Confidence was a struggle. I was raised to worry more about being a good person and of service to others. Money - how to earn it, how to budget it, and how to save for the future - was a mystery. In my mind it simply came in, then went out. Money was only a means to an end.
Fortunately my partner had a better understanding of finances and, after a few mishaps, I let him guide our finances. He rocked it. Thankfully he also always made sure I understood the numbers and what they meant for our future. I relaxed into the knowledge our lives were headed the right direction, but I still had concerns about my work.
Over the more than 15 years I have been writing - everything from magazine articles, to books, to blogs, to poetry - I have shied away from the business side of things. I love doing social media. I love doing shorter speaking engagements. I love being interviewed on podcasts. BUT, that aggressive business mentality has been my kryptonite. I needed to find a way to be seen and heard as an author that felt authentic to me.
About three weeks ago, one of my social media friends shared a poster with a quote by Mario Quintana that offered hope.
"If you spend your time chasing butterflies, they will fly away. But if you spend your time building a beautiful garden, they will come to you." - Mario Quintana
All I could say in my post comment was, "THIS!" It's how I feel deep in my core. I do not have the time or energy to chase after my dreams. To focus on the chase means my creative side dries up, and what I write becomes stale. I can chose instead to embrace a different direction and that is working on my garden. By that I mean to work on building an authentic presence that attracts readers and an image that resonates with who I am both as an artist and as a human being.
The question now is how do I go about this? The ideas are just starting to form. I can work to reinvigorate my book editorial photo series. I have already started to mix it up, moving from just images of me with my books to including images of others with my books. Perhaps I could even ask for submissions from people who own both books.
A podcast could happen. I have an idea, but am not feeling the firm push to move forward yet. In the meantime, short videos might be the key. I have lots of ideas on a direction for them, but the concept is still evolving. When the picture is clear, I will venture into this new territory. Whatever the final form becomes, it has to be something I enjoy doing. If I love creating the content, that feeling will come through to the viewers. If not, that will be apparent as well.
It's time to start reaching out to established podcasts again. I love being interviewed. The shows I enjoy being on the most are ones where they only have a couple questions to start us off, and perhaps a topic to guide our time together. After that, the podcaster lets the conversation move forward dynamically. This can lead to the most profound moments where I find myself in awe, covered in goosebumps.
If we look around us, every person offering a template to success created their own unique way. You can do this too. It can be really helpful to browse through what others have done to see what draws you. Then put your own spin on it. Let the idea, or ideas, grow and change. Adapt them to what feels natural to you. Or you can always through caution to the wind and start with a totally blank slate.
What's funny is I have been avoiding this topic all year. I decided 2023 would be my year of producing content for new books and blog articles. Afterwards I would move forward into what I needed to do for promotion. The universe had other plans in store. Over the last 8-1/2 months I have had an amazing, busy, stressful, incredible journey, but the road I was on didn't line up with the map I drew at the start.
Writing about chasing butterflies versus mending your garden has stirred something inside. My muse is whispering away. I can feel my excitement building at the opportunity this idea offers. I can choose to create something unique, a way to draw new readers that is a natural fit for who I am. Perhaps this is exactly where my focus needs to be in this moment.
Which one or ones will I open and walk through? Well, we'll all just have to wait and see.