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  In The Studio

Perseverance is Key: Q1 Progress Review

A Counting, 2015Collaged & Toned Cyanotype Print. 14.8” x 17”. Limited edition of 12 (Variable). © Jonah Calinawan

It’s March. Three months have gone by since you made those New Year Resolutions. How are you doing with your goals after the first quarter? Are you seeing some progress? Are you inching your way through it?

Here are my goals as I posted in January:

1. Finish Part III of A Million Suns by December 31

Supporting Actions/Milestones:

  • I will do One Studio Day per week, for a total of 4 studio days per month.
  • Quarterly evaluation on Mar, June, Sep
  • Mid Year Evaluation by June 30
  • I will mount 20 final selected images on artboard for my portfolio box by December 10

2. Double my Newsletter Subscribers by December 31, 2017

Supporting Actions/Milestones:

  • Post one blog post per week
  • Send out a Newsletter to my VIPs once a month
  • Schedule social media posts every Sunday for the following week
  • Create 2 freebies this year to entice newsletter signup (TBD, maybe an work catalog and an ebook)

3. Exhibit in 3 Group Shows

Supporting Actions/Milestones

  • Submit to 1 juried competition per month
  • Attend Baltimore Art Gallery Crawl monthly to create local connections

Finish Part III of A Million Suns

I’m really happy about my progress here. I hit my goal of 4 studio sessions per month. So at the end of March, I’ve had 14 photo sessions. I did two extra sessions. That more than what I did during the 12 months of last year!

How am I doing this? Part of it just being aware. I pre-plan at the beginning of the month what days I'll be shooting so that it’s in my calendar. That doesn’t mean that I will not change it, but it’s a conscious commitment I’m making to myself. And I write it down in my electronic day planner. I think this is the key. You have to write it down—instead of just having it in your head.

And so far it’s working!

This is what I’m so proud of this year. I'm actually getting work done, which is unlike me. I'm very efficient at work, but with my art, it's another matter. So this is a big deal.

Next week, I’ll write about the actual tools that I’m using to keep myself aware. I’ll be talking about day planners, and my online journal/planner : Asana. It’s terrific.

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Double Newsletter Subscribers

This second goal is off track.

I knew this was going to be tough. The issue is that I don’t know where my target audience hangs out. My artwork is about inspiration and about our need to look for meaning and purpose in our lives—especially when we are pulled in many directions. My blog supplements my artwork in that it explores that push and pull between art life and work life. Where do I find an audience that’s interested in that? Who will actually buy my cyanotype prints? Who is my ideal collector?

I’m not alone in any of this of course. Every artist, writer, or entrepreneur needs to find his or her audience. Where do they hang out? Facebook, twitter, linkedin, or instagram? These days I’m focusing on twitter, because that seems to be where I’m getting more engagement for my type of artist thinking.

I will continue to blog as one way to increase my potential collector base for my art and eventually, books. I hate it when people say it’s a marathon and not a sprint. But I think it’s true. You just have to keep going.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance…. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about; otherwise, you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through.”
― Steve Jobs

I will have to come up with an improved strategy in Q2 to increase my newsletter base. Blogging on my site doesn’t work that well. Blogging has other benefits though—like clarifying what I’m really saying in my art and learning how to tell a story—so I will continue to do it. In reading my initial goals above, I need to get going on my alternative plan of creating a freebie to entice my potential audience to sign up.

Exhibit in Three Group Shows

I’m behind on this goal as well.

I was a featured artist at Verve Gallery in Santa Fe this past January, but I can’t count that towards my 2017 goals as the show started December 2016. So no double counting. I’m an accountant after all.

I don’t have anything lined up for this year. I have to start submitting my work to some venues.

What’s my Q1 Progress Grade?

Probably a C.

I’m on track for goal 1 (which is the most important). I’m behind on goals 2 and 3.

So for Q2, I need to maintain progress on goal 1 and come up with a plan for goals 2 and 3. Hopefully, when mid-year evaluation comes around June 30, I will see an improvement.

It's Your turn

How are you progressing with your goals after the first quarter? Do you need to do a mid-course correction? I’d love to hear from you on this front.


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