“When you’re in the act of creating, when you’re actually focused on that one song, and that focus is allowing you to disappear… there isn’t anyone else’s image of who you are to compete with.”Jeff Tweedy, How to Write One Song
No, I didn’t get Jeff Tweedy on the show. But I DID ready his book!
Why? Well… let me tell you a Creative Impostor story for the New Year. It’s about a woman taking a huge risk.
The story begins during that weird week between Christmas and New Year’s. Where noting gets done, no one knows what day it is and yet, somehow, you imagined getting caught up on all the things you didn’t get to yet this year.
It’s Monday and I’m driving from Chicago to a small town in Wisconsin, not far over the state line. It’s only 6pm but it grows increasingly darker and more ominous to this self-diagnosed city girl. I’m on a call with my friend Julia… running my internal monologue past her. (Thank you, Julia, as always for indulging me.)
Why the hell am I driving to Wisconsin right now? What exactly do I hope to accomplish? Who do I think I am?
Several months ago I booked a “personal retreat” for myself at this vintage 1939 cabin on Airbnb. It was an idea born partially out of a feeling of stagnation having not traveled in ages due to the COVID-19 pandemic and even more so out of a creative process that started way way back in April of 2021.
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“But for the past year+ as a result of, call it, the pandemic, shifts in my business, reading and listening to more and more content about cultural appropriation, general overwhelm and fatigue… I wasn’t feeling it. Singing, I mean. And I felt like a huge part of myself was missing.”~Andrea Klunder
I’m taking a huge risk. It’s not the same kind of risk I took when I moved from Michigan to the big city of Chicago out of college, or when I started auditioning for storefront theater productions around the city, or when I quit my full-time arts admin job to start my own yoga studio business, or even when I started this podcast.
What feels different is that I’m telling you now, before it exists, before I even know exactly what it is. And the reason it’s a risk to tell you is because I worry that I might not finish it.
And by telling you there are really two possible outcomes:
#1 accountability to finish gets baked into my process and I am compelled to move forward even when I don’t really feel like it or…
#2 I do, in fact, abandon it somewhere in the murky middle, and then feel embarrassed or ashamed or flaky or something because I already told you, and then, well, it doesn’t happen.
Don’t get me wrong, every year I get hundreds of creative ideas swirling around my brain! Things I could do, stuff I could make, businesses I could start… old ideas that bubble up to the surface begging for attention now, new ideas, drifting in from the ether and landing on my nose like a mysterious duck down feather. Most of them I let settle to the recesses of my mind. Some I write down in a journal. Some are buried somewhere in my Notes app. But this one, this one feels personal and increasingly exigent. There’s an SAT word for you.
I’ve been a singer, as long as I can remember. I have probably even said on this podcast before that my first solo I can remember was “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie, which I believe I sang for the mother daughter banquet at my church when I was possibly four years old. Definitely while I was still in early elementary, I beat out some of the older kids in the church choir to play Jonah and to sing Jonah’s solo from inside of a fiberglass whale.
But I’m not really a songwriter.
I barely play any instruments. Music theory class, chord progressions, key signatures, time signatures, notation...I still have trauma from that experience in college. And I don’t know if it was the content or the fact that it was an 8:00 AM killer designed to weed people out.
What do I even have to write about?
And yet, if I’m honest, haven’t I always wanted to create something of my own?
Connect with Andrea
Email or Voice firstname.lastname@example.org
LinkedIn: @andreaklunder (I only accept connections from people I actually know, so include a message to say you’re a Creative Impostor listener.)
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