Have you ever had a fallow period in your business?
Is ‘their’ response time delaying your agenda?
Do you wish you were busier?
Or is it just me?
It feels like all the balls in my career are on the other side of the court. Great press about my art came out in late January, but the newsstand issues are slow to hit the shelves. After an initial rush of congratulations and increased Instagram followers… crickets.
A proposal I sent off is awaiting a reply; a residency application is out in the ether. If/when any of these pop, I’ll get the high that I crave: people paying attention to what I do. It lifts me up and energizes me to be newly creative and productive. I understand addiction and why people use substances to cover these feelings of insecurity, doubt and uncertainty. I’m fortunate to get my highs from working with color, texture and composition, but the withdrawal can be tough.
What happens when that hit doesn’t arrive (on my schedule)?
I’ve been here before… and survived. Lord knows, if you’re reading this, you’ve made it through your own periods of hibernation (aka the pandemic). What got you through?
I read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when it was first published in 1989. His 7th Habit is “Sharpen the Saw.” Briefly, you can’t continuously chop down trees without taking time to optimize your tools. It’s essential to stop, take a break, and restore the most important instrument of productivity – in the entrepreneur’s case, YOU!
Here are three ways I stay afloat during the waiting game.
1) I fill the well. I’m a fan of Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Dates. By her definition, they’re a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you.
a. This past month I went by myself to see a musical: Kimberly Akimbo. I bonded with the woman sitting next to me, an experience I miss out on when I’m with others.
b. I visited a portrait exhibit at the International Center for Photography (with a good friend—cheated).
c. I read Everyday Sacred by Sue Bender.
d. I saw All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (incredibly inspiring!).