Last week’s blog post was about “Why Are You Doing Your Work?", with an accompanying worksheet designed to help you drill down on that. Often a creative path requires a hustle that blurs your reason for doing the work in the first place, so figuring out your why is critical.
This week, let’s have a conversation about what you tell folks about your work. You “tell” folks in conversation. But you also tell folks by how you show up in the world.
I remember the first time I made a business card that said “writer” on it. I’d only begun my journey as a writer who wanted to be published. Up until then I loved writing, but didn’t take my talent seriously enough to pursue with intention. That changed almost twenty years ago, and I decided I was going to my first conference to meet other writers and learn. At the last minute I ran out and bought a sheet of business cards I could print out. I put my name and email on it, and added “Writer” to the card.
My hand shook. I had trouble catching my breath. Who was I to say I was a writer? What would folks think? How could I prove it--I’d never been published. Fear and doubt, my co-pilots, threatened to take over. But I decided I wouldn't let them, not this time.
I put the card in my pocket, and had it with me for the entire conference. I didn’t use it, but I’ll never forget that moment. If I didn’t take myself seriously, who would?
It took 15 more years for me to become a published author. But I claimed my space as a writer more and more over the years. I got a website set up. I joined professional organizations. I took classes. I went to conferences. I met other writers, and created a network that fuels me to this day. When folks asked me about my writing, I let them know that I was working on a novel and that I was hoping to be published soon.
You see, I’d met other writers who let me know what the journey was like, and that getting published was a step, but it wasn’t the end of the journey.
What do you tell folks about your work?
Let’s unpack the layers.
First, how have you claimed your space? Do you have a website, or an social media account for your creative life?
Second, what do you want them to think? How are you letting them know that? If you’re on Instagram, what does your profile say? What does your website look like? Do you have a blog? How does it claim your space?
One note on this--you are an entire human being with a lot of layers in your life. You can and will claim many spaces. My suggestion here is that you say aloud to folks that you are on a creative journey, and here’s what it looks like.
I’ve created a worksheet to help you think of ways to let folks know about your work. You can download it here. Listen, this isn’t easy. As an artist, you know how to be brave in your practice. Now it’s time to start telling other folks about that bravery.
Throughout the month of March I’ll be blogging about the mindset shifts you need to make in order to master your artistic journey, so be sure to check back next week. If you’ve signed up for my email list, I’ll send you an update to remind you.
Thank you for doing your work, and contributing your creativity to the world.
You may feel confident with your craft, or you know how to learn more. But what about the rest of it? Promoting yourself. Understanding how the business works. Figuring out networking.
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