There was a time when I was little that I vividly recall. I was in my bedroom with the kittens-in-a-basket picture on the wall that I had begged for, and I had this thought, “I could change my favorite color. I don’t have to keep the same favorite color forever!” It sounds strange, I know. But up to that point I was loyal to the color red. It was red red red. Then, suddenly, with a thought, it wasn’t just red anymore. It was orange and navy, then purple, then just about every other color up to now, when it’s usually aqua or mint.
Do you ever place unnecessary limits on yourself, like I do?
The favorite color limit isn’t the only unnecessary one I’ve ever set for myself. For example, when I picked crocheting back up, I had decided that I only wanted to use certain kinds of yarn. I only wanted to put my time into certain patterns. Then as I began to turn that hobby into a small business I saw that there was sometimes a need for a completely awful (in my opinion) yarn, or an extremely difficult pattern. When I removed the imagined restraints, not only did I have way more options when creating, but my products were more marketable as well. There was nothing to hold me back from creating anything.
In a roundabout way, here’s the point I’m trying to get to:
Does changing my art to suit a customer’s preference automatically mean that I’m selling out? Is that even a BAD thing really? I really like the way Andrea Hannah puts it in her blog post from earlier this week, “[It] is also a business”. Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance between the artistic side and the business side, but ultimately, if there is no validation in the form of money, eventually, the time and effort spent creating has to decrease. Making concessions to make sales is part of having a business!
Obviously, not everything should be given up as readily as a favorite color. But I don’t want to be so focused on the red, that I can’t see the rainbow of endless possibilities. (OMG did I really just say that? I promise to be less corny next week.) I don’t want to miss opportunities because I couldn’t let go of what I thought having a creative business would be like. What have you been holding onto that you could re-think or let go of? If you are in a creative profession, are there any “rules” you have made for yourself that need to be re-examined?