Do Your Thing - In a world that is telling you as a creative that you need to do everything a certain way to be successful...I still believe that we need to hear YOUR voice. via

Do YOUR Thing

Today I’m going to preach. This little sermonette is for those of us who are creatives, who make a living (even if it’s a little living) off of some sort of creative pursuit (writing, creating info-products, designing fabric, etc.), and especially for those who want to make a living doing this.

Now please know that I haven’t arrived. I’m not writing this post from my gorgeous home office and looking out over my private golf course. I’m sitting in my office/storage space/craft room/everything room in my apartment. And the furniture does not match. So you don’t have to be jealous while reading this. 😉

But seriously, even though I haven’t made it in terms of financial euphoria, I still think there is something to be said along the journey. And so that’s what I’m talking about today. Okay? Okay.

Do YOUR Thing – My Personal Goal for the Rest of Forever

You see, as I’ve admitted before on this blog, I’m a student (nerd) at heart. Doing this blogging thing has fed right into that since there is an incredible amount of information to learn, especially when you’re just getting started. I get that and I’m all for learning, taking notes, tweaking things, etc. But then something happens. I don’t know when that something is going to happen for you, but it will look like this:

Learn, implement, learn, learn, implement, learn, learn, learn. And then, is this even ME anymore?

In other words, you find yourself so busy putting everyone else’s ideas of success to work in your business that your ideas are placed further and further back. You realize this the day someone mentions how awesome you are at Twitter and you secretly hate Twitter. But then you think maybe you should create a course about what you’ve learned because, well, it would help others and you know your stuff, and you’d be able to pay for the things you really want to do.

It sounds so innocent, doesn’t it? And much of life is like this. You have to do some things that are not exactly fun in order to do the things you love, right? But the problem comes when your business and creative life becomes increasingly filled with busyness that is taking you nowhere and with a voice that isn’t really your own.

The thing is, you do not have to play someone else’s game. You don’t.

You need to do what’s right for you (and your family) and only you can determine that. This may mean blogging once a week. It may mean taking a break completely. It might mean creating products that are “scalable” (an eBook opposed to personal consultation.) Whatever it is, your business, blog, and creative life needs to reflect what is important to YOU.

Here’s the thing, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t get points if you work longer hours-you just get tired. We do need balance, even though so many people scoff at that idea these days. (It almost seems like you receive more high-fives from creatives if you admit to working yourself ragged and living off of coffee for years on end.) I’ll admit that your idea of balance will look different from mine and that’s fine. But find yours. Find what fills you up, what puts that spark back into your step, and do everything you can to make time for it.

There are a million magazine articles, blog posts, and guides that will teach you how to be successful. But they are written from that person’s idea of success. When you read those posts, ask yourself if their values align with yours before you decide to align with them. Feel free to pick and choose from their advice. Use what works for you.

Oh, and this one is directed at me, so you can just listen in. Turn off the computer and spend more time making and exploring your own creativity rather than reading up on everyone else’s. Yes, learn from the masters. Nothing wrong with that. But limit it so your own little voice can learn to sing.

Take the time to feed your creative soul. Get out and breathe the fresh air. Read. Share your life with others. And make stuff. Lots of it. Mess up. Try again. Make a practice to laugh until you’re doing sit-ups (or whatever odd thing you do when you laugh really hard.) Remember. Stop once (or more) each day and let that moment sink into you.

I recently read about an artist who suggested that we all create something in secret. This particularly struck me since in the world we live in, we’re so used to sharing everything. As you learn to do your own thing, consider creating a project that is yours alone. That you’ll never post ‘sneak peeks’ on Instagram, that doesn’t lead to anything, that is just for you. Maybe that is what this year will be all about for many of us. Forging new paths, creating for joy, and living more fully in the beautiful life we’ve been given.

Wouldn’t that be amazing? Because we need to hear who you really are, and the only way for that to happen is for you to do your thing.

Let’s do this!



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15 responses to “Do YOUR Thing”

  1. Alyce // Blossom Heart Quilts Avatar

    This has resonated so deeply with me! This is exactly where my heart is in preparation for next year, but I could never find the eloquence to describe it like you have, haha! Especially about creating something secret. I want to focus more on sewing for the sake of sewing, for the enjoyment of it, but at the same time I have to still maintain work sewing! It’s a fine balance, but I can truly see the value in it this time.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thank you so much, Alyce. This has been on my heart for the entire fall and I’ve been trying to find the words to express it too! 🙂 I can completely relate with creating for the sake of creating and yet also needing to earn an income as well. I’m hoping 2016 will bring more clarity for this for me and for you too! 🙂

  2. Michelle Avatar

    Totally agree, especially in my life this past 3-6 months. I now blog when I want. I am taking contracts on my schedule and I am ok with this. Great post!!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Doesn’t it make a world of difference?! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re doing this for your business. 🙂

  3. tisha @ quiltytherapy Avatar

    Perfection! Thank you for putting into a wonderful piece many creatives need to hear.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thank you so much, Tisha! 🙂

  4. Lizzie Avatar

    Yes, you put this really well, in a very approachable way. I want to paint reminders of your words, send this to my mom and sis, and well, just get on with getting on! Your advice to laugh till you do sit-ups really resonated too– I Do that Too! And shall more often now. Thank you!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I’m so glad this resonated with you, Lizzie! And glad too that I’m not the only one who does sit-ups when I laugh. My sisters have always made fun of me when I did that which just makes it worse, haha. Happy New Year!

  5. Emily @ Small Stuff Counts Avatar

    Great post, Jennie! I, too, am a crazy learner. I pretty much spend all of my free time either creating or else learning about creating something 🙂 I’m intrigued by the idea of creating something just for me. You’re right, in a time where we overshare everything (especially us as bloggers!), it might be nice to do some things just for us alone. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Emily @ Two Purple Couches Avatar

    YES! Yes, yes, yes! My heart has been in this same place recently. It shouldn’t be about dollars you can earn, but about the amount of joy that creating brings, whether or not you share it in a public or social sort of way. Beautifully written, Jennie 🙂 And Happy New Year!

  7. Karen @ Pieces of Contentment Avatar

    Amen. This is so important and you have expressed the ideas beautifully. I love the idea of a secret just-for-me project and have been thinking of doing this myself. The world doesn’t need (or want?) to know everything I do.

  8. Julie Avatar

    Oh, this is so perfect. Especially the “turn off the computer and do/make something”! I swear, reading the internet could be a fulltime job. And we need the internet for our actual jobs/creative businesses, but it’s so hard not to get sucked in

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh my goodness, you’re so right, Julie! I wish scrolling through the internet counted as exercise or something. 😉 Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

  9. Pam Avatar

    Holy wow. Seriously. Wow.
    This post hit home with me. I did this in a big way 6 months ago when I quit my non-creative day job and returned to school to finish my degree in a creative field. Yeah, this is a huge leap, and I’m sometimes a little nervous about it.

    While your post is more focused on doing this on a smaller scale, your words still make me feel more confident about what I’m doing, and they apply to my situation.

    Despite being overwhelmed with homework, you opened my eyes to how I can still be me and create the way I want. Not allowing myself the time to sew or blog or create in my free time has been killing me.

    I guess this is a long winded way of saying thank you. I needed to read this post today.

    This weekend in making a list of everything I want to do, then looking forward to actually working on my “next thing.” (I loved that post as well.)

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Wow, Pam, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so impressed that you did the thing and are back in school. So many people only dream of doing something like that! And yes, I hope you can make time to be creative, even if it’s in small ways here and there. It will feed your soul and fuel you through school! Good luck and thanks again for your comment! It really made my day. 🙂

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