15 Reasons to Stay Focused on Developing your Craft

15 Reasons to Stay Focused on Developing your Craft

May 18, 2012 by

Let’s great straight into this idea of ‘craft’. What is it, and why is it worth pursuing?

My own thought on craft is that it is more a honed skill, style or application, than a tangible object. Craft is your technique; your brain’s neural connections, sculpted over hours of practice. Your craft is the way in which you apply paint to a canvas, how you think about a new musical composition or how you structure your written sentences in a short story.

Theoretically, one’s craft can be applied to various mediums, such as writing and film directing, but often there isn’t enough time in the day to apply it to more than one focus, but it’s certainly possible.

It is through working on that which you love, that it can be matured over time.

The pinnacle of craft can never, however, (at least in my view) be fully reached. Being kept motivated through constant growth and improvement, is the very essence of what craft is about.

And yet, often one’s ability to work on a craft can get swallowed up by the other things that take up your life. Your day job, children, pets and trips can all get in the way of the focus that your craft truly deserves. You might even dump your craft when you think it’s not going anywhere, or that you feel you are not talented enough, or that you have momentarily lost enthusiasm.

The fact is, everyone possesses craft. It’s simply down to you to develop and nurture it over time.

Understanding where your craft can take you and how it can define you can be a very powerful motivator to keep going.

Here are 15 reasons to stay focused on your craft:

1. Your style can only continue to accentuate.

Even five extra minutes of working on an illustration in a day will have a small effect on your style. It’s impossible to regress. Either you are learning from mistakes or making changes that are refining how you express yourself creatively, or otherwise.

2. Your exposure will increase.

Obviously the amount of self promotion and marketing your work receives will have an effect on this, and it is assumed that you allow your craft be seen by others at least occasionally.

With regular commitment to your craft over time, and as your skill improves, more and more people will talk about you, share your work for you, and get you referrals and projects.

3. The more time you dedicate to developing your craft, the more you will learn about what you are capable of.

Time spent, even time just thinking about your craft, is time well spent. Spending focused time in this way will contribute greatly to knowing what you are capable of doing with your skill, as well as adding to the value you possess as a crafts-person.

4. You will develop more credibility as an artist/ skilled person.

Staying with a craft for a long time will, if anything, show you care for what you do. Caring in this way generates trust in those that follow and take an interest in you, which is very valuable.

5. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn from them and know what to avoid in future.

Making mistakes is one of the most important elements of developing craft. Craft is effectively the culmination of making many mistakes that have guided you along the way.

6. Your understanding of your craft will continually develop, making you increasingly more valuable as an expert in your field.

The more you know, the closer you will get to reaching expert status in your field, and being a valuable member of that industries community.

7. The more you learn, the more you can teach others.

8. Your self confidence will increase, as long as you are growing with time spent and mistakes made.

You need to be matching a positive attitude with the progress (or lack of it) you realise on working in the way you do.

9. The more honed your craft is, the more you will stand out in your field

Honing your technique, your skill and your style will inevitably feed into your uniqueness as an artist.

10. The further you go, the more you can create, because your understanding of your ability has grown

Because you understand more of what you are capable of, and your skills have improved, you can create more, with less of the resistance you faced in the early days of working on your craft.

11. Your craft can make transitions to other mediums, if you feel that’s where you need to go, much smoother

We hear of many creative minds applying themselves in different mediums, even different industries, but often the transition is easier, because craft has already been developed to some degree.

12. The more of a career you can make out of it.

A more fine-tuned craft can mean the significance of one’s career surrounding it becomes more relevant; more sought-after.

13. The more value you have as a creator, owing to your experience, the more you can charge.

With time spent on your craft, comes the potential to increase the income you make from it.

14. Your understanding of how other things and processes work, will improve.

Through learning and developing a craft, one gains a fuller understanding of something very specific. This knowledge can be applied with confidence to understanding other things.

For example, a photographer who nurtures a craft in professional photography can better harness an awareness of how best to capture images that have meaning.

This is not to mention the fact that related practices like an understanding how to use particular software or equipment, or even how business and marketing works, will improve as well.

15. The more of a legacy you will leave behind.

This can be a great motivator to continue, if anything. Forging your own craft can have a very significant effect on what you will be remembered for.

Don’t forget: The journey is the reward.

Now, go work on your craft, and make no excuse!

What are your thoughts? Please do leave a comment.

About the Author: Alex Mathers

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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"Your blog inspires me so much, and helps me feel somehow not as insignificant, despite the plethora of artists around the world."Natalie, artist

  • http://siobhan-bevans.artistwebsites.com/ Siobhan

    Thanks that certainly motivates!

  • kuda.de

    very motivating, really a really a great read .

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks guys, glad to hear it

  • http://www.webdesignerjay.com Jay Kaushal

    Great article Alex. So inspiring and motivating. You are very right “The journey is the reward”. I am trying to pick up point number 7 ahead now. My local design schools want me to teach new students about graphic design and coding skills. I am seriously thinking about taking at least one class a day. It will enhance my own public speaking skills, I can share my experience with new designers and above all they will be paying for my time :)

  • Alex Mathers

    Thank you Jay. That sounds like something worth seizing, even if it is just a little to start. Sounds good! Go for it.

  • http://MelzeArt Melinda

    Thanks I needed the reminder of what it means to stay focused on on top of what I do.Very uplifting!

  • Katie

    I’m glad I read this!

  • Alex Mathers

    Great, Katie!

  • http://www.formatodesconocido.com.ar Ema

    I loved this one. Great article! :)

  • http://www.freelanceunleashed.com/ Chris Green

    I like this a lot. I think most of us creatives can flit around from one craft to the next and never really dig deep to the levels that make us excellent at what we’ve chosen to focus on.

  • http://kayness-art.blogspot.com Kay

    yes! This is really true. I agree with everything, and that’s pretty much the ultimate for freelancers, I think!

  • Alex Mathers

    thanks guys!

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  • http://adoboart.com April Ricafort

    Glad I clicked on the link. I needed this. Thanks so much!

  • Alex Mathers

    glad you enjoyed it April!

  • http://paradisenauts.tumblr.com/ Costas

    The way you put it makes sense!

  • Pingback: HOW TO STAY FOCUSED ON DEVELOPING YOUR CRAFT

  • https://www.facebook.com/CTA.Galleries.Online.Art Anne McCann

    Good article, well put.

  • http://artofroz.com/ Rositsa ‘roz’ Zaharieva

    That was very motivating! And I could surely use some motivation.. and time. Or the motivation to MAKE time, which I believe is rather the case.

    Thank you for the boost :)

  • Alex Mathers

    My pleasure to share it with you, Rositsa!

  • BrianSJ

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
    -Aristotle

  • http://twitter.com/artesianmind John E. Schroeder

    Great article! My only problem is choosing a craft… there are so many that are so appealing. How does one cure the ‘jack of all trades master of none’ syndrome so as to choose a craft to master?

  • reverbsoul

    I see “learn from mistakes” and “make mistakes often” all the time and it makes me wonder if maybe we’re misusing the word. Perhaps what we really mean is to “embrace things that don’t come out as planned,” because if we’re learning and growing we haven’t really made a mistake…have we?

  • http://twitter.com/latinartlover latinartlover

    Thanks for the advice. It is wonderful to read and find guidance about things one should be doing, I have started to focus completely on my craft not only on the creative side of it but also in the marketing and branding area.

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  • http://www.gentrydesigncompany.com/ Tamra M. Gentry

    Love-love-LOVE this post. I agree with all of these points. It helps to hear them all from someone else and know that you’re on the right track. Thank you!

  • http://www.tracieandrews.co.uk/ Tracie Andrews

    Excellent article!!

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  • http://www.voxie.co.uk/ Rhoda Villegas

    Too true. I feel like I know all of the things you say here, deep inside myself. I feel recognition, like someone share’s my thoughts. But they’re easily forgotten ones. Thank you for the reminder. :)

  • TomNapperDesign

    A great article. I couldn’t recommend adopting these points enough. I recently became aware that I’ve been stagnating in my career for a few years, not really spending any time progressing my craft. The result is total boredom. Three days of pursuing tutorials and training later and the resulting enthusiasm for what I do is incredible! (motion graphics)

  • Alex Mathers

    Brilliant Tom! It’s definitely very important to keep pushing your craft, developing it, and experimenting, to keep things interesting.

  • chloepink

    Hey Alex! Thanks for helping me and so many artists follow their dreams. XO, Chloe Pink (Sharna Fulton)