for the Creatives

Marie Kondoing your time

First question: Which of the things you spend your time on spark joy? That’s the easy part. This is where all my creative aspirations go.

But there’s a next part. Because I knowwww that you spend time doing the dishes and it *never* sparks joy.

When Marie Kondo went into the kitchen or the bathroom closet, she often switched her question. My whisk or my washcloths don’t exactly spark joy, but I’m certainly not throwing them away; they’re kinda necessary. “Do you see yourself taking this into your future?” or “Do you see this as part of your ideal lifestyle?” That was the type of question she would ask (I don’t remember her exact wording, forgive me for botching). Then maybe the washcloth doesn’t spark joy, but I appreciate its place in my apartment because I see how it contributes to the life I want to lead.

From my (admittedly limited) understanding, the KonMari method is more than just about objects that spark joy, but about building a life that sparks joy. It’s not about minimalism or cleaning or decluttering, though those all can be part of the process. It’s about appreciating and loving what we have and the things we surround ourselves with.

So, second question to KonMari your time: Which of the things you spend time on do you see taking you into your future? And, related but different, which of the things you spend time on do you see as part of your ideal lifestyle?

Often the second question encompasses items you have to do but don’t want to, which brings a whole new level of appreciation and gratitude. (Me right now: “Hmm, yeah, I guess my ideal future does not involve a pigsty of dirty dish piles, so until I hire a housekeeper, I’m washing dishes!”)

Third question: What other things do you spend your time on that the above questions don’t cover? Hint: Ditch those things and fill that time with joy sparking! Oh wait…KonMari method…. Thank those things for what they brought to your life, thennnnnn trash them.

(Sidenote: There may be items on the third list you legitimately can’t ditch. I get it. No harm, no foul. I am moreso meaning the things that you can.)

Big old caveat here: I am not a consultant or an expert. I’m just someone who watched the Netflix show. For expert advice, that’d be Marie Kondo.

for the Creatives

How to do ALL THE THINGS as a multi-creative

I write stories and blogposts, and I teach, and I have dayjob and family and friends and I should probably try to live healthy like go to the gym and prep veggies, oh and Marie Kondoing my life is pretty important right now, plus I travel a lot to see my Wisconsin Guy (I mean, my only guy, but he’s also my Wisconsin Guy), plus there’s church and there’s serving my community, and let’s not forget Netflix. Phew, I’m wiped! Oh, and I need sleep! Yes, sleep. ZZZzzzZZZzzzZZZzzzz.

In maintaining my writerly entrepreneurial life, I have book writing, blogging, social media updates, email newsletter, patron updates, book signings and events, writers groups, teaching classes, #DelilahTales updates about my mannequin’s life because why not, artistic fashion resale, directing the literary arts section of a Christian creative arts conference, and of course a dayjob to make this all possible.

And, in case ya didn’t notice from above, I’m not even the most multi-creative human out there. Some of y’all out there write and dance and paint and act and and all the things. Some of y’all have kids. Some of y’all have 3 jobs. Let’s be real: Some of y’all are busier than me.

But in juggling all the things, I’ve learned a few tips I thought I’d pass along. If you feel like you’re bombing your resolutions, it’s okay. Let’s reset. Let’s take another month to figure it out, and I won’t tell anybody. 

In a previous post I gave a micro-step about picking which ball you’ll keep in the air, but there’s a whole process to go deeper into re-evaluating each piece of your life and getting a few steps closer to doing the things that you’re actually wanting to do with the time you have.

Here’s my step by step process to prioritizing. I did it back when I got serious about my writing, and routinely I’ve re-evaluated and adjusted from there. It might help you.

When I began to make a regular writing routine, but didn’t have time for it, I did the following:

  1. Made a list of priorities, which included all the things I want to be the focus of my life for the time. This can include activities and abstract concepts: community, faith, writing, blogging, etc.
  2. Made a separate list of obligations, the things I don’t want to be the focus of my life but I have to give some time to. This also includes activities and abstract concepts: health (nutrition and gym), rest days, dayjob, sleep, etc.
  3. Goal of the above: diminish as much time as possible for obligations – for instance from my life, don’t work overtime if possible, don’t set some ridiculous gym goal, choose quicker healthy foods rather than hours of meal prep, have one rest day a week but not lounging for weeks on end, etc.  – and add the priorities to calendar wherever possible, organize life around those things.
  4. Made a separate list that detailed every single thing I spend my time doing currently. Included sleep, gym, meal prep, movie watching, reading, writers group, church small group, church services, work, writing, watching tv shows with a couple friends, babysitting, etc.
  5. Removed everything from my calendar that was part of that last list but not on the other lists. I noticed one small group I attended was not a community to me, but the other was, so I dropped the one that did not factor into my priority of “community”. I stopped babysitting. Cut the TV show watching with friends mostly, and prioritized writerly relationship meetings that help achieve my writing priority.
  6. Anything that came up to add to my calendar, I weighed on this scale: Is this in line with my priorities? Yes, then add it. Is this more under obligation? Okay, I’ll add it if I need to allot time to this still. Is this neither? Nope, can’t do it, I’m busy.

Notes:

  • This will fluctuate with time. Going through this process isn’t thinking “For the rest of my life, where does this fall?” It’s “Right now, where does this fall? For this season, what do I want my life to look like?” Maybe decluttering is priority because Marie Kondo and spring cleaning vibes. But then, you declutter, congratulations by the way, and suddenly you want music and sleep to be your top priority instead. This isn’t set in stone for all time. So ask yourself, for the next year or 6 months or 3 months, what you want it to look like.
  • The “obligation” category isn’t a bad section. You can even enjoy obligations very much (three cheers for sleep!). Obligations are still very much important and given regular time, just not extra. It’s important I go to the gym, spend time with family, sleep, attend my church, serve my community, work, write…but it’s all a question of which things I will allot time and not give extra time to (obligation), and which ones I need to fill my calendar as full as I can with because they’re my focus (priority).
  • For you: Which creative pursuits are an obligation? Which creative pursuits are a priority? Either way is fine. What about family? friends? health? cleaning your house? netflix? reading? gaming? travel? What about all your other activities? It’s all up to you. There’s no wrong list, it’s just personal to your life goals, aspirations, desires, etc.

Final step, I promise:

With the list of priorities and what gets what time, you want those priorities in order. What’s your top priority if you had to lose everything but one? What’s your second priority? And so on down the list. Once you do that, fit them each into your calendar on a regular basis in accordance with your prioritization, but you always know what drops first if you can’t hit it and you always know what gets any extra time you carve out.

So is your top priority theater? Novel? Blogging? Give your top priority the most of your focus/time/energy. Give a little time to the others. Maybe some will be every day, some every week, and some only every month. Who knows. But don’t focus so much on juggling all your lower priorities that you don’t give the time to your top priority.

It’s okay to want a lot of things, and you’ll figure out what works for you balance-wise with time.

You don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS. At least not all at once. Choose a couple for now. Add some in when you have room, take some off when you don’t. Most importantly, cut down as much “obligation” time as you can and throw it all at your “priorities” list. Something beautiful will come of it.

New top secret content for you!

If you like my detailed analytical posts like this one, it’s becoming a new perk for my most raving fans. From now on, these will be top secret content you can receive one of two ways:

  1. An abridged version of any new post is sent to those who receive my posts by email. You can sign up for free at the very bottom of my webpage. 
  2. The all-access pass for the archives and any future exclusive posts is available to paying patrons for just $2/mo. You can sign up at Patreon.com/AmyLSauder

The only question is, which will you choose?

for the Creatives

Juggling & blogging [& yes I’m back, I’m still alive I think]

Jugglers: It’s more fun to drop the ball, right? right???

Okay, fine, that’s wishful thinking because all I can do is drop the ball. Anyone else able to only juggle one ball tops? I’m lucky to toss a ball from one hand to the other instead of across the room. Hand-eye coordination is lost on me.

And that’s how I came to drop this ball – this blog – here.

Four years. I’ve stuck to my once a week blogpost (minus vacations) for four years. That was my main ball to juggle. Sure, I’d post on social media, I’d teach a class here and there, I’d work on my story…But this blog was the one thing I was focusing on keeping in the air.

Then a few months ago, I published a book. And I couldn’t keep two things in the air, so that became my thing. Figuring the publishing world out is no small chore, even for someone who’s been in the loop on the writing world for years on end.

Now that’s over, and my main goal for the new year is to find some semblance of balance again. Or someone somewhere recently said they look for “harmony” instead of “balance”. I like that idea. So here I am, reintroducing myself to this ball I’ve dropped, and I’m ready to give it a toss again. I have great things to post about publishing, creating, achieving goals, and so much more.

One important thing I’ve learned that helps me make things happen and achieve my goals: Figure out the one ball that I’m gonna keep in the air when others fall away. Figure out my main focus for right now, and I can always switch it later.

I’ve missed this blog a lot – I’ve missed you a lot – but I remind myself that it’s okay I went away for a time to focus on my new goal, my new creation. Now here I am, reintroducing myself to this ball I’ve dropped, and I’m ready to give it a toss again. I have great post ideas about publishing, creating, achieving goals, and so much more. I’m ready to juggle *this one* again.

The gist: Really, most people can’t juggle for long. Something is gonna crash, and that’s okay.

Now it’s your turn. Catch!

for the Creatives

Tip for Creating: Ask a Lot!

Want people to buy your work?

  • Have you asked if they’re interested?
  • Do they know you’re a creative?
  • Do they know you’re selling?

If you talk about it a lot, and I mean a lot a lot, then yes they do. But if you can’t tell me that you’re talking about it all the time, then I can almost guarantee you they don’t know.

I talk about my writing with almost everyone I run into. And I have posted multiple times on social media about preorders. And still, I have people who either 1) don’t know my book is coming out, or 2) don’t know they can preorder.

*Ahem, by the way, did you hear you can preorder “I Know You Like a Murder?*

If you can’t say that you talk about your creations a lot a lot a lot, then you probably know people who would support you if they just heard about your work.

If you haven’t talked about it or posted about it in the past 2 weeks, go do it. Now.
Your diehard fan customer might be just around the corner waiting for you to tell them about that amazing cool thing you offer. 

 

 

 

 

 

for the Creatives

Tip for Creating: Ask Big!

The world is conspiring to bring your creation, your dream, to life. Are you conspiring with it, or are you keeping it out of the loop?
You have a huge support team around you – friends, family, colleagues, mentors, social media connections, creators that have gone before and don’t know your name yet.

So many of those are just waiting for the ask.

Here’s the big asks I’ve been making:

  • I asked my book launch team to help dig through a 70+ page list of book bloggers. No joke, they came through! Mostly that speaks to how amazing a team they are. But let me tell you – if you have people on your team, that means they want to help. Make the big ask. See what happens.
  • I asked to be on Ted Dekker’s book launch team. No, I hadn’t read the first in the series, and no my social media following isn’t as big as he could probably get, but I presented my case of how I’d work my butt off to get his story out there because I believed in it. Now I’m joining his book launch team and can learn from him how to better facilitate my own team.
  • I asked to have my book in a monthly subscription box. Actually, I asked about a dozen subscription boxes that “I Know You Likea  Murder” seemed like a good fit for. I don’t have a bite yet. But I’m asking.

Make 2 or 5 or 10 big asks for your creations this week. See what happens. Chances are that every single one won’t be answered, but something will.

  • Are you stuck on a step of your creative process and need some guidance?
  • Do you need a friend to help with errands so you can attend a workshop?
  • Do you have an administrative task you want to tagteam on?
  • Are you looking for the opportunity to work for & learn from the top dogs of your industry?
  • Are you hoping to get your product in front of a larger audience through a partnership?

Tell me: What ask are you gonna make? 

(Here’s my ask for this week: you can follow my Patreon for free creativity tips like this throughout the month. If you’re interested, come join.)

 

 

 

for the Creatives

Tip for Creating: Don’t make it perfect

At first: 
Don’t make it perfect. 
  • Make it wild.
  • Make it experimental. 
  • Make it fun.  
  • Make it imaginative.
  • Make it risky.
  • Make it yours. 
Perfect can come later. For now, just make it. 

~~~
Hey yo, I post creative & dreamerly tips like this on my Patreon. If ya need a burst of inspiration, a kick in the pants, or practical tips for achieving your creative dreams, check it out 🙂 

 

for the Creatives

Creative coaching for just $2/month

My Patreon is for two types of people.

1. Do you believe in my dream?

If you’ve been following me awhile, maybe you’ve bought in wholeheartedly to what I’m doing. Maybe when you say you believe in me, you actually believe in me.

If that’s you: Do you believe in my dream, like that my work is worth more than a box of mac n cheese? You can invest in that dream. Buy me mac n cheese & I’ll mail you an autographed copy of the Cast of Characters for my book.

FJ2T9

Then once I’m a big deal, you sell it on ebay for even more $$$ & we laugh at the scoffers who’d rather have mac n cheese now than fortune later (although really, who can blame them…)

 

2. More importantly, do you believe in your own dream?

Do you need motivation & tips to get your dream moving forward? Good news! I now offer creative coaching for just $2/month (coincidentally, enough for me to buy a box of mac n cheese.) You can see what other clients have to say about my creative coaching, then hop over to my Patreon and invest a little bit in your dream.

Psst… I’ll tell you a secret since you’re my people: For now, you can sign up & trial run, then back out before the 1st if you don’t think it’s worth the mac n cheese you’re missing out on.

for the Creatives

The Qapital app may have helped save $725

Did Qapital help me save more?

Sooo if you recall, for the new year I began this experiment to see if Qapital helps me save more money than I already do. I’m happy to announce that in the past few months I’ve saved $725 more than my average savings before. I excluded my tax return from this savings amount, because I’m not sure that counts in the span of a three-month average 🙂 Life circumstances change of course, so I can’t say for sure, but there’s a fair chance that Qapital helped with some of that.

(Interested? Sign up using my referral link and Qapital app will give us both $5.)

How will I change my usage of the Qapital app?

Problem: On the downside, most of that savings was to my “general savings” not my “book launch savings”,  because the only savings rules I gave for book launch were related to spending at Starbucks or Walmart – two places I try not to go to often.

Solution: I will likely be moving one rule from “general savings” to “book launch savings” to make a little more money there. I’m thinking the 1% of income rule. Tbd.

A warning for the go-getters:

Be forewarned! Qapital can only save as much as you actually have to save, except it doesn’t know that of course. My friend talks about her negative experience on her blogpost. Qapital can only help as far as you actually have money to save. So if you have a tight budget, it’s possible this app wouldn’t be the best tool for you. And if you’re a super competitive nature, don’t get too crazy with the rules on this app 🙂 Find balance.

This experiment is in flux:

I won’t be able to completely accurately continue this experiment because I’m about to buy a new car engine which will take a bunch of savings. Soooo that’ll screw up the average a lot. But I’ll keep ya updated 🙂

Have you used Qapital app? Tell me your experience. Has it helped you save? What rules do you find most useful?

Interested in trying it out? Sign up using my referral link and Qapital app will give us both $5. An easy way for you to contribute to your savings goals and my book launch at the same time 😉

Exclusive Content, for the Creatives

Learning marketing from the best: Lady Gaga

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for the Creatives

3 practical strategies that keep me hustling

My writerly dreams battle against lovable nuisances like a day job (Cha-ching$$$$), family & friends, self-care, and of course household chores. And I have found three strategies that keep me writing even amidst ALL THE THINGS that will squeeze their way into my calendar.

I am beyond THRILLED to be featured on Ksenia Anske’s blog. My five years ago self would never suspect that I would one day have this opportunity to work with and learn from this writerly genius I admire so much (Oh btw, awhile back I also wrote about all the reasons I love Ksenia). Okay, I’m going to stop gushing now. Keep dreaming and working, and go steal my tips from Ksenia’s blog for your own world domination plans.