Am I Really That Crazy?

I don’t know, you tell me.

I’m in Africa, never been here before, meeting people and seeing things and having a tremendous time…

And yet, I’m working.

Wtf Martin, are you really that crazy?

Is there no offtime for you?

Oh yes, there sure is.

But there’s a couple of good reasons why I’m still
working, even if it’s only my daily email and a replying to the most urgent emails that come in.

For one thing, to show you something, namely: business goes on, even if you’re on holidays.

Which doesn’t mean you can’t take time off – just that you need to make sure you have things in place to keep working while you’re not working.

For me, that’s the daily email.

That’s something so easy and so fast, now that I’ve been doing it for almost two years, that it literally takes me less than 20 minutes a day.

So I don’t consider it work – rather, it’s maintenance activity.

Aside from that, there’s the fact that yes, business goes on even if I’m not working.

Sure it would be fun to just completely disconnect, have 100% downtime while I’m away.

But actually?

I don’t want to.

Not fully.

Because I’m in the business of being a fixture in your life, and that doesn’t just stop when I stop.

Of course I could have pre-written my dailies, and scheduled them to go out automatically.

But that’s not how I work.

These emails, they’re baked fresh daily.

Pre-writing them just wouldn’t be the same.

For you, perhaps – you might not notice the difference.

But it’s exactly this ‘getting down to it daily’ that is the core of my work.

And that’s why I’d rather miss the odd one out, like last week, instead of having them all pre-written and set up for send in advance.

I need to stay in this groove, you see.

It’s how I work, how I live my life.

And then there’s another thing, something I need to show you.

And it’s really really important.

See, right now I’m at the Rabat train station, and our train to Fes is delayed.

Well ain’t that just perfect?

I had no idea what I was going to write today, had not had a chance yet, and whoops: suddenly there’s a 40 minute void in my day.

What better to do than to grab my laptop and rap out a little message to you?

It’s perfect.

And that’s another lesson today: you might be really busy.

I believe it when you say your days are frigging full.

But even in days like that, you’ll find small slots, tiny spaces of vacuum.

And to be more effective and more efficient in your art business, it’s exactly a matter of making use of those when you have the chance, that you get to put in small but important bits.

Could be jotting down a writing idea in a notebook.

Maybe a quick sketch of something you want to paint.

Reviewing your calendar, or perhaps simply tweeting a bit while standing in line at the supermarket.

There’s more time in the day than you think.

And while those slots might seem like downtime, they usually aren’t because you feel unproductive.

That’s why I prefer to use those.

That way, I get to have more, and actual, offtime – which means I enjoy it more and I get more rest from it.

Your mileage may vary.

But I say it’s worth your time (get it?) to look at it, and see how you treat your time.

Anyway, learn the ins and outs of this kind of thinking for your business, in the monthly LEAP newsletter –>



Blame Game vs Ownership: "It's Because of the Crisis!"

A vernissage last Friday, some very interesting abstract work in a small Danish gallery.

Talking to one of the visitors – herself a painter – she laments:

“Used to be my work sold really well, all through galleries.

“But it’s because of the crisis, that’s when everything fell to pieces and sales were decimated”.

I see what she means but it’s not how things work.

Sure, things were easier in the past.

And yes, the economy broke the back of many a business – art and otherwise.

But let me ask you this: If you’re out for a walk and it starts to rain, do you just let it rain on you?

Or do you flip open your umbrella…?

When traffic clogs up ahead of you, do you just motor on without slowing down?

If the cheese in your fridge has gone off, do you eat it anyway?

Of course not.

Any sensible person will react to change, and adjust their own attitude or actions to match the new status quo.

Of course it’s a pity when external circumstances reduce the output of what you’ve carefully built up.

But it’s going to happen sooner or later, one way or another.

Life is composed of an endless series of changes.

And your life in it is composed of an endless series of choices.

When things change, you have the option to choose to change as well.

When you do, you keep moving.

If you don’t, things stagnate, and you end up stuck longing for the good old days.

I say listen to life, and adjust your actions and strategies to what life presents you with.

When sales drop, choose to own your business, and learn what you need to know in order to crank them up again.

That’s how you build and sustain a business.

Here’s a strategy for you to consider: learning how the psychology of your buyer works, and what methods of exposure and communication work for you and your art business.

And here’s a choice to consider: signing up for the LEAP art marketing newsletter, so that you learn exactly that, and more.

More information here –>



Art Marketing Interview With JohnnyBTruant of the SelfPublishingPodcast


Alrighty, so here’s the interview with JohnnyBTruant, about writing as a marketing tool for artists.

This is the first one in a series, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a looong long series of interviews.

In this one, you’ll hear:

•    Why Johnny thinks writing – or some sort of content creation – is essential for artists

•    The reason people need to know about you and not just your art

•    Why a little bit of egocentricity is unavoidable for artists, and why that’s not a bad thing at all

•    Why talking about yourself is simply an extension of your art and your belief that it should be out there in the world (you do believe that, don’t you, artist?)

•    Why you can talk about what you do – and what Johnny observed about how interesting that is to people.

•    Why art is in a way like telepathy, and you can’t control the message people receive. BUT you can control the context of the message (You paint a picture with words but they perceive it through their own lens)

•    What traffic can do for traffic and visibility, and what Johnny and the SPP boys learned from their blogging experiment

•    Why writing isn’t the only way to attract attention and traffic

•    Why the artist John Unger does what Austin Kleon teaches: show your work

•    Why you must target people who are interested and why you must be always find ways to be relevant to them

•    Why you can easily talk about yourself, so long as you keep it tied to them.

•    Why you should give people a reason why they should care

•    Why transparency is so important

•    Why you must be explicit about inviting people to take action after they read or watch you

•    Be yourself: stop trying to sound like someone else, that’s when you find your own voice

•    Why for self-publishing books you absolutely must publish more than one book

•    Why in nearly all cases it’s a bad idea to design your own book cover

•    Why you should write faster in order to silence the internal critic, and how this enables Johnny to publish 1,5 million words each year.

•    Resist the temptation to go back and make it better

•    An experiment I’m running with a painter friend who writes about his paintings and what Johnny thinks of it

This is a good one. Don’t miss it.

Some Artists I Just Can't Help

Kitty Harri, for example.

That chick, she don’t need no help.

Yesterday I visited her in her sculpture garden.

I was blown away.

One terrace after another, filled with fantastic and beautiful sculptures.

All kinds of styles, artists, nationalities, meanings – it was breathtaking.

Originally from Sweden, she’s lived in many countries and done many things – from psychotherapy to sculpture, and on the way she became a bestselling novelist.

Current project: two 7-meter totem poles.

Talk about guts and grit.

I’m going to have to call her and ask if she wants to do an interview, because there’s a lot we can all learn from her.

See if I can pry the secret of her success out of her.

My crystal ball though tells me I already know: persistence mixed with adaptability.

Oh, and hard work: she is just unstoppable.

But I’ll let her tell me for herself.

Meanwhile, do pay her a visit if you’re ever in the Costa Tropical area, and see the sculpture garden for yourself.

There’s nothing like contemplating art and life while looking at a sculpture called ‘The Universe’, consisting of a 5 by 4 meter slab of Indian marble and a tiny figurine eyeing it.

You pluck an apple from the tree beside you, and chew on it and your thoughts.

Sure is good to be back in the world.

What an experience.

Meanwhile, here’s another kind of experience: Being turned into a highly proficient email writer, and selling your art that way.

That experience awaits you on the other side of this click –>



7AM, Staggering Home Like a Drunken Hobo

But I hadn’t had a drop to drink.

C’mon – 7AM?

I’d not been on any all-night bender either – I had simply been out on my morning walk.

Problem was, the day before I had taken a walk on the pebble beach at around 4PM.

And I don’t know if ever you’ve been to Andalusia, but things get HOT here.

Especially the pebbles on the beach.

Sure it felt refreshing once I’d crossed the beach and reached the surf, and yes I’d practically done ballet getting over there.

But I had no idea I had worked up blisters the size of my thumb on the soles of my feet.

I only discovered that later on.

So obviously my feet were quite painful the next morning.

But a walk in the morning is what I do, and there has to be some pretty damn compelling reason for me to skip it.

Wanna know why?

Because it’s good for me.

Because if, like last Sunday, I don’t go, my entire day is off.

It’s something that has become part of my day, and it must. be. done.

Blisters or no.

Or, in the words of the great philosopher John Rambo:

“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”.

The reason I’m telling you this:

Sometimes, you don’t feel like it.

Some days, you just want to slack off.

Give it a miss, do something else, get to it tomorrow.

Like writing a daily email: you may have noticed that last Monday, there was no missive.

And it’s bothered me all week, like a pebble in your shoe.

Today, I also had ‘stuff’ going on.

Which is why I’m writing this so late in the day.

But it’s something I do, and must do, and here we are.


What about you?

What are the things that you skimp on, especially the things that you know are good for you?

What do you do to make sure you do do them?

Cheers, happy weekend.


Eyes Wide Shutter

I’ve never noticed exactly how much vegetation actually bursts out in blossoms here on the coast, in May.

It’s amazing: the colours, the shapes, the sheer tenacity of things clinging to the side of a rock, broiling in blistering heat – yet flowering.

One reason I started to notice could be that it was only last year that I developed a habit of going for walks.

But that wouldn’t really make sense – I did go out often enough, just never noticed.

Maybe this year I noticed because I walk different routes, instead of to the supermarket and back.

Or, it could be because I started experimenting, taking photos.

It’s really odd though:

It’s not just the flowers.

It’s the very way I look at the world – it’s changing.

The more I look for views and details that inspire me to whip out my phone and snap a shot, the more I see things.

Shapes. Colours. Lines. Spaces. Harmony.

It’s very different these days, to walk along the beach or through the narrow streets.

Quite a beautiful experience.

So yeah, I um, I’ve decided I want to be an artist.

And no: while there’s no sane person in the world who would say Martin is devoid of arrogance, I’m not about to call myself a photographer. I know my place.

Nor do I have the inclination to become one, or learn what it takes.

All I want to do is develop a habit of looking, of seeing in a different way, and to record things that inspire me.

In other words, I’m giving myself permission to not be a pro, and to not sell.

I’m doing this for its own sake, for my own enjoyment, and for the one or two people who might come across a pic on Twitter and say ‘Hey, nice one’.

Maybe one day I’ll give myself permission to become Really Very Good.

Permission to sell.

But not today.

Today I just want to enjoy the process, notice the scenery.

Smell the flowers.

I have permission for just that without anything more.

Just like you have permission to not sell, and to simply enjoy making art.

You don’t HAVE to sell.

But if you want to, and if you want to be successful, you have permission for that too.

Question is, are you willing to learn to love selling and marketing and being in business as an artist?

What’s that?

You are?

Hey now, then why not LEAP? –>



Act With Confidence: Let Me Show You How It's Done


Scaffolding of the next LEAP, ready to fill in…

Last night, Jimmy and I did a little test drive for this week’s upcoming call, during which I’ll answer questions from last week’s survey.

I found it… difficult.

Unnerving, actually.

I mean, usually I’m not easily lost for words.

But with a camera staring at me, it wasn’t quite the same.

I felt self-conscious: aware of my um’s and ah’s, my stammering, my looking off-screen while thinking…

Not at all the kind of ‘professional webinar’ type stuff that other people make.

And if it were completely up to me, I’d probably skip it and write something instead.

But, that takes a lot of time (just the 16 pages of LEAP take anywhere from 5 to 8 days each month).

And I just don’t want you to wait until I have enough time for that.

Besides, my intention isn’t to produce a highly polished, professional looking, semi-informational-but-50%-sales-pitch event for you.

I want to answer your questions, as many as I can, as fast as I can.

So with the help of Jimmy I’m just going to go ahead and do it, whether I’m confident or not.

Whether I feel like it, or not.

And to be completely honest, I don’t 100% feel like it.

But guess what?

That matters nought.

So to make sure I actually do it, I’m telling you about it in advance.

What can I say? I know myself…

Anyway, that will be next Friday.

Will I answer all questions?

Probably not, since we have one hour but I have 15+ pages of questions.

Besides, I simply don’t know all the answers. Nobody does.

But anything that I can answer, I will.

And whether I feel confident that it’ll turn out right, I’ll do what Seth Godin preaches:

Ship it. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, go here to get on board LEAP in time –>
Only a few days left to get the email marketing instructional…



What's Love Got to Do With It? (Oh, the Things I Don't Know)

If you ask a biologist, love is a biochemical reaction that maintains species.

A neurochemical process to do with hormones and instinct.

If you ask a religious believer, he or she will tell you it’s God.

Ask a philosopher and he’ll ponderously expound on themes such as existence, humanity, and truth.

If you ask a psychologist, they’ll likely tell you it’s emotions.

Ask a linguist and he’ll tell you it’s a socio-semantic construct.

And if you ask me…

You get no answer.

I’d just smile at you, most probably.

Because for all my years of introspection and meditation…

Despite having ‘fallen in love’ many times – with women, with life, with meditation, with music, and most recently with art…

I just have no clue what it is, what it means, what it’s for, or when it’s real.

No idea.

But I do know one thing: if you do love, or if you are in love – act on it.

This life is too short to shield ourselves, or to hide our emotions, or to play safe.

Be brazen, be audacious – be in love.

Like Brendon Burchard likes to say: “Live openly, love fully, and make a difference”.

Today, I wish for someone special to show up and express their love for you.



One thing useful to fall in love with? Daily email-writing.

Help here –>

Alright, FINE. I'll start drawing

Many are the times that I’ve been told that I should start drawing.

A few times in my life, I’ve tried.

Most all of the time, what I created was pretty bad.

Each time I’d draw a person, it would invariably look like it was made out of wood.

And so, I’d stow away my charcoal, or Indian Ink, or pencils, and move on to Things I’m Good At.

Like writing, or making suits, or building stuff in the monastery.

But you artist lot, you just won’t leave me alone.

Every so often, an artist will come at me and say that I should, that I’d enjoy it, that I might actually even become good at it.

Obviously I rejected those ideas, but you know what?

Sometimes good advice should be followed.

Especially if it’s from someone you trust.

Last week on the weekly consulting call I have with Irish artist Jimmy Kelly, he too started laying the hurt on me.

And by golly, after a year of working with him, he’s sure become persuasive.

So I relented.

I’ve started sketching.

And you know what?

I actually enjoy it.

Happy now, Jimmy?

No, I’m not showing it.

I’m just practising for now, this is for me and not for showing.

Next year, who knows. But right now, not yet.

Anyway, I’m glad he pushed me to it.


And as far as advice goes, and picking up a new habit, may I just proffer you some solid advice of my own?

As in: write a daily email and send it to your people.

If you practice a bit, it gets fun. And easy.

And it gets you sales, if you do it right.

And I’ll help you if you want –>



Do You Have Any Idea How Important You Are?

To me? You’re the world.

Without you, I wouldn’t have any reason to do this work.

Without people who create art, in whatever way, I’d still be stuck writing sales copy for people selling e-books about dog training and whatnot.

“Hey Martin, we’re developing the ultimate Facebook killer! Can you write copy for us?”

Sigh. Very glad those days are over.

If it weren’t for you, the person whose mission it is to make a dent in the universe with the creations that you feel matter, I’d have nothing.

No audience, no readership, no business.

It’s by virtue of you giving me permission to send you daily updates that I have a reason to vigorously rub my hands together each morning, while firing up my brain with the question:

“What can I possibly say that just may shine a light in their day?”

You are important, you matter a lot.

You are my sine qua non.

And I thank for for reading me.



P.s. If you want to learn how to write emails like a pro in less than 30 minutes daily, consider my writing mentorship program.

Your mind will change, as will your business; your readers will thank you, and yes, they’ll buy from you.

Details here –>

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