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I always used to think I was no good at setting and achieving goals. I have come to the realization that I just did not know how to get from the goal setting stage to actually achieving the goal. It never occurred to me when I was younger that what was stopping me from attaining my goals was not having a plan of action, or in other words not breaking it down into smaller steps that would eventually get me there.

For a long time I have wanted to be an artist, but did not think it was possible to make any money on it in the near future. About six months ago I decided to quit listening to my own negative self talk and start believing that it is possible for me to be a real honest to goodness getting paid for it artist. I quit listening to my own excuses. I had told myself that I did not “have time” to paint, or I didn’t deserve to paint ( because the house was a mess), or it won’t sell anyway, so why bother?

What led to this drastic change in my attitude?

Well, first of all, a catastrophe of sorts happened in our family. Things had been going great, we had just bought our first house and a brand new car. Life was good. We even had a dog. Then the proverbial “stuff’ hit the proverbial fan. My wonderful hardworking husband got news that his employer was closing their doors and he would be out of a job. He looked really hard for work, but there just wasn’t anything in our area in his area of expertise that paid anywhere near what he had been making before. After a few months of that, I quit being a stay at home mom and and got a job through a temp agency locally so we could afford to send him to a vocational school. The original plan was to have me work for just a month or two until he could get us back on our feet financially. A few months turned into almost a year.

The first temp agency looked at my application and nearly laughed me out of their office. I was humiliated. I am a hard worker, really. but I have put a high value on raising my own kids, so the few “real” jobs I have had were temporary and few and far between. I went to a second agency and in shear desperation took a swing shift job that required repetitive lifting of up to 50 lbs by myself and up to 100 lbs with help. I have a mild case of scoliosis, so many of my family were very concerned that I might injure my back doing that kind of lifting. With lots of daily stretching before work ( and a lot of prayer) I managed to make it without throwing out my back. Anyway long story short, I figured if I was capable of doing that, I was capable of making my way as an artist–no matter how impossible it might seem. I also was highly motivated to find a way to help support our family without all the hassle of finding and keeping a reliable babysitter. Being out in the workforce had also taken a big toll on the kids and their performance in school.

During the year I spent working I would spend my free time –what little of it there was– brushing up my art skills through reading books on drawing and composition. Sometimes I visited online art forums and got advice from others about what steps to take when starting an art business. When I got off work early enough, and wasn’t too tired, I would work on a painting.

I had recently learned that I was capable of setting and achieving goals instead of just setting the goal and beating myself up emotionally when nothing happened. I had set a goal to lose 50lbs in 1 year. I got about halfway there in the course of a year on my own, and then I found a place called Sparkpeople.com which helped me learn more about achieving my goals and got me the rest of the way to my goal weight plus a little more. I also had a goal to improve the cleanliness of my home. I’m still working on that through a program called flylady.net, but I am seeing visible progress–which is a wonderful thing.

So, I started baby stepping into it. I bought some face paint and got some business cards (an investment of about 35.00 in all), then I borrowed a gazebo from a friend and set up shop at the local farmers market. I didn’t make very much money off of it, but it was a good chance to pass out business cards and do some networking. I also signed up for a place called Imagekind.com in order to sell some prints of my work. I added a link to my Imagekind gallery in my email signature. It was surprising to find how many of my friends and family members did not know I was an artist. A few months later I set up an account with Zazzle.com to put some of my art on things like greeting cards, tee shirts, and mugs.

One of the pieces of advice I had been getting pretty consistently from other artists was to get a blog. I have to admit I was really dragging my feet on this one. It sounded like a LOT of work to figure out how to do one, and then a lot of work to keep it going. Finally I decided to take the plunge and spent several days looking into different sites and comparing options. I really needed something free -or at least pretty close to it — for now. I was hoping to find something in that price range that would allow me to both have a web site and a blog all together, because I felt like that would be less work for me to keep up and make things simpler as far a the number of web links for people to check out. I also wanted to either have no advertising on it or be able to have control over which ads were there (and then get paid for them). Oh, and it had to be easy to use (might as well dream big while I’m dreaming, right?).

I spent enough time with all the comparisons that I’m surprised I didn’t go cross eyed, but I finally decided to go with wordpress.com. Although I had heard quite a few people say they really like blogger.com because it was fairly easy to do, I had also heard from many others that they got lots of spam on it. I’m not too keen on getting spam myself. I had asked around on the forum at Imagekind and one of the people, who is also a respected author, said he uses wordpress and then hosts it on his own server, so he can write his own html and have adds that he gets paid for. I decided against hosting my blog on a separate server because of the cost for now, but I figure this using wordpress’s free blog will help me take that step when I am ready because I will already be familiar with their programming. Then I can go after my own advertisers if I want to, which I wouldn’t mind as long as I have complete control over what ads are on my blog.

It’s taken me 2 weeks to get my gallery and my bio page up and running, but I now officially have my own blog. My advice is if you have a dream, Go get it! Woo hoo! Now on to the next step in my quest to achieve my dreams…

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
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