What were your day’s three highlights? Mine: 1. The gratified look on a client’s face when at a session’s end. 2. After a rainy day all day, the pre-sunset sunlight eeking through misty clouds and painting space gold. 3. A monstrous blue heron flying yards from my window.
“Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found. It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar.”
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
It’s getting dark out early. Have you noticed? Have you adjusted your creative rhythm this final month of 2010? This is the only time 2010 comes around, you know?
Gray shrouds the December sky this morning like the inside of a tortoise shell, and, really, you have no recourse but to resist or embrace the gray, that space between white and black, light and dark.
Rather than plugging along like you have to meet some mortal deadline by December 31, spinning your way past family holiday baggage and the clamor of consumption, consider this: Maybe December is a month to feel darkness nudge up against you and to find your way with it, embrace it like a wild, moody lover. At least that’s what I’m thinking.
I’m wondering this: How can darkness this time of year be sacred and how can that sacred darkness be a way for creatives – the writers and artists and designers, the inventors and scientists and scholars, the entrepreneurs among us – to hone in on some oft-neglected aspects of creative inspiration, innovation, and motivation (Sorry, Orwell, for all the ‘tions.)?
Feeling things intimately can drive us more than money. That’s the finding of business behavior smart guy and “free agent” Daniel Pink. Feeling what we’re doing, immersing ourselves in the moment of activity, crafting meaning from our work – these qualities motivate us.
Yet, emotions often get hijacked by the intellect’s abstraction. A mind with analysis and quotidian fret at the forefront keeps otherwise potentially stoking emotions such as compassion and gratitude at a comfortable distance.
But to keep feelings at bay isn’t an option for creatives and creative entrepreneurs who want to flourish and feel alive in their work, who want to connect with their audience or clients, and ultimately who want to wed an intimate part of themselves with their work or business. Read more
What were your day’s three highlights? Mine: 1. Having three awesome client meetings with three impressive writers who inspire me. 2. Practicing yoga while my wee daughter patted my back each time I flowed into Cobra Pose. 3. 3. Hearing back from two brilliant interview subjects for my next book.
“[G]ood feelings such as affection, pride at a promotion, and enthusiasm for a new project are the carrots on the stick that keep you moving smartly along life’s up-and-down road.” – Winifred Gallagher, RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life (Penguin Press, 2009)
Organization can dog the best of creatives. Many of my clients are writers, artists, and entrepreneurs who juggle multiple projects and obligations. I keep at least five projects in the air at any given time, each of which requires at least a few dozen tasks to complete.
So how do we stay on top of those projects without driving ourselves daft and our intimate partners away? How can a small amount of time invested in flexible creative organization end up saving time?
Creative organization can be a flexible, enjoyable way to shape attention, physical space, and actions. When we shape these three things – attention, space, and actions – we increase the likelihood that we can get in that flow that psychologist Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi describes. Read more
I can say unabashedly that I love my relationships with my clients. My work with them brings deep gratification. Our conversations feed my own creative projects, and their tenacity often inspires me.
As the year’s end approaches, I’m reflecting on how far my clients have come in their projects and ventures. I want to show them or express to them what their relationships have meant to me. Like other positive emotions such as compassion, gratitude can sound like a good idea, a noble concept. But I’ve been wondering,
How can creative entrepreneurs express gratitude to clients genuinely, authentically, memorably? Read more
1. Read graphic artist Marian Bantjes’ exquisite book I WONDER while sitting in a waiting room to have my spine x-rayed. (Stay tuned for more about Bantjes and what we can learn from her creative, authentic living & success.)
2. Danced with my daughter to Vince Guaraldi’s jazz piano piece “Linus and Lucy.”
3. Completed reading a client’s new novel manuscript.
Good evening. What were you day’s three highlights? Mine: 1. Watching my daughter hug our Kwan-Yin statue in the woods. 2. Taking a walk with a client around the pond. 3. Chatting with the lovely Melissa Studdard on the radio about writing & wonder & all the stuff I love.
See you in the woods,
Does receiving gratitude inspire you to more creative action? Is it easy for you to express it? Is it easy for you to receive it? Dare I ask, are there ‘advantages’ for creative practitioners and entrepreneurs to practicing gratitude? Those questions I’ve been living in for a few weeks.
Entrepreneur and perspiration guru Scott Belsky learned the power of appreciation from a storyteller. The author of Making Ideas Happen describes his experience at storyteller Jay O’Callahan’s storytelling workshop in Cape Cod. As part of a workshop exercise, Belsky told a story. O’Callahan respond with genuine enthusiasm, and other participants did likewise. Belsky was riveted and warmed, but he was ready and eager for the critique. The critique never came.
1. A ten-point buck dashing across the road a few yards in front of my car and gamboling through a corn field. 2. The way my daughter looked up at me in glee as we walked around the pond. 3. Finishing a draft of a short piece on poetry & praise.
What were your three highlights? Post here.
Check out my FB page for some other responses.