Tag Archives: Creative Process

Learn to Trust Yourself

Saundra walking at Barn

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I began the year with clear creative and personal goals: maintain momentum on the manuscript and see it through to publication (or at least representation,) and listen to my body as I continue to heal from mycotoxins and the havoc they’ve wreaked on my health.

 

I had no clear goals for my business, however. I knew I needed a second online program, but I had little space to for it. Frankly, it’s been that way since I launched my business and in many ways that has served me.

 

I do one thing at a time and I don’t overthink things. Out of necessity, Creative Mix has grown slowly, but organically. I follow my intuition and let one thing evolve out of another.

 

Like all of my programs, Where We Live and Love seemed to come out of thin air as the next right thing. Jennifer Chenoweth’s questions for her XYZ Atlas project were provocative and provided a structure, and the theme of place dovetailed nicely with our 100 days of writing “Where I am” in Continuous Practice.  But I didn’t pounce on it. I waited a few weeks to see if it would stick.

 

During my frequent walks around the block at work, details about the class would pop into my head.

 

  • The thought came that it had to be four weeks, and that I would send assignments twice a week. It needed to be manageable, something people could commit to.

 

  • Then another thought: It would cost $97. It should be affordable.

 

  • Finally, the last piece: There would be twenty people.

 

If you’ve ever launched your own program, you know the horror of launch day, when there is barely a trickle of interest. That wasn’t so for this course, although I still had to wait and work for it to fill. While I told myself I’d be content with ten students, my intuition had been correct. As of the first day of class, I had exactly twenty people registered.

 

Why do I share all this?

 

No to prove I’m a mystic, but that I’ve learned, at least with my business, to listen for what’s calling and to only respond when I get a strong signal. I learned this studying with Natalie Goldberg, who repeatedly reminded us not to grab at things, to let the words, the images, the next moves in life come to you. Admittedly, this has been easier in business than in writing, as I’m less attached to outcome.

 

Clients usually come to me to because they want to be more productive in their creative work, but many also want to find ways of producing income that won’t drain their energy from their creative projects. Many want to work for themselves, teaching independently like I do.

 

First, I tell them it takes a time to build. It has taken me three years to make a profit. And while I just admitted to not giving it my all, it takes most new businesses at least that much time to make money.

 

Second, I tell them to start small and pilot. Don’t jump in with a year-long program. Start with a three-hour workshop or a three-session agreement with a client. And don’t overthink it.

 

What do you long to share with others? What can skills or knowledge can you give them in a short segment of time? Teach that.

 

Then see what evolves. Ask yourself works and what doesn’t work? What is the next logical step?

 

Wait for the answer and move only when you can distinguish a clever idea from a deeper calling.

 

And what about learning to trust yourself in art and writing? I’ll share my own failings on that subject next week and the process that finally helped me turn the corner.