If only a creative life meant you could just be creative. But if anyone is going to see your work then you have to do marketing and publicity too. I don’t know about you, but these are the tasks I find both tedious and daunting.
You may need to ring a gallery and ask about renting it for an exhibition or pitch your book to a local bookshop or send emails to chase up the above requests when you hear nothing back.
You’d rather crawl under a rock and hide than do these tasks. You just want to write, or make more art. You don’t want to do the other stuff.
But you know you have to. Sometimes you can muster up the courage and motivation to do it, but often, you let it slip and live with the knowledge that you are letting yourself, and your art, down.
You look with envy at other artists who have created more impact than you. Maybe they’re good at marketing, you mutter to yourself as you slink back under that rock and feel wretched.
What if I told you that you can create a fearless assistant who can do all that for you?
Meet Stephania. She’s efficient, she has a great work ethic and she is not emotionally attached to my work.
If I ask her to please send a pitch to that podcast to see if I can come on a talk about Tales of the Countess, she does it.
When I say Stephania, please ring the solicitor and sort out a price for that claim, she picks up the phone and negotiates according to the parameters I gave her.
Or Stephania could you ring my friend please who works at a neighbouring library service and ask him to check if my books are listed on their systems, and find out who I need to speak to in order to get them to stock my book – you guessed it, she picks up the phone and gets on with it.
But Stephania isn’t real
She’s a persona I’ve created. I imagine her as Eastern European, in her mid-20s and from one of the Baltic countries with their terrific work ethic. She isn’t emotionally attached to my work and she will take any admin task that I have and just get on with it.
When I feel myself shying away or procrastinating on a marketing task, I tell myself to give it to Stephania, or I ask myself what Stephania would do.
Stephania would shrug and then just get on with it. It’s just an item on a worklist that I’ve given her. She works down her list and does all the tasks without any fear!
Do you need a pretend assistant?
It can be hard to promote your own work. The fear gremlin seems to ignite when this is required. Taking the persona of someone else can help, especially when that someone is a whizz at getting admin jobs done and they are dispassionate about the work.
I’m writing this because it is almost as important to market our work as it is to create them. Art is also a business. If you publish a book then you now have a publishing business. If you want to sell your paintings then you need to not only learn the business side but take regular action on it too.
This is where a lot of creatives struggle so they don’t get the recognition that they deserve, both financial and the joy of other people enjoying your art. If Stephania can help with this, however crazy an idea it is, then let’s unleash her!
Can you dream up your own assistant? Are they male or female? Or droid? Young or old? The same nationality as yourself or different? How do they speak? Are they brusque and efficient, kind or friendly?
It doesn’t matter if we have to play tricks with ourselves to do the marketing and admin. Making it fun helps our fear to retreat. If it gets the job done and helps us to find an audience for our creative work, who cares that we had to be a little bit creative in coaxing ourselves to do that?
Now I’d like to hear from you
How do you manage to get your marketing done? What tricks to you play with yourself to overcome fear? Leave a comment. Your tip might be just what someone else needs to learn.
Every month I also share the ups and downs of my own creative journey – but only email subscribers get that insider view. Sign up now.
If you found this post useful then please use the buttons below to share it. You can also subscribe in the box below so that you’re the first to hear when the next blog is published. You’ll get a free copy of The Gentle Creative Manifesto.