This post is more of a journal entry that I’m sharing on Artist of Life. I now have the habit of writing myself this kind of ‘process post’ at regular intervals in the development of major projects. Partly these updates serve to check in with my original intention and to keep me on track.
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of whatever we are creating, responding to challenges and putting out fires, only to somehow lose track of why we are doing what we do. I’ve often discovered that my real motivation in starting a project only becomes clear to me after I’ve been working on it for a while, and sometimes I need to change course to account for that.
Beyond that, I feel it’s important to acknowledge milestones. When I began posting here at the start of September, it was 30 degrees Celsius outside. A snowy day in the middle of winter, 2019 even, seemed a long way off. Now I’m looking back at several months of creating content, which mostly I still like. Being able to acknowledge and celebrate small shifts in experience like this is a crucial part of the self-development process. We have to be able to recognise when we are growing!
Regardless of what you may want to change about yourself, one of the biggest challenges is being able to introduce new habits, routines or structures into your daily life and to keep them there long enough to experience their benefits. Often the steps you take are driven by a sort of blind trust (‘Well, I’ll give it a try, even if it sounds weird. Might even work.’) and haunted by a subtle fear of disappointment. It can be very tempting to stop doing whatever you’re doing before you’ve achieved the result you wanted.
What I noticed about myself the last time I wrote a blog: I need some time to post into silence before I start marketing or inviting anyone to like my work. I need to prove to myself that I can find a rhythm, rely on myself, and see that the content I create matches the quality expectations I have for myself. More simply: I struggle with being a perfectionist.
Now, after four months, my ‘proving to myself’ phase seems to be over. That’s my first insight from this post.
Also I’ve resolved an important unanswered question. Part of my original intention was to find a way to earn income via Artist of Life. I guess like many online creators I’ve struggled in the past to find an appropriate balance between sharing for the sake of sharing, and accepting payment for my abilities and services. This melting of the boundary between sharing and selling is, in my opinion, one of the most treacherous aspects of being online, and demands considerable self-honesty (I’m planning a longer post on this topic).
After wrestling with this issue since September, I’ve decided to create a separate Artist of Life e-store. I will use the store to promote my life coaching packages, e-courses and other information products I create, while all the content on this site will remain free, and I won’t bother you with advertising, pop-ups or other annoyances.
The e-store is in beta. You can access it here.
As a general observation about the last few months, it still surprises me how much concentration and focus is required to keep a project like this going, even if you don’t post every day. Especially if you are co-ordinating multiple online presences (like a blog, website, social media sites, video channels), as many do, it becomes essential to develop a coherent overall content and promotion strategy. Something which, twenty years ago, only agencies and full-time marketers were able to do.
This can lead to burn-out pretty quickly if you don’t recognise that you have limits of time and creative energy, however passionate you may initially be about your project. That’s why I’m happy this is my second go-around. I learned a lot about my limitations during the first iteration of Artist of Life and, as a result, I guess I have more realistic goals this time.
Reading back over this post (and this happens to me often when journaling), I realise something that was not obvious to me before: all the issues and qualities I’ve mentioned above with regard to my personal process with this blog are, in general, relevant to processes of personal development:
Being clear about one’s intention. Acknowledging milestones. The necessity of blind trust. Being able to rely on yourself. Recognising your value. Being aware of boundaries and limitations. Learning to concentrate and focus.
This is why I love journaling! I hope this post has been as useful for you as it has for me. 🙂