Blogging for the Creative Capital Blended Learning Program on Tumblr. Blog 1 of 5

I am a documentary photographer working in Newark, NJ where I am currently developing “The Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project,” a photographic documentary cataloging contemporary artists working within the Newark arts community. I am using both digital and traditional photographic processes to create a range of viewpoints into the community and each artist as an individual.

I applied to the Creative Capital Professional Development Program to learn how to navigate the financial world of art. I often struggle with my finances and pay out of pocket for my work. Making little income as an artist, my practice is extremely difficult to maintain.

The first day of the workshop came with an overwhelming amount of information, but it was accompanied by a neatly packaged handbook and workbook. The handbook made a more thorough review of the information at home easy. The workbook is split into manageable sections.  The first workbook exercise directed me to record my goals for the next year as well as a basic action plan to achieve these goals. Writing down all of this information in detail is helping me develop a daily and weekly schedule, thus pushing me closer toward my goals. I am now scheduling time to work creatively as well as working on the back end of my art which includes budgeting for my project, looking for funding, writing more comprehensively about my work, and researching new opportunities.

This workshop got me excited to thrive as an artist. Many of the topics discussed included action points that we could put into practice immediately. One suggestion that I easily implemented in the first few days was recommended by Dread Scott during his Time Management discussion. He mentioned that he uses a time tracking app to keep track of the amount of time he spends on various activities during his day. After the workshop I checked out a few apps and another woman from the workshop recommended Toggl Timer.  I have been training myself to use the Toggl app. It has been beneficial in tracking my time and using this information to schedule for the next week, as well as logging the hours I spend on my documentary. Time tracking allows me to see when I am spending time on things that aren’t a priority, and keep them to a minimum. I have found that the time tracking also makes me less likely to check my email or social media while I am working on a specific project, creating a greater ability to focus on the task at hand.

Since starting this workshop two weeks ago, my vision for achieving my goals has been much clearer. Instead of looking at where I want to be and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I need to complete to get there, I now see my goals as attainable through a clear path of small daily tasks and routines. I hope to be able to use this focus and the resources provided by Creative Capital to obtain funding for the completion of my current documentary, as well as create a more financially stable life so I can continue my work as a photographer.  —Colleen Gutwein