything magnificent all on their own, not even a vegan pie crust. If we look around, we are generally surrounded by kind, supportive, one-footed or two-footed people who are willing and eager to help us learn what we need to learn, go where we need to go, and be the people we need to be.

Don’t be like me and try to do it all on your own without help. We are all in this together.

ADDENDUM: Don’t worry, Prince Charming did not really lose his foot.  That was a metaphor for an extremely stressful experience that took a toll on him. Thankfully, not THAT much of a toll.

Pie crust-covered hugs (the best kind),

Genevieve Signature2

 

(photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lintmachine/2987986325/)

Why Selling Art is an Act of Compassion

Hearts-in-Color

I was recently talking to a fellow artist — a photographer– and I told her that I looked at her photos when I was having a bad day and needed to feel better.

her response was incredulous. “do you really mean that? or are you just saying that because you’re my friend?”

I couldn’t believe she was asking me if I really meant what I said. Her work is stunning. Her business is growing. Her clients are overjoyed. Is she still maturing as a photographer? Yes. She’s still finding her voice and vision. But her work is already way above that of entry-level professional photographers.

Like many artists who are in a similar stage, she is having trouble charging what her services are really worth.  She underestimates her own abilities, which is something I frequently see in my work as an artist coach. This underestimation undercuts her ability to market and sell her services.

There’s something she doesn’t understand, and it is something many artists don’t understand. This something is the single most important thing I can tell an artist about selling art:

selling art is an act of compassion.

It’s not about you. It’s not about your skills, or lack thereof. It’s not about your fears about not being able to fulfill your artistic vision. Every artist has growing to do.

SELLING ART IS ABOUT THE EFFECT YOUR ART HAS ON THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE IT.

And that effect is a powerful one. Art makes people feel something. As humans, we need to feel. We need to feel strong emotions of passion, excitement, surprise, shock, connection, serenity, joy, rage, and the whole gamut. Perhaps if you truly understood the affect your art has on people (not everyone perhaps, but the special group who “gets it” who is it your job to find) then you would see what an act of compassion it is to create and sell art.

There is no other industry or field that can claim such a noble purpose. Some people think that selling a utilitarian item – a washing machine, for example – is easier than selling art, because a washing machine does something we all need – it cleans our clothes.  We all need clean clothes, right?

More than clean clothes, we all need beauty in our lives. Beauty makes us forget our troubles for a moment, and it can also sooth our wounds, acting as a balm for heart ache. In slums around the world, people don’t own washing machines. They walk around in dirty clothes. But take a look at photos of these slums, and you’ll see the satellites and television antennae. Somehow, they found a way to bring art into a place missing most basic necessities.

All great art comes out of love, not just for ourselves, but for others.  Let’s remember that when we sell our art, we are offering one of the most numinous experiences a human being can have. That is priceless, of course.

Yet human psychology teaches us that people value what they pay for more than what they get for free.   Value, or benefit to the viewer’s life increases when he or she pays for art (with money or something else of value).

Therefore, not only is making and sharing art an act of compassion, but selling art is an even greater act of compassion.

By pricing your art well and communicating clearly about it (which is all selling is), you as an artist are actually increasing the amount of joy your customer can feel about your art.

I hope this is starting to sink in. By selling your art at the right price, you are effectively improving the quality of your customer’s life experience more than even meeting his or her basic needs would. Don’t believe it when someone tells you humanity’s need for transcendence is less than humanity’s need for basic necessities. If that were true, the world wouldn’t be at war over ideas. While there is violence over access to basic resources, world peace is much more threatened by ideas like culture, religion, equality, love, and freedom. We fight hardest for the things that bring us a sense of connection and transcendence.

I believe if art was more valued in the world, there would be more peace in the world. Art brings people together. Art lifts people up, making them feel better when they otherwise might turn to violence.   The value of art is its great potential to bring world peace.

As artists, it’s our jobs to be the first to value art. The way we value art is by creating it and selling it.  Have compassion on the world by selling your art.

♥ ♥ ♥ ,

Genevieve-Signature2

 

(Heart image credit :http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/371032725/)

 

What’s More Fun Than Being a “Serious” Artist?

Austin-Kleon-says

Answer: Being a fun artist.

That is, having fun creating your art. If what you are working on isn’t something that you would not read/watch/view/experience during your weekend chill time, stop! Do something fun.

One of my favorite artist-writers, Austin Kleon, suggests:

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.

I wholeheartedly agree with Austin on this one.  You've got to be inspired by what you already love. Or, you’ve got to create something that you have looked for, and not found. Ideally, a combination of the two.

AND HEY, YOU CAN BE AS “SERIOUS” AS YOU WANT TO BE.

If that’s truly who you are. If you are working on an anomic novel where the main character’s journey is one long walk through the rain, ending with her suicide, that’s totally cool. As long as that’s the sort of fiction you read when you are trying to relax after a long day.

So have more fun as an artist by creating the sort of things that you enjoy. I know that if you make the sort of art that is fun for you to consume, your work can find an audience.

Take action now by making a list of the books you are reading and the art you love. Compare this list with the projects you are working on. If there are no similarities, you may want to rethink that project.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.

Genevieve

 

How Artists and Writers are Usually the Opposite of Driven Business Types

heart Today I got an update from Jonathan Fields of Good Life Project. He interviews all kinds of people who are changing the world in a meaningful way. I’m a fan of his show, and read the bio of the man he recently interviewed, Chip Conley. Here are a couple snippets.

“As the founder of the legendary hotel group, Joie de Vivre, he shattered the status quo for excellence in hotel leadership and customer experience.”

and

“Chip was riding the crest of the wave. Then things went south…

With his success as an author he began traveling the country speaking to packed houses. But the hellacious schedule found him undernourished both creatively and physically. While on stage his body failed him in the most profound way. He literally died on stage. Chip’s heart had to be restarted several times in the amublance to the hospital.

He made it through, but it was a wake-up call. Conley wasn’t here just to build an empire, he was here to create meaning.”

The thing is, we’ve heard this story so many times. Ambitious business person experiences stress-related health problems and realizes life is about more than making money.

When artists, dreamers, and creatives hear this story, we simply can’t relate.

question

The “lesson” seems obvious. We start out in life instinctively knowing that this journey isn’t about empire-building, but rather, about meaning-building. In fact, we may wish we could focus a little more on making money — like Chip Conley before his heart attack.

However, what the artist instinctively knows about life is a huge gift, and also a massive head start. Some people need a heart attack to slow them down and get them to focus on what’s important. For others, it’s natural.

heart

 The challenge for artists, creatives, and dreamers who want to make meaning AND money is to focus on consistently building habits, or rituals, that combine both business skills and heart-based creation.

The way to start is through the 12 Rituals for Art + Income.

3 Ways to Take Control of Your Time

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The 4th ritual for art and income is turning your schedule into your own personal fairy tale. That means owning your time. It means not letting someone else take the reins of your day. It means having time to do the things you want and need to do — making art, working on your career or business, spending time with the people you love, and anything else you need to do.It means doing what’s important without feeling guilty or like you are forgetting a commitment.

Without further ado, here are three ways to take control of your time.

treee-copy1. Find your soul-mate calendar situation. This love relationship doesn’t have to last forever, but it does need to be exclusive. Settle on one calendar set-up, and stick with it. I prefer Google calendar, but if a beautiful notebook with touchable, soft pages is what works for you, choose that. It has to be something you will use.

2.

Practice three ways to politely decline invitations or demands. If your default is “sure!” or “yes!” when someone asks you for something, it’s time to change your default response to demands on your time to something like: “No thanks.” “Let me think about it.” “Maybe…. can I get back to you?” This is the key to owning your time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and those who make the most of it spend those 24 hours doing activities they enjoy and that move them closer to their goals and desires.

3.

recite-15595-2011991861-e8aahz Aim for a state of grace, not perfection. No one, least of all those with the gifts of imagination and creativity, is perfect at managing their time. We all forget appointments and commitments. Grace means saying sorry when you let someone down by forgetting a commitment. Grace means forgiving yourself and moving on when you let yourself down. Grace means high standards and higher levels of kindness to yourself and others. Take action on idealizing your schedule by asking a few people you admire how they keep track of their commitments. Then create your own unique system so that you can create your ideal schedule.

Love_Genevievesmoothsmallerer

 

12 Rituals for Art + Income

12-royal-ritualsI 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.

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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!

Love_Genevievesmoothsmallerer

4 Keys to Finding People Who Value Your Work

Queen-of-the-Fairies

It’s hard to believe that just 10 days ago I was crewing for a racer in the world’s most grueling (and oddly obscure) athletic event, the Race Across America, or RAAM. RAAM is a bicycle race that takes the insane few who try it from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD as fast as their legs can pedal. Unlike the Tour de France, there are no stages. That’s right, there are no obligatory resting times. Racers stay on their bike a much as possible, and do everything on the bike except sleep. They brush their teeth on the bike, eat on the bike, go to the bathroom on the bike, cry on the bike, laugh on the bike, sing on the bike, and, after days of racing, hallucinate on the bike.

And who was our athlete for RAAM 2013? None other than my mother, Maria Parker, who just turned 50.

Over the course of the race, I helped her eat, bathe, and dress. I woke her in the middle of the night after three hours or less of sleep, and helped her get back on the bike to keep racing.

Daily throughout the race, supporters of Maria and our cause, 3000 Miles to a Cure, grew by leaps and bounds.

THE ACCIDENT

 Then there was an accident — something terrible that we thought was a race-ender.

A distracted driver slammed into our follow vehicle, destroying equipment and morale, and causing minor injuries to the crew.

Everyone thought our race was over – even our crew chief, who called race officials to pull Maria out of the race.

But that post to our community about the accident generated more views than anything else we had posted to our cause’s facebook page. Support came pouring in.

Over the course of the night, into the wee hours of the morning, something shifted. Maria got a good night’s sleep. The team came together; a new plan to continue the race against brain cancer coalesced.

My mom decided she was going to get across the country on her bike, race or no race.

But then something incredible happened. She decided to start exactly at the scene of the accident, instead of skipping that dangerous portion of the road as she had earlier planned to do. And then RAAM officials decided to let her back in the race as an official racer.

CINDERELLA

People all over the world went crazy, calling her story a Cinderella story.

As Maria began passing other racers, RAAM interviewed her and said her race was the greatest comeback story in all of sports.

It was a very difficult race, but she finished it. And she won. Women’s champion, rookie of the year, and “Queen of the Prairies,” which, naturally, I affectionately called “Queen of the Fairies.”

As you are probably figuring out, the jump from athletics to art is merely a small hop.

Finding people who value your work, your cause, or your race, is a matter of knowing four keys. They are simple to say, but extremely difficult to do.

HERE ARE THE FOUR KEYS TO FINDING PEOPLE WHO VALUE YOUR WORK AS AN ARTIST.

  1. Start.
  2. Keep going.
  3. If you quit, start again.
  4. Keep people updated.
  • You’d be surprised how many people never start. How many people say “I’ve always wanted to write a book…” but then they come up with the most creative excuses for why they haven’t done it yet. Starting is everything.
  • Once you start, you have to keep going. The trick here that most people don’t get, is that “keep going” often means starting many times. Most of us take breaks. We start a project and get discouraged, perhaps after a year, or perhaps after a minute.  Each successfully completed project likely had many points where it’s maker wanted to give up. Not only is that ok, but I believe more and more that stalling repeatedly is a natural part of creating anything from a 15 x 50 foot mural to a small business. The trick is to keep going.
  • If you quit, start again. When you finish something, no one accuses you of quitting. Quitting and starting again nullifies the quitting. So if you think you’ve withdrawn from the race, sold your paintbrushes, or burned all of your business bridges, think again. Excuses can be valid and worthy. There’s always an excuse you can come up with and no one would blame you. Everyone would understand. Therefore, you have to be your own greatest challenger. No matter how big your obstacle is, you will always find a way to get through and come out on the other side. Get a good night’s sleep and think fresh creative thoughts in the morning.
  • You can’t find people who value your work if you don’t keep them updated. I can say proudly that of all the teams racing RAAM, 3000 Miles to a Cure did the best job with social media updates. As a result, people felt, and in reality were, a big part of our team’s success.  Our updates were authentic and transparent. And truthfully, without the support of the community we created, I’m not sure my mom would’ve made it up the last four difficult hills in Maryland.  We read her supportive Facebook comments to keep her going. Those supporters knew they were an integral part of Maria’s race because we told them. They’d been with us every pedal push of the way. Even if you have only a few people who value your work, cherish them by keeping them updated – honestly and openly. Let them know about your struggles and joys. People love hearing about projects, goals, and dreams coming true, but they also want to hear about the challenges along the way.

 

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Leave a comment below if this resonated with you, and if you have any questions about how to find people who value your work, I will be happy to answer them below.

Let my mom’s race inspire you in your own art-making and selling challenges. I’m here to support, nurture, and inspire you to take the steps you need to make money from your art!

Love_Genevievesmoothsmallerer