//Life As An Artist: Channeling Creativity Through Art With Dr. Minette Riordan

Life As An Artist: Channeling Creativity Through Art With Dr. Minette Riordan

PRP 91 | Life As An Artist

 

Life as an artist is going to be a tough road if you don’t give yourself the tools to turn your passion into something you’re profiting from. Many artists starve in the world simply because they didn’t learn how to sell their work or, for that matter, anything that goes into the business side of art. Dr. Minette Riordan is an award-winning entrepreneur and the creator of the Conscious Creativity Method. She joins Juliet Clark to discuss how the life of an artist can be so much more fruitful once the artist learns to engage in the business side of their craft. If you’re an artist finding a way to convert your passion into profit, this conversation is a great place to start!

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Life As An Artist: Channeling Creativity Through Art With Dr. Minette Riordan

We’re going to talk about something a little bit different. My guest is Dr. Minette Riordan. She’s a doctor, a modern-day Renaissance woman, a transformational artist, a writer, an award-winning entrepreneur and an advocate for creativity as essential to the well-being of all people and our planet. A popular speaker, Minette has appeared on television radio and podcasts around the globe. She’s built three successful businesses, worked with thousands of business owners and published three books including her bestseller, The Artful Marketer.

Life took her by surprise in 2017 when people started asking if they could buy her paintings. She said, “I’m not an artist.” This was the turning point in her life and her career. Since then she’s been selling art and teaching others to courageously sell their own artistry through coaching and online programs and live events. I probably should have put a comma there because she’s actually creating a space where people can learn to sell their own. Minette is the creator of the Conscious Creativity Method, which is trademarked, a simple and effective transformational process for supporting others to activate creativity and connect to the artist within them. Welcome, Minette.

Thanks for having me.

I’m about as unartistic as they come in the visual artistic. I’m a pretty good mystery writer but what you’re doing is something entirely different. I’m a finger painter.

I love finger painting. There’s probably some finger painting in there. I realized that I was painting and even though I washed my hands, I have paint all over my fingers but at least it’s not red. It looks like I’ve been dipping my fingers in blood.

We should collaborate. I could mystery write murders and you could look like you committed them in real life.

That would be so much fun. I’m new to painting. If you would’ve asked me years ago if I was a painter or an artist, I would have said, “I’m a writer, I’m a scholar, I’m a business owner.”

Maybe I should give it a try beyond finger painting. You’re writing and you’re doing all these things in the creative world. One of the things that I noticed that you and I talked about was people who don’t think they can make money at it, and that mental sabotage block that comes when we go to sell our work. Can you talk about that?

It’s not just artists who struggle with selling their work. People that are new to business have a hard time selling their work. Sales is one of those things that feels tricky for a lot of people because we’ve been raised to have this standoffish, back away, don’t be a used car salesman. No one ever taught us that it was okay to sell. If you’re like me growing up, you’re not supposed to brag, you’re not supposed toot your own horn. There are many mindset issues that are around this conversation around selling. If we dig into that even deeper, what artists struggle with the most is pricing and overselling. How do I put a price tag on something that’s so near and dear to my heart and that maybe I spent hundreds of hours working because I’m a procrastinator and a perfectionist? I never thought it was quite good enough yet to put out there. There are many different questions that we can ask around why is it so hard for artists to sell their work? Maybe the biggest one is that our work is so precious to us. We see it as this extension of ourselves and who we’re being. It’s like this baby that we’ve given birth to and it’s hard to put a price tag on it.

For those of you around our age group, because I’m a little bit older than Minette, one thing that my father always said, “If you have to tell everybody how good you are, you may not be that good.” That’s the mindset we grew up with on that. Let’s get more into the baby. You talked about giving birth. When I spoke at writers’ conferences, I used to talk about what’s scary for writers. Let’s say you’ve given birth to this book and you’re pushing it down the street in a baby cart and somebody lifts up the blanket. We’re all afraid that they’re going to say, “That’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.” Believe it or not, there’s that fear there that people are going to hate it.

That was a big part of what it was for me personally when people started asking to buy my paintings. The thought of putting them up for sale and putting a price tag on them felt like there was this big gap between, “People say it’s pretty on Facebook and people think it’s pretty enough to buy it and hang it in their home.” There’s something honoring about that and pretty scary about that. Will they like it enough to pay for it? I was already getting lots of likes, comments and feedback, but I had to get over this mental gap of thinking that just because they thought it was pretty on Facebook meant that they would pay money for it. The truth was people do pay money for my art all the time and it’s not my primary business.

It feels even more fun when it sells. I mostly sell it on Facebook and Instagram. Mostly Facebook, I put it out there and if people like it, they buy it. I was on a Zoom call and somebody pointed out this beautiful Phoenix painting that I have in my office. They’re like, “I want that Phoenix painting.” I sold a painting having a Zoom call. I host live events in my home and people come into the studio and walk out with paintings. I’ve made thousands of dollars from people seeing my art and buying it that way. I had to get over the gap internally and personally around believing that people would pay money for my art and hang it in their homes.

PRP 91 | Life As An Artist

Life As An Artist: What artists struggle with the most is the act of putting a price tag on something that’s near and dear to their heart and spent hundreds of hours working on.

 

I found that with books as well. When you write mystery novels, it is more artistic than a regular fiction book. People would say, “I want to read it.” I go, “Don’t have high expectations because I’m a great storyteller but not a great writer.” It’s always interesting because I was on a radio show and the woman was like, “Why would you say that? I thoroughly enjoyed your book?” There’s always that thing we think that maybe it’s not as good as somebody else’s or maybe they’re always comparing our people. With the visual art, it’s even worse.

I’m not Picasso. I didn’t go to art school. I have a PhD in poetry, not painting. We get caught up in our thoughts about how we think things have to be. The mindset piece of this impacts business owners at all levels of business. I was in a class that I’m taking that’s wonderful for coaches. He made a comment about how we’re all salespeople all the time. If you’re in business, you’re a salesperson. Anybody with kids knows kids are amazing salespeople. They’re trying to sell you all the time. “Can I stay out a little later? Do I have to go to bed now?” If we just remember that we’re all in the field of the art of persuasion all of the time, we can start to get over that mindset hump and start to get over that voice of your dad and my mom that it’s not okay to brag.

If you have to point out that you’re doing a good job, then you probably aren’t doing a good job. Yet the biggest distinction they say between men and women in the workplace is that men will ask for what it is that they want long before they may fit the requirements or be ready, but they’re willing to ask. Whereas women wait until they have every I dotted and every T crossed. They have two times the qualifications required before they ask for a raise, ask for promotion or ask for a particular job. It’s the confidence piece that impacts most of us deeply. That impacts us no matter what industry or field that we’re in.

At the beginning, I thought creativity is one thing and you think it’s another thing. How do you define that?

I believe that we’re all creative. First of all, I’ll say that. Creativity has nothing to do with art-making. Art is one expression of creativity. Creativity most often is defined as the combination of old ideas into something new. It’s that simple. Imagine that all the colors in the universe flow from three colors, red, blue and yellow. We can take those three colors and make the most infinite palette of color options. It’s absolutely amazing. I’m writing an article on creative constraints for a magazine. I was doing some research about how if you give someone six Lego bricks, there are hundreds and hundreds of possible combinations and ways that you can combine six Lego bricks.

It’s this idea of taking a constraint and a limitation in something that’s in front of us and going, “How can I make this better and prettier?” There’s a reason why artists and writers are terrified of the blank page and the blank canvas. That’s the worst place to be, when there’s nothing on the page. We have to learn to get a few words down or to get some marks down on the canvas to inspire us to move forward. Simply put, creativity is new combinations of existing ideas, articles, colors, etc.

Many years ago, I had a big group of writers on Google+. I realized after a year that these people were on there, but what I had was not a group of people who would go in and buy our services. I had a bunch of starving artists. I know there’s a lot out there with the starving artist work. These are people who don’t get the connection between creativity and prosperity. Can you talk about that?

It’s one of my favorite topics. I can talk about the connection between creativity and prosperity for days. The first thing is that every artist and writer needs to see themselves as an entrepreneur or at least as a business owner. Most of them don’t identify as entrepreneurs, but they need to see that they have a business. If they’re selling products and services, they have a business. The mindset of what it means to sell is a big step. We already talked about how important getting comfortable with selling our products and services is, but then the next piece of that is treating your art like a business. People say, “That takes the creativity out of it. It takes the fun out of it. It takes the flow out of it.” It actually doesn’t. It’s very rewarding.

At the end of the day, we do have to create things that people want to buy. That doesn’t mean we have to imitate what other people are doing. We can’t be innovative and exciting, and come up with new things, but it does mean that we’re not creating in a vacuum. I personally think the starving artist mentality is a choice. We can choose to believe in that mentality or we can choose to believe in the possibility that we could be a thriving abundant artist. There is evidence and so much proof in the world that you can make a great living as a writer, as an artist and as an entrepreneur. There is abundant evidence that you can make money as an artist. I would argue that it’s easier than ever to do that than it has ever been before.

Artists are often starving because they don’t know how to build businesses. My son is a junior in university and he’s in art school right now. They’re not teaching them how to build a business. They’re teaching them how to be an artist and that’s what their job is. That’s what he’s going to school for. I think it’s a disservice. We’re producing all of these amazing artists from amazing writer programs, art schools and music schools. We’re not giving them any practical real-world skills on how to make money, how to think about money as our friend and one of the most important aspects of our life going forward. A lot of starving artists don’t know what they don’t know. Learning basic business skills is essential for anyone that considers themselves to be a creative if we go for a little bit broader term.

My first degree is in ornamental horticulture. One of the things that was cumbersome about that major was that we had labs where we did things. I look at even my own son’s education in business. He knows a lot of things but he doesn’t know how to practically apply them in the real world. The same is true for artists. You can go out and create good work, but if you don’t know the business basics, you’re going to be stuck.

I met a delightful young woman on an airplane coming home from somewhere and we got into a conversation. She was in graduate school somewhere in Tennessee. I was telling her about what I did and she was telling him about her dreams and goals. I don’t even remember what graduate program she was in. She said, “Nobody’s telling us what our options are once we get out of grad school.” Long gone are the super attractive tenure track positions for continuing on as a professor and a researcher. There are very few tenure track positions left. It’s not a safe and secure job situation, but yet they’re not educating them about what their other options are.

Artists are often starving because they don't know how to build businesses. Click To Tweet

It’s a funny tangent for us to take. Given the times that we’re in right now, becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best things that you can do. It’s also one of the scariest things for most people to do because of the conversations around sales, marketing and money. Those three things. It’s not a lack of talent in whatever our genius is or whatever industry is, but it’s the lack of know-how in the practical aspects of, how do I get this thing started? How do I talk about what it is that I do in a way that I move people closer towards me so that they want to come, play with me and buy my goods and services?

For those people who they think they’re not creative and they have no idea, how does someone get started with something like that?

One of the things that I’ve been talking a lot about is this distinction between creativity and artistry. The word artistry simply means skill or talent. Every single one of us is an artist. We all have very creative ways of looking at the world. All of us have a talent and a genius. The way that we connect to our creativity is, first of all, to remind ourselves what we’re good at and how are the ways we’re doing what we do different than anyone else does, just to be reminded of how creative we are. That’s one way.

The second way is to remember what were the things that you love to do as a child that you don’t make time for it anymore? One of the ones that come up for me personally, and I hear it from a lot of other people, is building forts. Whether you are building them outside in the trees or on a rainy day in the living room with every spare sheet and blanket in the house. Building forts and imaginary worlds, having these battles, games and places and hiding in the fort with the flashlights, the books and the candy.

A lot happened inside these forts that we used to build. I haven’t built a fort in a long time, but where else could I create that imaginative play space. That would be one thing. I hear from people that they used to draw or they used to take ballet classes or they played an instrument. We all had that childlike sense of creative awe and wonder. Anything we could do to reconnect to that childlike sense of play can instantly spark our creativity. The third thing that I would share is that you have to make time for creativity. You have to make time for creative play. That might be taking a class, it might be buying a coloring book or grabbing a sketch pad. If you write music, to write some music. Finding time like fifteen-minute little chunks of time, not hours and hours.

There’s a myth that we need hours and hours of time to be in flow state and to be creative. We don’t. We need fifteen minutes. That fifteen minutes gives us joy. It eases stress and it makes our brain think outside the box and come up with new connections and ideas. I’m a huge fan of the coloring book praise because it allows people’s bodies and minds to relax. While we’re coloring, our mind is still thinking. All of a sudden, we see new connections and new possibilities. Making time for creative play fifteen minutes at a time is something that’s super important. Childlike wonder, reminding yourself how creative you are already in whatever your given area of expertise or talent is, and making time for play would be my three ways to start reconnecting to our creativity.

I find that with me, when I go hiking if I’m stuck, it loosens all that up to be in nature and being out there. We talked about your personal journey. You’ve gone through your ups and downs with it, but why do you think creativity is such a hot topic? We see it everywhere.

There are a few different reasons. IBM did a study years ago about of 1,500 CEOs from companies around the world. Those CEOs cited creativity as the number one trait needed by leaders. That started a whole conversation and it mirrored when coloring books hit. Coloring books have been in the top ten bestsellers on Amazon for decades. You see them everywhere in the grocery store checkout line. There are coloring books right beside the O magazine. They’re everywhere. That’s one thing, the IBM study. For two years in a row, 2018 and 2019, LinkedIn cited creativity as the number one soft skill needed by people. Can you imagine how much data LinkedIn has? It gets me all giddy and excited thinking about their data. They do a list of the five soft skills and then what hard skills companies are seeking in new hires. Creativity is top of the list for two years in a row.

What’s happened is as we’ve seen a decline in schools and funding for the arts, kids are not thinking as creatively as they used to. We’re not seeing as much innovation and creativity as companies continue to look for new ways to compete in the global marketplace. They’re calling for more innovation, more ideas, more new and yet they’re also forcing people to be productive. They’re not creating spaciousness for the dreaming needed and there’s no support. There are no safe spaces being created for those conversations to happen. It’s a combination of factors. As a lot of things are in big business, it’s driven by economics. People want more innovation. They want to stay competitive in the marketplace. At the same time, on the personal and hobby side of things, creativity has never been a hotter topic over there because I also think people are desperate for new ways to relax, to relieve stress and to play.

Art is just one of the many ways that one can express their creativity. Click To Tweet

There is a sense of longing to reconnect to our creativity. We’re being asked to be more creative at work, but if we’re not feeling creative and playful at home, there’s a disconnect that’s happening. It’s fascinating to watch what’s happening both in the personal hobby industry, as well as in the global marketplace. Both sides are calling for more creativity. There are more memberships, subscription models, online classes available for people to take art classes of every kind online. One of the biggest and most successful being CreativeLive, which has an amazing suite of programs in everything from how to use Photoshop to how to do art journaling.

It will be interesting when this whole thing gets over with COVID-19 to see what this generation does with that creativity. All of a sudden, you’re down to homeschooling 2 or 3 hours a day. One thing that contributed a lot in our childhood was not only the fort building, but our parents would shove us out the door at 8:00 AM and, “Don’t come back unless somebody’s dead or hungry.” We had that time to build these massive hot wheels and all sorts of things that I don’t feel kids now do. We’ve become such helicopter parents and everything is scheduled. It will be interesting to see what this does to creativity. You’ll find when kids have more time on their own to dream without somebody breathing down their neck, it is a better creative space

If parents will control the amount of time they’re spending on their devices, which is a whole other conversation. There are certainly a lot of things that can increase creativity. It’s a different way of being creative. My kids were big into Minecraft. I have an 18 and a 21-year-old who still liked to play Minecraft and it’s super creative, but it doesn’t beat building with actual Legos. That physical hand-eye coordination of manipulation and putting things together and the visual planning. I’m hopeful not just for kids but also for adults that they have some spaciousness in their lives and that they use that. I would have a call for hobbies. I would make a case for hobbies. It’s something that we don’t make time for.

I’m the queen of super overachiever driven, but I can’t tell you how much the painting means to me personally. It’s fun that it sells, but it’s my personal solace, my personal meditation, the thing that I go to, to lift my spirits and bring me joy. We’ll see a return to hobbies. Knitting has already become super popular again, but we’ll see more people turning to making music, to dancing in their living rooms, to making art, to sewing their own clothes. There’s going to be this opportunity to reconnect to that innate sense of us that is longing for more creative expression.

We have a couple of generations of kids who have become adults that are so scheduled. They don’t have hobbies because they ran from one place to another. Where can we find you if we want to connect? You have a course coming up sometime in the future.

I have a brand new course called Creatively You that is specifically designed for people who have this creative calling on their heart, but they can’t get their arms around it. They don’t know what form it’s supposed to take or they don’t know how to carve out time in their busy schedules to make it happen. Somebody said to me they feel like they’re spinning. They have all these ideas and their life is in a major point of transition. I tend to work a lot with women who have been in corporate careers and are looking at what’s next. They’re perfect for this program. They don’t know if they want to write a book. Do they want to start a business? Is it going to be a hobby? Are they starting a movement or a revolution? They have all these ideas and dreams. All they know for sure is that they’re super creative and they want to do something useful with their life. They want to leave a legacy. This is a program that’s going to help them explore every aspect of reclaiming their creative self so that they too can create a Renaissance of who they’re being and how they’re showing up in the world.

Where could we find you and that?

I don’t have a specific link, but you can find me on my website at www.MinetteRiordan.com. It’s super easy to contact me. If you’re interested in the Creatively You program, then you can send me a message. I’m easy to find on social media everywhere. My aunt one time was trying to find my phone number and she looked me up online and she said, “You’re so easy to find.” I said, “Yes. I’m doing a good job.” The primary website is MinetteRiordan.com. That’s the easiest place to find me.

Thank you so much for being on and for sharing your painting with us.

Thank you. That one was inspired by Marie Forleo. I was listening to her new book Everything Is Figureoutable. I tend to paint people’s energy a lot, especially when I’m listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I’m a huge podcast junkie. This was me listening to Marie Forleo. She has the most bubbly and effervescent energy. That was my homage to her and her beautiful energy.

Thank you.

We’re going to talk about something a little bit different. My guest is Dr. Minette Riordan. She’s a doctor, a modern-day Renaissance woman, a transformational artist, a writer, an award-winning entrepreneur and an advocate for creativity as essential to the well-being of all people and our planet. A popular speaker, Minette has appeared on television radio and podcasts around the globe. She’s built three successful businesses, worked with thousands of business owners and published three books including her bestseller, The Artful Marketer.

PRP 91 | Life As An Artist

Life As An Artist: Fifteen minutes is enough to ease stress and make our brain think outside the box, as well as come up with new connections.

 

Life took her by surprise in 2017 when people started asking if they could buy her paintings. She said, “I’m not an artist.” This was the turning point in her life and her career. Since then she’s been selling art and teaching others to courageously sell their own artistry through coaching and online programs and live events. I probably should have put a comma there because she’s actually creating a space where people can learn to sell their own. Minette is the creator of the Conscious Creativity Method, which is trademarked, a simple and effective transformational process for supporting others to activate creativity and connect to the artist within them. Welcome, Minette.

Thanks for having me.

I’m about as unartistic as they come in the visual artistic. I’m a pretty good mystery writer but what you’re doing is something entirely different. I’m a finger painter.

I love finger painting. There’s probably some finger painting in there. I realized that I was painting and even though I washed my hands, I have paint all over my fingers but at least it’s not red. It looks like I’ve been dipping my fingers in blood.

We should collaborate. I could mystery write murders and you could look like you committed them in real life.

That would be so much fun. I’m new to painting. If you would’ve asked me years ago if I was a painter or an artist, I would have said, “I’m a writer, I’m a scholar, I’m a business owner.”

Maybe I should give it a try beyond finger painting. You’re writing and you’re doing all these things in the creative world. One of the things that I noticed that you and I talked about was people who don’t think they can make money at it, and that mental sabotage block that comes when we go to sell our work. Can you talk about that?

It’s not just artists who struggle with selling their work. People that are new to business have a hard time selling their work. Sales is one of those things that feels tricky for a lot of people because we’ve been raised to have this standoffish, back away, don’t be a used car salesman. No one ever taught us that it was okay to sell. If you’re like me growing up, you’re not supposed to brag, you’re not supposed toot your own horn. There are many mindset issues that are around this conversation around selling. If we dig into that even deeper, what artists struggle with the most is pricing and overselling. How do I put a price tag on something that’s so near and dear to my heart and that maybe I spent hundreds of hours working because I’m a procrastinator and a perfectionist? I never thought it was quite good enough yet to put out there. There are many different questions that we can ask around why is it so hard for artists to sell their work? Maybe the biggest one is that our work is so precious to us. We see it as this extension of ourselves and who we’re being. It’s like this baby that we’ve given birth to and it’s hard to put a price tag on it.

For those of you around our age group, because I’m a little bit older than Minette, one thing that my father always said, “If you have to tell everybody how good you are, you may not be that good.” That’s the mindset we grew up with on that. Let’s get more into the baby. You talked about giving birth. When I spoke at writers’ conferences, I used to talk about what’s scary for writers. Let’s say you’ve given birth to this book and you’re pushing it down the street in a baby cart and somebody lifts up the blanket. We’re all afraid that they’re going to say, “That’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.” Believe it or not, there’s that fear there that people are going to hate it.

That was a big part of what it was for me personally when people started asking to buy my paintings. The thought of putting them up for sale and putting a price tag on them felt like there was this big gap between, “People say it’s pretty on Facebook and people think it’s pretty enough to buy it and hang it in their home.” There’s something honoring about that and pretty scary about that. Will they like it enough to pay for it? I was already getting lots of likes, comments and feedback, but I had to get over this mental gap of thinking that just because they thought it was pretty on Facebook meant that they would pay money for it. The truth was people do pay money for my art all the time and it’s not my primary business.

It feels even more fun when it sells. I mostly sell it on Facebook and Instagram. Mostly Facebook, I put it out there and if people like it, they buy it. I was on a Zoom call and somebody pointed out this beautiful Phoenix painting that I have in my office. They’re like, “I want that Phoenix painting.” I sold a painting having a Zoom call. I host live events in my home and people come into the studio and walk out with paintings. I’ve made thousands of dollars from people seeing my art and buying it that way. I had to get over the gap internally and personally around believing that people would pay money for my art and hang it in their homes.

I found that with books as well. When you write mystery novels, it is more artistic than a regular fiction book. People would say, “I want to read it.” I go, “Don’t have high expectations because I’m a great storyteller but not a great writer.” It’s always interesting because I was on a radio show and the woman was like, “Why would you say that? I thoroughly enjoyed your book?” There’s always that thing we think that maybe it’s not as good as somebody else’s or maybe they’re always comparing our people. With the visual art, it’s even worse.

I’m not Picasso. I didn’t go to art school. I have a PhD in poetry, not painting. We get caught up in our thoughts about how we think things have to be. The mindset piece of this impacts business owners at all levels of business. I was in a class that I’m taking that’s wonderful for coaches. He made a comment about how we’re all salespeople all the time. If you’re in business, you’re a salesperson. Anybody with kids knows kids are amazing salespeople. They’re trying to sell you all the time. “Can I stay out a little later? Do I have to go to bed now?” If we just remember that we’re all in the field of the art of persuasion all of the time, we can start to get over that mindset hump and start to get over that voice of your dad and my mom that it’s not okay to brag.

If you have to point out that you’re doing a good job, then you probably aren’t doing a good job. Yet the biggest distinction they say between men and women in the workplace is that men will ask for what it is that they want long before they may fit the requirements or be ready, but they’re willing to ask. Whereas women wait until they have every I dotted and every T crossed. They have two times the qualifications required before they ask for a raise, ask for promotion or ask for a particular job. It’s the confidence piece that impacts most of us deeply. That impacts us no matter what industry or field that we’re in.

Every single one of us is an artist. Click To Tweet

At the beginning, I thought creativity is one thing and you think it’s another thing. How do you define that?

I believe that we’re all creative. First of all, I’ll say that. Creativity has nothing to do with art-making. Art is one expression of creativity. Creativity most often is defined as the combination of old ideas into something new. It’s that simple. Imagine that all the colors in the universe flow from three colors, red, blue and yellow. We can take those three colors and make the most infinite palette of color options. It’s absolutely amazing. I’m writing an article on creative constraints for a magazine. I was doing some research about how if you give someone six Lego bricks, there are hundreds and hundreds of possible combinations and ways that you can combine six Lego bricks.

It’s this idea of taking a constraint and a limitation in something that’s in front of us and going, “How can I make this better and prettier?” There’s a reason why artists and writers are terrified of the blank page and the blank canvas. That’s the worst place to be, when there’s nothing on the page. We have to learn to get a few words down or to get some marks down on the canvas to inspire us to move forward. Simply put, creativity is new combinations of existing ideas, articles, colors, etc.

Many years ago, I had a big group of writers on Google+. I realized after a year that these people were on there, but what I had was not a group of people who would go in and buy our services. I had a bunch of starving artists. I know there’s a lot out there with the starving artist work. These are people who don’t get the connection between creativity and prosperity. Can you talk about that?

It’s one of my favorite topics. I can talk about the connection between creativity and prosperity for days. The first thing is that every artist and writer needs to see themselves as an entrepreneur or at least as a business owner. Most of them don’t identify as entrepreneurs, but they need to see that they have a business. If they’re selling products and services, they have a business. The mindset of what it means to sell is a big step. We already talked about how important getting comfortable with selling our products and services is, but then the next piece of that is treating your art like a business. People say, “That takes the creativity out of it. It takes the fun out of it. It takes the flow out of it.” It actually doesn’t. It’s very rewarding.

At the end of the day, we do have to create things that people want to buy. That doesn’t mean we have to imitate what other people are doing. We can’t be innovative and exciting, and come up with new things, but it does mean that we’re not creating in a vacuum. I personally think the starving artist mentality is a choice. We can choose to believe in that mentality or we can choose to believe in the possibility that we could be a thriving abundant artist. There is evidence and so much proof in the world that you can make a great living as a writer, as an artist and as an entrepreneur. There is abundant evidence that you can make money as an artist. I would argue that it’s easier than ever to do that than it has ever been before.

Artists are often starving because they don’t know how to build businesses. My son is a junior in university and he’s in art school right now. They’re not teaching them how to build a business. They’re teaching them how to be an artist and that’s what their job is. That’s what he’s going to school for. I think it’s a disservice. We’re producing all of these amazing artists from amazing writer programs, art schools and music schools. We’re not giving them any practical real-world skills on how to make money, how to think about money as our friend and one of the most important aspects of our life going forward. A lot of starving artists don’t know what they don’t know. Learning basic business skills is essential for anyone that considers themselves to be a creative if we go for a little bit broader term.

My first degree is in ornamental horticulture. One of the things that was cumbersome about that major was that we had labs where we did things. I look at even my own son’s education in business. He knows a lot of things but he doesn’t know how to practically apply them in the real world. The same is true for artists. You can go out and create good work, but if you don’t know the business basics, you’re going to be stuck.

I met a delightful young woman on an airplane coming home from somewhere and we got into a conversation. She was in graduate school somewhere in Tennessee. I was telling her about what I did and she was telling him about her dreams and goals. I don’t even remember what graduate program she was in. She said, “Nobody’s telling us what our options are once we get out of grad school.” Long gone are the super attractive tenure track positions for continuing on as a professor and a researcher. There are very few tenure track positions left. It’s not a safe and secure job situation, but yet they’re not educating them about what their other options are.

It’s a funny tangent for us to take. Given the times that we’re in right now, becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best things that you can do. It’s also one of the scariest things for most people to do because of the conversations around sales, marketing and money. Those three things. It’s not a lack of talent in whatever our genius is or whatever industry is, but it’s the lack of know-how in the practical aspects of, how do I get this thing started? How do I talk about what it is that I do in a way that I move people closer towards me so that they want to come, play with me and buy my goods and services?

For those people who they think they’re not creative and they have no idea, how does someone get started with something like that?

One of the things that I’ve been talking a lot about is this distinction between creativity and artistry. The word artistry simply means skill or talent. Every single one of us is an artist. We all have very creative ways of looking at the world. All of us have a talent and a genius. The way that we connect to our creativity is, first of all, to remind ourselves what we’re good at and how are the ways we’re doing what we do different than anyone else does, just to be reminded of how creative we are. That’s one way.

The second way is to remember what were the things that you love to do as a child that you don’t make time for it anymore? One of the ones that come up for me personally, and I hear it from a lot of other people, is building forts. Whether you are building them outside in the trees or on a rainy day in the living room with every spare sheet and blanket in the house. Building forts and imaginary worlds, having these battles, games and places and hiding in the fort with the flashlights, the books and the candy.

A lot happened inside these forts that we used to build. I haven’t built a fort in a long time, but where else could I create that imaginative play space. That would be one thing. I hear from people that they used to draw or they used to take ballet classes or they played an instrument. We all had that childlike sense of creative awe and wonder. Anything we could do to reconnect to that childlike sense of play can instantly spark our creativity. The third thing that I would share is that you have to make time for creativity. You have to make time for creative play. That might be taking a class, it might be buying a coloring book or grabbing a sketch pad. If you write music, to write some music. Finding time like fifteen-minute little chunks of time, not hours and hours.

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There’s a myth that we need hours and hours of time to be in flow state and to be creative. We don’t. We need fifteen minutes. That fifteen minutes gives us joy. It eases stress and it makes our brain think outside the box and come up with new connections and ideas. I’m a huge fan of the coloring book praise because it allows people’s bodies and minds to relax. While we’re coloring, our mind is still thinking. All of a sudden, we see new connections and new possibilities. Making time for creative play fifteen minutes at a time is something that’s super important. Childlike wonder, reminding yourself how creative you are already in whatever your given area of expertise or talent is, and making time for play would be my three ways to start reconnecting to our creativity.

I find that with me, when I go hiking if I’m stuck, it loosens all that up to be in nature and being out there. We talked about your personal journey. You’ve gone through your ups and downs with it, but why do you think creativity is such a hot topic? We see it everywhere.

There are a few different reasons. IBM did a study years ago about of 1,500 CEOs from companies around the world. Those CEOs cited creativity as the number one trait needed by leaders. That started a whole conversation and it mirrored when coloring books hit. Coloring books have been in the top ten bestsellers on Amazon for decades. You see them everywhere in the grocery store checkout line. There are coloring books right beside the O magazine. They’re everywhere. That’s one thing, the IBM study. For two years in a row, 2018 and 2019, LinkedIn cited creativity as the number one soft skill needed by people. Can you imagine how much data LinkedIn has? It gets me all giddy and excited thinking about their data. They do a list of the five soft skills and then what hard skills companies are seeking in new hires. Creativity is top of the list for two years in a row.

What’s happened is as we’ve seen a decline in schools and funding for the arts, kids are not thinking as creatively as they used to. We’re not seeing as much innovation and creativity as companies continue to look for new ways to compete in the global marketplace. They’re calling for more innovation, more ideas, more new and yet they’re also forcing people to be productive. They’re not creating spaciousness for the dreaming needed and there’s no support. There are no safe spaces being created for those conversations to happen. It’s a combination of factors. As a lot of things are in big business, it’s driven by economics. People want more innovation. They want to stay competitive in the marketplace. At the same time, on the personal and hobby side of things, creativity has never been a hotter topic over there because I also think people are desperate for new ways to relax, to relieve stress and to play.

There is a sense of longing to reconnect to our creativity. We’re being asked to be more creative at work, but if we’re not feeling creative and playful at home, there’s a disconnect that’s happening. It’s fascinating to watch what’s happening both in the personal hobby industry, as well as in the global marketplace. Both sides are calling for more creativity. There are more memberships, subscription models, online classes available for people to take art classes of every kind online. One of the biggest and most successful being CreativeLive, which has an amazing suite of programs in everything from how to use Photoshop to how to do art journaling.

It will be interesting when this whole thing gets over with COVID-19 to see what this generation does with that creativity. All of a sudden, you’re down to homeschooling 2 or 3 hours a day. One thing that contributed a lot in our childhood was not only the fort building, but our parents would shove us out the door at 8:00 AM and, “Don’t come back unless somebody’s dead or hungry.” We had that time to build these massive hot wheels and all sorts of things that I don’t feel kids now do. We’ve become such helicopter parents and everything is scheduled. It will be interesting to see what this does to creativity. You’ll find when kids have more time on their own to dream without somebody breathing down their neck, it is a better creative space

If parents will control the amount of time they’re spending on their devices, which is a whole other conversation. There are certainly a lot of things that can increase creativity. It’s a different way of being creative. My kids were big into Minecraft. I have an 18 and a 21-year-old who still liked to play Minecraft and it’s super creative, but it doesn’t beat building with actual Legos. That physical hand-eye coordination of manipulation and putting things together and the visual planning. I’m hopeful not just for kids but also for adults that they have some spaciousness in their lives and that they use that. I would have a call for hobbies. I would make a case for hobbies. It’s something that we don’t make time for.

I’m the queen of super overachiever driven, but I can’t tell you how much the painting means to me personally. It’s fun that it sells, but it’s my personal solace, my personal meditation, the thing that I go to, to lift my spirits and bring me joy. We’ll see a return to hobbies. Knitting has already become super popular again, but we’ll see more people turning to making music, to dancing in their living rooms, to making art, to sewing their own clothes. There’s going to be this opportunity to reconnect to that innate sense of us that is longing for more creative expression.

We have a couple of generations of kids who have become adults that are so scheduled. They don’t have hobbies because they ran from one place to another. Where can we find you if we want to connect? You have a course coming up sometime in the future.

I have a brand new course called Creatively You that is specifically designed for people who have this creative calling on their heart, but they can’t get their arms around it. They don’t know what form it’s supposed to take or they don’t know how to carve out time in their busy schedules to make it happen. Somebody said to me they feel like they’re spinning. They have all these ideas and their life is in a major point of transition. I tend to work a lot with women who have been in corporate careers and are looking at what’s next. They’re perfect for this program. They don’t know if they want to write a book. Do they want to start a business? Is it going to be a hobby? Are they starting a movement or a revolution? They have all these ideas and dreams. All they know for sure is that they’re super creative and they want to do something useful with their life. They want to leave a legacy. This is a program that’s going to help them explore every aspect of reclaiming their creative self so that they too can create a Renaissance of who they’re being and how they’re showing up in the world.

Where could we find you and that?

I don’t have a specific link, but you can find me on my website at www.MinetteRiordan.com. It’s super easy to contact me. If you’re interested in the Creatively You program, then you can send me a message. I’m easy to find on social media everywhere. My aunt one time was trying to find my phone number and she looked me up online and she said, “You’re so easy to find.” I said, “Yes. I’m doing a good job.” The primary website is MinetteRiordan.com. That’s the easiest place to find me.

Thank you so much for being on and for sharing your painting with us.

Thank you. That one was inspired by Marie Forleo. I was listening to her new book Everything Is Figureoutable. I tend to paint people’s energy a lot, especially when I’m listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I’m a huge podcast junkie. This was me listening to Marie Forleo. She has the most bubbly and effervescent energy. That was my homage to her and her beautiful energy.

Thank you.

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About Minette Rordan

PRP 91 | Life As An ArtistDr. Minette Riordan is a modern day Renaissance woman: transformational artist, writer, award-winning entrepreneur and advocate for creativity as essential to the well-being of all people and our planet. A popular speaker, Minette has appeared on television, radio and podcasts around the globe. She has built three successful businesses, worked with thousands of business owners and published 3 books including her bestseller The Artful Marketer. Life took her by surprise in 2017 when people started asking her to buy her paintings. “I’m not an artist,” she said. This was a turning point in her life and her career. Since then she has been selling art and teaching others to courageously own their artistry through her coaching, online programs and live events. Minette is creator of the Conscious Creativity Method™, a simple and effective transformational process for supporting others to activate creativity and connect to the artist within.

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By | 2020-05-05T03:12:48+00:00 May 5th, 2020|Podcasts|0 Comments

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