Over the past two weeks we’ve looked at tips for expanding your repertoire of creative projects and/or self-promotional efforts. I’ve presented six tips so far; here are our last four.
Know That Nerves Are Normal
If you’re moving in a new direction, that movement is likely to feel risky as well as exciting. Remember that risky things actually feel risky in the body! Don’t be surprised if your stomach gets queasy or your palms sweat—and don’t use those feelings as excuses to stop what you’re attempting. Instead say, “Okay, I’m making myself anxious here—and that’s okay. Onward!”
Expect to Feel Like a Beginner
If you are trying something genuinely new--say, for example, moving from watercolors to acrylics or moving from short fiction to novels--you must accept that you are a beginner and will stammer more than you would like, stub your toe once occasionally, and on some days feel completely lost at sea. Do not let these realities become the excuses you use to return to more familiar ways. Expect them, accept them, and persevere!
Accept the Reality of Learning Curves
Not only may you be a genuine beginner at this new style or marketing technique, you will also have to endure the learning curve that comes with any new effort. Just picture the learning curve required to go from first piano lessons to playing Bach at Lincoln Center! Don’t let the fact that a learning curve is coming daunt you or deter you. Accept the reality, forgive yourself on those days when you make “too little” progress, and keep the payoff in mind: your growth and success as an artist.
Parlay What You Already Know
Even though you may be a beginner at some new technique, style, or marketing strategy, you are not a beginner at life. You can parlay all that you’ve learned over the years and make your current experience easier than it might otherwise have been if you had been a total novice. If you remind yourself that you know a lot and that you intend to bring all that knowing to your current efforts, you will do a better job of maintaining your enthusiasm, optimism, and focus.
Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is the author of 30 books, among them "Coaching the Artist Within" and "The Van Gogh Blues," and is widely regarded as America’s foremost creativity coach. His most recent book is Brainstorm: Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions. He is a featured contributor to the HuffingtonPost, ArtBistro, and Art Calendar magazine. Visit Dr. Maisel at EricMaisel.com.