Unnecessary Creativity?I was told by one of my "peers" that I spend "too much" time tinkering with the visual details of the work I produce.
By "peer" I mean "colleague" (I guess you could call him that) someone who makes his living in a similar way as me -- he's a motivational speaker who gives lecture seminars, records them, and sells them online. (The similarities probably stop there...)
I was seated at a table in the cafe working on the cover art for Manifest Anything.
He draped his arm across the back of my chair, leaned in over my shoulder, and stuck his nose into my laptop screen.
Uninvited. In a proprietary way.
Don't you despise boundary-free behavior?
"You could have launched this sucker days ago and already been making bank." He clapped me on the shoulder and chuckled in a teleprompted, newscaster-y way.
Who does that?
He pulled up a chair, seated himself (again, uninvited) and proceeded to tell me to my face that, unless you're outsourcing, the "extra bits" (I think he meant graphic design elements) are "unnecessary" for authors to "waste their time on." That kind of creative tinkering won't impact your bottom-line.
Making bank, outsourcing, bottom-line... Really? Yes, there are indeed people who actually engage in random daily chats in coffee shops as if we're all living in an internet marketing teleseminar.
He informed me, ducking his head as if conveying a conspiratorial secret, that I'm not going to make any more or less money with a plain text ebook or by posting articles that don't have evocative photographs.
His observations about me are right in one way:
I will gladly spend multiple days of a production schedule designing and embedding images in the MP3s in my audio products -- I hate for you to scroll through your iPod and see only that general, gray "music note" icon attached to my efforts, as if they were comparable to pirated copies you ripped off Limewire.
He conceded that the "pretty parts" are important but that I should be delegating them to others, and spending my time and efforts engaging in the creation of the bits that can only come from me and no one else.
I would agree -- if I had no talent for design or if I did not truly enjoy doing that kind of work.
But, see, what I would never waste my breath explaining to the smarmy sales force robot people that I feel confident sharing with you, is that it's the mental state that I achieve when I am editing CSS code or choosing photographs or selecting fonts that IS the headspace where my creative power originates.
Getting in the Zone
Images talk to me the longer I play with them in Photoshop. I've had entire posts channel straight from an illustration.
It's like my Mama's ritual of cleaning her house on Sundays. If I paid for a team of maids to show up on her doorstep, she'd send them away. Because the housework is just the visible, physical tip of a powerful spell -- one where she resets the energy of her lifestyle and the intentions for her week.
I could also hire some guys to maintain my lawn, but I don't want to give up that glorious collection of zen-triggering activities. I wish I could simply record the conversation taking place among the dryads when I hand-trim hedges and trees... I love to sweep the grass clippings off the sidewalk and the driveway afterward -- nothing provides me with a clearer intuitive channel.
I have a theory that lawn care is a yoga- and/or meditation-equivalent for many a suburban man...
I used to think maybe it's the love that I assign my work that is creating the power behind it. That's quite likely true -- much of the time, the sheer embellishment and attention I give literally charges -- infuses -- the work with great energy.
But I've observed a more basic phenomenon than that.
Weaving Your Reality
I envision the women in Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon falling into trances and astral traveling while spinning wool...
The creative act has a power unto itself -- the action spins a state of mind, a certain level of consciousness, that has a vibration, that manifests an energetic field that acts almost like a magnet for intentions.
I used to believe that the frequency with which I published articles and blog posts and the amount of effort I put into marketing my work was directly proportional to the results or the "success" I would achieve.
But I've discovered that even indirect (seemingly totally unrelated) creative activity seems to magically impact my "bottom-line."
Last year was a successful year for me -- in terms of productivity, manifesting, and abundance.
I credit the increased level of "results" not so much with "more work" as with activities that no one else even witnesses such as:
- Writing fiction -- sometimes for weeks without writing a word of article marketing content
- Redecorating my bedroom and building walls of bookcases for my library
Not to mention devising summertime social activities with my friends every weekend -- that's a whole other post, about how the opposite of working can impact your work.
Putting On Your Power
- Is it about how you put on your power?
- What comes to mind for you when you think of feeling powerful -- of being in your power -- as a garment you can wear?
- (Is this where the concept of a power suit originates?)
What does your power look like and feel like?
- Is it armor?
- Is it a luxurious silk?
- Is it a diaphanous cloud?
- Is it swaddling warmth?
Let Putting on Your Power become your priority. Let the Results of Wielding Your Power become secondary.
See if what you want to Achieve shows up like air swirled into wind by a sweeping turn in a long cape...
Image credit Eric Benacek via Creative Commons on Flickr