Artists must spend time creating and selling. It can be difficult to strike a balance. If we spend too much time on one activity or the other, either creative work suffers or the audience falls off. Marketing can refresh us by connecting us with people and reaping some ego satisfaction from the acknowledgment of artistic work. Likewise, our creative endeavor is the recharge from within. Creative work connects us to the artistic soul, the essence of the artistic personality. It is this artistic personality that lends credibility and distinction to our marketing efforts.
With both creative work and selling, it can be difficult to switch gears. When one or the other is going well, why should we quit? Well, we shouldn’t. But we should learn to break off as close to our productive peak as possible. In creative work, we have sublimated personal ego for the sake of channeling Creative Thought (not everyone buys this of course). Rather than putting the project aside, and allowing the ego to refresh in various ways (including marketing work itself), we feel compelled to push to completion of the project so we can share out and earn some recognition. This of course is damaging to the natural evolution of the project. And for that matter we don’t always get the kind of response we hope for because our work is still half-baked.
By the same token, ego’s powerful (and necessary) engagement during marketing work can be addictive. It can be tough to pull back from the spotlight of the public forum, to reconnect to the quiet voice within. Without this regular reconnection with our Creative Soul, however, the marketing message begins to ring false and fall flat.
The solution lies in a bit of cognitive work. Essentially, we learn to take the ego’s “pulse” periodically. Do we begin to find ourselves distracted during the creative process? Are we in a hurry to complete tasks? Do we see next steps in the process as burdens to unload rather than as moments of discovery and learning? These are warning signs that the ego needs some nourishment and that we should break from our project. It is time for some human connection and some recognition.
During our selling campaigns, do we find ourselves too frequently checking the stats, craving the next ego rush of a new like, a hit on the site, a comment, a sale? Do we find ourselves selling out for the sake of responses and reactions? It is tough to be honest about this, but we can remember that the most satisfaction comes from sincere responses to our artistic offering, not from the latest clever cat video we shared out (although there is definitely a place for sharing out clever cat videos). To effectively convey the artistic offer, we must continually refresh at our own creative wells. To do this we have to stop selling and start painting (or composing, or writing, etc.).
This monitoring and switching gears can be tricky and even lead to some resentment until we have reaped the rewards a few times. But rewards there are to reap both in creative work that evolves in an optimum way, and in marketing which conveys most convincingly the essence of the artistic offer.
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