Monday, May 4, 2009

Effectively Focused: Laying the Foundation for Your Creative Corral - Part I

After dabbling with a creative business for the last 6-7 years, I have become very serious about glass, silver, and jewelry. As I was writing the original article on developing a mission statement, I saw interwoven in the content a foundation that was implied but never stated. This article backs up a few steps and addresses laying the foundation of your creative business by cementing the cornerstones of your principles:

  1. identifying and organizing your life priorities as they relate to each other
  2. your value system and how it will translate into your business practices and online presence
This article is devoted to the first step.
Every few months, I receive reminders to make sure I am approaching my life's priorities in the proper order. I need the reminders because it's so easy to let things get out of whack and pretty soon you're doing things in the wrong order and you have created unnecessary angst. When you do things in the wrong order, life becomes inefficient which swirls into a toxic tornado of stress and guilt, which then saps creative energy and joy.

Lifting a creative business is going to involve more time. If you already have a packed life, you probably wonder how you can possibly add any more without stealing from another area. I found reviewing my priorities a vital exercise in figuring out where my creative endeavors fit.

My Story

When I finally gave myself permission to indulge my creativity, it was unleashed in a blinding storm. My mind churned out a myriad of creative sprites that galloped off into too many artistic directions...stringing, wirework, photography, crocheting, lampwork beads, knitting, sewing, chain maille, metalsmithing, silver clay, website ideas, colored pencils, collage. Dizzy yet? Yeah, so was I. To complicate that, opportunities were popping up and I wasn't prepared to deal with them. I was in need of corralling my wild herd of creative sprites.

So, maybe your creativity is a continuous stream and you don't have to worry about reining the creativity in. However, you still need a foundation of principles from which to lift off and guide the business. You will be layering in new activities as they relate to a creative business. Knowing your priorities makes your decision-making efficient and effective. You focus on the activities that help reach your goals and sort the ineffective activities to the bottom. Having a focus...or a creative corral...will help you figure out whether you should say yes! or [gasp] no to an opportunity. If you do say yes, understanding your priorities helps you set expectations, direct opportunities to a version that is more in line with your goals, and to say no without guilt (isn't saying no hard for women?), then organize the resulting tasks.

It's also good to note that, unlike a herd of mustangs, creative sprites aren't bounded by gravity. They can (and should) still float up out of the corral, plucking ideas that meander across...but with guidelines that make sense in the context of the creative corral you've defined.
Part II will follow next Monday.
P.S. - If you don't want to wait that long to read the rest of the article, sign up for the newsletter over to the left.