Hello friends! Near and far, old and new. I’ve missed you all while the blog has been in “hibernation” for several months. Here’s a bit of the back story on that – fellow bloggers, listen up – I betcha some of you can relate…
Initially, I pushed the pause button for some blog restructuring. Then, my wonderful clients kept me so busy that the plans I had for blogging had to take a back burner through the holidays to meet all of our deadlines. Once the new year hit, I wanted to come back and say hello, but I’ll admit I felt guilty for being absent so long. I wanted to have a perfect plan in place first, complete with a detailed blog calendar, a stockpile of posts on ingenious new topics stored up ahead of time – you know, all of the things the experts say you need for blogging “success.” The longer I waited, the more perfect I felt my “come back” post and plan had to be. I became petrified of not measuring up, and like petrified things do, I stood still.
Then, one day last week, I was listing to my favorite podcast and the whole thing was a very aptly timed, divine intervention. The podcast was episode 19 of Launching Creative by the brilliants Nik Parks and David Rock (which aired last summer, meaning I’m 34 weeks behind on my favorite podcast, if that tells you anything about how I’m falling behind in every area of my life…) The equally brilliant man they interviewed on that episode, was Ryan Hanley of Content Warfare.
The show was going along, being wonderfully enlightening and all, when suddenly near the end Ryan got all revved up and on a “soapbox” as he called it – this is what he said:
“Anyone who tells you – as a creative, as a business person, as someone who’s just starting out – that there is a way you HAVE to do something, like, it HAS to be done this way in order to be successful, is just trying to sell you something that isn’t going to work. Every single case of someone becoming successful or just being happy with what they have and what they’ve created – they’ve done it their own way. Now, granted, there are some basic best practices and some things that can help you, but, no matter if you’re writing about something as boring as insurance or something as interesting as the “Humans of New York” guy – JUST DO IT YOUR WAY. If you’re up front with people and say like, “Hey, I’m not gonna post a blog for a month but I will be back in a month” – I promise you, that the people who actually are reading your content are going to come back in a month, because they like you.” -Ryan Hanley, Launching Creative Podcast.
That rocked my world. I suddenly felt a weight lifted. I felt free – to be myself, to be candid, unscheduled and unconventional. What’s crazy I don’t really struggle with authenticity in other areas of my life and work – just blogging, apparently. It was such an intimidating tight rope walk of thinking I had to do everything a certain way in order to be a “real” blogger. I was constantly comparing myself to others who have paved the way to blogging success and have it all figured out, so to speak. While I definitely want to learn from others, I really don’t want to do things “their” way.
As it turns out, all I really wanted is to be one of those people Ryan was talking about, who is “happy with what they have and what they’ve created.” It’s not about a popularity contest. It’s not about success by other’s standards. It’s not about a numbers game (although checking site stats can be addicting, as I like fun graphs and charts it makes…). It is about authenticity – sharing real stories, ideas, and beauty with real people. If what I share in this space resonates with or inspires even one person – then I am happy, and that to me, is success.
So if you stick around you will be following the candid journey of an eager creative, small business owner, imperfectionist in the making (I feel like we need an AA group for recovering perfectionists…) and I will do my best to do my best at sharing with you victories that are won, mistakes that are made, lessons that are learned, ideas that are had, and beauty that is created and discovered along the way.
This is me in my early days of creating pretty things (or “Get Well Soon” banners, apparently…) when I didn’t worry about what people thought of my art. I just wanted to hang with my girls, have some fun, and make stuff. Looks like success to me!
Thank you, Ryan, for your words of wisdom, thank you Nik and David for creating a platform where I could hear them, and thank God for the perfect timing. 34 weeks behind, yet exactly on time.
“If you’re authentic, people will connect with you and they’ll let you work through those troubles, as long as you’re moving forward.” -Ryan Hanley
Keep moving forward, and stay inspired.
Much love and gratitude,
PS: In all this sharing about sharing, I failed to mention today is a very special day… it’s Kathryn J. LeMaster Art & Design’s 2nd birthday, what what?!?! What a happy day, indeed. I will probably eat a bunch of victory cupcakes later and post pretty pictures about it. Oh wait, no – that’s what we did last year… hmmm. Oh right, and it was DELICIOUS!