One of the things I am going to do less of this year is apply for everything all the time, and do fewer unsolicited communications with galleries.
I'll still be applying for things that are appropriate, and I am not doing this scaleback for defeatist reasons--I'm just being practical. I used to follow the classic career-building advice: always have lots of stuff mailed out and cast a very wide net. But you know, I don't get much out of all this effort. The odd residency, a nice note from a gallery about "keeping in touch..."
...I figured I was doing okay. But then I realized that I was spending so much time at the post office that I wasn't going to say hello to the gallerist who left the nice note in the first place!
My new motto: a bird in the hand is much more important than keeping fifty birds out in the bushes at all times. It is more effective to go say hello to one person than it is to pepper a thousand people with a packet that represents, to them, a chore. It is more effective (and much more fun) to go have a drink with friends or go to some openings than it is to compulsively update your resume.
The classic advice turns the artist into a mailroom clerk and a secretary. Fuck that. I will never forget how to go to the post office, and I do think there's a place for sending a packet to someone without being asked to first.
But it seems to me that always sending and never talking is just a recipe for staying very far away from the art world, even if you live in the heart of Chelsea or Culver City.