Artists (and freelancers) have a responsibility to our customers and others we work with (galleries, partners in projects, etc) to do what we say we will do, when we say we will do it. Any self-employed person knows just how vital this is to maintaining trust. But beyond that we generally don’t have to answer to a ‘boss’ – we are responsible for our own actions and deciding on our goals. This is both a huge blessing and a considerable challenge. It’s hard to be your own motivator, goal setter, monitor your own progress as well as staying committed to the actions you’ve set out to do. No wonder we all trip up from time to time, whether it's aiming to develop our work, take the actions we need to do to sell it, or take care of our more personal needs -relationships, health, exercise, etc! Accountability is an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions – to ourselves, or another person. I think it’s an important part of helping us be who we want to be.
So what has this to do with an amateur sketch of a tree in the snow?
For me, being involved in a creative activity takes me to a much better place – whether you call it a state of flow, mindfulness, being completely focussed in the present, or allowing myself to play – with paint, pastels, clay, or collage. So why have I spent so little time doing it for myself? Being busy, other demands, etc are part of it, as well as fear and frustration that it's too hard or that I won’t be satisfied with the results. Time pressures on me have really not been the same issue in the last year and the need for solace, peace of mind and joy has never been greater. I have said to myself a hundred times that I will make time to do some art. And yet I still haven’t made it a regular commitment. Last weekend I said to a friend (on the phone of course!) that this time I really did want to do some art – and how the snow resting on the tree branches was beautiful. Being a straightforward American, she said well, if you want to do it – do it! Send me a picture when you’ve done it. I’ll be your accountability buddy! And that really did give me the push to spend a thoroughly engrossing, at times frustrating, but completely absorbing time doing my sketch. I’m smiling at the memory of how good it felt as I write.
If you are interested in the effectiveness of having an accountability partner, or ways to help you stay accountable to yourself, do check out https://www.muitsun.com/power-of-accountability/
Through Living from Art I offer business advice and support to artists at different career stages to help them earn the money they need from their art. Sometimes when I talk with someone just starting out, I may be sharing a great deal of practical information to help them get started. I also spend time helping people clarify their understanding of what’s really important to them about their art and what their goals are to develop it further. Other people may be far further along the road. They have a great deal of both business knowledge and experience at developing their careers. But it is always gratifying to hear how explaining their plan to me has helped them to further clarify and commit to their goals.
‘Simply explaining what you're doing to someone you respect is a powerful way to staying on track and avoiding impulsive decisions.’ Entrepreneur.com https://bit.ly/3t73mUx
Not all Living from Art members want to take up the opportunity to have me as an accountability partner and ‘motivation buddy’ through regular 1:1 sessions or quick phone calls, and that’s fine. Some people prefer to be only accountable to themselves or already have other support networks. The Living from Art community also offers the chance to get to know other artists, and support each other, personally, informally, or through sharing opportunities or working collaboratively. It is such a pleasure to see this happen and the benefit its brings.
If you recognise that you need an accountability partner, would like to know more about membership of Living from Art, or have an initial chat to me about your business plans, do please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a ring on 07747 0328912