Of course, you’re going to stumble

The-Creative-Process

Writing a book is no easy feat. Writing is no easy feat. I had to go anonymous before I found my voice.

Twitter, that is where I found my voice. Micro writing. I didn’t follow any local people for a long time. When I started up I had no idea what I would write about. NO IDEA. Being someone who has very random thoughts at very random times of day, I didn’t always have people to share conversations with. I was in my time of raising young children, so I started writing. These quick thoughts that expressed my joys, my inspiration, what made me laugh, what caught my eye, what had cool style, ooh! that’s innovative – *share*, all started to help me express myself. I was unsure I had ever expressed myself before.

Yes, I took photos. For many people, it is a form of expression. I don’t believe I used it that way though. I took my photography course so I could do it as a career. Obtaining the professional knowledge of the trade followed by moving across the country, without my tribe, left me feeling lost and lacking confidence. Not using the medium for expression meant that it was an object of obligation, something I kept forcing – I was supposed to make money off it. That’s not joy. What did bring about expression through photos for me was Instagram, of all things! I was back to capturing people I knew and pleasing scenes that caught my eye in the moment. Of all the money I invested in equipment, a portable studio, computers.. my iPhone became my most expressive creative tool.

Through the combination of Twitter and Instagram, my worlds merged. The words ‘kitchen culture’ kept flowing through my mind. I was making my own baby foods at the time, using fresh produce from my garden. The colors were mesmerizing and I wished to capture them. My Twitter friend Redawna was a food blogger. I occurred to me I wished to create a cookbook with her. Creating the layouts, and then instantly placing the photos in, during the shoot, caused a flashback of sorts. This type of work is where my expression began at age 16 – creating layouts and taking accompanying photos for books. Sharing information. The high school yearbook was where desktop publishing and photography were born into my reality.

So you see, my stumble has lasted for years. Well over 15 years. I don’t know why I chose this, I guess it’s true that some things choose you. What chose me was a life of creative expression, and it has presented itself with many blocks for me to work through and learn through. Because I am aware of the length of time some projects can take to come to fruition, I know not to pressure things; to force it, the creative process. People express themselves when they are ready and the best things happen in their own time.

Writing, and the creative process, are the ultimate journey of self discovery. Expect to go through an array of emotions – excitement, elation, doubt, fear, expectation, exhaustion, reasoning, guilt, acceptance, surprise, gratitude, pride. Start with baby steps – micro writing, journaling, keep a notebook handy for ideas or blurbs that come to mind. Heck, voice record yourself, your thoughts. Then move up to larger goals once your confidence and ability to express grow. Write in a safe space, where you feel at ease, it will allow entry into the zone, welcoming the muse.

Write daily. Write daily. Write daily.

Mentorship is moulding

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For five years, EXPOSURE photo design publishing (pdp) has been a solo journey. I initiate many of the projects that come to fruition. As much as I believe in advertising, I have only put my first dollars into a paid campaign recently. I make decisions based on intuition, internet research, college business course material, and great advice I have sought from trusted colleagues.

First, I set up a meeting over coffee with Bill Given, in 2006. He was the only creative entrepreneur I knew of at that time. I shared my intentions of owning a photography and graphic design business and asked if he had any advice for me. Bill is a leader, then owner of Greater Than Graphic & Web and City Counselor, and now Mayor of Grande Prairie. Next, I sought out a chat with Doug Hare, Associate Publisher of the Daily Herald Tribune, in 2008. I wanted to know what skills I needed to acquire to become a publisher. In 2009 I spoke with, recently deceased and greatly missed, Editor-in-Chief, Fred Rinne, of the DHT newspaper. Again I was looking to focus my efforts. Fred suggested I look into page building. I loved his advice and love layout design. I never would have developed the idea that I could create books without Fred’s advice. Lastly, I took a chance by emailing Margot Austin in 2012, a Twitter connection and then Senior Design Editor of House & Home magazine. I was planning the PEI food book and knew she would have marvelous advice on a few different aspects of the build.

Fast forward to this spring. I had an amazing experience listening to a webinar, hosted by Melinda Edwards, of http://www.melindaedwards.co . Hers was an ad on Facebook that I signed up for. She spoke of entrepreneurship, self confidence, psychological dynamics, resiliency, being down with the odds against you and still finding your way to success. To say I felt aligned was an understatement. Something about Melinda made me want to reach out and thank her. There have been a few times in my life when I’ve felt truly compelled to do something, and writing to her was one of those times.  I felt I would greatly benefit from learning from this lady. She straight-talks, she curses, this girl keeps it real! I sent my appreciation for sharing her story, what she said really resonated with me, and that I wished to keep her course in mind for the future.  Talk about surprised when I heard back from her. I felt touched that she felt touched by my words. But not only that, she wished to work with me.

Over five sessions, Melinda has Skyped with me for an hour at a time. After each session, she has assigned me three action steps to perform over the following week. They’ve been perfect for me! The actions never feel overwhelming or daunting, so I never put them off. I was excited to do each one because I recognized their relevancy and knew how they would bridge to my goals; these were steps that made so much sense, but I never would have thought of doing, myself.

Care to know what some of her action steps were? Connect with me to start the conversation. Better yet, connect with Melinda and seek her out for your own mentoring – http://www.melindaedwards.co (site in progress) and sign up for her newsletter.

Entrepreneurs all have goals and dreams and know how to do their jobs, but can sometimes lack the support and guidance provided by having a team. Always know that you can ask for help.

Coach, conduit, curator

Am I a coach?

I think I am. “Coaching is a useful way of developing people’s skills and abilities. It can also help deal with issues and challenges before they become major problems.” Encouragement is one of my greatest skills. I guide people, entrepreneurs, to explore their goals and ambitions. I familiarize myself with their niche to provide insight, better help them help themselves self-promote effectively, define and attract their target market, to grow. I find satisfaction in helping others improve. Effectiveness. Performance. Potential.

Am I a conduit?

I help people articulate their ideas. “Someone or something that is used as a way of sending something (such as information) from one place or person to another”. I’m open to inner guidance, and share it when compelled. Many associates will have heard me utter ” I just had a thought…”, then I elaborate and we go from there. I get into the mind frame of their quest. The right conversations happen between us; the right questions are asked, and they see answers and solutions for themselves. Dreams. Passion. Joy.

Am I a curator?

“The act of curating, of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts.” When I look through an assortment of things, my mind’s eye starts to group what belongs together. Yet, I can also feel what is missing. This is most helpful with graphic design and desktop publishing projects. Lists, images, paragraphs, directories, artwork, interior design, makeup artistry, it doesn’t matter what I look at, I start to pull pieces together that share some element. Gather. Categorize. Organize.