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Embracing the Artist Brain

Ever done one of those Briggs Myers personality tests that describes your traits?  Pretty fascinating stuff.

Hey baby, I’m a ENFP, how ’bout you?

After being in the photography business awhile I’ve noticed similar traits with most of my friends who are in the biz who describe themselves as an “Artist” first and foremost:

Prone to periods of great bursts of activity and productivity, followed by periods of despair, self loathing, drinking and getting abso-fucking-lutely nothing done.

Night owl tendencies, erratic sleep schedules and bouts of insomnia.

They find themselves easily overwhelmed by too much change too quickly before they can process it.

Today I got my daily email from my friend Jamie over at The Modern Tog. If you didn’t find this blog via Jamie, and you don’t subscribe to her blog and newsletter, you should do so RIGHT NOW. Not even kidding, she’s the shit.Jamie has always described herself as a business person first and an artist second. That’s why Jamie can run a successful photography business and run a blog, and if I didn’t love her, I’d hate her.  There are some people, like Jamie, who can use both sides of their brain ALL THE TIME.  I know, it’s amazing.

In today’s email she talked about letting go of her perfectionist tendencies to get everything done in a day.

I have people asking me all the time how I get everything done. How do I write to you almost daily AND blog AND run my photography business AND create a course AND spend time with my family and everything else that goes with life.

The answer?

I have to consciously let go of my perfectionism and my unnecessary expectations.”

Here’s my confession:  In my dreams, I would be a perfectionist.  In my addled predominantly right-brained artists head where fairies live half the time, I think that if I had my shit together in spreadsheets my life would be 1000% better. I bet Jamie has spreadsheets for like EVERYTHING in her life.  In my mind while I am picking lint out of my bellybutton and googling funny rabbit photos when I have 4 weddings to edit, Jamie is ticking off yet another thing on her to do list spreadsheet before 6AM while her well dressed children play quietly at her feet.

But that’s not really true, is it? God Jamie, please tell me it isn’t  Being a perfectionist is just as debilitating for her some days to get shit done as it is for me not being able to focus.

Humans are adaptable, and to be successful as an artist and a business person you have to find what works for you and adapt it so it’s not overwhelming.  No one piece of software works for all of us.  No one client management system, no one accounting system.

I talked recently in this post about some unpleasant stuff. What I’ve come to realize over the years that the best way to navigate your way successfully through your business is to do things that make sense to YOUR brain.  There is no one right and true way to do anything.

Except taxes.  Don’t fuck with that.

But what is important is that you set yourself up for success.  Don’t commit to a costly studio management service if you hate data entry and spreadsheets make you sweat and the likelihood of you actually doing it is unlikely.

Up until a few years ago I did all my accounting in a ledger with a pencil. One of those old fashioned black dealies.  My accountant assured me that while that was fine and perfectly legal, I’d just be doing a little more work than someone who entered it into an accounting program.  With some time and some deep cleansing breaths, I was able to transition into a software program that didn’t overwhelm me.  That’s how THIS ENFP rolls.

We’re working on something a bit different than a studio management system . It’s less of an accounting dealie than a “How to get your shit organized so if die no one hates you” dealie.

We’re hoping we come up with a better name than that, though.   And now that I’ve distracted myself long enough with this blog post, back to work on that dealie.  In the meantime, if you want to see some really funny bunny photos, this is hilarious.









  1. OMG, I don’t think I’ve read a funnier post, article or anything in a who knows how long than the BUNNY link. Thanks, Kim and Charo, I sure needed that!

    In a funk, cos waaay too much work, Friday the 13th and gosh darned, Yom Kippur soon when sun goes down (gotta be down somewhere when I woke up at noon, cos yeah, I stay up all night working, artist type, the sun is out), but I sure feel like atoning for my sins, wait, I don’t think Jews believe in sin, just guilt. Wait, since when did I feel so religious? Actually, just want QUIET time to focus, look back and plan forward, which is REALLY what Yom Kippur is about, at least as I believe.

    I’m sooo behind cos mags and others owe me money and I can’t do what I wanna or promised to do cos I don’t have that money and yes I’m a perfectionist but learning to let go but still taking on too much.

    As for disabling messages and ppl not using email: ppl refuse to read and comply with anything anyone says. Maddening! HOW many times have I told ppl to MSG me and NOT comment on my wall cos I won’t see it?

    How many ppl ask a photo related question or want to buy something and somehow I’m gonna see their wall comment buried way down my screen? Huh?

    YES I LOVE JAMIE. Been following her for awhile. She’s the best! You both are ah-somely cool too. Thank you for helping me get thru tough times by crying with laughter!

    Now I just gotta remember life and ppl are like those bunnies. Too clever!

  2. HOW do I make separate paragraphs when I post?? I hate big blocks of text. Should I add HTML or what? Ok, so you turn off FB msgs, then what happens, client mad cos you won’t answer her and tell her for the 4th time when the photos will be ready? Have it in yr contract the due date and if they repeatedly ask for them, additional charges incurred or they will be ignored, as it takes time away from editing? Yeah, that will work out. Not. Sigh.

    –This text makes sense if you are their email list and read the rant, I mean, email, which preceded this post. I DO NOT view it as a rant, but many do. Who cares about the many? Oy.

  3. Okay Kim, you’re freaking hilarious! I’m just reading this now, sorry for the late reply!

    I’m an ENFP too by the way. So no excuses.

    I DO love spreadsheets, but not obsessively.

    And frankly, I used to be a crazy perfectionist.

    But I found that a business plan was one of the best things I could ever do, because it meant I had to focus to get the crap done that I really wanted to do, and it meant I had to outsource to make it happen too (which is insanely hard at first, since you have to let go of a bit of control, until you realize how it’s the absolute best thing you can do for your business ever. EVER. Wish I had done it from the start!)

    Anyways, I digress….

    This post is awesome, but I’m not the goddess you paint me out to be. I’ve just learned to shut that perfectionist part of me up in a closet, to accept the parts of me that aren’t great and work around them (like systems – I HATE complicated systems!) and then stay focused on all the things I really want in life, which helps me stay on task and focus.

    And I’m NOT a morning person. You’ll be lucky to find me out of bed before 8am.

    Anyways, thanks for sending people my way. LOVE that you’re blogging! I’ll be reading, for sure! Please don’t hate me ever. 😉

  4. Oh wow relate so hard to this. Once I get things fully organized I can stay on top of it like your friend Jamie. I’ve done it at my 9-5 day job, took me 2 years, but I did it. Now, keeping things organized at home is a beast of a different color. Add into that that I’m INFP and ADHD and, well the fun never stops. 😉 I like to imagine one day I will be there… looking forward to checking out your Master Disaster kit though. Maybe that will help a little.

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