Sunday, March 3, 2013

Setting Priorities

9x12 Sketch of Oak Creek - SOLD

If you like the painting above, check out the others in my 

I just put out an announcement on my personal Facebook page that if friends want to contact me, they should do so by e-mail or phone.  Why?  Because I have reset my priorities and will be spending much less time on Facebook.  Facebook was stealing time away from more productive and satisfying activities.  (I won't go into "Facebook envy," but yes, that is part of it, too.)

For me, life is most satisfying when I create.  Facebook, like most social media, is not a tool for creation.  The clue is in the word "social."  Facebook is for networking and keeping up to date with friends and family.  But in my mind, creation is best done in solitude and without distraction.  Imagine if God had had Facebook.  Would the world have been created in just seven days?  I doubt it.

I, like many working artists, had the false hope that Facebook would help me make sales and earn students.  After several years on it, this has yet to happen.  I know many artists, and not a one of them has told me Facebook has helped them professionally.  Better for me with both of these tasks is my blog and my website.  From now on, I'll use Facebook just as a place for announcements.  You'll see my blog posts show up there, as well as other interesting news, but I will no longer be "liking," "unliking" or commenting on the picture of your latest painting or poodle.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not giving up on friends and family.  I cherish my time with them, and I may still engage with them on Facebook in a limited way.  But time spent there with friends and family is not quality time.  And even though I am a very disciplined person, Facebook simply offers too many distractions that take me farther away from the people I love.

As a self-employed artist who wears three hats - painter, instructor, writer - setting professional priorities can be tough. Mine now are:

  • To improve my blog and web site so they are better tools for education and for selling my work; 
  • To spend more time on larger paintings for shows and awards; and 
  • To become a better painter by improving areas where I am weak and challenging myself where I am strong

And, oh yes, and probably write another book this year.  Who's got time for Facebook?


Christine D. said...

As usual, Michael this post is well written and thought out.
I agree with you 100% about this!

Now, I do wonder how easy it is to " extricate" oneself from FB.

Do keep us "posted!"

Helen Opie said...

Good on you for reducing your Facebook presence! And thank you for telling us this; for me it validates my reasons for not having a presence there now. I only have an account in order to sign in when people who are only there ask me to. And I refuse to Like anything at all - as you say, all it is is a waste of time. Emily Dickinson said something about a frog, telling its name the live long day to an admiring bog. No need to spend time there when there is so much that is real to make life gratifying. (Tapestries had a good conversation about this subject this afternoon.)

Carolyn Jean Thompson said...

I totally refuse to get a facebook account, twitter, pinterest.... and to hear that FB did not help your business and took valuable time away from you confirms to me that I made a wise choice. I like your priorities, they make total sense to me.

Susan Williamson said...

I do find myself getting caught in the murk of FB at times but see no harm in linking it to my blog. I think you're right that in general there are better ways to spend your valuable marketing time. Stunning piece on this wonder it sold immediately!

Randall said...

Sound like your on track Michael, I'm not a fan of facebook anyway, less time on the computer and more time painting sounds good to me. Nice painting of the creek.


Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Life is already better w/o FB.

Donna T said...

I'm so glad I found this post. I've been resisting joining FB and now I feel better about that decision. Thanks for sharing your insight!

cabinart said...

I've been lectured about not joining FB and told that it is essential for marketing art. I put my hands over my ears, said "LALALALALA" and went back to work in the studio.

Thanks for your honesty about FB - it confirms my decision!