Creating a New Habit
The fourth step is to make this process a habit. At the end of every week, set a time in your calendar to document your work and put it in a folder. If you don’t have a great photo of your work, that is OK for now; just take one with your own camera and put it in the file. When you get a chance to have the work photographed professionally, you can always replace or supplement your image at a later date. That is the way for your work to be archived, and after you are doing this for a while, you can begin to archive work from past years. You may not be able to do it as methodically as you are doing the present work, so if you find a work of art from the past, just determine the date it was made. You can approximate the date if you don’t remember and then put it in a folder, and as they accumulate for that year, you will have a whole new section.
Contact a Lawyer
The fifth step is to think about what you would like to happen to all of this if you are not here anymore. This is maybe the hardest step, but one of the most important because if all your work is archived perfectly, but no one knows, it will probably be thrown out or sold at some point. The idea is to make a living will, which you can do with a lawyer who can advise you on more details of it. A simple version of it would be to make a video recording of yourself speaking and also a handwritten document that is notarized and put it in a safe-deposit box at your bank. Most people don’t take this step, but it is really a generous thing to do, and this is why. When you leave loved ones behind, grieving, they have to do all kinds of things for you, and the easier you can make it for them, the better. It is a way to comfort them and make them feel confident in the choices they are making. If you are not sure what you want done with your work, you can say that, as well as give a few options; it is up to you, but this step, although it is a courageous and difficult one to make, will also help you sleep better, just like the monks, knowing your things are in order. These are my thoughts on organizing yourself this way, but for living wills, it is best to contact a lawyer who can guide you through the proper steps.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.