Creation vs Marketing

Untitled Seascape #2 © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2010

Untitled Seascape #2 © Sarah Marie Lacy, 2010. Oil on canvas, 12"x16"

Well things have been interesting since the last time I wrote. (Has it really been a week already?)

There’s been some hard stuff, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet. Maybe soon.

Jesse’s gone home to visit family, and I’m spending the next 2 weeks alone, for the first time ever. It’s taking me a while to adjust, but I’m getting used to being the only voice in the house.

Also, someone smashed my bedroom window with the side view mirror from a car at 3am on Saturday night. Yeah. That was fun. We were lucky that no one got hurt, but there was a hole the size of 2 soccer balls in my gorgeous bay window. Drunken idiots*. That’s all fixed now though.

*As you can imagine, those were not the words I used on Saturday night.

Things seem to be back to normal now though, and with the house all to myself, I’ve been thinking lots about routines, productivity and balance.

Business vs Creation

It seems that I can’t ever balance the two. I’m either in extreme creative mode where I’m painting for 3-6 hours a day, or I’m in business mode where I’m marketing my work, blogging regularly, promoting on Twitter, sending out my newsletter. But it’s either one or the other. It’s impossible for me to do both in the same day, or even the same month. I can’t find any sort of balance between the two.

I’d really like some kind of structure there, some kind of routine, where new work is constantly being created but where I can also put a decent amount of energy into building my career. Things like artist’s statements, bios, resumes, grant applications, outside of my online marketing activities, all need to be written.

Yet without new work, the marketing is useless. And while I’m painting much, much more often, I’m still struggling with completing anything. Sigh. So maybe that’s part of the problem too. There are a million new pieces littering my studio, but very few are finished, outside of a few studies. I think I’d just noodle forever if I could (oh wait, I do.)

I think part of the problem is that when I’m not painting, I’m working for other people. Not that I’m complaining – I work for 2 very excellent people – but it does impose a time constraint, another parameter to the problem.

I’m looking for flow in my days. Ideally, there would be a nice flow between creating, marketing what I create and working for other people. I may be asking for the impossible here, but I don’t think so. It’s a matter of experimenting with different routines and schedules.

Admittedly, I get jealous sometimes, reading about other entrepreneurs’ whose basic goal is marketing, and that their product is their marketing. I just can’t seem to find that balance. I find that I’m constantly running out of time. Oh that never ending to-do list.

So how do you handle it? How do you balance your marketing and your art, or whatever your creative thing is? Have you find flow? Some kind of a routine? Or have you just accepted that the two will never be in balance and that some months you promote more than you create.

I’m curious how other artists handle this dilemma. Sometimes I feel like my business is so divided, so split up, that I’ll never be able to reconcile the two. But obviously there must be a way, because there are artists who are making a living, and it sure as hell ain’t fairy dust that’s making that happen.

So thoughts! What do you do? Do you struggle with the same things? Have you found something that works for you? Leave ‘er in the comments!