There’s an important announcement down below about the future of this newsletter, so if you’re in a hurry, scroll down.
Otherwise, read on…
A week ago I had just come home from my 4th annual Create & Incubate Retreat, where I made art and did lots of calligraphy.
Most of which I shared on my @calligraphyhowto Instagram account.
Honestly, I wasn’t planning on spending
any time on social media at the retreat, but my calligraphy account was experiencing something of a growth spurt: I arrived at the retreat on Wednesday having just hit 800 followers, and when I left on Sunday, my follower count was over 1,400.
The buzz of a growing follower count is very, very addictive, and It was just too hard to not try to ride that wave.
So yeah, I spent a lot more time making calligraphy videos (which, though very fun, is also a very product-oriented exercise) than I did playing in the Creative Sandbox with process-oriented art (which was my original intention).
My suspicion is that the growth spurt happened because a few of the videos I created went mildly (and randomly!) viral, and I thought you might like to see them.
Like this one, which has almost 7,700 views:
And this one, which has 28.4 THOUSAND!
“How’s it feel,” one of my retreatants asked, “knowing so many strangers are seeing your work?”
Honestly, it’s kind of fun and exciting… AND ultimately it’s also meaningless.
28 thousand views on a single video has not affected my life in any meaningful way whatsoever.
Sure, it may have helped grow my Instagram following, but I guarantee you, that has no real impact on my life.
My fifteen seconds of “internet fame” (if you can even call it that!) has not brought me thousands of new subscribers, clients or customers.
No book deals. No invitations to be on Oprah or Fresh Air, or to speak on stage.
It sure got me riled up to create more videos for awhile, but after the flurry of views, I’m still in the 1400+ range, and back down to an average of views in the low hundreds.
Fame is fickle. 😉
Honestly, the more important thing this brief episode has taught me is to carefully consider where I put my energies.
Do I want to put my energy into things that are momentarily exciting and validating?
Or would I rather put my energy into the Big, Important Projects I most want to accomplish?
(And which scare me the most…)
Which brings me to my…
I have so many things I want to create for you!
More videos and blog posts, calligraphy practice sheets, maybe even a calligraphy course or two someday.
And I have so many other things I want to create, too.
Including a book.
Not a calligraphy-specific book at all (though who knows, perhaps that may come later..?), but a book that will help people get creating in whatever mode they want to.
A book that will help people grasp WHY creative play is so essential…
And HOW to get to it…
Past the self-doubt, perfectionism, imposter complex, comparison gremlins, and everything else that gets in the way.
THIS is the thing that is pulling on me most powerfully right now.
THIS is the project that I’m most eager to get to “done” on.
I have the content mostly written, so it’s really a matter of editing and wrangling, rather than writing from scratch…
But I am bound and determined to get a book (not the PERFECT book, mind you, but a completed book) done and published by the time I turn 50.
Which, by the way, is THIS NOVEMBER.
An in, two months from now.
So, yeah, I’ve got to get a move on.
And if I’m going to get this thing done in the next two months, that means I’m going to have to stop putting time into things that are NOT the book, in order to put maximum time into the book.
All of which means that, much as I hate to do it, I’m going to be cutting back on all other writing and production:
• Blog posts
• Podcast episodes
• Newsletters (including these calligraphy emails, my Insiders’ Newsletter, and my ArtSpark Newsletter)
I will be restraining myself from making calligraphy videos for my @calligraphyhowto Instagram feed.
I will be restraining myself from social media in general.
I will even be restraining myself from EMAIL!
[IMPORTANT: I will NOT be altering anything inside my Creative Sandbox Community, however. I will be just as present inside our private Facebook group as always. I will host the same live calls every month as always. NOTHING will change inside the Creative Sandbox Community as a result of my new “ruthlessness” to get the book done. Period.]
All this is to say, you may not be hearing much, if anything, from me for the next couple of months.
Oh, how sad this makes me!
But as a wise person once said, we have to learn to say “no” to the small yesses, so we can say “yes” to the bigger yes inside.
This book is my Big Yes.
It scares the kerfoodle out of me (how can I possibly make something as good as I want it to be??!! who am I kidding??!! <– that’s what my gremlins tell me)…
And it terrifies me to put it in writing that this is what I’m doing.
But I’m turning 50, and dammit, I can’t put this off anymore!!
So I’ll be back after the dust settles, hopefully around mid- or late November.
Please send good thoughts my way, and cross your fingers for me that I can accomplish this big, scary task!
And if you should happen to send me an email and you get an autoresponder, you will know why.
Thanks for your understanding and support, and thanks for walking this journey with me.
I’ll be back in your inbox again when I come back up for air!
PS – Aiaiaiai! Tackling this monstrous project is scary as all get-out! So I am taking a page from my own Creative Sandbox Manifesto notebook, and I hope you will, too, whenever you feel stuck or stalled or scared — rule #5: