If You Spend Your Time Chasing Butterflies...

After university, I headed out into the real world where life became about earning enough money for rent, car payments, and groceries. I was also inundated with the message that successful people were go-getters. They set their sites on money, wealth and fame - doggedly pursuing those goals.  That didn't seem to be my gift.

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.

A small voice was still whispering ear. A noise in the background. A constant distraction reminding me of that old truism about being successful. Why? I am an author. The book market today is extremely competitive and glutted with titles. Finding a way to be seen and heard takes lots of planning, focus and effort. That seemed to require a real go-getter which has never been how I see myself.

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. 

These are just a few thoughts that have arisen, but I know many more lie in wait hoping to be heard. I need to allow empty spaces each day where I sit quietly and simply listen. The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity. The more unique your path, the easier it is to get noticed. The guiding factor here is it needs to be a good match for who you are as an artist or entrepreneur. 

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.  

I release my schedule and expectations. I release the burden of what I am told I should be doing in this moment. I empty my mind of internal and outside pressures and my long to-do list.  In this quiet place of calm, I will sit and allow my heart to speak, my intuition to take center stage, and creativity to reign supreme. It's the perfect time to have new doors appear in my path. 

Which one or ones will I open and walk through? Well, we'll all just have to wait and see.