Believe me when I say this, you CAN make your wild ideas a reality. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m excellent at thinking up my “next big thing”–but executing it? Oof. Example: I’ve sat on the idea for my children’s book “Lady Pig & The Colonel” for over FIVE YEARS. Yesterday, I finished my first draft (confetti cannons GO)! So you might be wondering, what finally got me going? I credit the following three things for helping me kick my own butt:
When you find a way (whether in person or online) to connect with like-minded individuals with similar goals, you’ll be able to talk out your fears, anxieties, and questions without getting those blank “huh?” looks from well-meaning people who just might not get what it is you’re trying to do. Community plays a huge role in building up trust in yourself to get started.
- For me that turned out to be Sunday Society led by Blacksburg Belle blogger April Bowles, an accountability group full of laid-back girl bosses. The group focuses on building your skill-set for your specific goals. No “make millions by Monday” rah-rah craziness here, just down-to-earth women supporting each other and cheering each other on. After trying a few different groups on Facebook, I finally landed on Sunday Society, so it took a bit of searching to find the best fit for me. But it’s made a WORLD of difference in my planning and productivity. No matter how supportive my family, friends, and partner are, it’s good to have an outside opinion to help push me that tiny bit farther. (P.S. I’m not in any way being paid to talk about Sunday Society–I just love it so much I wanted to share).
- For you this might mean putting together a biweekly brunch with 2 or 3 other artists like you that need to talk out their struggles and celebrate their wins. It might mean making a small Facebook group with weekly goals, or finding an accountability partner. It might mean finding Instagrammers you admire and commenting on their posts to thank them for their insight and inspiration. Doesn’t have to be big–just has to be the right fit for you.
2. Mantra: I cannot fail, I can only learn.
I think about times I’ve tried things and NOT liked them, and as much as you might think “that’s a waste of time”, it absolutely isn’t. You need to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. You need to find what feels right for you.
- One big example of that for me that was getting into the film industry a few years back as a Production Assistant. I was working all hours of the day, getting caught up in the world of the project, walking onto set and seeing huge and seemingly impossible elements come together, and it was an amazing experience. But it made me realize what kind of lifestyle made sense for my personality and health. Though I loved the excitement and rush of working on large scale films, when the adrenaline wore off, I realized it wasn’t for me. I felt drained, exhausted, I gained weight, I slept only when I could, and felt like I was always on the go. I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world, but learning that it didn’t work for me was part of the deal.
- On a smaller scale, you can test out your limits with things like “What time of day do I work best?” and “Is there anything I can do to streamline other activity so I can better focus on my creative process?” Set small goals, like “My social media shares can happen every day from 1-1:30pm–not one minute more”. See what feels right and what doesn’t.
- It’s really difficult for me to work through trial and error with anxiety, because my brain processes the thought of making a “mistake” as LIFE OR DEATH. “IF I DO THIS WRONG I’LL BE THE BIGGEST FAILURE EVERYTHING WILL CATCH FIRE I WILL NEVER MAKE IT THROUGH I’LL HAVE TO HIDE IN MY HOUSE FOREVER” screams my brain when I entertain the thought of trying something new. If I can reframe the thought process as learning instead of imminent failure, the alarm bells don’t go off (or they don’t go off as loudly) and it’s easier to push through.
3. A true space of your own, physical or virtual (or both).
I think giving yourself a space to share and grow is key, which for me was starting this blog. What I love about having a blog is not that “everyone will read it”–but that it’s my own little corner, my place to control what I put out in the universe.
- So often as artists we feel like we have no control or we have to wait for permission–“oh, I’m not published/no one will hire me/I’m not going viral/getting asked to be on Ellen/fielding 100 phone calls a day to spread my wisdom worldwide”–so we think what’s rolling around in our brains isn’t worth sharing. But think about someone or something that helped you, inspired you–maybe it was the local artist whose work is displayed at your nearby coffee shop. That’s her corner. It’s not a billboard on the moon, and it doesn’t need to be. What might you miss sharing or teaching someone (or yourself) if you don’t allow yourself that little corner?
What can you use for community, mantra, and a space of your own? I bet you already have the answers swirling around in your brain, ready for action. Comment below with your questions or celebrations! What are you going to get started on today?
Remember: YOU GOT THIS.