This blog focuses on the joys, challenges and lessons of living the creative life—and make a living doing it!
Author Gayle Mahoney is an arts marketing consultant and has shown and sold her own artwork for over 25 years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The summer that time forgot

Here we are three-quarters through August, what the hell happened to my summer???

June: Worked straight through, except for a lovely 4-day vacation in Saratoga Springs, totally unplugged — I recommend that!

July: Had one day off where I did no work at all: 4th of July. (It WAS an awesome day at my friend Anne Marie's though... high on a hill watching the fireworks over Manhattan and half of New Jersey!)

August: Finished two big deadlines so had more time, but got really sick and couldn't enjoy it.

SUPER big push from now through the end of the month to launch a website or two, open registration for a conference, and roll out fall programs and publicity for an arts district. Also making artwork for my friend's latest album.

Oh yeah, I have a museum trunk show this fall with a new product line designed specifically with their Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition in mind. And yes, right now it exists ONLY in my mind!

I am a nervous wreck!!! It has squeezed any remaining laid-back So Cal chill-genes right out of me! I have become so EAST COAST! Help me!!!

Last night I dreamed I was in a white-water rapids race... with Teddy Roosevelt, who was on his august steed (of course named August). Teddy was screaming "We've got to push through! We've got to push through!" I love dreams!

Note to self: My modest time management skills have been no match for the summer that time forgot!!!

What has really helped me get through is that I started keeping track of my time- all my time, not just my work time- from the moment I rolled out of bed until lights out at night. I set up a spreadsheet in 15 minute increments for the week and kept it open on my laptop. I didn't look at it evey 15 minutes, but got in the habit of recording what I had been doing every time I shifted to another activity. After doing this for a few weeks I started seeing some places where I could take control of my schedule and reign in projects and activities that were taking over my life. I also realized that there are certain hours of the day where I am most productive- for me it's late morning through early afternoon, for someone else it might be early morning or late at night. I realized I needed to set aside one day, at least, where I used that productive time to focus on my art business and push some of my client work into other slots.

Since I am not a morning person, and because it takes me a long time to be awake enough to be productive, I realized that the morning is an excellent time for me to be in "intake" mode, instead of trying to do work that requires creativity or attention to detail. So I use the morning to read the blogs I follow, see what's happening on Twitter, LinkedIn groups I belong to, check out my friends' Pinterest boards and get caught up with the news. It's an inspiring way to ease into the day.

Yesterday I saw a terrific post on a blog that I follow, titled "Control Your Time and Become A More Successful Artist." The article is loaded with all kinds of tips and tools (including a link to a downloadable spreadsheet to help you plan your ideal week).

September looks like it will be just as crazy as the summer has been, but I feel like I have more of a handle on my time, particularly how to balance rest and fun with the workload.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hip to be Square

Thanks to all who came out to the New Jersey Metal Arts Guild sample sale at GAS Gallery and Studio. I especially thank Elizabeth, Rick, Micha and Christine for your generosity and support in making the event happen.

I had a great day! I so enjoyed spending time with the other artists and the conversations we had about design, creative process, metalsmithing techniques and how to market one's work.

I wanted to share a tasty tidbit for any artisan who a) has a smart phone and b) does retail shows, trunk sales, etc. I used my SQUARE credit card swiper for the first time. I know, I know... Square has been around awhile now... I have had my swiper but this is the first time I used it because most of my trunk shows are set up as wholesale and the merchant handles transactions.

But, if you don't know about Square, it's a small device you plug into your phone (or iPad) that allows you to swipe credit cards. It costs 2.75% per transaction. If you don't have a smart phone, you can use a computer (3% per transaction).
Find them here...

Anyway, my sales all went through and were posted to my account the next day. Soooo much easier than carting around a big machine, paying all the merchant service charges, etc. typically associated with a merchant credit card account through a bank. It did take a little time for me to learn to do a proper swipe- but the app comes with a practice tutorial... anyway, I recommend it.