by Cricket Desmarais
“You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love, you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.”- MIGUEL RUIZ
So you’ve NAMED YOUR NICHE & are ready to move forward in methods for minding the money gap that most creatives have faced (or face) more often than not.
When you get professional about your creativity, the money gap closes up & becomes a bridge to keep propelling you & your work forward. You become a master, a maestro, a maven. Your time & talent become rewarded.
How, exactly does this happen, you wonder?
I’m so glad you asked. While some of us like to dream that it magically just happens one day (trust me, I’ve been there), there are more practical methods to arriving at this great reward.
Just in case you missed the beginning of this series, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing actionable tips on just what these are. For starters, there’s this roll-up-your-shirtsleeves essential:
2. HONE YOUR CRAFT.
Hone. To sharpen (with a whetstone).
While there are no whetstones involved here, by all means there needs to be lots of sharpening happening.
Unless you’re born a savant with innate gifts that you magically tap into with very little effort required, most of us need to cultivate our calling by diving into it with as much enthusiasm & awareness as possible.
Where you dive & how deep you dive is completely up to you- kiddie pool, ponds, rivers, oceans- we all have our own ideas of what’s comfortable. My own philosophy is inherently driven by this great expression shared with me years ago during my fearless (naive) surfing days from my dear friend Kemi. GO BIG OR DON’T GO AT ALL. There in the swimmingly waters you will find much to help bolster your craft- & ultimately, your confidence & ability to stand out from the crowd.
Let’s just brainstorm for a moment, shall we? Take out a pen & write down all the ways in which you could find support in cultivating your craft.
Take five minutes & let it rip. (Go on, do it).
Got a few things? Good. Here are a few more that you may have missed:
You could take an online course. There are loads! (Just google it). Or a local course at a community college. Go to a workshop, a festival or a professional conference. Subscribe to magazines or other people’s blogs. Browse Youtube & vimeo for educational videos. Buy books at good old fashioned bookstores or order them via Amazon or Alibris. Better yet, borrow them from your local library.
Get those new guitar strings, throw down for that keyboard you’ve been oggling, upgrade from the gear that you’ve had since high school. Plie in the parking lot, sing in the shower, prowl the neighborhood for recycled materials in which to paint your next masterpiece on. Audition just because, memorize entire passages of books, commit to a digital image a day.
Read autobiographies of those you consider your creative heroes. Watch movies that inspire. Revel in the classic masterpieces.
Study how others in your niche are doing it. Purposely copy them to understand THEIR form, then get dead-set on your intent to do it differently, with the authentic stamp of YOU all over it.
Learn to meditate or do yoga, which gives you the ability to concentrate for great lengths of time & to also endure difficulty.
Yes, these things require an investment of time & money you might feel you just don’t have. Keep telling yourself that you & your art form are worth it. It’s critical to have the ideas/tools/time you need to do your job well.
On that note, remember that it’s not really helpful to stockpile if you aren’t ever going to draw from the pile. The key is to make the time to put the tools into practice.
See that last word? Practice. A lot. Often. Or at the very least, as much as possible. Diligence is key. That & knowing that mastery doesn’t happen overnight.
The reason I suck at ukulele is that I don’t take the time to practice. It’s really that simple. Will I ever get good enough to play in front of a crowd solo? I don’t know & won’t ever unless I decide to take it more seriously & start practicing. For now, my fingers clumsily switch from chord to chord, the lag time in between each calling out the fact that I am most definitely NOT Jake Shimabakuro or Ingrid Michaelson. Which is totally OK with me that I’m (just) OK today.
I danced professionally for a short time with a modern dance company. Though I loved every minute of it, it was very hard work. While I definitely had the passion required to be a solid performer, my technical capabilities where a bit limited, which required me to practice more in order to grow with the company as it evolved. In summary of these & a few other things, I had neither the time nor the finances to commit to the classes or rehearsals. Though the act of dance & performing gave me a tremendous spark & charge, due diligence was not met head on. The opportunity slowly dissolved into a far-off dream.
I still dance with great joy, I just don’t consider it a profession, & let the joy of it be what sustains me.
& then I invest in my craft elsewhere.
Like, here, now- blogging. I make no money to write my little heart out with these posts, trusting that the process of writing will cultivate my skill & maybe later offer me a return. I also get joy from offering my thought process around creativity, business, form & flow, hoping it can be of service to YOU.
& My confidence is bolstered every time someone comments or responds. It helps me push the “publish” button each time with a little more ease. It helps me hone my craft as a writer, which spans to support other genres of my professional writing realm.
When you diligently practice your craft, honing in on the very thing that ignites your soul, you bring forth a vibrant sense of confidence, which is so very powerful in propelling you forward.
It is also quite attractive to others.
Yes, others. Because if you are going to be professional, there will always be others. Your tribe will start to surround you. The ones who see you in all of your mastery & say “WOW. How do you do it?”
& you can say, winking, “Aw, shucks. It’s nothing.”
Share your tips with all of us below! We’d love to hear how you hone your craft… of how you make it look so easy!
See you next time with Essential Number 3.
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