An Art Challenge Taught Me A Lot About the Being a Creative Blogger
This might not seem like a big deal, because that is what artists do, right? Draw stuff?
A few years ago I would have agreed! But this year, joining this cool event was not just a big art jam. This year, it was an actual part of business...
Here are a few ways that 31 drawings were good for business, and some insights on how joining challenges can help you too:
Doing a daily challenge (or weekly) takes commitment. And I'm not a commitment-y type person if something feels like it's fencing me in.
First of all, I was concerned that making myself draw something every day (rather than doing it every day just because) would make me hate drawing by the end of the month.
You know what though? It didn't. Just like working on my blog every day for a year now has not made me hate it.
Why? Because these are two things I love. If you are committed to something you love, then you can do it everyday.
2. Testing Direction
Truthfully, you can work the rest of your life at a job or task that you hate. You can even be good at it. Sometimes you have no choice.
BUT...that is NOT the only way it has to be. It isn't a youthful fantasy to want to do something you love forever. Anyone who tells you that hating your job is the way life is supposed to work is probably a burned out fuddy-duddy.
Taking up a challenge might not lead you to the exact career you need to be doing but it can certainly help you discover whether or not you like what you are doing enough to stick with it.
Taking on this challenge made it clear to me that I want to focus bring more creative topics into my blogging.
3. Building Products (or a portfolio)
Obviously, the most tangible result of drawing for a month was having a month's worth of drawings. (Er...more like two month's worth if you count all the "mistakes".)
I intentionally drew most of the artwork to be used on prints and products on places like Zazzle.
However, you could challenge yourself to write a post a day and have a nice stockpile of content. Or challenge yourself to take a certain number of styled photos to use for your blog or business.
Any month long challenge related to your business would boost you forward tremendously.
Some ideas could be:
- Following/liking X number of influencers in your niche per day
- Leaving X number of comments per day
- Sharing a certain number of social media posts per day
- Creating a free incentive or content upgrade per day
- Making a designated number of cold calls
- Pitching to so many businesses, sites or magazines
And so forth. In most cases the goal would be overall results instead of actual products.
And results are good stuff.
I didn't exactly go viral (not by a long shot) for participating in Inktober. But I did find a number of artists I might not have discovered otherwise.
I'm terribly lazy about using hashtags, but this time I made sure that I used the right ones each time I shared a drawing. The result was getting more views, meeting new people and gaining some new followers.
Because this challenge was pretty big, (over a million tagged drawings in the first week on Instagram alone!) it meant engaging more with the community. From there I could find more artists who are also bloggers.
But what if there isn't a worldwide challenge that meets your needs? You could always start one. Or you could simply challenge yourself. As long as you are doing, then you are impacting your business, blog, website or social profile in a positive way.
Ever feel like you've got your sh** together, only to find out you aren't half as organized as you thought?
Hopefully you don't feel that way. I found out the hard way that having my pens in a nice holder by my laptop did not mean I was organized for an art challenge.
I fell way behind in sharing what I was drawing because I kept forgetting to scan stuff in, or take a WIP photo. Then my scans were all over the place in my computer, mixed up with the edited or resized versions.
At my normal "me" pace this isn't an issue. But completing a drawing, scanning it, editing it, watermarking it, sizing it, and posting it and tagging it meant I needed to keep up a little better.
Plus, I wanted to have several of the drawings already available as prints or products before I shared my daily challenge photo on Instagram.
By the end of the challenge I had come up with a system and it made getting the art from sketchbook to social site fast and smooth.
Having to keep pace with a crowd definitely reminds you that working for yourself is not always laid back. And it can certainly show you where your weak spots are as far as organization and scheduling.
Back to the Usual Business With a Fresh Outlook
Those are my insights and what I learned/experienced. Yours could be different. Or maybe you are one of those awesome people who eats challenges for breakfast already. :)
The biggest "wow" moment I had was realizing that instead of "taking me away" from blogging, an art challenge was going to give me a fresh outlook.
I got new inspiration and ideas for scheduling. I noted some interesting trends in what people liked. I got a definite crash course in what times of day saw better interaction.
And it was a lot more fun than just reading through pages of analytics and stats to find that same information!
The takeaway message for you, is that it's okay to do something that seems more fun than professional, more silly than serious. You probably need the break anyhow.
You could be pleasantly surprised to learn that instead of blowing your hustle, you are actually gaining tons of new information, experience, and exposure!