Sunday, September 03, 2006

The "stickability' factor

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!"
a very old adage - for a good reason

Yesterday, in my post "Will you be a success if you blog your paintings daily?" I suggested a number of factors which I think help artists to sell their work on-line - independently of 0n-line galleries or auction type websites.

Today, I want to emphasise one more factor - the "stickability" factor.

The reason for emphasising it is I think maybe too little attention has been paid to the fact that a lot of the people who are now enjoying success with sales associated with their daily painting blogs - or other art projects - didn't necessarily achieve success straight away. As is common in a number of walks of life, people's stories about how they achieved success tend to focus on what they did or what tools they used to become successful but skip the 'grind' that very often accompanies the use of those tools and which also preceded success. That 'grind' for artists is about hard work, practice and refinement. It's about 'doing' again and again and again until you get it right. Which means getting it wrong quite a lot of the time too.

So how do you get to cope with the 'grind' - I think it's about 'stickability'. What is 'stickability'? It's still slang (I think) but the various ways in which it is defined include
  • a positive mental attitude
  • staying power
  • perseverance
  • commitment
  • to stick with something until you perfect it
People who have 'stickability' are able to:
  • finish things they start
  • turn up every day
  • stick with a task in order to achieve success
  • suffer lots of failures before they achieve success
  • resist being discouraged when they don't get instant results
  • continue with the task despite failures / the lack of positive results
  • follow through and complete a task - even if it takes a long time
  • do what it takes to get to where they want to be
  • etc, etc
It's the reverse of "quitter's disease" - people who expect to get what they want right away and give up if they don't get it or it's hard to achieve quickly. Like giving up painting watercolours or oils because it's difficult and they can't paint like a master at the end of a two week painting holiday or draw perfectly after one class or workshop.

Personally, when I need to prod my own personal 'stickability' ingredient into action, I always try and remember an amusing metaphor I once read. A girl believed that she had to kiss 100 frogs before she would meet her prince. Her attitude was that every frog kissed was an achievement as it was one step nearer her quest. I find it makes it a lot easier to stick with a task if I remember that a failure is always just one more step on the path to learning how to be successful at what I'm trying to do.

You might not be a quitter - but do you have 'stickability'?

And can you be a successful artist without 'stickability'?


Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

[Tags and Link updated 27 October]


Lin said...


ming said...

yesterday's post was good! and i linked it,

today is just as good!

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Very true! It took me forever to start showing a profit with my art. If I'd given up at any stage . . . I definitely had to kiss at least 98 frogs before reaching my goal.

Jan Blencowe said...

Here's another very old adage that's worth remembering: Quitters never win and winners never quit.

Linda said...

Katherine -- I think I need to print out this (and the last couple) of posts from you and read them at least once a week! Thank you for all the interesting information you always have on your site!

Jeanette Jobson said...

”What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears continue; those who don’t, quit.” Art and Fear

bdelpesco said...

Bravo, bravo, bravo! This is a great post, and I so agree! "Plan your work, and Work your plan"! Thank you for such a great essay.

Patricia Roshaven said...

Perfect timing. I was just about ready to give up on my blog.

Paintdancer said...

Just what I needed to read today. Thanks for your wonderful uplifting posts, as I believe that most artists have the trait of stickability, but some haven't got the confidence (that would be me)to believe in themselves.

thecoppermouse said...

Thank you so much for this article!

American Genius said...

Wow, Thanks. I have been intrigued by possibilities in the past, but you make them seem realistic. Nothing is easy.

Jewel said...

well said, blogging, like art, is always long term.