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How to Focus a Creative Brain

In today’s blog post I’ve got some tips on how to focus a creative brain, and why it’s important to have a focus in your art and your art business.

Are you the type of person who can’t focus on one thing? I know I am! I mean, I have probably a million ideas a day. It can sometimes feel like you want to unzip your head and climb out of it, just for a break! It applies in our art business, and in our art itself. We want to try so many different things. We want to try so many different styles. It’s the same thing with our business. We know we tried this thing one day, and we tried that social media platform the next day, and we jump around everywhere. The trouble with that is it confuses us, and it confuses our customer. So how do we focus a creative brain?

How to Deal with a Lack of Focus in Your Art

It’s all too easy to want to try new materials. We want to try new techniques. We want to explore different subjects. This is just part of being a creative person, which is brilliant. We shouldn’t be forced to create the same thing again and again and again, for years to come (unless you enjoy doing that, and you enjoy that repetition of course!).

What a lot of artists do is throw everything including the kitchen sink at their social media and website in the hope that it will show a very wide and diverse range of skills. What it actually does is make us look more amateur. It also confuses our customers! If you are interested in floral watercolours, and then suddenly somebody comes at you with a gothic pencil sketch or a neon abstract, these are for a completely different audience, with a completely different message needed. Your potential customers will not know what to expect from you and confused people don’t buy.

If you’re looking for gallery representation, and you’re changing styles and materials all the time, they are also going to be confused. They’re looking for consistency in somebody with a recognisable style.

By style, I don’t mean you have to stick to the same thing for ever. Having a style is more about process and your “why”, the thing that drives you as an artist, what motivates you, what you’re inspired by. When you are clear on your why, it’s like your lighthouse or your anchor. Everything you explore comes from that same visual standpoint.

An example of that is if you are an artist and your why was energy. If you’re fascinated with energy in all its forms, tranquillity, vibrancy, effervescence, then when you paint subjects, you could still paint the human figure, you could paint the sea or paint a still life or a vase of flowers. If you are coming at it from a place of energy, and that’s what inspires you, your marks are going to look very different, your colours are going to look very different.

The way you approach the canvas or the piece, whatever your medium is, is going to be very different to somebody, let’s say who is interested in graphic shape and form. If they painted a person or the sea or a still life or vase of flowers, they would do it in a very graphic way. It would have their signature.

They can still explore different materials, they can do oils, watercolours, whatever it may be. They can select different subjects, as I’ve mentioned, but it still has their signature approach and their signature visual appearance.

Why Focus is Important

Staying in focus is really important if we don’t want to confuse our customers because we want them to buy. It can be hard to focus a creative brain though!

In terms of the business side of things, that consistency and focus is important as well. What I see quite often is people trying different things. They try one social media platform, or they try Etsy for a little while, or they try this and try that. They don’t give it long enough or go deep enough to make it work, and jump around thinking it didn’t work . Nothing is going to work if we only give it a couple of days or a couple of weeks or we just don’t give it the opportunity to evolve, to breathe, to formulate and and to really take shape.

Focus in our business and focus on our art style or approach is really, really critical for success.

It’s having that focus on your end goal. Decide what you want to achieve, what business looks right for you and feels right for you. What feels right for you might not be the same as anybody else and that doesn’t matter. Focus on you. It’s your business that I want to help you create!

Once you’ve identified what your ideal business looks like, you work backwards from that. You reverse engineer it, and you say, “okay, so this is how I’m going to achieve that”. Stay laser focused. Within that plan you can have fun, you can experiment with your materials. But don’t digress from your why, your approach, your passion, because that will start to go off on a sidetrack.

In terms of the business, don’t only dip your toe into something then give up. Give one thing your all for about 90 days. If you choose Instagram, really master Instagram for 90 days. Show up consistently with focus and watch the results as opposed to thinking, “I’m going to do an Instagram, I’m going to do YouTube, I’m going to do Facebook, I’m going to do TikTok”. With this approach, we just burnout. It’s exhausting. It’s not fun, and it doesn’t work.

Creative brains are wonderful things but also they can be the bane of our life when we don’t rein it in a little bit and keep that focus!

So hopefully that was useful and that gave you some tips on how to focus a creative brain. If you would like more tips and advice, then I have a free masterclass Four Simple Steps to Making Consistent Art Sales. I also go into a little bit of detail on some of the pitfalls that I see that hopefully you can avoid them when creating your dream art business. Come join us! You can also follow me on Instagram for more art business tips and advice.

POSITIVE MINDSET

  1. Greta says:

    Thank you, just what I needed to read this morning 🙂

  2. Ben Cowan says:

    Thank you Amanda,
    A really nicely balanced advice blog.
    It’s hard to be both supportive and not prescriptive, but you manage it well.
    Particularly useful was focusing on ‘Your Why and your process’ as a way of maintaining your style while giving creative freedom.
    I will approach this tricky dilemma afresh now…

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