Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Diving deep: How it feels to launch a crowdfunding campaign

How does it feel to launch a crowdfunding campaign? In a word: terrifying. One could easily talk oneself out of this. Not only are you asking people for their financial support, but you are asking them to put faith in you and your creation.

In another word: vulnerability. You are exposing yourself and your art. You are revealing that which is sacred to you. You are letting people in – friends, family, and strangers. You are letting them see you.

So there you are, standing naked in front of the masses, forcing yourself to make direct eye-contact with the on-lookers, your trembling hands clenched at your sides, saying with as much confidence as you can muster: “My art is good enough.”

But what you are really saying is: I am good enough.


That’s a loaded word, with a heavy meaning. Most of us, for some percentage of our lives, wonder or worry if we are good enough. Or enough in general. Enough for another person, for our job, for our art, for ourselves. Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that we are not enough. Is that really so bad? Will we implode? Will the world stop turning?

Maybe the real question is, then: “Enough” according to whom? Where or what or who has created this perfect, gold-standard that defines this heavily laden word? We all seem to hold ourselves up next to this shining example of everything-ness, yet we don’t even know where it comes from or what it even is.

How very silly.

What I do know (we’re diving deeper now, hang in there!), is that the subject of “enough” is the Ego’s terrain. It is the Ego that weighs and measures and compares. It is the Ego that accuses us and makes us feel less-than; makes us feel unworthy. Unworthy of love, belonging, and true connection. It is also the Ego that swells with pride upon receiving accolades, or cowers in shame when discredited. Why do we trust such a wayward, fickle thing?

The Soul, on the other hand, finds this whole subject matter entirely irrelevant. Our Soul (feel free to replace this word with something that fits into your personal worldview) knows that we are already enough. In fact, the Soul doesn’t even know that word. To question your worth and worthiness is something the Soul never does, because it knows you are already complete. There’s no benchmark to meet, value to obtain, or feat to accomplish that will change that. 

The goal of the Soul is to create and co-create as much as possible, and to do so with the utmost joy. Engaging with other souls in all of their enough-ness, with all they have to offer as they are, is co-creation at its best. This is, in my opinion, what it means to live joyfully.*

It is with this attitude that I pressed “Launch” on my Kickstarter campaign, knowing that this is but one phase in this exquisite experience of co-creation.

So, friends, let us create! Not to achieve anything (though that may be a natural by-product), but simply for the sheer JOY of it, knowing that no matter what: we are enough!

*Disclaimer: I write these words as fact, because it happens to be what I believe to be true. I recognize, however, that at the end of the day it is just one opinion among many. Opinions are like… well, you know the saying. ;)

#forthejoyofliving #cocreationatitsbest #elizabethgilbert #bigmagic #brenebrown #daringgreatly

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Story Behind the Story - Final Part

"Why haven't I accomplished this yet? Or this? Or that??" we ask ourselves regarding our personal goals, whether they be short-term or life-long. We beat upon our own backs, bemoaning our circumstances, shaking our fists at the gods, and looking around desperately for someone or something to blame. Anything. Lost in this shame spiral (that looks an awful lot like a cosmic black hole), we perpetuate this cycle of goal-struggle-blame, goal-struggle-blame. By inspecting the trees we've planted with a microscope, we miss the fact that there's an entire forest that we, ourselves, propagated, nurtured, & brought into being.

Another way of saying this is, we often don't know how far we've come until we pause for a moment in our self-flagellation to take a step back and consider where we were 10 years ago. Five years ago. Goodness, even one year ago. While I don't condone dwelling on the past (since it can often be a slippery slope into the Land of "If Only"; a stinking swamp full of self-induced guilt trips and potholes of regret), it is helpful to occasionally zoom out long enough to see that progress is, in fact, being made.

So if progress is being made through the struggle, almost in spite of ourselves, how much more progress could be made, and made joyfully, if we didn't struggle? What if we just... play?

Yes, that's right. Play. Enjoy. Take risks - for fun. Follow your curiosity. I mean, if you're going to progress either way, you may as well enjoy the process.

Two years ago, I had an un-edited draft of a manuscript. Just one. I had no website, no illustrator, no book designer, no idea what Mail Chimp was, and was blissfully ignorant on what it takes to self-publish a book. I now have a all of these things, a final draft of a manuscript (plus a few more in the works), and a smidgen less ignorance in the realm of self-publishing.

To my dismay, I admittedly struggled to obtain these things. It hasn't been all toil and hardship by any means, but has been far too much sweat and tears (thankfully no blood) for my liking.

I am happy to say that from this day forth, I am changing the game by making it exactly that: a game.

Thanks to heaps of inspiration from a number of sources, but most recently Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, I have seen the light. Creativity is not about the outcome, and never will be. It's not about making a living, it's not about fame and fortune. Those things may never come to pass. They might... but they might not. Creativity is all about enjoyment, play and wonder. All of it. Making creativity outcome-dependent only invites suffering and scares your creativity away.

In short, if you're not enjoying it (whatever it is), then do something else.