Seven Things I Learned in 2007

By admin in Misc > Art Opinion

It’s good to look back, isn’t it? To take stock of where you’ve been and how you’ve changed? Well, with 2007 ending tonight, I thought I’d share some things I learned during the past year.

1. I learned to use technology to help manage my time.
This year I really couldn’t put things off “until tomorrow” like I’ve been known to do in the past. Instead I started using a program called TaskPrompt which runs on my computer (it’s basically a programmable alarm clock.)

I just enter specific tasks like taking my art to a gallery, returning phone calls, or even posting articles on EE; and TaskPrompt faithfully reminds me throughout the day whenever I’ve got stuff I need to be doing.

That program, along with a digital to-do list (I’ve got a shortcut to it right in the middle of my desktop) keeps me on the ball much more than I would be by myself.

2. I learned that I really enjoyed building and designing websites.
That’s right—it’s not just blogging that I like, but all the coding too. In a way, programming is more fun than painting, because painting (for me) is so intense that it’s almost stressful. Writing code for a website can be frustrating, but I’ve discovered it’s much easier to find answers for a programming problem than a painting problem.

And I guess what I really enjoy is blending both my artistic side and my logical side in EmptyEasel’s design and layout, not to mention the designs of a few other web-based projects I’m working on—some of which I plan on revealing in 2008. : )

3. I learned that I need to take vacations (even from EmptyEasel).
I don’t think I’ve ever put so much time into ANY hobby before EE, and over the past year I truly realized for the first time that too much of one thing—even something you enjoy—can make you lose perspective on the rest of your life.

I’m pretty sure this is true in art, too. If you paint in just one style, or stick with just one medium, or one subject. . . Well, it might make good business sense, but it could also cause you to stagnate artistically if you don’t take the time to push yourself creatively in other areas too.

4. I learned that being a paid consultant isn’t that bad after all.
This year I took a big step (for me) and charged a consulting fee for the first time. I know this might seem odd, but I generally like to share what I know for free and I’ve always felt weird about taking money for, well, what’s essentially my opinion about art blogging, website design, and SEO.

The problem was that I got so busy with EE and everything else that the only way I could rationalize spending lots of time helping other people with their big projects was to put a price tag on my time.

It felt strange at first, but I’m much more open to it now than I used to be. (Although I still don’t see myself “professionally consulting” very often).

5. I learned that blogging isn’t necessarily for everyone.
At the beginning of last year, I decided to try and help other artists (mostly friends and acquaintances) start their own art blogs. I thought that if I could program, design and manage ads on their blogs to pay for hosting that they’d be able to just write about art.

Unfortunately none of the other bloggers stayed with it more than a few months, but it wasn’t their fault—it was mine. You see, by setting everything up for them I created a blogging environment that may have been right for me, but perhaps it wasn’t for them.

Besides, as much as I want to help other artists promote their art online, I think each artist has to decide on blogging by themselves, without a lot of outside persuasion, or they won’t stick with it in the long run.

6. I learned to network for mutual benefit
About halfway through 2007 I decided to open up EmptyEasel to guest writers once a week. My goal was to help other artists get more traffic to their websites while adding extra perspectives to EE.

Quite a few of you have taken me up on that offer already (some even more than once) and I do hope that many more of you will submit your own articles in 2008.

7. I learned if at first you don’t succeed, do something else for a while.
One of the perks of having so many irons in the fire and being self-employed is that there’s always several things I could be working on at one time. So instead of beating my head against the wall after coming up against a particularly tough problem, I just learned to check my to-do list and move on to the next task.

Plus, this year I felt like my subconscious mind just kept working away at the original problem even while I was busy with something else. More often than not, by the time I went back to it, I’d figured out a solution.

And that’s it from me in 2007. . . have a safe and happy new year!


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