As I approached college graduation, my professor told us more stories about his career as a freelance graphic designer. I thought to myself: yes, I want to be the “Captain of my own ship.” That’s right. I’m the Cap’m. 😀
Yes, he warned us. But little did I know..when you’re the Captain of your own ship and you’re trying to build a ship the size of an aircraft carrier, it can be a daunting task.
I wasn’t ready. That was June 2011, which seems like an eternity ago. Now, I am? Yes. Through more experiences, more classes, more trial and error, and being simply ready to move on..I am ready. But I don’t think about the entire plan, the daunting task, the challenges I face. I focus on one step out of 20,000 steps I need to take to reach my goal. This is not a sprint, it’s a gritty marathon.
It’s basketball season. NBA. I was watching a commercial featuring star-player, Blake Griffin. He said he remembers one of his college coaches telling him: “You have to fall in love with the process of becoming great.”
You may be “great” for a long time, but the process to get there takes even longer. I’m trying to swallow this fact. Trying. The verdict hasn’t come in yet.
I have two huge goals, as if one isn’t enough. I get tired of staring at the computer screens; tired of taking and editing photos; tired of writing, editing, and writing again; tired of trying to get there thinking I’ve arrived right before I fall on my face. Tired.
But I’m still here. Why? Quitting is not an accomplishment. If I quit, it’s not like my life stops and all the broken pieces put themselves back together. So, when necessary, I take a break. Get away from the computer, away from the camera, away from the writing, away from the “I have to do something right now!” moments. Then, after a while, I remember: “oh yes, I love to write and I have a passion for photography.” Recharged, I’m back at it again.
Confidence. In 2011, I didn’t have the level of confidence (or self-discipline) that I have now. Yes, I believe in God, but I don’t always believe in myself. And if you don’t really believe that you can achieve your goals, you’ve already lost. It’s over before you get started. Confidence. A quiet assurance that no one, not even yourself on a bad day, can take from you.
Now, onward to today’s topic: Social Media+. Yes, “plus.” I’ll explain. My style of art is strange. It’s not artsy enough to be called “fine art,” but it’s too artsy for journalism and the like. “Enhanced reality.” Early on, I couldn’t decide where my work fit, how I wanted to present it, and under what name. So, for a few years my various online portfolios would come and go. I never got settled on anything. Nothing was consistent. Work could be posted one month..less than three months later, it’s gone.
You cannot build an audience like that. Make an intelligent decision on where to pitch your tent and stay there as long as possible. Years, preferably. Therefore, Summer 2013 I finally decided to use my full name to cover everything from screenplays to photography. I feel better. A short while ago, I altered my logo to look more professional and it’s gotten a positive response.
Now, consistency. Five, ten years from this second, my WordPress blog will still be here, at this same address. Along with all the other social media outlets, no more switching names. The biggest challenge is keeping up with all the outlets and different websites my work is posted on.
Tip #1: Use Bookmarks
I love organization. I’m not organized to annoy people; organization keeps me sane. I have a main folder within Google Chrome called “Eric Christopher Jackson.” No laughing, this is serious. 😀 Along with other sub-folders within it is one for “Social Media.” This sub-folder has all the “SM” outlets for my portfolio. After a while, my eyes get tired of looking at the computer screen, so I have an index card of this list as well. Index cards: best invention ever! lol.
Tip #2: Time Management
I really don’t micro-manage my time. That would drive me nuts. But I do decide on what aspect of my goals I’m going to work on for that day until I get too tired. Today, I worked on updating my “Digital Art” and “Apparel” category. None of the work is hard or really stressing, it’s just time-consuming.
Tip #3: Partners
I want my artwork and apparel designs to be sold in retail stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Christian Bookstores, etc. BUT, it seems like they generally want you to have a following (a healthy amount of people purchasing your work already) before they accept new work from you. So, I finalized a partnership with “New Christian Books” (An Online Magazine) today. Their banner is featured on my official website and I’m adding my books and photography to their website. They have a larger audience than I do meaning it’s an opportunity to gain more recognition.
There’s also gallery submissions, art fairs, contests, magazines, and the like that I’m cataloging in order to submit to. I know..this is why I need to be organized.
Tip #4: Meet the People.
I’m challenging myself this year to meet strangers, talk on the phone and face-to-face with people I don’t know. Get to know them, introduce them to my work, which I’ve been terrified to do a short time ago. But if people don’t know who you are as a person, how can they become interested in supporting your work?
Alrighty then! There are two lists. If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward. First is a healthy list of all my social media outlets. I take 30 minutes or so every few days to make sure that at least all the recent posts (passed six months) are in-sync. As long as you stay on top of it now, it won’t explode into an out-of-sync mess later.
Ten outlets. I stopped using Google Blogger last year and MySpace a long time ago. Except for Pictify and YouTube, they are all up-to-date. (Almost there, thank You, Jesus).
Second list. “Branches” is the sub-folder for the sites where my work is “also” available for-sale or simply to display to a new audience. This list is really behind and most sites have to be updated. (I’m getting there. Really). 😀
Trust me, this entire situation was much worse. Two or three links are left out for now. Okay, Fine Art America is officially the company my work is sold through. As for the remaining branches, it’s only important that my Top 20 photographs are displayed. I can add more, but initially, that’s enough. Apparel designs are solely available through RedBubble because the designs print out so well on their products.
Whew! I said nothing about marketing the poetry books, screenplays, or children’s book or starting the sequel to the children’s book and continuing to scribble out my third book of creative writing. That’s another subject. But the social media outlets are for that as well.
I want my pillow. It’s like I’m trying to steer an aircraft carrier with all these little moving parts taking place inside. I admit, it’s daunting now..but..when I finish establishing the foundation, it’ll run smoothly and I’ll feel as free as a bird. (in theory) 😀
It’s like a long cargo train. When you first start, you have to go full-throttle just to get the thing to start moving an inch. Then, after a while, the train picks up speed, you ease up on the throttle to a safe speed and you’re on your way, smooth sailing. I’m at the point where I’m pushing the train with all I’ve got to get it to pick up speed. But it’s not at a dead stop anymore; that’s progress.
All of this work comes together at my official page. It’s been re-designed and is organized correctly now, so I can focus solely on adding finished work to the proper categories. What do you think? ericchristopherjackson.com
Just keep pushing, don’t give up even on the worst day. We may fall, slow down, but never stop. We will prevail.ECJ