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When success seemed unlikely

These days on the Fourth of July, it’s easy to take for granted that the US is a world power. 

But, back in the colonial days, it wasn’t certain we’d win our independence. And it certainly wasn’t certain that our nation would succeed.

From the perspective of that time, declaring our independence was incredibly risky.

Great Britain was a worldwide empire–and the biggest naval power in the world. The US was a collection of backwater settlements on the edge of a wilderness. 

Along the way, there were many points when things could have gone terribly wrong. 

  • George Washington almost lost the entire army after the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776
  • In 1777, only luck prevented a British captain from recognizing Washington and shooting him in the back
  • After independence, the first union was a loose confederation that wasn’t effective and had to be reworked entirely (enter the Constitution!)
  • Even five decades after independence, Europe was meddling in the Western hemisphere so much that James Monroe had to take a stand against their interference with the Monroe Doctrine

All this is to say, the current power of the US was, in many ways, a long shot.

There was no guarantee. 


Photo by Aaron Burden (@aaronburden) on Unsplash

Remember this when you start your own creative projects.

From today’s perspective, the future can seem tenuous. Uncertain. Scary.

Success can seem unlikely. 

(Yes, the US is still far from perfect. But, you can’t deny that as a fledgling country declaring its independence, the US succeeded in a BIG way.)

When you make a strong declaration–and back it with ongoing commitment–something small can grow into something huge and world-changing.

Today, on Independence Day, may you make your own declaration–and grow it into a success that changes the world.

*

P.S. If you have big creative ambitions but are having trouble actually birthing your creative work, I’ve got a new program for you. Creative Jumpstart is designed to get you through your blocks and into regular, flowing creation–doing the work you were meant to do!

Interested? Hit reply and I’ll send you the deets!

The disappointment of a prize-winning story

So first, a celebration: My story, “Milk Tea With Pearls” got an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s “Family Matters” contest. 🙂

Second, a confession: My first reaction was disappointment. “Oh, I didn’t win.” 

(It’s a really good story, and I wanted to win first place!!)

(There’s some learning here, of course. :-))

I have big visions. I want big things in my life. 

Sometimes I want so much, the dream gets intimidating, and it’s hard to take a first small step.

Does this happen to you?

You dream of writing a novel that shakes open the way people look at life–AND wins all the big prizes and sells like crazy. Or making the movie that breaks out at Sundance and becomes a multi-million dollar box office hit.

Then when you sit down to work, the WEIGHT of those desires is pressing on you. The tension is too much, so (just for a moment!) you click away to check your email. 

From there, you know the story: You quickly take care of one thing, then another. (You’re a highly competent person who takes action, after all!) You take a moment to check The New York Times. You send an article to someone.

Before you know it, you’ve gone down a hole and your momentum is gone, your creative energy drained.

There’s a connection between this and my story of subtle disappointment.

Often, with the the big dream comes the big creative block.

After all, if nothing but big success is good enough for you, that’s an awful lot of pressure on your creative work. 

That pressure makes it hard to actually do your creative work. (Ask me how I know!)

Photo by Amar Adestiempo (@amardiestempo) on Unsplash

(This doesn’t mean you give up the big vision. No way. I champion ambition. I hold the vision of success for myself and my clients. And those successes are there: agents, exhibits, The New Yorker, Emmy awards, money…) 

However… Between you and the multi-million dollar, Nobel-prize winning career, there are a few steps.

Ease up on the pressure and expectations. 

Do your work. 

Expect some failure. Know it’s part of the process–and a valuable source of information.

Celebrate every small success. 

Let yourself feel the ups and downs. 

Love the adventure like it’s the most exhilarating roller coaster in the world. 

And give yourself and your creative work so much love.

But I’m not ready to create a masterpiece!

Have you been seeing my messages about creating your breakthrough masterpiece and thinking: “But I’m not ready to create a masterpiece!”?

“I’m still early in my professional career.”

“A masterpiece takes decades of work–it’s the culmination of a whole career.”

“I’d be sad to think of my work now as a masterpiece–it would be all downhill from here!!”

Let me to suggest another possibility:

We can create more than one masterpiece in a lifetime.

This isn’t the only masterpiece you’ll create–just the first one in a series leading to more and more success!

If you have a long and illustrious career, what you create this year likely won’t be the defining masterpiece of your career… but it CAN be a masterpiece relative to what you done so far.

And it CAN be a high-quality creative work that establishes you as a serious professional in the field.

So, ready to create your masterpiece?

Game of Thrones has an epic message for creatives

Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, it’s hard to breathe the cultural air today without hearing something about the series. Shock, dismay, complaints, justifications…
 
And whether you love, hate, or avoid the series, what happened with Game of Thrones matters. Here’s why:
 
All this upset came about because the author, George RR Martin, has an epic case of writer’s block. 
 
When the HBO series started in 2011, Martin had published five of the seven books in the series. Eight years later, he is STILL at five books, with the sixth nowhere in sight. To keep the series going, the HBO showrunners had to improvise their plotlines and create their own ending–with just a few general directions from Martin.
 
Creative block has consequences!!!
 
Yes, it does–even if you don’t have a million fans up in arms over how your story ends.
 
Because if you’re a creative person with a big project you really care about–one that isn’t getting finished–there are a million voices in your head, up in arms, shaming and blaming you. (Or maybe just that one voice, repeating itself a million times! :-))
 
Maybe you’re living with a constant, low-grade unhappiness that leaks into your marriage or relationship or family. You snap irritably at the people you love. You resent them for “taking up your time” (when deep down you know, it’s not them–it’s just that you need to do your creative work to feel good).
 
Maybe you’re putting up with the general belief that you’re not good enough yet. So when people mention opportunities, instead of going for them, you think “That sounds really good. If only XYZ were done, or if only ABC were ready.”
 
That unfinished project is also undermining your confidence and limiting the money you can make. (Yes, even if you’re successfully doing “commercial” creative work or have a creative day job. Because however much you make right now, if you aren’t expressing your highest brilliance, you can’t reach your highest level of success.)
 
And, of course, it affects your health (we all know how good pent-up shame and frustration are for you, don’t we?).
 
Okay, so enough negatives.
 
The divine message here: YOU MATTER. YOUR CREATIVE WORK MATTERS.
 
There’s something unique that only you can fully express. No one else–not even a team of highly paid professional writers–can do it. (Sure, they can create something good, but it’ll be something different. It won’t be the creative brilliance that comes from you.)
 
So live as if your creative work matters.
 
Because it does.
 
 
P.S. I’m about to run the CREATE! Mastermind. This is my hand-selected group of ambitious, talented writers/ artists/ creatives who are committed to completing a high-level, career-changing piece of work: a breakthrough masterpiece.
 
There’s also a special bonus for people who raise their hands by tomorrow (May 21): live training in 5 Simple Steps to High-Paying Clients.
 
(My past clients have used this approach to build successful freelance businesses from zero, take their income up 50%, make $21k in a month…)
 
Interested? (Get in touch and let me know!)

MONEY AND TIME to do your creative work

If you’re not doing your creative work because you’re spending time making money, what’s the answer? Make more money in less time.

Really?, you might wonder. To make more, won’t I have to work harder and spend more time?

Actually, no.

What if you could SEE what’s really valuable about your talents and skills? What if you could SHOW people that? And ASK for more money with confidence?

That’s how you make more money in less time.

Here’s what that means in real world terms:

You sign more clients.

You get better-paying clients.

You find a better-paying job, with more flexibility and fewer hours.

You ask for–and get–a raise.

You create more and earn more with your creative work.

(MY CLIENTS HAVE DONE ALL THESE THINGS–often in one to three months.)

If you did just one of those things, think how much easier it would be to do your creative work–and how much more you could get done!

This is why FINDING TIME, SPACE, AND MONEY to create is one of the five major things we focus on in the CREATE! Mastermind.

(If you haven’t heard about the CREATE! Mastermind, it’s my hand-selected group of ambitious, talented writers/ artists/ creatives who are committed to completing a high-level, career-changing piece of work: a breakthrough masterpiece.)

When you make more money in less time, you can finish your big creative project that much faster.

You have the time and energy to do it at the highest quality.

You accelerate your ability to establish yourself professionally.

Here’s what’s possible when you set up your TIME, SPACE, AND MONEY to support your creative work:

* I made enough to live comfortably in NYC, working only half the year. The rest of the time, I wrote fiction, went to artists colonies, traveled to do research for my book, and had relaxed days where I stayed home and read.

* A client went from his day job to making six figures doing meaningful creative work.

* Another client started writing regularly for the first time in years, finished his TV pilot, and got an agent.

* Another client added more than 50% to her income (working the same number of hours) and put on a live performance of her work for the first time in years.

When you join the CREATE! Mastermind, you’ll set up your life so you have the time, space and money to create your breakthrough masterpiece.

You’ll also dissolve resistance and anxieties. Get into the flow of regular creative work. Bring out your most profound and brilliant work. Find the people and resources to take your craft to the next level. Discover—and transcend—the hidden barriers to doing your best work. And keep going until you’re done.

AND for those who step into this round, by May 21, I’m offering a special bonus designed to help you make more money: live training in 5 Simple Steps to High-Paying Clients. This is NOT a regular part of the CREATE! Mastermind… and it includes incredible valuable training that past clients have paid thousands for.

This is the incredibly powerful approach my past clients have used to get results like these: Build a successful freelance business from zero. Add more than 50% to their income. Raise their rates twice in three months and sign new clients at those rates. Make $21k in a month.

So, if you’ve been considering the CREATE! Mastermind, this is your chance to add an extra boost to your income.

Over time (in some cases, a very short time), you can make back your investment in the CREATE! Mastermind many times over.

But you have to step in by May 21!

Interested? (Email me and let me know!)