Want to be more productive artist? Understanding how the human mind and our natural behaviors impact our actions can go a long way with creating a way of working that works for us.
Examine your creative habits. As the author of several books on happiness including Better Than Before and The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about several examples of what have worked for many famed artists in an article on Psych Central. There is a central question here: What has worked for your in the past and what hasn’t?
I enjoy quite a bit of distraction as part of my creative process. I enjoy the escapism of having music, television or podcasts on in the background as I paint, draw or design. I feel like this puts what I’m doing in perspective. Otherwise, if I’m drawn into the idea that what I’m doing is all there is in the world, it can be really difficult to keep going when something doesn’t go perfectly right. If the television is on, I can take a mental break just long enough to regroup and come up with the perfect solution when I tackle the next step. It’ll take some trial and error to figure out what methods make you the most productive.
Does your gender play a role? Maria Popova examines psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his text on how artists defy traditional gender norms. Artists tend to think outside of the box, therefore we might not need to act in a way that is expected for our gender. This isn’t about our sexuality, it’s about how we are told to react within our culture.
Women artists might be more assertive on average than the general population. Male artists certainly have an anecdotal reputation for being more emotional and passionate than the average man. Do you feel you have broken any of these molds with your art or personality?
Can you improve the rhythm of your brain? The University of North Carolina School of Medicine has used weak electrical currents to literally boost creativity. “We’ve provided the first evidence that specifically enhancing alpha oscillations is a causal trigger of a specific and complex behavior – in this case, creativity,” senior author Flavio Frohlich, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, cell biology and physiology, biomedical engineering, and neurology says in the official press release.
These brain oscillations have been associated with our senses and are more prominent when we come up with ideas. While we probably aren’t going to be using electrical currents for this effect, finding more natural ways to induce these waves could make you a more productive artist. Meditation and daydreaming are associated with alpha oscillations; they’re also much easier and safer to do on your own.
Photo by Horia Varlan You want to be liked. By your clients, your boss, your colleagues. So you take on work that you don't want to do. You extend deadlines to the point where you're stressed and can't think about much else. You can say no. You must do this on your terms or not at all. Here's how: When to Start Start today or better yet right now. Write to a client or your boss about a problem you've been having. Firmly tell them the terms of your employment and what you're time is worth. How to Begin ... Read more
Artists and Designers Networking Guide: Part 3 in this series tells how important it is to continue being in contact. Too many of us don't do it. Jump to the other posts about networking: Part 1: How to Get Started Part 2: Practical Tips Part 3: How to Follow Up Part 4: How Gratitude Maintains Connection Why follow up? Whether you're hoping for a new client, a job interview, or just a friendly connection, following up is a key skill to practice. We all want to be surrounded with positive, trustworthy, and responsible people. When people see your name in ... Read more
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.