Over the years I have lost sight of my creativity. It still exists and once in a while I use it, but overall I feel like the day to day creative is gone. Music, writing, web design, dance, beading, barista. There are so many creative ways in which I am able to express myself, but I tend to put all those creative outlets on hold for work. Work that is boring and droll, but necessary. If only there were ways to take my creativity and parlay it into a career.
I know what you are thinking – there are plenty of creative opportunities in the world. Why have I not pursued them? One word – debt. The debt of credit cards and the debt of schools and the debt of cars and insurance and life. Debt has kept me in banks and kitchens for the past 10 years. I am on the road to debt freedom though and hopefully when I reach the end I will be able to be free to work on creative things. Free to live a creative life without the demands that debt brings.
So, you may ask, what is the goal and how can I achieve it? I have decided that a list is the best way to map out the road ahead and have accountability. Also, I love lists. So here goes…
1. Write a little everyday – this is a goal that I have set for myself many times over and it seems to fall to the wayside. Not because I do not have time to write, but because I choose not to make time. When I come home from work, I usually take a shower, eat dinner and then fall into a vegetative state on the couch until bedtime. This is not what I should be doing. Each day I should be writing a little bit for my future. Each day I should increase the output until I am writing full columns for magazines or articles for journals or a book. So, the goal begins with writing a little everyday and work up to writing all day, everyday, as a career.
2. Bead once a week – beading is another activity that has been placed on the back burner in order to do other things. These other things are not career things, but lazy things. Watching television or surfing facebook or playing online games. Not that these activities should disappear entirely, but certainly be done less. Beading is something I can also do as a career in the future. I have always been in touch with online crafters, but have never fully put my own work out there. Believing that it can be sold and that it is worthy of a price tag is step one, but once I can overcome the pricing dilemma the rest is cake. Make necklaces, take pics, put on etsy, sell to happy buyers. This is a small thing, but it could help me to be able to make a little extra money toward debt and get me closer to the finish line.
3. Join a choir and practice – singing is something I did every single day for 5 years of my life and then it just stopped. School was a motivating factor for me. I was a voice major (mezzo-soprano) so I had to be on top of my game. I needed to do a good job in front of the crowds so I practiced (a bit) and I improved day to day. Since graduating, in 1997, I have let that part of my life slip into the background. Yes, I joined an alumni choir and did a bit of singing for a couple years with them, but nothing like the every day practice that I used to have when I was enrolled in several music ensembles a semester. Singing in the shower and the car does not count! I must join a community of singers to be fully engaged in the practice.
4. Practice dance and/or yoga 3 times per week – this goal covers to things for me, creativity and health. I have let myself go over the past 10 years. My turn around, physically, began when I quit smoking. It has been almost 4 years since that event and at the time I vowed to also get into shape. At the time of quitting cigarettes I felt that I needed to give myself some time to be fully into non-smoking before trying to exercise or diet. This past summer has motivated me to be moving more, if only by the nature of my job in a kitchen/deli. I do not have time to sit as much as I did in school or at the banks, so I have started to lose weight. I also have a Wii sitting idle, waiting for me to return to the fit program and do a little yoga, so that is what I must do. Yoga a couple times per week and tap dancing on the weekends. This is also a nice way to visit with my mom and get us both up and moving a little.
5. Create a better path for web design in my future – my current MLS program is helping me to better understand the nature of information and how we share knowledge. Within this program there is an outlet for web developers to be emerging tech librarians. This is the path that I hope to pursue. With this goal in mind, at the end of my program I will be able to work in a library setting, at a help desk or on a creative team, focusing on web development and content creation. Being a web developer has been a dream of mine since I was 10 years old and went to computer camp. Back then the web did not exist, but the beginnings of it did and for a kid that love to write lines of code (I know, nerd) the future was bright.
6. Leave food service, but retain my barista roots – there will always be a tug at my coat tails from the coffeehouse industry. It is a “what if” that I will always wonder about. What if I opened my own place? Would it be profitable? Would it bomb? In the end it is really all about the coffee and not about the business itself. So, in order to retain this passion, I will research coffee and write about it. I will go to coffeehouses as a recreational activity (as I already do) and I will enjoy my espresso without the worry of projection analysis and profit margins. Coffee is something that I love and leaving it up to others to make money is the best option for me. Enjoying it at home or in a cafe is something I can do without jumping in to another business and leaving behind the other parts of my creative life.
I have taken a couple detours on the road to success, but now I feel my path has straightened and I can move forward knowing that in the end I will be able to write, read, code, design, sing, dance, bead, and drink java within the scope of also making money and having less debt. Tall order, but I am going to try my best to make it happen. All it takes is a little creativity.
Chantale (aka hippiegrrl)
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