1 or 2 hobbies?

As a creative, we always have ideas running around in our head. But sadly, these ideas can be wide ranging, from art to writing to scrap-booking to computer programming to blogging, to traveling to gardening to baking to cooking to globe trekking.

Though we may not like to admit it, there’s only so much we can do. And only so much we can master.

Many have the mentality that we should only have 1 hobby, stick to it, and becomes masters of such hobby. While I do see the validity of that argument, as a creative I must disagree. Why?

Because as a creative, my mind becomes easily bored with repetitive tasks. In my opinion there is a need for multiple hobbies.

Even though I love my hobby (art) I can become quite bored with it after a few projects. When that happens I hit a slump and I do not know what to create or where to find inspiration. This is where it comes in handy to have more than just 1 hobby. Why?

Because you get your mind off your last project. You find inspiration once more, motivation to keep going.

My 2 favorite hobbies are art and writing, however, art is my main focus, and career. When I hit an artistic crash I switch to my writing, and when I get bored of writing, I switch back to art.

But there also has to be a limit to how many hobbies you have, because you will not have enough time to do everything you wish if you have a ton of hobbies to do.

I suggest have only 2 or 3 hobbies, that way you can switch back and forth when your creativity is running out, and you’ll always have a flow of fresh new ideas.

This is just a suggestion that I have found to be very helpful in my life, if you find that having 1 hobby or 5 is best, that’s great! Do what is best for you to keep those creative juices flowing!

 

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How to be more productive

As an artist, I love my job and my projects. I easily become very consumed in my work. We as artists are very whimsical creatures. Driven by passion and excitement, some consider us fickle and irresponsible, and sadly sometimes they’re right.

As a child I always had a difficult time remembering and completing tasks. One day I decided that there must be a better, more efficient way for me to function. It took me some time to find the best way for me, but at last I did.

So what has helped me to become more responsible you ask?

1.) Realizing that I needed to better in that area. If you believe that you are doing just fine, you feel no need to change. It may be very difficult for you to admit to yourself that you have a flaw. Personally I have always strived to please everyone and be the best possible version of myself, but when someone pointed out a fault in me I would mope for days and I would feel terrible about myself because I wasn’t “perfect”. But instead of feeling guilty, use it as fuel for positive change.

2.) You have to find out what works best for you. Some people can deal with a cluttered journal, bed room or planner, and others can’t. Some love to add tons of stickers to their notebooks while others use only black ink. It’s up to you, but find the methods that work best for you, in whatever it may be.

3.) Find a planner. A cute one, a sleek one, one ordered by hours or by days or weeks. Like I said before, find what’s best for you… and you’re schedule. Some people may have a ton of small tasks to complete during a day while others may have a few larger ones. Some may like to show every little detail of their day, while others may like a more broad idea of what their day looks like. But get a planner!

4.) You need to prioritize. You must first take care of the important tasks, then you can have fun. But when doing said task, immerse yourself completely in it. Dedicate to finishing the task exceptionally well, so that you won’t have to go back to it again later. Once you finish all your important tasks, then you can go ahead and have fun.

5.) Concentration is key. When completing a task, you must concentrate on it 110% Even if the task is fun, only concentrate on the things you have to do at the moment, not 2 weeks from now. This will help you to finish the task quickly and efficiently.

6.) Keep track of progress. It’s difficult to stay motivated and I know that all too well. But when you keep track of your progress and you see some things are failing, you feel the urge to fix them. And when you see your “score” at 80 – 100% it just pushes you to keep up with it and stay at your  “A – game”.

7.) Remember, always to rest. If you are always going, going, going, you’ll burn out. Maybe not today, tomorrow, next week or next month. But eventually a burn out will come. Your body needs to recuperate and rest. Take care of your personal needs. Drink water, exercise and sleep well.

8.)  Set alarms. Love to sleep in? Well, you’re not the only one. But sleeping late can have a very negative impact on your productivity. All that time you spend over sleeping, could be time for you to get tasks out of the way, or even just do things you love that you wouldn’t generally have time for. This is where alarms come in handy.

Set a goal time to wake up. For a week track your sleep, write down what time you wake up naturally, write it down and every week wake up 15 minutes earlier until you get to your goal time. The reason for this is that you don’t want to interrupt your sleep schedule, because if you do you’ll be grouchy for the rest of the day.

9.) Clean your room/work area. Knowing where everything is is a big factor in productivity. If you know exactly where everything is, you’ll finish your tasks/projects much faster than if you were constantly having to rummage through piles of junk to find what you need.

10.) Disconnect. This is something I’ve been trying to do lately. Social media can be very addicting. You can easily spend hours on end on Instagram or, my personal favorite, Pinterest. So disconnect from social media, or shut off your phone while you’re trying to complete tasks, this will surely help you to go faster.

11.) Limit your entertainment. Ok so let’s say it’s Sunday and you’ve successfully completed all your tasks for the week. Don’t over do it! You need to be ready for Monday, and if you burn out on Sunday night cause of all the fun you had, your Monday will be laggy. And whatever falls behind on Monday will have to be rolled over to the next day, and so begins your miserable cycle of being unproductive all over again. So enjoy your free time wisely.

These are the biggest factors that have helped me to become more productive. I still have a lot to work on honestly, but slowly I am getting there. If you apply these tips I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.

If you have any other tips / ideas you’ve put in to practice to become more productive, feel free to comment them below.

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How to get your name out there as an Artist

Becoming an artist can be a daunting challenge. Most fear ending up like Van Gogh, who only sold one painting in his entire life. But in this modern era, there are so many ways to be discovered as an artist.

  1. Instagram
    Instagram is one of my most favorite platforms to display my art because of how easy it is to use. Most of you already have an IG account, so why not add a few paintings or pieces of art to it? Hint: Make sure to have an open account, that way people can view your art without having to request to follow you.
  2. Facebook
    Honestly, I still haven’t gotten the hang of this one, but what I like about it is that you can link Instgram to it, so whatever you post on IG shows up on Facebook! Easy peasy!
  3. Business cards
    Another great way to get your name out there is to purchase business cards. Add your name, phone number, website and Email if you’d like! Pass them out to your friends or leave them at a local library or restaurant (Obviously with permission of the managers)
  4. Word of mouth
    This one I have used the most and it has worked wonders for me! When talking to your friends… mention it casually. If they find it interesting keep the conversation going. Make sure to let them know what your goals are. For example, my goal is to sell paintings and to direct art classes. I told one of my friends this and she offered to host an art class at her home, she even got a small group together for me! Now my first art class is on April 20th!

    Make sure to connect with people on a more personal level.

    Don’t try to sell your art to everyone. Find the viewers who really care for your pieces, the ones who are wowed by them and talk to them, get to know them. That way you can better understand their points of view and create more pieces that speak to your potential costumers.

  5. Personal Website
    Having a personal website helps others to know you not only as an artist, but as a human being. What your likes/dislikes are. What interests you and what sets your soul on fire.

Don’t be afraid of being an artist. Don’t be afraid to share your work with the world. Many people decide not to follow their dreams because of fearing what others will say or think about their goals, dreams or pieces. Don’t let that be you.

I must say it was not easy for me to decide to follow my dreams of becoming an artist, all because so many people out there viewed it as an unattainable dream. They truly believed, and still do, that I will never be able to make it as an artist. But I have proved them wrong. I have sold several paintings already, I will have my first freelance art class in April, and work as an art teacher at a local arts school.

My advice to you: Don’t ever give up on your dreams, just to settle for someone else’s reality. Follow them with all your heart (but don’t forget to take your brain with you.) I cannot assure you it will be easy, but it will be worth it.

5 Tips on how to organize an at-home studio

Many artists start out small. They don’t have a glorious art studio or fancy art supplies. Generally artists start out with primary colors and painting in their bedrooms.

Now, you’re just starting out and you wish you had a huge art studio with large windows, high ceilings, concrete floors and a few bare, brick walls. But you don’t have it yet, instead you must tough it out in a cramped bedroom, alongside your bed, desk (which also doubles as a vanity).

It’s frustrating I know. I’ve had to deal with not having enough space for my art supplies pretty much since forever. Constantly reorganizing all my furniture trying to find the best layout for everything to be of easy access to me, while not looking disorganized or messy.

If you’re having trouble setting up your bedroom/art studio, here are a few tips that might help you.

  1. Place all art supplies close together
    The problem generally is that the supplies are strewn all over the place. Have one place for all your supplies, that way when you want to paint or create you can go to a drawer or nightstand or shelf and take it all out at once.
  2. Hide less used art supplies
    Now if you’re reading this, it’s probably because you don’t have a lot of space. Most artists have more than 2 or 3 sketch or notebooks. My suggestion is: those new sketchbooks you haven’t gotten your hands on yet, hide them and take them out when your old notebooks are trashed.
  3. Prioritize art supplies
    We all have our favorite or most used supplies. Make sure you have easy access to these. Keep your favorite sketchbook and pencils, or paint and paintbrushes at easy reach for when inspiration strikes.
  4. Space for all canvases
    If you use canvases you know how delicate they can be. It’s a good idea to keep all canvases together. But make sure they’re rested properly. Don’t let one corner rest on the canvas of another painting, if you leave them in this position for too long, it can cause a gauge.
  5. Have proper floor and wall protection
    If your art studio is in your bedroom, you’ll want to purchase a large drop cloth. This will help to protect your floors from spilled art or dirty paint water. If you do pouring art, you’ll want to fold the drop cloth several times so that if you do spill any low density paint it won’t easily soak through.

 

These have been just 5 tips on how to organize your at-home studio that have helped me the most. I hope you found this article interesting and helpful.

 

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Top 5 Writing Resources

To write is to create magic. But sometimes creating magic… well… it’s not very easy, sometimes we need help or inspiration to write.

Here are my top favorite writing resources.

1. Fantasy Name Generators

This site is amazing! I cannot tell you how much I love it. They are just tons of different name generators. They range from fantasy to sci-fi to non fiction and even have guides and descriptions!

2. Roll for Fantasy

Roll for fantasy is an extension of Fantasy name generators. This site has more guides, tools like family tree and armor creators, puzzles and music.

3. Thesaurus and Dictionary

I think this is obvious. I don’t like just sticking to simple words, like said, saw or walked. When I sculpt a book I like my words to have deeper meaning than those used in everyday life. But you mustn’t think that just because I like “big words” that I know all their meanings, this is where Dictionary comes in, to make sure I am conveying the correct idea in my books.

4. Pinterest

If you don’t yet know what Pinterest is, I suggest you read carefully and then immediately make your way to the website and create an account.
Pinterest is simply in one word… amazing. It’s basically a visual search engine. You plug-in a keyword, hit search and you instantly get thousands of pictures that include the keyword you just searched. It’s great for writers and artists. It gives inspiration and motivation.

5. Bryn Donovan

So this is an author blog, by… you guessed it… Bryn Donovan. Let me start off by saying she is truly amazing. She has a real talent for pushing and motivating you to keep writing. My favorite posts are: Master List of Color Names and Color Descriptions and  MASTER LIST of Physical Descriptions! These two blog posts have been pf great help to me in my own writing. They get me thinking about the more subtle details of my characters and scenes. It helps me to portray my novels to a fuller extent.

Now, GO CHECK THEM OUT!

I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me!

Let me know what you think!

Announcement: Art VS Writing

I have been at a crossroads lately as far as what I am going to pursue as a career. I’ve narrowed it down to two topics, art and writing.

It was very difficult to come to a decision, but I knew I had to because I can only concentrate 100% on one topic. I can’t give my all to both.

I’ve decided to go with art

WHY?

  • Because I already have a pretty stable “fan base” per se.
    I have over 100 followers on my Instagram & I know I can get more if I really give it my all.
  • I have sold several paintings
  • I have several costumers wanting commission pieces.
  • 99% of the people who see my art tell me I have “real talent”

Now, I know it won’t be easy. It has proven to not be easy so far. But just like anything, if you really want something it won’t come easy, you’ve got to work for it. And so far, this way of thinking has resulted very well for me.
Now, art and writing are both big loves of mine. So I can’t just do away with my writing 100% just because I chose art over it.

I will still be working on my writing, just that not as vigorously as my art. I’ve been working on a novel called “Galiana Chronicles”. I’ll continue to write this novel and “Loxely Chronicles” and some other ideas I have stored away. But as I said, my main focus will be my art.

I’ll be using Wattpad for my book/novel publishing.

You can find me on Wattpad @APMcKinney

An introduction: The life of an Aspiring Artist Pt. 1

Hi, my name is Alexia. I am an aspiring artist.

I just graduated high school and people often ask me what my career is going to be. They look at me funny when I tell them I am going to be an artist. And I mean, I get it. I don’t blame them, I too have often had doubts about choosing to go down this path. But you know what. I am going to need to work the rest of my life anyhow… might as well do something I love doing!

I know it won’t be easy. But I prefer becoming an artist, doing something I truly love for the rest of my life and have a small income than waste my life at a horrible 9 – 5 desk job. But, that’s just how I feel about it anyhow. I know some people who love desk jobs, but I am not that kind of person. I need to be excited with the work at hand, I need to have the ability to do something different everyday, or else I will get extremely bored!

I do know however that I will need a job so I can pay all my bills on time, and the cash to buy my art supplies with. But I’ll have my art as a side job for a while and slowly merge over completely to it once I have a regular, steady income.

I cannot lie, it is hard. Knowing that there are so many people out there who doubt you. Even family and friends, sometimes look down on you just because you’re chasing your dreams. They look at you as a dreamer, nothing more. Just some kid with their head in the clouds. They think it will never come true for you. And it’s saddening because when you need the most support from your loved ones, you get exactly the opposite.

Everyone has dreams when they’re little. But children are expected to outgrow their dreams just to take their place in the “real world”. And to a certain degree that is true, and lately I have realized it even more so. You have to come to realize that you will need a job, you will need to pay bills (even if you don’t want to), you will experience heartbreak, you will see loved ones become elderly and sick, you will experience sadness. I have experienced these all first hand, and it ain’t pretty. That is the sad fact of life. But that does not mean you have to give up all your dreams. Because in this sad thing we call life we must still have ways to find joy and happiness, even if others mock or ridicule you for it. I feel pity for those kinds of people, because they settled. They found out how sad, depressing, difficult and miserable life can be and they allowed all their dreams and hopes to just be thrown out the window. They did not strive for their dreams to become reality. At least I am trying.

I have heard many comments that lead me to believe that people do not believe I will make it. I’ll never sell, I’ll never become rich or famous. And that is probably true. I’ll probably never become super famous or exceedingly rich. But, I can proudly say that I have only been at this for a few months and I have already sold 3 paintings and I have 2 commissions coming my way. I’m doing it! I am an artist!

So to all those people who call me a dreamer. Yes I am a dreamer! I am not going to let this world get me down so easily. I am going to chase after my dreams as best I can. And if it doesn’t work out… well it did’t work out. But at least I tried.