So I just got back from a “free class” on social media that cost $12.00 (the organizers held it at a local cafe I hadn’t been to before, so naturally I just had to try the food).  I wrote down every pearl of wisdom offered in the interests of promoting my business, and now my head is about to explode.

I am fifty, for godssakes….I am the master of the postcard mailer and the PRINTED newsletter, and yes, I sent them via snail mail.  I had a list of fax numbers for art magazines and I wasn’t afraid to use them, and printed my press releases in nice bold type with groovy fonts which I would like to think is the reason I got into the Wall Street Journal a few years back, bearing in mind that the article that was written on me was brief , snide, AND condescending.

But like the saying goes, bad press is better than no press at all.  Now I have not one but three websites, not one of which I know how to maintain, so the information on all three is generally old and out of date. I learned in my advanced internet marketing class that the only way to remain relevant in the age of social media, is to update your website once a week.  I don’t even know how to ACCESS my website, much less update the damned thing.  I have two blogs but no idea how to get anyone to read them, and now I am trying to educate myself on things like keywords and coding and search engines and hash tags, and why I haven’t blown a gasket yet is beyond me.

So the woman in this class says, write what you know about, be generous with your information, use the 22/2 rule (22 posts about yourself, two about your business) and relinquish control.  Results will ensue.  Life rewards action.  If you build it, they will come.  Well, obviously this woman has never been an artist, because relinquishing control is step one of the artists manifesto (well, if artists could organize themselves enough to HAVE a manifesto, although thank God I am not a philosopher, a poet or a procrastinator. I can imagine how that meeting would go).  Last year I got into practically every show I applied to.  This year I could show up at the jurying session naked, with a purse clamped in my teeth,  and STILL not get anywhere. She also told a story about a man who is an expert in chain link fences.  He writes a blog for the sheer love of the chain link fence, and as a result, has generated more business than he knows what to do with because everyone who needs a chain link fence references this man’s blog.

I don’t know anything about the fashion industry, other than the fact that I wear black cotton drawstring pants with long sleeves shirts from the Gap.  Until I started MAKING handbags, I carried a backpack.  So I wondered what I could write about that might be even remotely interesting to anyone reading this. But you know what? I LOVE creating handbags. I came up with some ideas recently that would make Elsa Schiaparelli proud as hell, and if you don’t know who she is, look her up. I love working on the bags, selecting the right shape for the design I have in mind, finding the right beads for the handle, or the right fabric for the lining.  Recently, I started work on a whole new line of bags in offbeat shapes that incorporate vintage items from ebay, and I have been having a ball hunting through listings trying to find just what I want.

I was the top gourd artist in the nation for many years, and I got there because I spent hours and hours and hours making sure every detail was perfect.  THAT is my passion. I collect old books, love riding Harleys with my sweetie,  I have a talent for finding off the beaten path adventures that don’t cost much, if they cost at all, and I have a nose for great housing at an amazing price, but I love what I do in this studio.   I just can’t quite figure out how to translate that into cash.  But trust me.  I WILL find a way…..