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Let me give you a personal example. Last month, I decided on the last day possible to enter an online art competition. It just so happened that the competition, on botanical and floral art, was very suited for a series of paintings that I had completed. Any of you who have ever entered competitions realize how much stuff you have to put together in a package and follow exacting instructions (or be disqualified), including bio, artist's statement, artist's information, images (saved in certain specifications), etc. Again, I waited until the last day possible. I did this on purpose. I was lucky I had my images prepped. This entry had a very happy entry, I went on to receive a Special Recognition award and it forever changed my skewed perception of entering competitions.
Getting through the barriers in my mind had been much trickier. One of my worst ideas was that as an artist, the paintings or work should just stand on it's own and shouldn't need awards or ribbons to showcase it's value. I can speak from experience at outdoor festivals (actual rubbing elbows with humans) that people like to see that your work is valuable to panel of experts too, as unfair as that may seem. Is that the end all goal? Of course not, just like in sports the process and progress is important. My idealism was just a cop out designed to keep me from the fear and pain of possible rejection. My brain is exceedingly brilliant in protecting little ole me. It also connives to keep me from seeking larger venues, and to ask for sales!
There are more insidious ways to throw up barriers than by missing competition deadlines or declining to enter out of idealism. Back in May, I attended a one-hour marketing seminar with none other than Alyson Stanfield from "I'd Rather Be in The Studio" while she was in Lake Mary. It was a great work session! Alyson nailed me down to a terrific to-do list, my top list of things to accomplish. Have I held myself accountable to the list? I think we all know the answer. It is easier to let other pressing issues take over (family, school, etc) than to place my art/ career/ business in a prioritized time block. If I did that, then I would have the courage to expect more from others' and to ask for business rather than - hoping for word of mouth, hoping to be discovered, hoping to be contacted. That's a lot of hope to hang your hat on.
So I am guilty of not entering the race, too. It's not too late though. The great news is that going forward I can accomplish my task list. I am sensitive now to some of the ideas that I have accepted as gospel for whatever reason, that aren't working. I question them now. If there is some inner dialogue or a vague feeling that inhibits action, I try to pinpoint that feeling and drill into the core. I find these are old ideas, and I need to sweep them away and replace them by freeing ideas!
Now, instead of saying "I don't enter art competitions because my art should speak on it's own"(limiting); I visualize a broom sweeping my mind and say instead "I enter art competitions because I want my art to have a greater voice"(freeing).
I would love to hear what sorts of ideas have or are still holding you back. I believe you are not alone. Share below in the comments so can all benefit, and move forward!
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