Proof of Creativity

Proof of Creativity

There’s something about creativity that begs to be seen. Show me your big idea, let me read your work, play me a song, hang up your art, watch that video project.

And then the masses, they can say, “how nice, how artistic, how talented” you are at that thing. Or, of course, there’s also the risk of a negative response, or even worse, no response or acknowledgement whatsoever, leaving that creativity vulnerable and alone in the world.

But one is never enough. You need a body and collection of work. It can never be stagnant or stale. You think you’re a writer? You call yourself a musician? You want to be a videographer? You consider yourself an actress? You say you’re an artist, a dancer, a dreamer, a poet? Prove it. 

Instead of the love and the passion and the drive that once compelled such creativity, you find hustle and exhaustion and burnout. A world that says, if you don’t keep churning out more you’ll be lost and left behind by all the ones ready to chew you up and take your spot.

It places all of your worth into what you produce or your results. You’re only as good as your latest project, and it better be something recent, otherwise, what have you been doing all this time?

And not only that, but where’s the self-promotion, the curated pieces, the shows and the gigs and the countless fans along the way?

For the average creative, or maybe just for me, it’s too much. The hustle and chase and sacrifice is too great. Maybe that means I’ll never make it or never have my name in lights. I’d like to hope instead that it means that my creativity and my sense of self will still stay intact.

May the thoughts and dreams that excite me stay possibilities and perhaps even one day realities, instead of drowned out by the noise and expectations to keep the same rapid pace of someone else. May my success be simply gratitude for the ability to create and connect with others, instead of an addiction to constant adoration and attention that can never quite be fulfilled. May I find moments for creativity and inspiration but not feel it is my only or greatest legacy.

That’s not to say that hard work, dedication, and motivation have no place here. All of these make their home here, just as I welcome space, grace, rest, and relationships. It’s about finding a balance and enjoyment instead of making chores out of the things I love.

So, for the last few months the blog has been quiet. This time I don’t think I’ll try to promise a revitalization coming soon but just let it happen as it happens. As for creative side projects, our music has been getting more of my energy and effort for the time being. At work, my writing and editing has continued. At home, we’ve chosen to listen to the need for rest when it comes, to celebrate weekend afternoons relaxing on the porch or rolling on the floor with our little one.

Does my work say something? Sure, sometimes. But more importantly, I’d like my life to speak louder. Not through fame or failures, but through my faith, family, and friendships.

 

In This Season

In This Season

The past several weeks and months have been just a bit too much. Too much good, too much bad, too much work, and too much to think about all at once. In all of that I’ve tried to be present where I am, doing what most seems to need my time and attention.

I’ve read books and listened to podcasts about how to balance “doing it all” and at the end of the day, I think these people want to tell you the answers, but don’t actually have it figured out. As soon as you seem to strike a balance, something in life changes so your schedule and coping mechanisms all need to readjust to fit everything in once more.

I subscribe more to the notion of seasons. There’s a season for hustle and a season for rest. A season for uncertainty and a season for stability. A season for laughter and a season for tears. The length and order of these seasons may change or go against your plans, but I just don’t believe you can do it all all the time. Unfortunately, in this past season or two, blogging just didn’t take priority. While I’ve missed writing here, I don’t regret that decision.

My writing has taken on other forms lately. My days are actually filled with it, be it at the North State Journal where I work as a writer and copy editor or with my various freelance clients who I continue to work with each week. My life has certainly not been void of writing in my absence from this blog.

I have continued to wrestle with what this blog should say and how to say it. There has been a significant amount of transition and change in our lives in the past year and as a result, I’ve wanted to keep most of these thoughts and feelings private from the likes of social media and an unknown audience. Yet, I want to continue to be here, to write in a way that inspires or relates.

So here’s my wave hello saying that I’m still here and will continue to come back. I’ll bring more of an update in time and continue to write so I can share it with you.

 

Employee of the Month

Employee of the Month | Moving Peaces

I’ve got an announcement: I’m officially the Employee of the Month. Yes, thank you for your applause, kind words, and flowers. This is just such an amazing moment for me. 

Where at, you ask? Oh, uh…my little yellow house. So I guess you could say there wasn’t much competition, BUT the hard work and effort was all there. And no, my husband did not bestow upon me such prestige and glory, it was self-awarded.

Alright, jokes and sarcasm aside, I thought I’d give you a little update on what I do during the day. Frankly, it changes all the time and has been an interesting journey, but I’m really grateful for it.

Some of you know, I have worked in communications and project management for years. That work has allowed me to think creatively, plan strategically, and work with all sorts of awesome clients and businesses. It seemed the most logical step was to do just that and set my schedule and workload around what worked best for me.

So, I’ve been adding new clients who need me to write their blog posts or send their newsletters or help them create a timeline or a process. I have my own LLC and created a simple website to sum it up. I get to decide the clients I take on and have to keep myself accountable for the work. I have continued to have clients coming in and have learned so much in the process. I feel this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now.  

I won’t deny that it has been hard to know where to start or what to do at times. I took on a part-time job for quite awhile to make sure there were consistent paychecks coming in, and I have had to really consider what type of work I want to do. It has been a continual work in progress as I work through different projects and look forward to upcoming clients and assignments.

That is the long and short of it.

If you find yourself saying, “I love her writing, I should hire her!” then please go right ahead. We can talk more about specifics and see if it’s a fit. If you are worried that from now on I will be self-promoting my work in every post here from this point forward, then you are sorely mistaken. I think work and what we do each day is important, but I also think it’s a mere piece of who we are and what life is. I most certainly enjoy my work, but it isn’t all that I am…and I plan to keep it that way.

 

What We Don’t See

Stairway | Moving Peaces

Sometimes I hesitate to share the victories without sharing the trials. When I write I try to be transparent and make it clear that I don’t have it all together, but I know it still stays vague. Because frankly, it’s not very fun to tell about the challenges and at times, it’s not appropriate to share, be it to protect people or because the timing is just not right. Sharing and showing just the moments of glory–the vacation plans, the promotion news, the family photos, the epic adventure, the finished product–whatever it is, doesn’t tell the whole story. It instead leaves the rest of us to believe that it happened, just like that.

In those moments, I struggle with jealousy. I couldn’t care less if you had a bigger home or a fancier tech gadget. But when I see someone get an amazing opportunity or live an incredible-seeming life, it can sometimes get ugly on the inside for me. Suddenly my mind is off and running that so-and-so had everything handed to them on a silver platter or had the right connections or just naturally awesome hair. I don’t know or care how they managed to pull it off, but why not me?! And then I stamp my foot and pout for awhile.

I see the glory and the end result. I see the attention and the appreciation. I see the success and imagine the dollar signs. I see the art and the opportunity. 

You know what I don’t see? What it took to get there.

I didn’t see the effort they made and all of hard work they poured into it. I didn’t see their fights for what mattered and accompanying sacrifices. I didn’t see the scrimping and saving. I didn’t see the insecurities and doubt. I didn’t see the practice or failures. I didn’t see the years of struggle or nightly prayers.

I didn’t see the journey, all I saw was the reward. 

Then I got jealous or made quick assumptions or gave up on my own goals. I can’t keep doing that. We just can’t do that. Why? Because nobody wins that way.

You want to know how it happened? Ask them. Put in the work and the effort and the years that it takes. Think big breaks never come your way? That’s probably true, but they don’t really happen for anyone who isn’t trying. Sometimes people stumble in to things, but rarely because they were sitting around waiting for it.

I can’t promise that you will get the same end result or that your effort guarantees what you want. But there are ways to lessen the sting or escape the distractions. If I focus on working towards my goals and you focus on yours, we have less to be jealous of and less assumptions to make. Finding friends and support with whom to share our hardships and our dreams strengthens everyone. Gaining an understanding that you are not alone in the struggle brings perspective. Instead of playing the comparison games, we can together walk through the challenges and celebrate each other’s victories.

Thursday Three

I’ve been gone and out and about. Here’s a quick summary of what has happened in the last two weeks.

1. Goodbyes are hard when it feels like you just said hello. A good friend of mine from college and her husband came to live in our fine state but then sadly were relocated a few months later. As much as I hated to see them go, I was so glad for the short time we had together to reunite and be a part of regular life for a time again.

Meg | Moving Peaces

2. Lots of work makes for lots of long days. That sums it up, right? Jobs, freelance work, side projects, additional work commitments–you name it. It’s not super awesome to blog about, but it’s what life has looked lately in our house…which means our actual house looks like a disaster, and we’re just hanging on one day at a time. So, if it’s been in awhile, I’m sorry. Everything feels hard to keep up with right now. I’m tired of that being the case (and tired of being tired), but it’s the reality. The little time we have in between we try to, you know, see each other and talk but even that we seem to be behind on lately. It all feels like too much, but work things seem to be the hardest things let go thanks to a desire to do good work, to provide financially, and to achieve our potential.

3. Faraway family is better in person. As much as we’re grateful for Skype, you can’t hold a baby, hug a niece, or play catch with a nephew over the internet. While it’s definitely time to be done with traveling for awhile, it was good to see these relatives on the West Coast this past week. 

West Coast Family | Moving Peaces IMG_2444 IMG_2387

Playing Piano | Moving Peaces

Too Much is Too Much

Sunflower Field | Moving Peaces

This a full season–a packed time of so many good things, but in the end it’s making me feel exhausted and overwhelmed. To start, I’ve been out of town for four of the last five weekends. Not to mention, there’s been major happenings at work for both of us, a quick birthday party for him, and a number of out-of-town guests who have stayed with us. The next few weeks only bring more travel, more out-of-town guests, and more big projects and events. 

With so many good things happening, it’s hard to admit that I can’t wait for it to all be over. Somehow everything just got scheduled all at once, making September, October, and part of November exhausting before they even started. Some days it feels like too much but then I think, I should be able to take on just a little bit more! This is all good stuff, why should I need a break? We live in a culture that says more is good and if you’re adding more good things then it must be really good. After reading Shauna Niequist’s post on the Storyline blog, I was reminded today that too much is still too much, regardless of if it is good or bad.

Last week I said “no” to something I wanted to say “yes” to and said, “let me get back to you” on something I almost said “yes” to…but then literally ran out of time to simply send a text saying, “Yes, I’ll do it.” I didn’t blog once last week, and thankfully, didn’t feel any remorse about it even though I had plenty to say. I’d rather say yes to all the things and all the people,  but I’m realizing that not all good things are worth taking on, no matter how much I want to do them. 

The reality is, I could continue to have a busier life. I have a spare hour here or there that hasn’t yet been claimed or scheduled away. I could technically do more and hustle the heck out of my week. Somehow, other people seem to do it. Half of my motivation sometimes comes from looking around at the people who manage to pull it off…all with three or four kids and amazing looking instagram photos to boot.

So why do I keep failing? If they can do it, why am I having such a hard time keeping it all together with my no kids and fuzzy instagram photos? What’s my excuse for always being slightly behind and never quite enough? Why do I have these goals and dreams, but so little energy that it seems they are impossible to achieve?

I don’t have the answers to those questions…but I can feel with everything in me that this needs to be a season of soaking up as much rest as possible. We’re still not out of the woods with all the things we have committed to or the trips we are booked to take, but in the moments in between, rest is what we need.

Therefore, I’m giving myself permission to slow down. To let go of my own expectations and extend grace when rest is more important than the to-do list. This doesn’t mean abandoning my goals or backing out of all of my commitments, but instead discerning what is truly important right now. What needs to be addressed today and what will still be there tomorrow or next month. Where I should ask for help and when I need to say no. This is not shutting myself out from the world, but rather seeking the right balance and telling the truth about where I am right now.

My next few weeks and months will continue to be full, but with the extra little bits of time in between I will do everything I can to hold onto whatever rest that it offers.   

News on the Job Front

News on the Job Front

New Job | Moving Peaces

Back in February, I had a few choices to make and offers to consider. It came through around the same time that I was realizing my strengths and possibilities and feel more at peace with where I was in life. I didn’t love being without a job for so long, but I finally found the flexibility it afforded me and uncovered some of the dreams that had long been ignored. Last June, I had so desperately wanted to hurry up the process and shake out the remedies, but that just wasn’t the way it went.

Instead, I got to pour into my blog, plan an awesome event, invest in relationships around me, submit my writing to a major publication, play my first gig, start doing voice overs and freelance work, ask what if and go on a big trip.

Do you know how full those nine months in between jobs were? Full of questions, doubt, tears, struggle and uncertainty, sure. But also full of time, opportunity, challenge and joy.

It was far from easy, and I will continue to be a voice and sounding board for those in the midst of a job search. It is some sort of terrible to face rejection after rejection and doubt everything you’ve ever known career-wise. But I also want to share the other side, the side where I found a job.

I wish I could explain all the ways I’ve seen good come out of all of this mess this past year. It was never a guarantee that things would end up the way they did, and I will surely face trials in the days and years to come. Life brings pain and hardship, because that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s what reminds us we aren’t invincible–that we need friends, family and God in it all.

There’s a lot to learn still about my new position and what all it will entail. Right now I know that I’ll get to write, communicate and think creatively. As far as logistics go, I have the option to work from home or in the office just 20 minutes away. I get to work with a team and help a company continue to grow. And on top of that, they want me to keep going after my hopes and goals in my spare time: to keep blogging, dreaming and being me.

So thanks for listening to me and offering encouragement. Thanks for putting up with the rants and enduring the in-between. I’m glad to be where I am now but also grateful for the journey, as tough as it was.

(There are a lot of links in there…mostly to other parts of the story. This wasn’t a short story, and I have a feeling the story isn’t over yet.)

UPDATE: Sadly, this job did not work out. Major bummer. I’ve edited out some of the specifics about the job and company but decided to keep the post. It was triumphant, not only about the new job but also a celebration of everything I had learned and how far I had come. I stand by that celebration of growth today, despite the disappointment of how things happened in this particular job.