Despite our best creative and entrepreneurial intentions, sometimes we get off track.
I’ve had many projects I’ve started and then fell victim to distraction or discouragement or disillusionment and allowed them to fade away… meetup groups, book clubs, an anonymous humor blog I started after my first Pitchfork Music Festival called “I want a hipster boyfriend…”
The problem is we start out strong and excited and then at some point, we miss a post, a deadline, an issue, an article… and the world doesn’t end, which makes it easier to miss the next one, and the next, until we realize any momentum we had in the beginning has come to a complete standstill. We wonder if anyone was even reading, listening, following, watching, using our creative work at all.
The thought emerges, “will anyone really even care if I just don’t do it anymore?” The mental response, “probably not.” And then we’re in real trouble.
This JUST happened to me.
When I launched The Creative Impostor, my intention was one post per week with a newsletter. Consistently. No matter what. And for weeks that I got too busy to dedicate a half-day to that endeavor, I would create an archive of content in advance schedule.
You may (or may not) have noticed that it’s been over TWO weeks since my last post and newsletter. That archive has never gotten built. And I have been beating myself up mentally over it every day for the last two weeks.
How can I even call myself a blogger or business owner if I haven’t touched my blog in two weeks?!
Truthfully, I had LEGIT reasons. My sister got married last weekend in Michigan and I traveled for the weekend, was her maid of honor and reception MC, helped with setup and clean up, A/V, etc. It was an awesome wedding! Really sweet, fun, beautiful — I didn’t even realize how much energy it was taking until driving back to Chicago the next day when my boyfriend had the explicit job of keeping me engaged in conversation for the whole 3.5 hour drive just so I wouldn’t fall asleep behind the wheel!
Plus, those of you who’ve been following the blog or know me personally, may know that I’ve been experiencing a particularly challenging financial period, cleaning up some of the debt that I accumulated over the course of my 5-year stint as a boutique yoga studio owner and trying to make the transition to more of an online business model via blogging, podcasting and online trainings.
I’m writing a post that goes more in depth on financial specifics b/c I think it’s important to pull back the curtain from time to time if it can be helpful for others who are thinking of starting a business.
In the meantime, suffice to say, that I also just started a new part-time job this week that is super fun but more physically exhausting than I expected and am picking up odd jobs like cleaning and pet sitting just to ease the strain on cash flow.
I’ve been too busy and tired to write. And I didn’t want to publish something half-baked. So I sent nothing.
What’s wrong with taking a couple weeks off? Why is it so important to get posts and newsletters out on a consistent schedule?
I have heard time and again from entrepreneurs, creatives, bloggers, podcasters that I admire that the key to success in the online business space is consistently delivering quality content over time:
Quality + Consistency + Time = Success!
Quality, I believe is my strong suit. I have worked really hard and invested in a lot of training on how to create quality content that is enjoyable and useful (I hope) for my readers and students.
Where I struggle is with consistency and time. I want this venture to be different.
So, how to get back on the wagon once you’ve fallen off?
Just start. Begin again.
Not so simple? Try the following to kickstart that creative mojo and get you back into the groove:
- Take a Meditation Break. Schedule some serious me-time, even if it’s only 5-10 minutes. Have your notebook and a pen nearby. Light a stick of incense, ring a bell, chant a mantra… something to indicate to your brain that you mean business. Take 3-5 deep breaths to settle. Be still and find some relative quiet in the midst of the chaos of busy-ness.
- R&R: Remember & Refresh. In your journal or notebook, jot down the answers to the following questions:
Why did I begin this project/blog/podcast/collection/story/film in the first place?
How was I initially inspired?
What do I love about it?
What’s my vision for what could happen next?
- Schedule some time for Deep Work. Todd Henry has a GREAT podcast on this topic on The Accidental Creative. Listen now!
- Create accountability. Tell someone what steps you’re going to take to get back into creation mode and by when. Ask that person to hold you accountable. (hint: I’m doing that RIGHT NOW with YOU!)
- Pat yourself on the back and get into action! Don’t worry about what you did or didn’t do over the last few days/weeks/months. Just focus on what you are doing now and how that will move you forward.
That’s it. Follow these simple steps and I promise you’ll be back on the wagon discovering new territory in no time!