In a past post I provided three tips for proving the exception as an artist. In this post, I’ll provide three more and next week I’ll conclude with a last four. Proving the exception is vital: I hope these tips help point the way!

4. Step into the shoes of “someone exceptional”

Once you’ve articulated your understanding of the differences between an average effort and an exceptional effort, you will want to become the person capable of making such efforts. This may mean working on your shyness, your anxieties, your passivity, and your dislike of self-promotion. If proving the exception requires that you do x, y, and z, you must become the person capable of doing x, y, and z. Rehearse being this new person. Set up real world opportunities to be this new person. Maybe what you are doing is crafting a public persona or maybe what you are doing is actually changing, but in either event you must become capable of the exceptional efforts required of you.

5. Reach out

One of your jobs is to learn how to send clear, concise, friendly, useful emails and other messages to those people who might be able to help you. There’s no need to labor over such missives—they do not need to be elaborate works of art or skillful apologies for why you aren’t further along in your career but rather simple announcements and requests in which you advocate for you and your work and make use of the freedom you possess, both technological and existential, to create success. Reach out to three people a day … to five people a day … to seven people a day. Reach out regularly and continually.

6. Follow through

It is one thing to make a sensible plan—for your art marketing efforts, for your financial stability—and another thing to follow through on all the steps required to turn any plan into a successful experience. You will come up against innumerable obstacles, external and internal, as you endeavor to follow through, from doubts and worries to unreturned emails and phone calls to technological glitches to rude, off-handed criticism to deals falling through to contracts not being honored. Persevere; follow through; keep at it! Following through is rather exceptional—most people start and then stop.

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