Last Friday I was at the opening of COEN, a local initiative with workshops for artists to become more commercial. At the reception a theater maker told me how difficult it is for her to combine commercial thinking with creative action. We had an interesting conversation.
Problems as artist
‘They want us artists to become commercial entrepreneurs. But as artist, I want to create without having to think about the commercial value. ‘
‘I agree, it’s your creativity that makes you an artist. Still, you have to earn a living as well.’
‘Yes, I know! And that’s the problem. When I think about the commercial aspects, I feel blocked, I’m not creative anymore. It’s a struggle all my life.’
‘And if you would use your creativity to tackle that commercial aspect as well? And no, I’m not talking about creative administration.’
‘You mean that it’s possible to stay in the creative mood when doing all the money stuff?’
‘Yes, that’s what I mean. And it’s important that you stay in control and know what you are good at. It’s a different kind of mindset. That’s what I’m teaching in my workshop D.I.Y. attitude.’
Creative versus commercial
Like her and many artists, you might struggle with combining a creative and a commercial mindset. If you focus on the creative part only, you might become a creative but starving artist; if you focus on the commercial part only, you will chose for predictable entertainment. Your dream of earning a living with being creative seems impossible in this dilemma. So you suffer and become a victim of your own creativity. One way out of this dilemma is to adapt a totally different mindset, a D.I.Y. attitude.
Making things happen
The D.I.Y. attitude starts with you taking control. Taking control starts with you becoming aware of your strong points, even if you can’t control the outcome of your creative process. Being creativity will probably be only one of your strong points. You will use them as basis and start moving from there. While doing so, you are not a victim of your creativity anymore, but someone who makes things happen. You can use your creativity too to make things happen, isn’t that amazing? Instead of focusing on problems, you look for solutions. When you want to focus on your creativity, you could decide to build a team around you to take care of the commercial aspects. You will lead them instead of the other way around.
The workshop D.I.Y. attitude is based on five aspects, found in research with women in the Fortunes500. They all had a purpose in their work (meaning), a positive mindset (framing), a broad network (connecting), the guts to make choices (engaging) and they knew how to get enough energy (energizing). And it all starts with the focus on the aspect you are good at, even if it’s only one of the five. From there you can work to make the other aspects stronger too. It’s an upward spiral!
I’ve done various lectures about the upward spiral and the five aspects that lead to it. The five aspects have been proven to be very useful when I used them in coaching artists. So I developed a short workshop as introduction for young musicians. In May I gave the first two workshops D.I.Y. attitude with very positive reactions. In November I’m booked to give the workshop again, looking forward to it! In the future, who knows, I might give the workshop as part of the local initiative I mentioned above too. Anyway, this is my way to put what I teach into action, to make things happen 😉