Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 73: 3 steps to getting your art out to the world

Maui has a way of sucking out your brain and throwing it into the ocean leaving you to do nothing but stare out to sea without a thought in your head. The locals call it "Polynesian paralysis," and because of it, I had no idea what to write in my blog until I met Jason at the airport bar.

Jason is a musician. He is "this close" to finishing his first hip hop album. After our shared beers lifted our spirits prior to our separate lift offs, we started talking about being an artist in the world. A topic, dear Reader, you know is very near and dear to my heart. Here is what we came up with...

The 3 step process to getting your art out to the world.
  1. Rejection letters. Learn to love them. When I got rejection letters for my books, I celebrated. I felt like a real writer. A true artist. I was putting my art out there to publishers and the rejection letters were a reflection of this. I did not see them as a reflection of my ability or talent as an artist. I saw them as both an answer to my query (which was a relief) and a symbol that I had finished a project that I was ready to share with the world (which was also a relief).
  2. Stalk the places where you want your art to be. I wanted my books to get into Barnes & Noble in the USA and Indigo in Canada. If a publisher couldn't get a book into these two national stores, I didn't want that publisher. I was in it to win it. Go to the bookstores, music stores, art galleries, etc. where you want your art to be. Then find out who puts the art you like there and contact them. 
  3. Love the word "yet." Jason had said to me, "I make money so I can make art. I don't make art so I can make money." I ended his sentence with "yet." You don't make art so you can make money yet. Yet is the second most important word in the English language, second only to Yes. There is a reason they are so closely worded. "Yes I am a writer. I haven't been published yet." Yes is the intention. Yet is the hope and fire that keeps the intention alive. "I haven't had a record company pick up my record" is not nearly as powerful as "I haven't had a record company pick up my record yet." Yet cancels out the inner critic who wants to give up and watch reruns of The Simpsons instead of getting back to turning the Yet into a Yes. "Yes, I have a record company who picked up my record." I find it curious that the Yes goes at the beginning of the sentence while the Yet goes at the end. As if the Yet has to crawl its way up to the top of the sentence through work and perseverance before it can be transformed into a Yes. 
After establishing that we were both the most brilliant artists alive for coming up with this 3-step process, Jason and I finished our beers and head off to our separate flights. He to his hip hop album. Me to my books.

I send you, dear Reader, and Jason from the airport bar, big blessings and scoops full of Grace to help you turn your Yet into a Yes.

P.S. Holiday report: After being in Maui, I still don't know why anyone lives anywhere else in the world. My Polynesian paralysis is over but my Polynesian hangover has just begun. 


  1. I am hoping hanging out in your kitchen counts as a place I want my art to Be.

  2. Love the 3 step process!! You ROCK!!!

  3. Roxanne Van DammeMarch 15, 2010

    Maui is heaven on earth baby!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Wow. Fantastic post. That Step 3 is a beautiful construct and reading it is pure poetry. Well done.

  5. Julie, I hope you hang out in my kitchen and do your art, too. Creative Sprite, you rock as well. Roxanne, you're so right about Maui. Michael, thank you. There is nothing quite like a good turn of phrase.

  6. The hardest part of going on vacation is coming home :(
    Sounds like you had a lovely break from reality ~
    Some day you should teach me how to get into that "deep mediation". I would give anything to have a conversation with a banyan tree right now. Can't stop my mind from wandering for a second. :)

  7. one typo in the second to last sentence
    --your editor
    also, where is the pic of Jason from the airport. i really wanted to "meet" him and hear the story of how you two hit it off and made out in the corner of the airport.


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