for the Creatives

Find your own Jenn

Creators and Dreamers: 
Get you a friend as committed as you are. I say that lightly, but sincerely I know that’s not an easy thing to come by. But let me tell you: If you do, you become catalysts for each other.

Meet Jenn. I mean, she’s not here, but she’s usually in my living room about once a month as we frantically type away the day, mostly only stopping for a chitchat at lunch.

And now, she’s waking up early to get an hour of writing in before work every. single. workday. Y’all, she one-upped me!

But that’s okay, because I need someone to one-up me right now. I need that reminder of the hunger. Not that I lost it, just that it’s been laying low for a bit.

This month, I’m going to join Jenn some mornings, and we are gonna get things done. By the end of this month, I’ll have a routine more solidified and probably a selfie to share with you, so brace yourself. But until then…

Find your own Jenn. Someone with a similar goal and a similar drive. Whatever commitment level you’re at, get someone right there with you, and keep each other going. It’s powerful. 

It’s not easy to find a Jenn, so if you have one, treasure that! And, maybe tell me about your Jenn in the comments 🙂

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

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

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.

for the Creatives

Our pirate queen woes

Hasn’t everyone always wanted a musical where the female alto is the lead and the female soprano is the villain? Wish granted! With pirates, no less. What more could you want?

This post continues my summary of the story of two queens, analyzing how it depicts us dreamer souls

*Psst! Read part 1 here*

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Sidebar: See, I told ya we’re all pirate queens 😉
Here’s me and my friend Kim dressed as steampunk pirate queens just for funsies.
Costuming by Kim Kouski and photography by Yasmeen Hudson.


Don’t forget: listen along with the full playlist free on YouTube here.

A Day Beyond Belclare <3

Perhaps the best part of the show happens between songs.

It seems like Grania lost her dream, doesn’t it? She’s housewife to a douchebag – no longer a pirate at sea, fighting for her land. She’s been put in her place, and it was her own choosing, her own sacrifice that did it.

And yet.

Word comes that the English have attacked at Belclare, and Donal and his men go to fight while the ladies, Grania included, sit at home.

But!!! Brace yourself! Plot-twist!

It’s all a trick! The real target is Grania while the men are gone and the women “defenseless.” Ha! Grania rallies the O’Flaherty women who seduce the men and kill them when they’re ehh, least suspecting. Say whaat! I’m sorry, I just love this part 🙂

You guys, Grania had sacrificed everything for her land’s freedom, and her dream still came to her. The people who were a warring clan, suddenly those women were her warring buddies, and they dub her the leader of the O’Flaherty women while Donal is off at sea. Our dream will come if we give to it. Our dream will come with people rallying for our cause. 

Okay, so now we actually get to this song, “A Day Beyond Belclare.” The men return from battle, and Donal is perturbed by the newfound respect for Grania in the clan. Tiernan announces that Grania’s father was mortally wounded in battle. Grania of course is going to see him, but then the O’Flaherty women pledge to join her. “All that you’ve seen us through, we now can repay.”

Donal interjects to say, “Then we all go and I lead clan of O’Flaherty.” Ya know, just cause he’s gotta act like it was his idea to take the clan. Donal celebrates that Grania’s father’s death will make him leader of both clans. However, Grania’s father surprises everyone by passing his mantle to Grania.

This is my most favorite moment of the show. The triumph of Grania. Her sacrifice has paid off, her dream has not forsaken her. She’s a pirate queen again, and with even more allies!

You can’t escape your destiny, it follows you. That’s the thing about destiny – it’s not what could happen or should happen, it’s what DOES happen. It will find you, you just have to watch for it and take your chance. Grania’s sacrifice doubled her allies as she fought for her land. Oh so beautiful inspiration!

Sail to the Stars

A beautiful funeral lament for Grania’s father. A sailor’s death, flaming boat set to sea. Starts in Gaelic, then into English translation. Mournful and triumphant.

Sidebar: Please play this at my funeral. Preferably with Broadway-talent Gaelic choir, but I’d accept just this soundtrack. Gorgeous!

Entr’acte (instrumental) 

Grania, captain of the Pirate Queen ship once again, gives birth aboard. Donal is excited, anticipating his rule again since the son will be heir to both clans.

Sidebar: Listen to this while driving through a lightning storm. It makes for quite an adventure.

Enemy at Port Side

The English attack while Grania is still weak from birthing. Donal wants to surrender, and Grania demands her sword to fight. With Grania once again at the lead, they are victorious against the English.

I Dismiss You

Grania is fed up with Donal’s cowardice. Donal is fed up with Grania incessantly besting him.

If you need some good insults, this song has got it for ya.

  • “Whoring’s made you soft. / Drink has left you weak. / Not a drop of Irish blood is left within your veins.”
  • “You’re a deadweight in war, / a disgrace to your clan, / what you’re not is a man!”
  • “You’re an ace at your trade, / you’re a half decent shot, / fairly skilled with a blade… / but a woman you’re not!”

A wonderful loophole you haven’t been privy to yet is that according to Irish tradition, a marriage is only permanent after 3 years, and until that time a spouse can “dismiss” the other. And that’s just exactly what Grania does.

They dump Donal at port the next stop. I don’t know how this actually goes down, but I like to imagine the O’Flaherty clan sticks with Grania and her son (their future leader) instead of following Donal, but either way, Donal has messed up his life.

If I said I Loved You

Hey remember, there was another romance? Tiernan is wondering if it’s too late to tell Grania he still loves her. Grania is wondering if it’s too soon to tell Tiernan that she loves him. And they’re reunited 🙂

The Role of the Queen

Queen Elizabeth considers the dilemma of her role to produce an heir. Just a step behind Grania, in terms of realizing her dream of ruling the Kingdom is both hindered by and requiring her woman-ness.

Funny (ironic, odd) that Bingham refers to Grania as an “aberration of her sex” to the queen who is also conflicted by her masculine job as a woman. Anyhow, Bingham has acquired a new ali: Donal O’Flaherty has agreed to betray Grania, and with it his country.

The Christening (instrumental)

Grania and clan gathers for the christening of her son, Eoin.

Let a Father Stand by his Son

Donal pretends to be penitent, preying on Grania’s close relationship with her father, saying that her son should have a chance to know his father as well.

Grania agrees: “I dismissed the husband cursed by his sin. / The father, though, may come in.”

Donal, along with the English, enter the ceremony and attack, killing many and taking Grania prisoner. It was a trick! (of course).

Donal plans to restore clan O’Flaherty with his boy, but Grace begs Tiernan to take Eoin – “Keep that beast from my boy! / Save my child, save my son!”

Tiernan kills Donal (woohoo!) and keeps Eoin safe.

*7 years pass* with no song

This isn’t some chick flick where everything goes bad for a couple weeks and then there’s the happily ever after. Your dream isn’t a chick flick either (unless your dream is to, like, make a chick flick).

Everything seems lost. There’s the silence of no songs for this part of the story. That’s because nothing is happening for poor Grania. The English take over Ireland. Grania has been in prison for 7 years – she’s lost her land and her child.

A dream is kinda like a rollercoaster – you’ll hit triumphs, like getting the O’Flaherty clan women to love you. You’ll hit downfalls, like having to marry Donal (yech.) You’ll think you’re winning only to be slapped back to worse than where you started. 7 years may pass. Keep dreaming. This isn’t the end of the story.


Don’t worry, there’s more to the story! It’s not over yet, dear dreamer 🙂 Read the finale next. Until then, tell me about you in the trenches working towards your dream.

  • What’s your unlikely successes?
  • Tell us about your silent 7 years.
  • Is there light at the end of the tunnel? What is it?
for the Creatives

We’re all pirate queens

Under-appreciated. Emotional. Irish. I’d like to think I’m two of those things, but the Pirate Queen musical gets all three 😉

So while recommending this soundtrack that I just can’t be rid of, I thought I’d share how we all are basicly pirate queens. Us creative souls, us dreamers, we can relate to the ups and downs of this epic voyage 🙂 I’ll go through the story song by song, so yes, major spoilers all spoilers basicly here. But I’ll be analyzing the theme of dreaming and how it applies to our lives along the way 🙂

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Listen along with the full playlist free on YouTube here.

Prologue (instrumental)

Bagpipes, just to make sure you remember this is an Irish musical.

The Pirate Queen

A new ship is christened The Pirate Queen. Grania (Grace) O’Malley, the daughter of the captain, sneaks aboard with her sailor love Tiernan.

Woman <3

Shocker? Grania doesn’t get to stay on the ship. Because? She’s a woman.

All of us are at some point denied our dream. All of us have something that disqualifies us from our dream: gender, age, personality, family, income.

“I’m almost your age / I’m your match in size. / I’m your match with swords, / an equal in most eyes. / But when you have a dream, / and you’re caught in its grip, / you can climb aboard a ship, / you can, / you can, / for you’re a man. / You can reach toward that place / where the earth meets the sky, / fight a battle,  be brave, be true, / if you can do it, why not I?”

So what does Grania do when she’s told to stay home and wait for the men to save the day and return? She disguises herself as a cabin boy and becomes a stowaway, of course! Then a storm hits and Grania saves the day, exposing herself.

My Grace

The captain, her father, is in a tight spot, punishing a stowaway or honoring a hero. He finally determines to let her stay through that voyage as a reward for her bravery.

“Who can even imagine the trials you will face / as you strive to live free?”

Keep fighting for that dream. Take whatever opportunities you have to prove your worth. Become a stowaway towards your dream and seize the opportunity!

Here on this Night

Grania and her love Tiernan are super excited (understatement) to get to be together. Their romance is a secret, but they’re together.

The Waking of the Queen

Two queens are revealed in this song.

First our Grania proves her worth yet again. England attacks and injures her father, so she takes charge and sinks the battling warship. Grania’s father recognizes her leadership, and begins to train her to be captain. She is dubbed the Pirate Queen.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth becomes Queen in England. Knowing women aren’t taken seriously as a leader, she decides to hide her femininity.

Noticing a pattern yet? The villainess has a similar storyline to Grania, not being taken seriously in her role because she’s a woman.

Everyone will have something to disqualify working towards a dream. If the Queen of England and the Queen of the Pirates were disqualified, what makes you think you won’t be?

Rah-Rah, Tip-Top

Queen Elizabeth’s court tries to assure her everything is in “tip-top” shape, patronizing her as if she’s a little princess so as not to “bother the royal head.” When she presses, they admit that an Irish pirate ship had attacked. Upon further inquiry, they admit that the ship had a female captain – Grace O’Malley. Queen Elizabeth must show her power and commissions Lord Bingham to “crush” Ireland.

 The Choice is Mine

With England warring against Ireland, the O’Malley clan must unite with rival O’Flaherty clan as one force, suggesting an arranged marriage between O’Malley’s daughter Grania and O’Flaherty’s son Donal.

Grania’s dream was to fight England, but this isn’t the way she planned. She would lose the love of her life, Tiernan, but also she would lose her freedom to be pirate at sea. It’s a time where she has to choose between the means and the end of her dream, and sacrifice.

We all will come across a chance, where what was seen as a detriment to our dream is actually a stepping stone to the cause we fight for. And we may be asked to sacrifice accordingly.

The irony is she is asked to do what only a woman can do, when all this time she’s been fighting to do what only a man is permitted to do. The cause would be won in doing what only a woman can, marrying and bearing a son to create an alliance.

“I fought so hard, / to carve a life that’s mine. / I love my land. / Where do I draw the line? A man cannot, / a woman can. / It’s cruel, the path / we are now forced to choose.”

Boys’ll Be Boys

This song is a fun little ditty that shows just what hubbie Donal is like. Donal and clan are at a tavern the night before the wedding (bachelor party? 🙂 ) and he is being teased about marrying a pirate “queen”. Donal claims he’ll tame her, and the guys are all about that, but the ladies bet on Grania giving him trouble.

Girls: “After the drums, / wedding night comes / who will come out alive? / She’s been captain, leading a crew, / She’s killed people, ran ’em right through. / Sorry, Donal, lad, I’m betting on her.”

Donal: “I’ll be rough when she needs it, / rough as seas ever were. / Up to now she’s been steering. / Now it’s time to steer her. / She’s confused about gender. / She’s been too long at sea. / I may well have to beach her, take her inland and teach her, / what a woman should be.”

In the end, Donal promises “marriage won’t change a thing” and he’ll still party. What a guy :/

The Wedding

And yep, they get married. Celebrate, complete with Irish dancing of course 🙂

I’ll Be There

“Go and marry a man you don’t love if that pleases you. / Throw away for a cause all the joys we have known. / Let his kiss keep you warm, I’ll be fine on my own.”

Tiernan is mad about Grania’s choice. However, his love for her remains, and he decides to stay with the O’Flaherty clan for when she needs him.


The dream does not start easily for these ladies. Your dream won’t come easy for you either. Grania and Elizabeth took a chance, a risk, and made it into their dream “industry” per se.

After all that work to even be considered for their dream, Grania’s marrying a jerk, England is warring. You guys, working toward a dream isn’t pretty from the get-go. You’ll be asked to sacrifice. Steve Kamb says in his book Level Up Your Life: “Great sacrifice is often required of the hero along his/her journey to achieve transformation and reach his or her full potential.”

My next blogposts (part 2 and part 3) show what happens to Grania and Elizabeth next. Until then, comment below how starting toward your dream is going for you.

  • What external obstacles are you facing? (hopefully not an irate queen!)
  • Who are your allies?
  • What’s your dream and what’s an internal obstacle you face?
  • What are you sacrificing?

Exclusive Content, for the Creatives

Build it before Ellen DeGeneres shows up

This post is top secret content for my most raving fans. There are two ways to get in on the fun:

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The only question is, which will you choose? 
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