Design Aglow’s Creative Writer & Editor Laura Lawson Visconti shares her early lessons learned in this installment of our “What I Wish I Knew” series, chronicling the mistakes and revelations creatives made during their first years in business. We hope you find inspiration (and we’re sure you’ll find some commiseration!) in these stories.
I remember the first words the professor said to my Figure Drawing class my very first day attending art school. “You are here because you chose to be here, not because you are talented.” Come again? After years of taking oil painting lessons every weekend growing up, I had made the decision to study Fine Art, blissfully ignoring all the naysayers who told me being a creative wouldn’t amount to anything. And on my very first day of college I’m told that talent doesn’t exist... I listened, wide-eyed, as my professor rattled on and on about how succeeding as an artist, as a creative, was a choice. Natural ability, while it certainly exists, can only take you so far without diligent work ethic and simply putting the time in… lots and lots of time. The work would never find me. I had to find the work. I put this mantra into practice. I became a “creative.” I fell in love with blogging and later writing.
As the years have progressed, I have done every kind of creative work under the sun: publishing a book, painting, public speaking, social media, design, photography… When you’re creative, it’s easy to say yes to every opportunity because oftentimes there just aren’t very many of them. It probably sounds like I was working myself to the bone with a crazy hectic schedule every day, but in reality, I was completely overwhelmed by all that I had set out to accomplish for myself. Most days I didn’t know where to start first. Trying to accomplish everything was stripping me of the possibility of accomplishing anything. It was a tough realization, but eventually I had to face the facts: I was mediocre at a plethora of things and not excellent at any of them.
So I decided to wear less hats. I stopped the juggling, and decided to pursue just writing for awhile, allowing time for other passions here and there as a way to recharge. I was a lot less stressed, and the best part? My writing got better. Multitasking, a wonderful trait in and of itself, should not be your job description. Putting the time in is just the first step — it’s knowing how to use your time wisely. Many highly successful entrepreneurs will tell you that from the time they started out, they knew what they were good at and which tasks to delegate to others. Just because you’re a creative does not mean you need to do every creative aspect of your business! Find others who specialize in those areas (like design or social media) and save your energy for what you’re truly passionate about. Some of my favorite products here at Design Aglow are designed to equip you do just that, like our wonderful Big Picture Planner which allows you to focus on one goal at a time. Less burnouts = more productivity! Another great one is our brand new Virtual Postcards, a bundle of wonderful little marketing tools created to save you time and money so you can focus more on what you love.
Laura Lawson Visconti is the Creative Writer & Editor at Design Aglow. Her freelance writing has been published internationally. She recently released her first book Believing is Seeing, chronicling her journey battling retinitis pigmentosa. Laura lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and (sadly) no pets (yet).
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.
I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.