Get motivated: set yourself a deadline

I teach a class about selling artwork online, and one aspect of the subject that I think about a lot is how to help people get themselves moving.  I believe that a lot of artists and crafters probably wonder how in the world they can get started selling online. Even taking a step back from selling, do you often think you should be more productive with your art? Ever feel guilty about not painting enough, or about leaving so many photographs unprinted, or not submitting your work to magazines or to galleries?

I guess this interests me because I often need help getting myself motivated. One of the methods that works best for me is to set a deadline. Self-imposed deadlines with no accountability (“I will design a scarf this weekend”) don’t work as well for me as external ones, where not finishing a piece is not an option. When I find myself stuck creatively, I get myself moving by signing up to participate in a new show at my local gallery, by entering an art swap or contest, by agreeing to donate a piece to a charity I support … you get the idea.  How do you get yourself working? Have you ever missed a deadline that you had committed to?

Here’s what I’ve been working on, thanks to a deadline I’m under to put up a display in the front case at my local library. The display will be at the El Cerrito Library from June  2nd (eek, that’s only a week away!) through mid-July. I want to show people how to attract butterflies to their gardens, so one focus of the display will be my photos of the life cycle of some local butterflies.  From my hundreds of photos of butterflies that George and I have raised and released, I made several photo collages of them from egg to emerged butterfly.  This is the one for the caterpillar stage of the monarch butterfly:

Monarch butterfly caterpillars

Monarch butterfly caterpillars

And here’s the collage I made of the chrysalis stage for anise swallowtail butterflies:

Anise swallowtail butterfly chrysalises

Anise swallowtail butterfly chrysalises

I’ll include information about what kinds of plants people can use in their gardens to attract butterflies and provide food for the caterpillars.  Oh, of course I’ll be showing some of the artwork I’ve made from my butterfly photos, and I hope to get motivated to make some more pieces just for the display!

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