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Today I’m going to preach. This little sermonette is for those of us who are creatives, who make a living (even if it’s a little living) off of some sort of creative pursuit (writing, creating info-products, designing fabric, etc.), and especially for those who want to make a living doing this.
Now please know that I haven’t arrived. I’m not writing this post from my gorgeous home office and looking out over my private golf course. I’m sitting in my office/storage space/craft room/everything room in my apartment. And the furniture does not match. So you don’t have to be jealous while reading this. ;)
But seriously, even though I haven’t made it in terms of financial euphoria, I still think there is something to be said along the journey. And so that’s what I’m talking about today. Okay? Okay.
Do YOUR Thing – My Personal Goal for the Rest of Forever
You see, as I’ve admitted before on this blog, I’m a student (nerd) at heart. Doing this blogging thing has fed right into that since there is an incredible amount of information to learn, especially when you’re just getting started. I get that and I’m all for learning, taking notes, tweaking things, etc. But then something happens. I don’t know when that something is going to happen for you, but it will look like this:
Learn, implement, learn, learn, implement, learn, learn, learn. And then, is this even ME anymore?
In other words, you find yourself so busy putting everyone else’s ideas of success to work in your business that your ideas are placed further and further back. You realize this the day someone mentions how awesome you are at Twitter and you secretly hate Twitter. But then you think maybe you should create a course about what you’ve learned because, well, it would help others and you know your stuff, and you’d be able to pay for the things you really want to do.
It sounds so innocent, doesn’t it? And much of life is like this. You have to do some things that are not exactly fun in order to do the things you love, right? But the problem comes when your business and creative life becomes increasingly filled with busyness that is taking you nowhere and with a voice that isn’t really your own.
The thing is, you do not have to play someone else’s game. You don’t.
You need to do what’s right for you (and your family) and only you can determine that. This may mean blogging once a week. It may mean taking a break completely. It might mean creating products that are “scalable” (an eBook opposed to personal consultation.) Whatever it is, your business, blog, and creative life needs to reflect what is important to YOU.
Here’s the thing, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t get points if you work longer hours-you just get tired. We do need balance, even though so many people scoff at that idea these days. (It almost seems like you receive more high-fives from creatives if you admit to working yourself ragged and living off of coffee for years on end.) I’ll admit that your idea of balance will look different from mine and that’s fine. But find yours. Find what fills you up, what puts that spark back into your step, and do everything you can to make time for it.
There are a million magazine articles, blog posts, and guides that will teach you how to be successful. But they are written from that person’s idea of success. When you read those posts, ask yourself if their values align with yours before you decide to align with them. Feel free to pick and choose from their advice. Use what works for you.
Oh, and this one is directed at me, so you can just listen in. Turn off the computer and spend more time making and exploring your own creativity rather than reading up on everyone else’s. Yes, learn from the masters. Nothing wrong with that. But limit it so your own little voice can learn to sing.
Take the time to feed your creative soul. Get out and breathe the fresh air. Read. Share your life with others. And make stuff. Lots of it. Mess up. Try again. Make a practice to laugh until you’re doing sit-ups (or whatever odd thing you do when you laugh really hard.) Remember. Stop once (or more) each day and let that moment sink into you.
I recently read about an artist who suggested that we all create something in secret. This particularly struck me since in the world we live in, we’re so used to sharing everything. As you learn to do your own thing, consider creating a project that is yours alone. That you’ll never post ‘sneak peeks’ on Instagram, that doesn’t lead to anything, that is just for you. Maybe that is what this year will be all about for many of us. Forging new paths, creating for joy, and living more fully in the beautiful life we’ve been given.
Wouldn’t that be amazing? Because we need to hear who you really are, and the only way for that to happen is for you to do your thing.
Let’s do this!