On Going from Door to Door

I’m still several weeks away from the official kick-off of the Facelife door-knocking campaign. As I go about my summer travels and family gatherings I’ve been searching the web for tips on being a successful door-to-door canvasser. I’m putting together a preliminary list of tips that should give me courage as the big day nears, and I’ll be posting that list shortly, for those of you who are moved to join in this Facelife endeavor and meet your neighbors, too.

One piece of advice that keeps it all in perspective is that if the experience of knocking on strange doors and speaking to new people about yourself ends up being as terrifying and awful as it now seems, having not yet tried it, you can just quit and get a different job. This advice is directed toward salespeople and campaigners mostly, but it reminds me of two helpful facts about my career. First, I’m not going to give up my art career so easily, but if this tactic of becoming a more engaged member of my local community, both as artist and citizen, doesn’t work, then I can just shelve it and try other approaches. I don’t need to get a different job, just a different method. Second, I realize that the career I’m building is an unconventional one, and, for some, not even a real job at all: I’m pushing for a career in which I make a living doing exactly what I want. So, because my job at this early stage doesn’t look like a real job, particularly to people who have bosses and regular paychecks, I feel that doing something that most of us find intimidating gives this art career more street cred. Or in other words, if I want to be a professional artist so badly, I better be willing to put myself through all manner of trials to get there.

If I ask myself, “Will doing this help my art career even a little?” and the answer is “Yes”, then I need to go ahead and do it, unless I’m exposing myself to danger or violating ethics. I need to demonstrate to myself and my audience that being the kind of artist I want to be is not about hiding in my studio and playing the role of the delicate fellow, but about making the best looking stuff that I can and showing my enthusiasm about that stuff to as many people as I can.

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