Twelve weeks ago I was freaking. the. fuck. out. After a few years floating around –mostly aimlessly– taking gigs here and there, I still didn’t know what I was doing with the rest of my already-declining life. Push had come to shove and I sent myself into a tailspin.
I started thinking about what kind of things I absolutely know how to do. Ok, I thought, I know how to bake. My mother baked professionally when I was a kid and, while I never really learned to cook well, I did learn how to bake like a total badass. So, I started testing out the best pie crust recipes the Internet could find. My kid, my pals, and my waistline reaped the fruit-filled rewards. I started telling friends I was going to open a hand pie business here in Alameda.
Now, at the same time, I joined a “share and support” circle for creative entrepreneurs run by my life coach friend Heidi.
When I started the group, I actually started believing I was going to sell little tiny pies at the local farmer’s market. On the first day I announced my plan to the four other Alameda-based creative biz owners. They didn’t question my decision.
But here’s the thing, I was still questioning myself. I didn’t want to MAKE the pies. I wanted to market them. I wanted to do everything but make the pies. I had a brilliant marketing plan and even more brilliant business name (one I won’t share because I may have another plan for it).
As the weeks passed, I began to really look forward to Heidi’s Monday morning meatspace. High above Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden on Park St., we drank tea, ate scones, and discussed Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work!
Then, doors started opening for me. I traveled with friends to SoCal for a fancy Hollywood party at Allee Willis’ home, Willis Wonderland. Shortly thereafter, I became part of the amazing e.g. family. Then, I was asked if I wanted to write up a book proposal or two. I started getting clarity about the direction of my life, something I haven’t felt in a good long while.
In short, I got unstuck.
And, as of five weeks ago, I started a contracting gig at Burning Man. I knew when I left the playa last year that I absolutely had to work with them again. I started going to the event in 1995 and it just felt like it was time to come back to the “family business” again. It took months to break in, but I did it. The project I’m working on is super cool and I honestly could not be happier drinking their “Kool-Aid.” Most importantly, I stopped freaking out. I started living my life again.
If you want some accountability and honest feedback for your creative work, I highly recommend joining Heidi’s next group. It starts September and there’s only four spots available as of this writing. (I am not getting kickbacks or anything for this shout out. I genuinely got a lot out of it, made some new friends, and wanted to simply pay it forward.)