Over the last year I’ve written about a variety of topics. I know, content marketers tell us to simply stick to our “niche.” Basically, find that vein, mainline it, then work it, baby, work it!

creative-community
From individuals to creative community

For a while I tried to write pulpy articles for Blasting News that the BuzzFeed’s of the world reward. That got some traction with a bit of artificial enhancement, but ended up in utter failure. So, I went back to work, writing and creating content that might truly matter to my audience.

But who exactly is my audience? To be honest that’s something else I still don’t know.

Again, the guru’s in their infinite wisdom talk about “defining your avatar” like some D&D generated character:  Intelligence: 16, Wisdom: 15, Constitution:17.. - That way, I could simply plug this into Facebook ads and serve up just what they wanted.

Most of all, I was supposed to have it all figured out - mastery of social media tools, running a kick ass team of elf helpers and marching forth to world domination.. Do you hear the people sing?

Recently, I started simply engaging and connecting. Sure, my creative output has slowed to a trickle but at least on Medium here’s the results - more views and reach.

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Interesting..

On YouTube I’m looking at ways I can partner with other creators..

On Facebook I look for how I can involve others by tagging.

In his upcoming book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, Jeff Goins talks about the importance of community. “The Starving Artist works alone. The Thriving Artist collaborates with others.”

I love the example he gives where J.R.R. Tolkien is stuck after the success of The Hobbit. All Tolkien can see is writing a few chapters with the sequel, The New Hobbit. It’s only when he sits down to lunch with a member of their literary group, C.S. Lewis, that inspiration hits the Lord of the Ring creator.

Another idea mentioned in Real Artists was that Wednesdays were no doubt Tolkien’s busiest nights. Besides raising a family while teaching a full schedule as a tenured professor of Oxford, the last thing he wanted to do was to show up empty-handed at the weekly meetings on Thursday!

No literary group, no beloved fantasy series..

That’s why I started a Facebook group for us all to connect.

It’s kinda like the lobby for the breakout sessions or in our case masterminds, which I’ve done on Skype or Zoom with clients.

Down the road I can see holding these meetings in person like some friends have done. This requires considerably more planning and logistics, of course. But it’s nice to know that for now there’s a very affordable and convenient option.

By the way, if you order Real Artists right now, you can get some awesome bonuses.

Bonus #1: The Real Artists Don’t Starve Online Course ($100)
This 12-part video course shows you how to make a living off your art.
Bonus #2: All the Expert Interview Transcripts
Get copies of the interviews with hundreds of experts and Thriving Artists during the research of this book.
Bonus #3: Exclusive Community Access
Get special access to a private Facebook group where Jeff will answer your questions regularly and connect with others reading the book.

#IndieCreative entrepreneur Alan Schoonmaker recently published Stay Young Play Poker. Besides the thrill of winning real money, Alan shares how poker can be the key to your mental and physical health. We also talk about how he got grew as a writer and why constant learning is the true fountain of youth.
via John Chang's Sound Cloud

via Creative Entrepreneur Blog
Creative Entrepreneur

The holidays offer an opportunity to reflect on why we’re grateful. Besides reconnecting with our loved ones and celebrating our successes in the past year, there are some key reasons why this is important for creative entrepreneurs.

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What are you grateful for these holidays? Photo credit - Pixabay

When people succeed they tend to party but when they fail they tend to ponder - Tony Robbins

As I shared in this LinkedIn post on gratitude, I took my friend Chef Chris Hill’s words to heart. He talked about how it’s one thing to be thankful for the “good” things that happened. It’s another to be “grateful” for all that life has to offer.

For creative entrepreneurs this is especially important because of some things I’ve learned about creativity and the process of working on your craft.

Being Grateful is More than a Feeling

Being grateful isn’t just about feeling positive about things in your life, it’s also a way to intentionally create space for more of what you really want.

Too often we tend to focus on what we don’t want. Have you ever driven around the block a few times wondering why there aren’t any spots? Next time make a small shift and look for the open spots. If you wrote that off as the same thing, you missed the point.

When We Focus on Being Grateful

Whatever gets more of our attention and energy grows. Now this may seem pretty esoteric and out there. But consider this.

When someone put an idea into your head about getting sick, what happens when you think about not getting sick? Like it or not, you ended up in bed nursing a cold.

So therein lies the danger. Even if we focus on what we don’t want, we will get more. That’s why it’s so important to be intentional with our focus.

As I’ve written about how to avoid writer’s block, one of the most important parts is to clear the deadwood from your creative muscles. It’s how pruning rose bushes prepares the way for new buds and what allows the spring blossoms to bloom.

This past November I’ve taken on Nanowrimo. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete 50,000 words but I did learn some key lessons in the process that I’ll share on another post. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to have experienced this.

With the year winding down I’m wrapping up projects, but I’m also taking time to reflect on what I am grateful for. Most of all being intentional about what I want to focus on in the months to come.

How about you? Where do you want your creativity to go in the months ahead?

If someone like Michael Hyatt struggles daily with writer's block what hope do mere mortals like the rest of us have?

Well, don't give up just yet. Here are my three favorite strategies to banish writer's block for-EVER!

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Photo: Gratisography

First, you have to address mindset. Unless you begin with the end in mind - and a successful picture at that, you're starting off with a huge handicap.

Even if you're not a big fan of the Law of Attraction and visualization stuff, let's face it. Science has shown that the mind can't tell the difference between experiencing something "real" and something imagined.

 

Most of all, what are you doing as a writer? You're sharing moments and ideas with your readers - helping them to go through what you want them to experience.

Second, now that we got out of the way you're definitely not going to like this one. "Writers write." Period.

It took me a while to grasp the significance of this but all the writers who nurture fledgling writers say this - Lamott, King, Pressfield, on and on.

There's simply no avoiding the reality that you MUST practice your craft. Daily. Not once in a while, or when the mood strikes you. Hone your craft and seek out opportunities to do it better. Then do it again. And again.

Creativity is absolutely a muscle that you must exercise daily. And speaking of exercise.

Get away from the laptop. Go. Take a walk. Do yoga. Or practice tai chi or chi gong. Check out these short exercises which are my favorite in the morning and often during the day. They are easy, quick and effective - my favorite combo!

Most importantly, it's not about building Arnold Schwarzenegger size muscles or jamming like a world-class athlete like Michael Jordan. It's about feeling good - I can't stress enough the importance of overcoming the stereotypical hard drinking Hemingway image clacking away with a bottle of bourbon next to the typewriter.

If you follow Julia Cameron's Artist Way, she shares how important the ritual she calls the Artist's Date is. (Coincidentally, her daily practice of writing three pages first thing in the morning is what got me started years ago..)

What Cameron is sharing is the importance of feeling good with ourselves in developing our creativity. I've definitely experienced this in my life - both on the dance floor as a tango teacher and artist, and off as a writer / entrepreneur.

So, let me know if you have a favorite tip on how to stop writer's block from stopping your creative juices from flowing! Comment below or contact me directly.