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All the details on my author taxes process

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for the Creatives

4 steps to the creative process

  1. It starts with an idea. A spark. Inspiration. Like attending a creative arts conference or a lego art exhibit. That was my summer. 

  2. Then it’s about building in the routine. Not daily necessarily, just consistently. This year, I have a friend building her writing routine alongside me, you might remember her from the prior blogpost: Jenn. 

  3. And always, it’s about growth. Learning from those ahead of you. I want to use the gifts I’ve been given well – I don’t want to take the responsibility and the trust lightly. I always want to tell the best story I can and get it in front of those who will truly connect with it. 

    That’s why this year I’m investing in the Created to Thrive mentoring program of Matt Tommey’s. I’ll be studying and improving every week, and hopefully you’ll get to see it. 

And amidst all that, and amidst “regular life” stuff of chores and errands and dayjob and family and friends…there’s the 4th step: rest. When I really get going, that’s the piece that I can let go too easily. 

9 months. No, I don’t mean to birth a baby or a book. 9 months to recover from birthing a book. On October 23, “I Know You Like a Murder” will be 1 years old. A couple months of post-publication work, then the beginning of this year I was burnt out. I had no bookish goals for the year because I didn’t want to push myself again.

But I can now say it takes 9 months to bounce back and try to spend every waking moment working on writers life again. This time, I’m trying to build in rest better. Friends are helping me gauge when I’m slacking and when I’m resting. Next time I proceed more carefully, find rest throughout the process, and bounce back quicker.

What’s your best tip to building rest into your hectic life? Comment below and teach me your secrets. And which step of the creative process are you working on? 

Central IL, Showcasing other Creatives

Lego Art

There are probably a thousand ways I could take this post:

  • Think like a kid
  • Creativity outside the box – ahem, and inside the block 😉
  • Exposing yourself to new art mediums to jumpstart your own creativity
  • The importance of making art accessible to everyone

…just to name a few. But, some things speak better than my words can. I went to the lego art exhibit by Nathan Sawaya and took in his art and his words. Inspiration for anyone, but especially creatives. Take a look:

Nathan Sawaya often had captions next to each sculpture, about being an artist. Every artist should get a chance to read those, if nothing more to remind ourselves we’re not alone trying outrageous ideas to see what happens. Like this one:

If the exhibit comes to your area, go. If he speaks in your area, probably go, though unfortunately I missed his local presentation due to another obligation.

And if he doesn’t come to you, here’s another option: I was so mesmerized by his art as well as his words, that I immediately picked up his book Art of the Brick (affiliate link). If you want a book that fuels your creativity that’s a bit different from your other books that fuel your creativity, maybe check it out for amazing artwork of course, as well as great stories about his artistic career. Here is one of my favorite endearing snippets that made me laugh:

An inspiration to us all 🙂 Check out Nathan Sawaya in person or in book form if you’re interested. And either way, find some new and different art to fuel your own creations.

for the Creatives

On taking creative risks

The end of last year I heard 3 sermons in a row, and from different speakers, about God rewarding risk (referencing the parable of the talents). It seemed like apt timing with me taking a risk and publishing a quirky meta short story. Niche in every sense. And nearly a year later, I regret nothing. I might have chosen different marketing avenues, but that’s about it.

More recently I’ve heard a teaching about God rewarding risk, from Alex Marestaing referencing when Jonathan said “Let’s go to the camp of those foreigners. Maybe the Lord will use us to defeat them” (1 Samuel 14:6, ESV). Key word “maybe.” Jonathan didn’t know. He took a risk.

One artist trope is that we have to quit our dayjob to build a successful artist career. That’s the only way we have adequate time to get our business off the ground…right? A few weeks ago I was reading “Originals” (affiliate link) about how nonconformists move the world, and studies actually show that businesses tend to be more successful when the entrepreneur kept their dayjob for awhile. (Read the book for exact details and figures and such.) Because the pressure was off, they could take the time to build something solid. Adam Grant, author of Originals, talked about how instead of taking a risk in every area of life, taking one great risk (like launching an artistic career) while playing it extra cautious in other areas to balance it all out. One great calculated risk.

Back to Alex Marestaing’s teaching. (I know, I’m all over the place, you love it 😛 ). I don’t remember the words he used, but he talked about how Jonathan didn’t know the outcome, but he knew God’s character, so it was a calculated risk.

Calculated risk. I like that. Because taking a risk sounds brave and daring and adventurous, but this little homebody wants to think through all the minute details and move ahead with caution. I like hearing that I can have both. But it still comes back to taking a risk. Artists still gotta jump at some point – or, more like at multiple points – in building their creative life.

This whole “risk” message coming back into my life right now, I’ll be honest, I don’t have a big booklaunch or a big anything in my plans. So what does the “big risk” messaging mean this time? I don’t know. But I’m making myself ready for when it shows itself.

Tell me: Are you more on the calculated side, or more of the risk taker? Which do you tend toward and which do you need to grow in today? Stepping out in risk, or taking a moment to calculate?

for the Creatives

Studying the Greats: Who do you wanna be?

Who do you wanna be when you grow up? Not “grow up” as a person, but grow as an artist. Deciding that is a starting point. Then studying them, that’s one of the greatest keys to growth. If you can’t envision where you’re headed, it’s a little more difficult to get there.

You don’t have to personally know them. There are four super simple steps I’m posting for patrons on how to learn from the greats. Come join that discussion!

And tell me by commenting below: Who are you aspiring to be? Which creative souls are out there doing some piece of what you are wanting to do? and most importantly, what are you learning from them?

for the Creatives

The obligation of an artist

I’ve been pondering the role of an artist, what our responsibility is and what can depend on our brand. What qualifies as our role and what is “out of our lane”. I don’t have that all figured out, and it may be more subjective than all this, but here’s where I’m at right now:


“Shut up and sing,” they say. “Stay in your lane. Leave politics to the politicians. Your education, your skillset is merely the creation of an aesthetic piece.”

But you know. You know your education is more than the word on the page, the brush on the canvas, the graceful movement or theatrical quip, more than the combination of melody and harmony.

Your skillset is in the human condition, the myriad of stories and moments and emotions and experiences and struggles that make a life. It bleeds into your art, your life, your politics, your values. There is no separation. And as an expert on the human condition, your voice matters.

  • We have an obligation to speak from where we’ve come, where we are, where we’re going.
  • We have an obligation to listen.
  • We have an obligation to represent the diversity and the variety of the world around us.
  • We have an obligation to amplify marginalized voices.
  • We have an obligation to speak for justice, for life, for humanity. To speak for the vulnerable and overlooked. To represent without exploiting their story for our own gain.
  • We have an obligation to challenge. To guide, to push, to disturb the status quo.
  • We have an obligation to truth, in both fiction and nonfiction.

I’m still learning. I’m still learning what this looks like for artists in general and for me specifically. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What is the role of an artist? Where do they fit in society beyond entertainment?

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.