Ahh….2011. Clean fresh slate!

4 01 2011

Weather: After a freak anomoly of upper 50s on New Year’s Eve,  we’ve settled back into ZOMG COLD as the gods intended.
High: 36º & partly sunny with possible flurries later.

So, it’s been an elephant’s age since I posted and a lot of mental shakeup has happened.

When last we saw Ms. Heidi, she was lamenting the writer’s block on book #2 and trying to figure out a way to escape Indiana without having to go bankrupt or chewing off an arm .

The first of the year found me and the husbeast in a fiery mood. Contemplative & reflective be damned, we were more of the mind to burn bridges than philosophize on future endeavors.  It’s an interesting mindset to start the year off. We aren’t angry or resentful, merely frustrated at our lack of forward motion and the turning of another calendar year with little to show for the time passed.

So we did the best thing possible: Instead of flailing and blaming the sundry usual scapegoats for our lack of success, we decided that the fastest way to force us to focus on our goals was to remove any and all distractions. So we purged our closets and dressers for clothes, compiling 3 large bags of donations. That felt so cleansing, that we are doing our books & media next.

For myself, I’ve taken the tact that the reason things have gone so pear shaped in past few years is twofold: 1) Making things so complicated that it became impossible to manage, and 2) trying to re-establish a life path that hasn’t been working for me.

So firstly, simplify. Really, there are only 3 things I want to focus on this year. 1: My health. My weight is ridiculously out of control & being 44 in a couple weeks, I can’t justify letting my health get this out of whack.
2: My writing. I need to stop worrying about the extraneous things (getting published, negative feedback, finding an audience, faling behind my friends in their publishing careers) and focus on the stories. Just write the stories. Finish them. Polish them. When you love them, get them out there. Traditional routes may not be for you. And that’s OKAY.
3: My Life Path: You know that definition of insanity? The one where you keep doing the same thing over and over & expecting a different outcome? That’s what I’ve been doing every year for the past 5 years.  I kept telling myself “get back on the path” without taking the time to see that the “path” has been going nowhere. Time to forge a NEW path. With NEW goals, NEW outlooks &  NEW energy.

Ultimately, what has happened is my brain has finally kicked the old ways of doing things out of the mental shack & has brought in some new untried ways of doing things. Most of the people I look up to, who’ve made a decent success of their lives, have bucked the traditional route on a lot of things. I know I’ll get lots of people telling me, but what about this or that benchmark of success? Isn’t that what you’ve been striving for? Recognition? Money? Legitimacy?
The truth is yes, that is what I’d originally made the goal of my pursuits. Lately, though, those things seem less important to me. Would they be nice to have? Sure. But I’m done wasting my time & energy trying to pursue them in absence of a way that makes sense to me. They’ll come. Eventually and maybe not in the ways that most people expect.

Brian’s kind of in the same boat. He’s realizing that the marketing & sale of his niche of product doesn’t fall into the neat business plans of other products.

We’re both kind of in this whole new perspective towards our art. There is a surge in the DIY type of business plan.
It’s not easy.
It’s not going to replace the Traditional way of doing things.
But the truth is there is becoming a need for an alternative way of life & doing business. It lies completely within the commitment & passion of the artists to make it work with any kind of success. There’s no books or plans or websites of how to do this. You can’t get a paint by numbers on how to make it work. You just have to do it and keep adjusting your methods until it starts working for you.

I have the greatest respect for people who make a success of their particular art or business the traditional route. I’m just saying it doesn’t work for me or the husbeast for that matter. We are both rapidly approaching a point where we are going to say, to hell with our current methods of income & throw ourselves into our individual art full time. Will this be a challenge? Oh HELL yes it will.

I’m working on an essay, a writeup I’m calling “No Option B: Living without a Safety Net”. It’s a philosophy I’m beginning to embrace wholeheartedly. If you have no backup, you will be extremely focused on making your chosen path work, right?

Mind you, I’m not saying this plan will work for everyone, nor am I saying it’s a better way of doing things. But it appeals to me because every  time I’ve taken a leap of faith, something good has come of it. I may not have landed on my feet squarely, but at least I’ve moved forward. It’s when I start second guessing my intentions or work that things get hairy.

Some of the best success stories in this world started in bad economic times.  But the people who made leaps in this kind of environment were those who stepped away from the well-worn path, and blazed a trail that to everyone else seemed foolish or just plain crazy. The reason why some fail isn’t the path they’ve taken, it’s their inability to commit to the path once they’ve gotten on it.

So there it is. My New Year’s Resolution, for lack of a better phrase.

I have other friends making similar pacts with themselves. We’re starting to create a network of artists, writers & craftspeople. Sometimes a community of like minded people can motivate you more than the pursuit of material gain. And maybe that’s a hippie-ish artsy kind of way of looking at things, but I really don’t have a problem with those kinds of labels.

Blogging will be more regular this year. I’ll also be cross-posting these to Twitter, Facebook & LJ.

Off to do Day Job work now. But my brain is already formulating ways to replace the mundane with the creative.

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