sparkly glass wave

Earlier this year I was in a bit of turmoil about my work. So I took a step back, to see if I could make some kind of sense out of the confusion. I did make a little, so I stepped forward again and wrote this. {Which I actually think is the best post I’ve ever written, and that in itself is a significant signpost I missed for a while.}

Time passed, things happened, I ran Abstractify for what seemed likely to be the last time {still not sure about that yet}, and then I went away for a few days to a cosy cottage in the country where there was no internet and a lot of solitude. It was blissful, and I realised some truths about myself that needed acknowledging. When I got back I jumped straight into Susannah Conway’s new ecourse, The Inside Story, and immediately fell down a rabbit hole of renewed excitement, passion, and curiosity for my work. To say I’m happy about this is an understatement.

The undercurrents

For quite a while now I’ve been feeling that my blog has moved a bit too far from what it was when I first began, about seven years ago. Back then it was only ever about making art {and other things}, sharing, and connecting with others doing the same. I was coming out of a long depression and rediscovering my art, and myself through it. It wasn’t about making money, and I’m not meaning to imply that that’s a bad thing.

It’s just that, for me anyway, as soon as earning entered the equation, the pressure that created took me on a different path from where I started. It’s not that I’ve strayed in terms of integrity; I still share as honestly and transparently as I can about the creative process, what I learn, and whatever I think of or see would be helpful to address around that. But there’s definitely a style of writing that is more ‘businessly’ inclined, and an approach to the work that shifts when you are looking at it as a source of income.

I write to the best of my ability and I stand by and believe in the message behind everything I say on this website, which is essentially {although not exactly ‘new information’} that we are all creative. That it’s simply {if not always easily} a matter of finding out how that comes through each of us as unique individuals and cultivating it. And that I want to support and encourage anyone who wants to do that, because I do ultimately believe {and know, for myself} that creativity isn’t an indulgence or a thing to do when you’ve done everything else; it’s an essential part of being a whole person, and whole people are what this world needs, more and more.

I would do this work in some form or other even if it never earned me a penny {and often do!}; I can’t imagine what else I’d be doing that would feel as meaningful, fun, interesting, fulfilling, or worthwhile, or line up so well with who I am. There are two elements that haven’t been sitting quite right for me though; the need to earn enough to make it viable to continue, and the consequent necessity to learn about how to do that. I’ve done a lot of business courses at this point, but it wasn’t until I took Susannah’s course that I truly understood what was missing; ‘me’, as I am. Bumbling and stumbling and sometimes triumphant; often unsure of what I’m doing {although not why}. Learning as I go. That I can be exactly who I am and still do this work successfully, in all the ways that means for me.

So something definitely has to change, but it’s not about anything dramatic like closing the site, or starting something new. And it’s not about going backwards; if this is to be my work I’d like to – and in part need to – make it more financially viable than it currently is. But I also want to be more me, not me with my ‘this is a business’ hat on. As I realised a while back, I’m not an entrepreneur. But I still believe there’s a way to make it work where I get to be just me and bring in some money. And I think sharing that side of things feels more like me and might also be more useful to you. So it’s really about a bit of course correcting.

A few adjustments

I’d like to start writing more about what goes on behind the scenes of learning how to earn money from what you love {and need} to do while staying true to who you are. Especially because, having finally acknowledged who I am {a solitary} and am not {an entrepreneur}, I have a better understanding now of why some things didn’t work and how to create work that works with that, instead of trying to force my square pegness into a round hole and feeling wrong and disillusioned.

I’d like to talk about the bits where it’s perhaps not as shiny and not as easy as it might look, as well as the personal triumphs, and just the kinds of things that happen around here to create what you see and {hopefully} find useful. And I want to talk more about my personal creative projects that might be nothing to do with ‘work’ per se.

People sometimes ask me about blogging and other more businessy aspects, and I have been feeling that I’m missing something out by not talking about more of my personal feelings about it all as I used to. I’m not a bare all kind of person, as much as I admire that quality in others, but I do want to be transparent and open around my work; I do want to talk about what I think and how I feel about the experiences of working like this. I feel it’s important that people don’t think it’s all rainbows and unicorns; that leads to disillusionment and feeling like maybe there’s something wrong with you, and I never want you to feel that.

Perhaps it’ll be useful to you, perhaps not; either way it feels right. It feels more whole.

And so I’m going to do my best to bring more of me into my posts here. I’ll be as honest and open as I can, and aim for at least mildly interesting over boringly introspective. 🙂 I’ll still be writing about art and creativity, sharing process posts, answering questions, creating things to help you any way I can. I’m starting an interview series that’ll begin next week which I think you’ll find interesting, and a have a few other ideas in the works. I’m not sure yet what’s going to happen with the courses. I’d like to keep running them, and even have an idea for a new one up my sleeve, but I need a bit of time to sit with this and work out what feels sustainable.

Although I have kind of already decided to do this :), I’d still really like to know what you think. What you come here for, how the site or any of my work helps you, if it does, and whether you’d like to see a bit more of the inner workings. If there’s anything in particular you would like to know, I’ll be more than happy to tailor it to specifics. I feel pretty vulnerable sharing what I’ve shared today, but I think maybe that’s a good sign. So here’s the talking stick – it’s your turn. Any comments, questions, thoughts – please share below! 🙂