the "consuming/creating" dance

creativity Oh my goodness, you guys!

Where to even start... I feel like I'm on a roller-coaster of emotions around starting my business. I know that's a super cliche analogy, so let me temper it by saying my roller coaster is not one of those crazy ones where they strap you in standing up, and your legs dangle into empty space as you do multiple loop-de-loops. My roller coaster is more like an old-timey one that's made out of wood, where you sit in the little car with a bar across your knees, and you hear the clattering of the wheels as you go up the hill before the drop. The drop isn't very steep, but it sure looks like it from the top.

OK, Noble, that's enough analogies. Get back to the point.

(And that, folks, is what my inner voice sounds like! And yes, she calls me by my last name.)

Well, here I am. Showing up for a blog post. Not at all sure what to write about, or how to make it coherent and neat and tidy, with points made and a concise ending tying it all together. But a writer writes. And a blogger blogs. And I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of this blog that I would share my process of building a business with you. Which, I want to do, and it seems like a terrific idea, until I realize that it isn't a neat and tidy process at all, not by a long shot!

I thought it was. I thought if I just followed Life Coach X's Questionnaire A, then input the answers into ECourse B, then out would pop Business Plan C. Much like doing your taxes, right?

But... it's like that, and then it's also not like that at all. There are steps you can follow. But they are not rigid steps that everyone follows, and they are not all that you need to get to the end goal. What you also need to get to the end goal is daily showing up to do the work.

You see, I've realized in these last few months, that I look at women like Emily Thompson or Kathleen Shannon, who are kicking serious ass as creative entrepreneurs, and I want to be there, be them. I want a thriving business. I want to speak what I've learned about clients and work, in a confident voice, to thousands of others. I want to be fully earning a living from my creative work. I want to love what I do AND get paid well for it. There's nothing wrong with wanting that, and in fact it's really good to have inspiration like these women, but it means that then I look at all the steps between where I am standing, and where they are standing, and I let the breadth of that work and the time it will take to get there, overwhelm me.

It overwhelms me because I forget that it is one blog post at a time. One 10-minute "bite" of work at a time. And then repeated, and repeated again. That is what gets you there.

It sounds SO simple and I suppose that it is. When such a simple idea ("just keep showing up") is held up against what feels like the chaotic, crazy, hyper-informed reality of daily life, well, part of me thinks, "Nonsense. How could that simple idea ever make a difference?"

But I only have to look at this little blog's archives so far to see that it does. Even though it's only been a few months, I have kept showing up. I am doing the work. I am learning. I am then applying those lessons.

And one thing I am learning is that it is a dance between creating, and consuming, that gets you there.

For example, I am adoring the podcast Being Boss. I listen hungrily every week and I am in the Facebook group they have started. I also recently bought the book Creative, Inc and am devouring it.

Listening to a podcast or reading a book, even if the ideas in it are great, is consuming. It is not creating. The advice of these creative entrepreneurs is enriching me, certainly, but it's also taking me away from doing the work. The work which is doing the creating, doing the writing. And in order to make headway, in order to get the portfolio up, and to do good work for my clients, I must be in creating mode, not consuming mode.

Anyway, whew!! So here I am at the end of a blog post that I wasn't sure would even come out of my brain and through my fingers, into the keys and into the computer. What I've remembered through this blog post is to show up. Do the work. Put down the book or the podcast, however amazing they are, and get uncomfortable and do some work.

(And then take a break and watch Downton Abbey, which I'm way late to the party on, and which I've just started watching this week. Because life is not at all work, not by a long shot. But that's fodder for a future blog post!)

And as for an actual update of progress, well, I've been doing some thinking about personal branding and what sort of logo I might want to have (as I started to talk about in this post); I'm thinking about doing research into contract writing and how to set out clear expectations with clients, and I've put two pieces of work up in my portfolio! You can see them here. I'll put more up in the next little while.

I hope you're having a great week filled with excitement, joy, and interesting old-timey roller-coasters of emotion.

xo Leah