Last week I attended an amazing presentation by integral coach Lyedie Geer. Her website is here. The focus was time management for creative people.
Now, fifteen years ago, when I first started my artistic journey, I was on fire with professionalism. I was determined not to be that “spacey artist” with no concept of time or discipline.
I was very good at it, too. I entered juried shows early. I had a binder of my galleries, their complete contact info, my shipments to them, their terms, etc. Correspondence was carefully filed in each of their folders. My slides were labeled and up-to-date, and I had duplicates ready on a moment’s notice for any occasion. My Rolodex was full with fellow artists, show management, photographers (I had a photographer and a back-up photographer), suppliers. You name it, I had their name and phone number.
My editor at Lark Books called once, and in an hour, I’d produced every single source and resource we talked about. “Oh my GOD, you’re so organized!” she exclaimed.
Then something happened.
I can’t remember what set it off, but things…changed. I wasn’t frantic about recognition. I didn’t care about publicity or awards. I wasn’t willing to do ANYTHING to keep my income stream going.
I rode more. I wrote more. I dropped everything to be with my family or a friend in need, even when the “need” was a drink. I took in homeless puppies. I volunteered more. I took hospice training.
I paid more attention to other things: The change of seasons. Walks with my husband. Phone calls from my daughter. Driver’s Ed with my son.
The concept of time management began to annoy me. Oh, sure, I understood I could get so much more done if I actually MANAGED my time instead of letting it manage me.
But that just didn’t seem as urgent anymore. I still care deeply about my art and my art business. I just felt that more was being called for of me.
I wanted to explore that call. And everything is different.
So I attended the seminar with extreme prejudice. Borderline hostility, in fact. I assumed we were going to learn about day planners and Google calendar. I expected we would be urged to be more ‘professional’ in our dealings.
I was prepared to be bored stiff and MAYBE take away a nice idea or two. My only defense is I was also willing to be proved wrong, which is why I even went in the first place.
Well, Lyedie blew my socks off.
Her presentation gave me a deeper understanding of my creative process, and how to use that understanding to focus even more on my creative and professional goals.
Like Bruce Baker, her information is the kind I would attend to many, many times, as I would ‘hear’ something different every time. The content is powerful, and Lyedie’s presentation style is earnest and heartfelt.
Some people are monochronic, she said. Time is rigid and linear. There are rules, and expectations. This goes HERE, and that goes THERE.
Creative people are polychronic. Time is fluid, priorities are in constant flux.
To maximize our skills and impact, TIME is not the thing to be managed, but our AWARENESS.
It’s not so much about artists learning to be better businesspeople, or learning how to squish ourselves into a better business model. In fact, the monochronic world is the one that needs to adjust, and flex, and support the polychronic.
Because our creative self–WHAT WE ARE–is what’s of value to the world
And the world needs us now. Badly.
There was more, so much more. A lot of it is science-based, on what we now know about creative people, and how creative thinking works. It’s also full of hope, and wonder, and connection, and everything human. It will take time for me to process exactly what this means for me in the days–years!–ahead.
It’s simply powerful stuff.
Our entire audience of creative professionals (web designers, commercial photographers, graphic artists, etc.) applauded when she finished.
I highly recommend Lyedie to any organization that offers professional development for creative people–your local art organization, your professional guilds, art schools. Her insights can offer benefit to creative people at every level of development, from rank beginner to accomplished professional.
In fact, as I face another dramatic surgery in the weeks ahead (total knee replacement surgery, eeeeeeeeeeeeeek!) I plan to meet with Lyedie. I want a ‘life intention’ jump start.
As I recuperate, I want something pulling me away from the pain and frustration of recovery, to the rich new path I believe lies ahead. It may not LOOK much different, on the surface. But I’m hoping for a ‘unified field theory’ for myself, a way to examine, evaluate, and include all the paths and projects on my plate.
I don’t want to feel distracted and unfocused anymore. I don’t want to feel guilty about my messy studio. I don’t want to feel anxious about the new work that’s in my head, that I can’t quite get out into the world yet. I don’t want to feel like I love so many aspects of my creative self, yet feel that none of them the full attention they deserve.
I want to feel that, whatever I’m doing, whatever has my attention, and my awareness, is what I should be doing. I want to feel that there is a place for me in the world, and a need for what I have to offer.
I’ll keep you posted! And in the meantime, see if you can get your group to host a seminar with Lyedie. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.