Are you feeling overwhelmed by having too many creative ideas and projects going on at once? Do you have trouble deciding which style or medium is your strongest direction? Many artists I know face these challenges. In my consulting practice it is a frequent topic of concern. In this article I provide some advice I use in helping artists manage creativity overload.
I used to call one of my artist clients “Jack The Juggler” because he is a multi-creative artist with an overactive imagination. Jack was juggling so many balls in the air at once that they were crashing down around him. He was living in chaos, stress, indecision and unfulfilled dreams. What he lacked was a clear sense of direction in his art career.
Jack is an exciting, creative person. When he approached me for coaching sessions he was working as a teacher, painter and photographer. He was contemplating writing a book and returning to school to get a degree in art therapy. His crowded apartment and his mind were cluttered with many unfinished projects in plain sight. No wonder he couldn’t focus long enough to bring any of his projects to fruition. Jokingly he asked me “How can I tame the creative beast?”
Here are some bullet points that worked for him. If you suffer from the same challenges I hope they help you.
Strive For Balance
Balance can be an enormous challenge for artists who have talent in many areas. Creativity is our greatest tool when it is balanced with having a realistic perspective, plans of action and time-management.
It was a challenge for Jack to decide which creative direction to pursue. He felt the stress of being pulled in many different directions. With too many ideas and projects he was unable to excel in any one area which led to feeling overwhelmed, inadequate and insecure.
Contemplate The Outcome
Through a series of questions and discussions in our coaching sessions he learned how to think about his projects more thoroughly before taking action. He imagined the idea in his mind for a time, contemplating the outcome. He looked at a range of possibilities before choosing a direction. He began making choices based on establishing priorities and goal-setting rather than impulsive responses.
Evaluate Your Strengths and Pursue Them
Jack has won several awards for his different mediums and styles in juried competitions. However, he was not achieving his fullest potential. When it comes to approaching an opportunity that requires a coherent signature style, he was getting rejected every time. He hit a plateau in his career. That was the reason why be came to me.
We discussed all of his inventory and then I first provided him with an objective evaluation of his artistic strengths. He decided to pursue those creative and career options that maximized the potential of his passions and abilities.
I helped Jack understand where his creative, career and personal strengths exist. After a series of questions and conversations he became clear about what mattered most to him at this time in his career.
Be Objective About Where You Will Excel
For Jack and many artists I know, it wasn’t easy for him to look at his art work objectively and determine which is his best direction. This is a situation where having the help of an experienced art professional who has encountered many different artists and styles can be extremely valuable. It is easy for me to step back and evaluate an artist’s body of work, no many how complicated it may be for them.
I helped Jack separate his various works of art into specific, coherent bodies of work and we examined where his technical abilities shined, where he was most innovative, and where he could excel best in his market niche. This is one of my areas of expertise and I am always delighted to help artists do this.
Your career is much easier to manage when you practice the art of establishing priorities. You’ll turn feelings of being overwhelmed into peace of mind when you simplify and streamline. There are only 24 hours in a day so choose your priorities wisely. As the saying goes, in your life time you can do anything you want, you just won’t have time to do everything you want.
I also showed Jack a better time management system so he could be productive and still have fun. We implemented some changes and strategies so he could take care of his art business and move forward.
Plan For Success
Creating an Art Business Plan is essential for any serious professional artist. I helped Jack develop a 6-month plan and a 2 year plan. This important exercise helped him stay committed and on track. He had a blueprint for success and was able to follow through with a sense of confidence and clarity.
Want to learn how to do it? Read this article “How to Create Your Art Business Plan”.
Reduce Multi-Tasking and Expand Your Focus
If you are a person who is frequently engaged in multitasking, according to many experts it has been proven that our brains just aren’t equipped for multitasking tasks that do require brainpower.
As Jack focuses on pursuing his most ideal artistic vision and brings it to fruition, he enjoys the challenge, diversity and rewards that come from commitment, discipline and experience.
He is now enjoying more success and peace of mind. As he accomplishes one goal at a time other goals are easier to attain with equal success.
Consider Hiring A Career Coach
With the right career direction you could avoid a lot of stress and save time. A career coach will help you clarify your goals as well as help you focus on the right direction. For information about my services please visit My Consultation and Coaching Services page.
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