Change That Self-Talk!
Marketing is hard enough without sabotaging yourself with unhelpful self-talk. You say that you don’t like marketing? Change your self-talk!
What you say to yourself helps your ability to market your art or hurts your ability to market your art. Even if the thought you are thinking is a true thought, it may well not serve you to think it. Here are ten thoughts, some of them “negative” and some of them “true but unhelpful,” and ten “reframes” that might serve you a lot better.
1. Unhelpful thought: “I hate marketing.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I advocate for my work.”
Or perhaps: “I willingly market!”
2. Unhelpful thought: “I’m no good at marketing.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I’m perfectly fine at marketing, if I put my mind to it.”
Or perhaps: “Marketing is a particular skill set and I can probably acquire those skills.”
3. Unhelpful thought: “Marketing means selling your soul to the devil.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I can market in principled ways.”
Or perhaps: “Even righteous things have to be marketed in order to reach their audience.”
4. “If I start marketing I’ll never get any new art made.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I can schedule for both.”
Or perhaps: “If I do my art first thing each day, I don’t have to worry.”
5. “I have no idea where to begin.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “Let me choose one simple marketing idea and give it a shot.”
Or perhaps: “It just amounts to making choices, exactly like making art.”
6. “There are so many things to try, it’s impossible to choose.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I know how to choose.”
Or perhaps: “A word like ‘impossible’ is really unhelpful and I’m not going to use it any longer.”
7. “With galleries closing, this is a ridiculous time to try to market.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “There are many new opportunities and I’m going to learn about them.”
Or perhaps: “I can prove the exception and get a good gallery, even if there are fewer of them now.”
8. “Other people are natural marketers. It’s in their DNA!”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I can do things that don’t feel completely natural, if they serve my needs.”
Or perhaps: “Maybe I can embrace marketing and, if I do, maybe it will feel completely natural!”
9. “I’m much too shy and introverted to market.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I can adopt a public persona that isn’t my ‘real’ me and that serves my ends.”
Or perhaps: “I can create a powerful ‘me’ that loves to market.”
10. “What’s the point of marketing, I have no chance anyway.”
Reframe/thought substitute: “I matter and my efforts matter.”
Or perhaps: “Of course I have a chance!”
These ten supremely unhelpful thoughts, if left uncontested, will rob you of the motivational strength to market, convince you that you’re constitutionally incapable of marketing, and likely prevent you from having a career in the arts.
To change this picture, all you need to do is notice what you’re saying to yourself, decide if the thought you’re thinking is helpful or unhelpful, and, if it’s unhelpful, dispute it and replace it with a thought that serves you better.
This is not only a simple procedure to describe, it’s actually a simple procedure to do. You just have to want to do it. If you agree that your natural reluctance and antipathy to marketing don’t help you much, it’s time to take the “cognitive plunge” and think differently. Only you can do this work—only you live inside the room that is your mind. Take charge there and turn yourself into a much more willing and energetic marketer!
For more, take a look at Making Your Creative Mark