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Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Calligrapher

Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Calligrapher

Calligraphy is a visual art, but one which is dedicated solely to the creation of text. It is in high demand in niches such as wedding stationery; font and logo design; and even for the creation of inscriptions and historical documents. In fact, as we move towards a world where ever increasing amounts of text appear online, the handwritten word seems to be more highly celebrated than ever before.

The History of Calligraphy

The word calligraphy is formed from two Greek words, ‘kalli’and ‘graphy’ which, in turn, mean beautiful and writing. Calligraphy has been widely used in both Western and Eastern traditions and with such a rich heritage it is unsurprising that this art form is still so sought after today.

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The Tools of the Trade

The tools of calligraphy have evolved through the centuries. Originally stiffened paint brushes, wooden pens or even large feathers were used. While contemporary calligraphers still sometimes choose to work with the traditional tools, they also have a wide range of specialised pens and markers available to them.

Calligraphy as a Career

Many professional calligraphers initially start out on a part-time basis. The easiest way to begin your career is to set up as a freelancer for hire. You can then advertise your availability and work on a project by project basis for companies and private individuals who need your particular skill-set. Check out this guide on how to become a professional calligrapher.

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With the rise in popularity of the handmade arena, and the blossoming of websites such as Etsy and Folksy, you can also create products which feature calligraphy and offer them for sale. Bespoke items, such as wedding invitations and family tree wall prints, can sell particularly well and at a premium price point due to the craftsmanship involved.

Learning Calligraphy

Calligraphy is open to anyone who wants to learn to master the skill. The joy of the art form for most people is that it is so accessible to learn and can be pursued in any small pockets of time you have available, for little cost.

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Calligraphy Qualifications

There are no set qualifications or degrees available in the field although if you wanted to pursue it at a higher education level you could do so as part of a visual arts degree. As this article also highlights many people who gain an interest in calligraphy do so after learning about ancient alphabets during their study of history.

Finding a Calligraphy Class

Calligraphy can be learnt from books; online classes; or from any of the many workshops or classes which are held up and down the country. It is also an art form where you can be continually learning something new and this can expand your opportunities if you choose calligraphy as a career.

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Payment & Your Portfolio

The salaries of calligraphers will vary widely depending on the projects you get hired for and how in-demand your skills are. That’s why continually expanding your knowledge and experience can be a big boon. Also it is a wise idea to build a wide ranging portfolio over time so you can demonstrate your ability easily to new clients. Nothing speaks louder for a calligrapher than the pen they have already put to paper.

Working as a professional calligrapher is a very flexible occupation and can be done on a full-time basis or fitted around other commitments, such as paid employment; care for dependents or even education. It is also a skill which once acquired can be used throughout your career.

With so few barriers to entry; little initial financial outlay needed to take up the skill; and ultimately so much to gain from reaching a professional level there is very little to stop you. The biggest factor in becoming a professional calligrapher will be your love of the art form; your desire to master it; and the hours of practice you are willing to put in.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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James Timpson

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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