The perfect time to start something or finish it doesn’t exist.
A few weeks ago I had a bunch of bits and pieces fall into place. The first one was that mOre Cafe in Muscat agreed to show my art. They showed it in Dubai and when I moved I hoped their branch here would be equally amenable. Yet, rather than use the contact I’d been given I waited. I kept thinking, I would rather display some more recent artwork, stuff that is a bit more marketable for someone’s home instead of my more gallery oriented pieces (really, just excuses because I wasn’t owning my art and abilities). Despite knowing how their relationship allowed me to build increased visibility and authority in the arts I kept saying, “When I finish this…”
In Dubai people from all parts of the school community I worked in would visit mOre Cafe and come find me all excited after to tell me: “You have art on display!” Their surprise and excitement was such a fun rush. It boosted me up and helped me keep painting. Still, the work didn’t sell. When I moved to Oman I decided I wanted to address my market more consciously and make some work more palatable to the general public. I’d still make my other art investigations, but I wanted to sell some more work! So, while I had my mOre contact before leaving Dubai, I kept waiting: “until I have some new work ready.”
I discovered they have empty wall space that needed filling and the ideas of waiting for the right moment just disappeared. Apparently, the right moment was now. As I rushed about the studio wrapping up canvases to bring to their location I realized I had wasted all this time and opportunity, a “free” opportunity even, to publicize my art in a new town.
Prior to all of this I realized I needed to update my business card. How can anyone reach me here if I have my old Dubai mobile listed? I went online to find the “perfect” design when I decided to design it myself. I spent 6 hours working on designs. I wanted to make them an original artwork in themselves. I had to stop because I was tired and had other tasks to complete. It was added to my ever growing to do list. So when I packaged my work I realized I was still without those business cards. Again, waiting was a disadvantage. I doctored my old Dubai business cards and went to VistaPrint to order some new ones.
I seem to have a bad habit of perfectionism blocking my productivity. Even with my writing I’ve been holding myself back. I didn’t create newsletters or emails for my subscribers because, well: “I need to make them perfect.”
YES. Holding myself to a high standard has been good for my professional development. Yet, how much of this work would not be realized had I decided to “perfect it?” I’ve recently discovered Marie Forleo and a great quote I’ve heard a lot of via her videos and writing is, “Do it before you are ready.”
I signed up for the Fizzle 30 day ship challenge. I didn’t intend to ship a product in 30 days. I did want the quality advice it would offer me. And again I received the same message: produce and publish. Refine later.
There is something about this notion that just kills me! Why would I publish or produce something only to need to keep working on it? The lightbulb clicked on. Artist Strong is like one of my paintings. And it’s offerings, like artSPEAK, are different colors that contribute to the big picture. They are the tools, like paintbrushes, that allow me to produce this bigger “thing.” Also important, I need to take time away from a project to refine projects with a clearer, more objective review. Sometimes the process of creation and refinement is slow and gradual, other times drastic; these steps all allow me to reach closer to that “finished” state. And just as I feel a painting is never finished, so will I feel about all of my work. It’s making that crucial decision of when is enough, enough?
This new perspective has helped me reconsider timelines, different commissioned works, and my goals for Artist Strong. I will always offer the best content and products I can create. I will create and press publish. Because work that you can actually read offers you more value than the writing collecting dust in my Documents file. And the feedback I receive informs my future writing! With time, feedback, and life experience some, if not all, of these projects will face refinement. And I will constantly seek to improve. But, I will no longer hold my ideas hostage.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you hold your ideas/projects/dreams hostage in a state of waiting for that right moment? What is one small step you can take TODAY to “press publish?”