Creative Inspirational Wisdom: Proprioceptive Writing—A Communication Loop

In this final blog series entry, Bobbie Panek encourages writers to try a new kind of writing to fuel creativity.


 

“From a voice in your head, to your arm and hand as you write, to your voice as you read what you’ve written, to your ears as you hear what your voice has to say. It’s that simple.”

 

As a writer, poet, and author I enjoy being inspired and motivated, and I enjoy hanging out with like-minds. I look for writing workshops where I know I will work on my favorite skill while I’m with creative people. A recent writing retreat that I attended is one that I’d like to share with others. It was so incredibly wonderful, it’s actually hard to describe—but here goes.

 

I’d first heard about Proprioceptive Writing from my twin sister, Beckie, who lives in the Adirondacks. She’s friends with Ann Mullen, who is a Proprioceptive Writing (PW) Teacher. Beckie had attended one of Ann’s weekend workshops and relayed to me how it “works.” I then read the book, Writing the Mind Alive, written by Linda Trichter Metcalf, PhD. and Toby Simon, PhD.

 

The sub-title for Writing the Mind Alive, is “The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice.” Now, I know the word proprioceptive is odd. Who knows what it means, and how can it help you with your authentic voice?

 

According to the dictionary programmed onto my MacBook Air:

 

proprioceptive |prōprēəˈseptiv|

(adjective) Physiology – relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within an organism, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body. Compare with exteroceptive and interoceptive.

 

There is no similar word according to the thesaurus (I told you this would be hard to describe). But here is how I learned:

 

  • I bought and reread the book, Writing the Mind Alive, “The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice”
  • I signed up for a 5-day Immersive PW writing retreat taught by Ann Mullen and Anne Bright
  • Seventeen of us showed up at this Retreat Center called Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut. (Workshops are on both coasts of the United States and also in Holland.) Here is the website if you want to look for more: http://pwriting.org
  • I met many wonderfully creative people
  • I learned a skill which I’ll apply for the rest of my life
  • I can attest this method brings clarification and grace to my life
  • The grace happened in the room where personal writes were read aloud
  • The clarification occurs each time I write and apply the writing method, listen to each thought in my mind, write it down, question my thought when I feel the urge by asking myself, “What do I mean by…?” and then asking myself four questions at the end of each 25-minute write

 

Okay, now—you’re perhaps even more confused by this method of writing, but I assure you it works. I’m thrilled. I feel more grounded than ever before. I listen to my voice(s); I give them space and learn from myself what I need, want, think and truly care about.

 

Too often, our culture is chaotic with constant chatter on-line, at home, in the car, in our heads. It is such a balm to settle down, to slow down, to think clearly and to listen to my thoughts. Trying to describe the method is like trying to describe a “gut” feeling.

 

The main message I’d like to share is to try this technique. Buy the book or attend at least a weekend workshop, apply this practice to your creative life, and see what happens. It works wonders. Oh, and one more thing: I’d love to hear your feedback.

 


Bobbie Dumas Panek is the author of Nature Walks: Zen Meditations, short observations written while walking two miles to work during the four seasons, published by FootHills Publishing 2010 and Just Another Day, a series of 48 stories about raising four kids on a dairy farm in the 1980’s, published with CreateSpace in 2015. Her poems, articles, and short stories are in numerous publications. Bobbie is Poetry Editor for the National League of American Pen Women. Please check her out at www.bobbiedumaspanek.com and find her on Facebook: Bobbie Dumas Panek, author.

 

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES HAS NOW ENDED. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

Creative Inspirational Wisdom: My Parkinson’s Muse

This week, Linda A. Mohr shares how a diagnosis brought a desire to write poetry.


 

Lexie Lee

I was like a graduate student researching primary sources. The starting point was the end—my poetry collection to uncover what inspires me. As I reviewed content, the answer slid into nature, objects and grief categories.

 

I started writing poetry in 2013 after attending a haiku lecture at the North Palm Beach Library.  The myriad of sensory delights while vacationing at the Missouri family farm inspired me to create over fifty haiku poems in two weeks. Bobwhite, amber wheat, alfalfa bale, honeysuckle, cockle bur, sweet pea tendrils and tasseled corn images along with chirp, chatter, squawk, screech and meow sounds found poetic expression. My first prose poem, “The Rocking Chair,” was created on the same trip in response to an empty lawn chair swaying to and fro. I imagined my spiritual mother visiting her homestead, and we were rocking side by side in conversation. The companion chair sits vacant. Or is it?

 

During this time frame, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. A fascinating twist of this progressive neurological movement disorder is creativity. Research studies find some patients suddenly begin a new art pursuit such as painting or sculpting or become more prolific in writing books. Although I published a memoir in 2008 and maintained a blog, poetry was not in my toolbox. Perhaps it was coincidental, but without formal education in poetry, I simply wrote about what touched my heart.

 

Intrigued by how my mother’s medical alert system talked to her in response to buttons being pushed, I wrote “The Magic Button” poem. More than anything I wanted the machine to answer my question. My mother is in heaven. I want to talk to her. What button do I push?

 

On an autumn trip to Lake Toxaway in North Carolina, my cabin was surrounded by trees showing and shedding their beauty. As I sat on the deck and watched leaves in various shapes and sizes falling in different ways, the leaves reminded me of people. Later I spread the dried reminders out on a table and created “Fallen Leaves, Fallen Lives” poem. Doubled over leaf drops, Mottled and worn out.

 

After the devastating loss of my beloved Maine Coon, I penned “Morning Visitor” poem. She had a unique way of communicating (including Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue) in life, so I was certain she would send me a message in spirit. She did not disappoint! Unexplained lightness on bed. Spot where you use to snuggle.

 

The most astounding outpouring of poetry occurred when I was on a long flight to Portland, Oregon in 2016 to attend a Parkinson’s Congress. Fourteen poems on loss, death and grief relating to my boyfriend’s passing twenty-seven years ago were created. Two by two they came. Carrying food trays.

 

Although more study is needed on Parkinson’s and creativity, I am grateful for whatever force drives me to write poetry. The results of creating over fifty prose poems in four years, winning awards, being published, and studying under presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco bring a smile to my masked Parkinson’s face.

 


Linda A. Mohr of Boca Raton Branch NLAPW is author of award-winning Tatianna—Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend. Her poetry, essays and Catnip Connection blog have received Cat Writers’ Muse Medallions and Pen Women awards. Essays have appeared in five anthologies, including Thin Threads—Women and Friendship and The Light Between Us. She studied under presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco at Omega Institute. Poetry can be found in laJoie, River Poets Journal and The Light Within. When not writing, she runs an eBay business, teaches strategic planning and collects brooches while living well with Parkinson’s and felines. Her website is http://www.lindamohr.com/.

Photo provided by Linda Mohr

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES WILL END ON OCTOBER 13th. Submissions for the series are now closed. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

Creative Inspirational Wisdom: Searching for Life

This week, Janis Ward reflects upon how wildlife inspires her art.


 

Birds have always been my passion since childhood. Our small yellow canary entertained us with cheery chirps from his cage in our kitchen and delighted us as he made his swing go back and forth. As a teen, I acquired a beautiful, brightly-colored parakeet who used to sit on the edges of our coffee cups and fly into the dining room mirror to join the “other bird” there.

 

My husband and boys often went duck hunting, returning home with those beautiful birds for me to cook. It almost broke my heart. We also raised ducks from babies in our atrium pond and garden. It was fascinating to watch them grow. One day, a neighborhood boy brought us an owl that had been hit by a car, which we nursed back to health and watched him fly away to freedom with great joy.

 

We winter now in Florida, as do the birds. When we first drive into the golf course condo area in Pompano Beach, we are fascinated by the activity on a small lake. Ibis, a few pelicans, and occasionally one or two storks wander freely on the grass lawn. Many are diving and swimming in the water. Often, there are so many they block the cars. Most drivers slow down to avoid contact with the beautiful white birds.

 

Having been an artist since childhood, I often paint birds. There is nothing more thrilling than a flock of 200 or so squawking parakeets following their leader, bunched together. Geese are interesting to watch as well.

 

I came upon a large white swan who’d lost his mate a few years ago. They mate for life, so it was hurtful to see him always swimming alone in his large wooded pond. What a delight, however, to find a large black Anhinga stretching his wings to dry and hanging around with this gorgeous swan.

 

The winter of 2016 in Florida brought some disastrous news to the birding lovers. The flocks of ibis were nearly nonexistent. I kept looking for them and wondering why they weren’t in their pond. Finally, a newspaper article explained it all: Because of the ocean’s rising, salt water has infiltrated the pond, killing the small fish on which the large ibis had been feeding. Where the ibis went, I don’t know, but they are missed.

 

And so, I continue to paint these beautiful creatures in their winter habitat. This is the last one I painted early this year that shows the ibis wandering among the shrubs looking for food. Whether they can survive on worms and such is a big question.

 

My watercolor is entitled “Searching for Life.” I’m certain many more paintings will come as I follow their plight.

 


Janis Ward has been an artist since childhood and has studied under inspiring artists such as Carol Barnes, Maxine Masterfield, Stan Kurth and, most extensively, with M. Douglas Walton. She says: “Watercolor is exciting to me because of the unexpected. A true artist paints life as it is around him. Because I see the beauty of nature most keenly and wish to preserve all life that supports that beauty, most of my work depicts the natural world in bright, bold color. We must preserve our wild plants and animals through conservation to prevent humanity’s complete extinction.” She is a member of Fort Lauderdale Branch NLAPW.

“Searching for Life” image provided by J. Ward

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES WILL END ON OCTOBER 13th. Submissions for the series are now closed. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

Creative Inspirational Wisdom: Self-Culture—Being Without Speaking

This week, Elizabeth Diane Martin explores how individuality influences creativity.


 

If there is one thing constant in human nature, it is that each of us reduces the chaos outside of us by creating a highly personal and private environment of one human being: yourself.

 

There is no straight path in the swirl held in our private premises. We are a rolling conundrum of apparent contradictions, living life at four levels—intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually—automatically and intuitively. This self-culture ensures the survival of personal identity, what distinguishes you from all other persons. It is individuality, the source of original work.

 

You have a natural inner navigation system that always works for you to maintain ownership of your own identity. In hindsight, we see this more clearly. To get a feel for the path your life unconsciously indicates, divide your life into 12-year segments: birth to age 12; age 13-24; age 25-36, and so on. Reflect on how you felt at the end of each phase, and identify a major decision you formed about life, based on your experiences up to that point.

 

By making these 12-year jumps, major points rise above the run of years, forming a logical sequence. The shape and intention of your self-culture comes out of what life gave you and what you made of it.

 

CREATING FLOW

 

The flow of life comes when the heart, mind, soul and body are united in purpose. The heart and spirit are anchored outside of time, and that attachment to timeless intangible values keeps us on course with meaning. It is a reaching that goes beyond the physical world and draws us toward the inspiration that fuels life.

 

You may have thoughts in the back of your mind about something others couldn’t imagine possible. But it seems feasible to you. Secret hopes give you a sense of autonomy, and prepare you to follow your dream.

 

The heart skips the intent of the mind and triggers action that is spontaneous, genuine, capable and easy. You have greater impact through the things you love to do, more than in the things you have to do. We don’t call it ‘work’ when it’s a thing that we love to do. The unseen action of heart-and-spirit infuses your mind, emotions and strength with purpose.

 

Our natural tendency is to lean forward, toward the future. It’s that leaning forward that is the basis of love. What stirs the heart toward love is unconscious, self-renewing, positive and unquenchable. You are willing to extend yourself in the direction your heart is stirred. Extending yourself – exposing your true self – increases love. Beauty in art, music and artful writing cultivates love; childlike innocence, kindness, friendship are things that encourage us to “lean forward,” to take chances in life.

 

Leaning forward is the subtle guiding influence in your heart, and it speaks to your unconscious mind in whispers. Unrealized intentions are held in the subconscious, waiting for an opportunity or the right time to be carried out. Involuntary response is love that acts without checking in with your conscious mind, and love will always win, no matter how long it takes.

 

NATURAL, INSTINCTIVE CREATIVITY

 

Inspiration breathes life into your heart, first, and then invigorates your whole being. Heart motivation makes work light, and you become renewed as you work. This is the life of a creative person.

 

Workers in the arts find that life’s downs enhance its ups, in a way that refines our perception of good, or identifies the un-good, in contrast. In the arts, we feature one or the other, or put joy and loss together in a place where they complement each other.

 

There are times when you follow your inspiration, regardless of the obstacles, because you cannot do otherwise. For others, there may be a choice, but when your heart compels you, you will eventually yield or become increasingly unhappy with yourself. Creativity is the reward of living.

 

Our faculties work best, and contentment is achievable, when we are inspired – when we live and work out of creative impulse, with the spontaneity of breathing. All that you are fits perfectly in your life. Allow it. Lean into the good and create!

 


Elizabeth Diane Garcia Martin of Pikes Peak Branch NLAPW writes about the attributes of originality. If creativity is to be understood, the internal experience of the person must be understood. Whether it is in the arts, or in the more subtle expressions of love and devotion, originality is the gift each woman brings to her life and out into the lives of others. Elizabeth uses insight as an artist, and knowledge as a system analyst, to understand the design of human nature. In the raw design of her own nature, she discovered the natural system that follows the first breath of original thought. 

Elizabeth will release her first major publication in January 2018, a book that explores the spontaneity that characterizes a person’s unique life path. Stay in touch with Elizabeth through her website and The Art of Perspective business page on Facebook.

 

 “Open Old Book Page On Wood Table With Flying Books…” by khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES WILL END ON OCTOBER 13th. Submissions for the series are now closed. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

 

Creative Inspirational Wisdom: My Creative Workspace

This week, Marsha Perlman shares how natural beauty inspires her creativity and her process.


 

My inspiration for writing comes from the vast natural environment that surrounds me. My work space is the outdoors, and I am an “outdoors person.”

 

Living part of the year in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains assures me no shortage of poetry subjects. My backpack carries a notebook, pencils, a ruler, a small shovel, a covered plastic container, a canteen, a snack, a rain jacket and a camera.

 

I choose a topic and spend blocks of time observing and taking notes as I move around the area by bike and foot. Or I choose a destination that is more flexible and allows for returning often to view changes that occur.

 

When I take many notes in the field, there is occasionally the problem of not recalling the sensory data. Therefore I immediately describe the words that I can’t retrace later, such as bird songs. Before I leave my subject, I scan my notes to be certain I have all the information I need. Sometimes, I take a few photos.
Once at home I sit at my desk and in pencil, write the first draft of my new poem. I read it aloud several times for obvious changes in grammar, spelling, punctuation or repetitive words. Printing is next and then I set the work aside for a week.

 

When I am ready to revise, I ask another person to read the poem aloud. Then I reread and rethink the text several times again, each time with a fresh eye for accepting, eliminating or adding another new word choice, better sentence structure or organization.

 

I often return to the location of the poem, if it is available and ask myself if I need to rework any lines. If so, I repeat the process. I want to be certain all my ideas are clear to the reader.

 


Marsha J. Perlman writes poetry and non-fiction. Her environmental poetry book, SPIRIT LIFE, received 1st Place at NLAPW’s Florida State Conference. TASTE LIFE TWICE, a memoir of her evolution from reticent and acquiescent to assertive and empowered, continues to receive excellent reviews. Her work appears in Until They Have Faces, Unraveling Mysteries, and Women’s Voices in the 21st C. As a photojournalist, she received awards from Colorado Press Women and has also co-produced a Latin American FM program. She participated in ArtPoems as an active member of Southwest Florida Branch NLAPW. Learn more about her at www.marshajperlman.com.

 

“Colorado Mountains” by Liz Noffsinger / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES WILL END ON OCTOBER 13th. Submissions for the series are now closed. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

 

 

Art of the Week: Dancers

Mara Viksnins

Pensacola Branch

Dancers

16” X 20” Acrylic

 

 

Mara Viksnins received her art degree from the University of West Florida twenty years ago. It has always been her belief that one needs to strive forward by creating new and exciting works.

 

Recently, she has rediscovered old works and given them new life. One work was a mixed media piece called “Dancers 1,” which was juried into/first displayed in an earlier NLAPW Biennial. The Pensacola Branch published an art and poetry book called Nobis: Making Others See in 2016 and used that work for the cover.

 

Now, fast forward to a call to artists for a juried show called “Digital Schmigital.” Obviously, this show required a digital work. Viksnins had never entered a digital show, so she challenged herself to create a digital representation of “Dancers.” She was honored to have her digital representation accepted into the show:

 

 

Viknins quotes Henry Ward Beecher in explaining the moral of this story: “Don’t forget those old works that set you on fire the first time! ‘Home should be an oratorio of the memory, singing to all our afterlife melodies and harmonies of old remembered joy.’”

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and send only one work per email as a low resolution file. Put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line and provide the information seen in the posts (title/medium/name/branch). Your submission may then be made to Darlene Yeager-Torre at arteditor@nlapw.org. Thank you!

 

Creative Inspirational Wisdom: From Lullabies to Gap Years

This week, Sheila Firestone, Composer, discusses how her grandchildren provide inspiration for her creativity.


 

From the days of their births, to the daily conversations, I do not know exactly when or how the new composition ideas will arrive, but they do. Staring at Lital’s birth picture, in the Sylvester Cancer Center doctors’ waiting room, the words and melody for “I’ve Stamped your Picture on my Heart,” arrives. This song later becomes part of a curriculum and series of songs, a Songs for a New Day program called Sing and Think.

 

From photos of little girls growing up in Northern, Israel, to “Welcome Little Wonder” (a song for Emily), “Berceuse” for Noah, and lullabies for Maya and Allie, six grandchildren have become my sources of inspiration. The oldest, now 22, is on a fellowship, in another country. Three others recently had their first work experiences. Their challenges often become my musical challenges, works derived from the joy of savoring who they are, what they face, their delights and how each meets and greets the day. A recent event in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the oldest received her master’s degree and taught, another’s struggles to achieve excellence on the job, other internships, and gap years with studies abroad have all become part of my musical collections.

 

 

Works are begun by nothing more than a touch, a photo, a Facebook moment, a tug of the heart, a tear, a smile, a skip and a Hi, Grandma. How are you? text message. I hear this story repeated by many grandparents. We tell the stories, and paint their moments in our works.  We are filled with the joy of expectation and the hope that our grandchildren’s lives will impact the world.

 

Lital’s third birthday present brings “The Peace Patch” dance suite and curriculum. The premiere was planned for our visit to the Israeli “Gan” preschool. “The Grandchildren’s Suite,” piano anthology, commemorates the budding interests of the six, as does the arrival of “The Cat Sarah,” who plays Kitten on the Keys quite well.

 

“Miriam and the Women of the Desert,” a musical/operetta, includes several lullabies originally written for the grandchildren. “Peace Child,” was created for Allie’s birth. I use it in the Miriam work to depict Mother Yocheved singing her hopes to the baby Moses. Batya, his Egyptian mother, sings “In the Cradle of Mankind.” The opening Prologue, begins with the search for God. It calls chorally on a number of modern Hebrew names given to God. It was inspired by a small child’s private conversation with God outside. An internship or a first job with its challenges now becomes a sonata or symphony.

 

These are my tributes to youth and my hopes for their success. I am grateful that the ideas translate into musical ideas to play with when I am not with these young people as they continue on their paths. So thank you, dear Grandchildren, for a lifetime of inspiration. I am always with you, continuing to be filled with wonder by your actions. May you always find joy as you use your energies to fulfill your dreams.

 

 


Sheila Meyerowitz – Firestone was born in the Bronx and has been a student of musical composition since 1987.  She retired after twenty-five years of teaching Communications to gifted elementary students in North Miami Beach, FL.  Firestone studied in the studios of Joseph Dillon Ford, and with Dr. Tom McKinley at Lynn University Conservatory of Music and Dr. Keith Paulson Thorpe. In 2016, Sheila won the NLAPW, 2nd Place, Vinnie Ream Award in Music for Waters of Transformation. She is President of the Boca Raton Branch NLAPW. Learn more about her at her web site, sheilafirestone.com.   


“Berceuse” sheet music provided by S. Firestone.

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES WILL END ON OCTOBER 13th. Submissions for the series are now closed. We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

Art of the Week: Dark Woman

Dorothy Atkins

Santa Clara County Branch NLAPW

Dark Woman

Acrylic, 18” x 22”

 

Dorothy Atkins comes from a family of wonderful story tellers and has been creating her own stories with words and color since she was a child. Her grandmother would often tell her “to not only look but to see.” Self taught, Atkins has mainly concentrated her efforts in acrylics and oils but has recently taken up watercolors too.

 

Atkins is inspired by her colorful dreams of the people and places that left an impression on her. “Being surrounded by a lifetime of wonderful, intelligent, courageous, beautiful, strong and gentle women, Dark Woman presented herself to me in different forms. I painted her because I had to.”

 

Several of her paintings have won awards and are in the homes of collectors around the world.

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and send only one work per email as a low resolution file. Put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line and provide the information seen in the posts (title/medium/name/branch). Your submission may then be made to Darlene Yeager-Torre at arteditor@nlapw.org. Thank you!


It’s A Creative Business: Eight Steps to Better Profitability

This week, Katie Turner discusses how to put—and keep—your creative business “in the black.”


 

Turning your creative business into a profit-making enterprise can be a great challenge. The balance between time spent creating and time spent developing your business is definitely something you’ll be challenged with, but once you get this balance under control, you’ll start to see results.

 

Here are eight tips that will help put your creative business in the black:

 

STEP 1: Have a strong, consistent body of works. In other words, display your best paintings and leave the rest home. Not that perfection is the goal, but present a product that you’re really proud of and can stand behind. Ask yourself if you’re presenting a cohesive body of works. Can customers get a sense of you as an artist? When people feel like they understand you and your style, they’re more likely to buy.

 

STEP 2: Optimize for individual buyers. This is where knowing your customer can really help. Many artists have a variety of sizes and prices, and sell more than just originals. Some artists sell prints, giclees, magnets, bookmarks, posters, scarves, and more. Giving customers options is good for business.

 

STEP 3: Create daily. Post daily. If you’re creating regularly, you have new work to post regularly. Using social media to promote your product gives potential customers an excuse to visit your shop. (It’s probably not a good idea to post a lot of items at once, though; that overwhelms people.)

 

STEP 4: Add the tags. When using social media, be sure to use relevant tags and descriptions. What is the sense of having beautiful artwork that nobody can locate? When tagging or writing descriptions, think about what a customer might search for when looking for something like your product. (For example, several descriptive words have been added to the painting listing below.)

 

 

A cautionary note: Don’t do “keyword stuffing.” This is where people tag everything just to get a lot of short-term views on their product. Google bots recognize this and penalize you by keeping you out of search results. A potential customer could find your product and see no relationship between what you’ve tagged and what the actual content of your artwork is, and it leaves a bad taste. Don’t give the customer a reason to avoid you.

 

STEP 5: Share your products. Don’t be afraid to put your products out there on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, etc. By letting your network know you have great new products, you’re keeping them interested. If you’re concerned about theft, limit your images to smaller sizes and use a copyright symbol with your name embedded in the image. Tutorials are available online to help with embedding copyrights.

 

STEP 6: Give ‘em what they want. If you’re getting a lot of orders or “likes” on a specific style item, why not keep your customers happy with more similar products? On a side note, remember to put out products that are relevant to the season—for example: back-to-school, college gear, Christmas or holiday times. Work 4-8 weeks in advance in order to give customers time to pick up your product and then have time to deliver it before the holiday.

 

STEP 7: Have Marketing Materials. This probably goes without saying, but make sure you always have a business card on you. You never know when you will meet a new customer. Hand out postcards of your work and include your website on the back.

 

STEP 8: Plan your goals. It’s so easy for a creative individual to get distracted. Having a written business plan and daily goals can really help. Setting goals is also a great way to control your time (artistically and otherwise) and you’ll find you won’t waste as much time or money aimlessly.

 

Making a living off your art can be a challenging job. You’ll end up spending a lot of time hustling the business side of it, but it’s all worth it when you realize you’re doing what you love.

 


Katie Turner is a watercolor artist in the Central New York Branch NLAPW.  Working in watercolor since the ‘90s, Turner began experimenting with different substrates in the last few years. “I like the potential and challenge of slick paper,” Turner explains. Turner spent many years in the graphic arts field, writing craft articles, publishing ‘zines and working with various media, but she never strays far from watercolor. Visit her website at http://www.ktartstudio.com/.

Screenshots provided by K. Turner.

OUR GUEST BLOGGING SERIES WILL END ON OCTOBER 13th. Submissions for the series are now closed.  We thank all Pen Women who submitted work for our Creative Inspirational Wisdom and It’s A Creative Business guest blogger series. We look forward to giving an update on the status of Creative Genius at Work, an anthology that will include posts from these two series, soon.

Art of the Week: Bleached White is the New Coral

Bev Goldie

Central Ohio Branch

Bleached White is the New Coral

Encaustic

 

Bev Goldie has recently switched her medium of choice from oil painting to encaustics (molten wax and Damar resin). After viewing some stunning encaustic works in New York and Florida Ritz Carlton hotels, she made the commitment to learn how to do them.  There weren’t any classes in Ohio, so with much experimentation, attending workshops and hard work, she learned to create encaustics. Goldie exhibits her work, some of which have won awards and teaches workshops and classes in Ohio at the Columbus Cultural Art Center. Her public Facebook page, Encaustics by Bev Goldie, shows many techniques, finished works for those who may want to know more about this ancient art form, and lists classes.

You may also see more of her work at: www.bgtproductions.com

 

 


Attention Pen Women! We’d love to see your best work for possible publication as Art of the Week. Please review the general submission guidelines on our web site and send only one work per email as a low resolution file. Put Art of the Week Submission in the subject line and provide the information seen in the posts (title/medium/name/branch). Your submission may then be made to Darlene Yeager-Torre at arteditor@nlapw.org. Thank you!