Creative Process

When Creative Destiny Finds You

I haven’t blogged for ages.  This has been for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I do think that if you are going to blog, make it real REAL good and really contribute something that is worthy of people giving their precious time to.  Problem is, every time I sat down to write something over the past few months, it somehow didn’t feel quite authentic, it wasn’t coming straight from my truth.  So instead of posting something lackluster, I opted to wait until something of worth presented itself for communicating.

While I’ve been waiting for this ‘something’ to arrive, I’ve painted, I’ve drawn, I’ve entered my work in my very first group show, I’ve kept going with my online painting tuition, I’ve completed painting commissions and sold other works that people have fallen in love with.  It’s been a wonderful adventure and it has felt like a new season in my creative life has been ripening.

Painting and art making has been something that I initially started doing again simply for myself, for my own love of creating and also as balm for a healing process I have been going through.  I have shared my journey and other’s have resonated with it.  And somehow, in this time of ‘waiting’ for the inspiration to arrive for my next move with Creative Conversation to arrive, it happened and has presented itself in the most unexpected of ways- a new career direction as an artist, for which I have just launched a brand new website: susannethercote.com

 I love working with my coaching clients and getting deep into the journey with others on the creative business path, I really do, because I have deep understanding of that process and deep compassion for [...]

Cultivating Creative Genius

This year, I have been participating in a wonderful online art community and art course called 52 Paintings, run by the gorgeous Faith Evans Sills and Mati-Rose over in the US.  Recently, Faith invited me to write a post to share with our group about a practice that I do in the middle of the day to cultivate creative flow in my work.  I’d love to share that article with you guys too, I hope you enjoy!

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On most days, about an hour after lunch, I find myself yawning and lacking energy, can you relate?  I could put it down to having two young children, my habit of rising early, perhaps even my need to quit sugar.  My need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up is always there.

I have been a meditator for many years now, on and off, and I’ve long been sold on the benefits of having a regular practice.  For me that regular time is in the morning, before the household rises, I sit and connect in, with myself, with the divine, with nature.  It’s the most brilliant way to start the day and feels me with beautiful energy.

So when I realised that my body and my sprit needed an energy injections around the mid-afternoon, I sought a way of going about it that would meet two needs – my need for body rest, and my need to pep up my spirit.  I instinctively developed the following practice which helps me to both rest AND cultivate the feeling and attitude that I want to bring to my work after my little rest.

First I lay down on my bed or on the window seat in my studio.  I plug in my earphones to my iPhone [...]

My Winter of Deep Healing

Yesterday was the first day of Spring here in the southern hemisphere and my, was she glorious.  The sun shone and it’s rays had real warmth brewing in them.  This caught me by great surprise as we often don’t see the warmer weather until November around here.  I don’t think I have ever been happier to see spring come.

This winter has, for me, been a deeply challenging time in many ways.  It has been a time where I was led to some pretty dark places within that needed attention, processing and deep healing.  Things that have waited for over 35 years to be felt and let go of.

Such processes are never easy, but they are hugely necessary at times.  And my time has been this winter.

It required me to back right off on my businesses and create space for the unknown unfolding.  It required me to stand completely in my vulnerability waiting for tsunami upon tsunami of decades of unfelt emotion to break upon me.  And then it required me to do it again.

This winter, I gave in.  I really gave in.  I gave in because I know that truly feeling and letting go of the old stories that held me ransom was the only road to truly coming into complete alignment with what the universe has destined me to be. I gave in because there were crusty old skins that needed to be shed, because I am truly done with letting them run my emotional life.

I gave in because I was far enough down the road to my own truth that there was no other way but to confront these deep shadows and let them engulf me – not so that they would [...]

The Space In-between

There is a place in life that many of us come to at least once and often more.  It is the space after you have defined yourself as ‘something’ in the world.  You’ve had some kind of success.  Defined some kind of identity around it.  And then life makes it obvious that it is time to move on from this way of being onto to something new.

But that something ‘new’ is nebulous and shady.  It is embryonic.  It has not yet taken form.  And it takes a good period of unpredictable time to incubate.

This moment is what I like to call the space in-between.  I’ve just been in one and it’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while.

The space in-between is where all possibilities lay.  It is exciting and petrifying all at once.  But it can also be lonely, because it exists only in your imagination so no-one else can share it with you yet. And no-one else can assure you that it will ‘all work out’ because they don’t know and you don’t know if it will.

And yet the space in-between, if we really understand it correctly, is possibly one of the most special places to be in life and your creative journey.  It is like a magical land of possibility from where you can conjure your destiny.

I’ve conjured many an incredible journey from this place – each perfect for it’s time.  And for the past few months I have found myself in this space once again, this time for a time longer than my urge to ‘make stuff happen’ usually allows me.

This time I made a conscious choice to slow the process down. To allow the gestation to really take root.  [...]

Coming Clean About My Business ‘Achilles Heel’

I want to come clean about something to you all.  Today, I embarked on my latest marketing campaign for my e-course.  My e-course is all about taking an holistic approach to business planning, which may give the impression that I am somehow in a Zen state about the whole business process. I’m here to bust that illusion- I most absolutely am NOT zen with online marketing.  In fact my internal wrestle with the whole process of marketing is something that I still struggle with and nearly undoes me every single time.  But it is a necessary and unavoidable part of the business process- particularly the line of work that I am in, and it does none of you any service to hide the fact that I struggle with it, because I know for a fact that a lot of you struggle with it too.So lets have a frank chat about this shall we?

Why am I telling you about this? Because it’s good to come clean about your ‘Achilles Heel’ which, by it’s nature, runs deep to your emotional core and has the power to take you down. Do you know that story of Achilles?  Achilles was an ancient Greek warrior who fought in the Trojan war (tee hee, I almost wrote worrier, great Freudian slip:-).  He was the greatest warrior around, completely invulnerable to injury, being the son of a goddess and a King, except for in one place and that place was his vulnerability- his heel.  It was an arrow in his heel that finally brought him down and killed him.  It’s such a great metaphor for the secret places we conceal from the world for fear that they may destroy us.So back to my marketing ‘Achilles Heel’.

Now I’m quite clear that marketing will not [...]

What is it about Creativity?

What is it about creativity that so fascinates us? What is it about creativity that makes us feel so deeply satisfied when we practice, and makes us revere it when we see it expressed clearly and unabashedly in others?

When I started my clothing label some 15 years ago, stuck at it, and made it a success, I can’t tell you how many times I would find myself looking into the starry-eyes of someone saying how wonderful it must be to be creative every day. When I started out, this was the very thing that spurred me on – my love of the creative act and my desire to earn my living from it.

At the time, I was being creative by making clothing, so that is what I built a business around. That business allowed me the scope to investigate my creativity in a number of ways, far beyond the act of designing and making clothing. It also taught me that making a business out of something you love can take you away from the act of being creative more than bring you to it, but that is story for another day.

In a way, the act of creating a business is one of the ultimate forms of creativity. You are creating your life and your living on so many levels, from every single decision that you make, that sometimes its actually hard to make a move, in case you create the wrong thing.

I’ve been really taking my time with the development of Creative Conversation, partly because I am aware that I am capable of creating what I set my mind and heart to, so I want to ground my mind in my heart in the [...]

Is Creative Business A Spiritual Path?

I’ve been mulling something over for quite some time, wondering if I should express this point of view here (the brave and honest thing to do, in my estimation) or just leave the whole thing alone (otherwise known as the cowards way out).  But I have to say it, because I’ve been around long enough to know that if you are going to put yourself out there in the way that I am with Creative Conversation, you have to be 100% honest about who and what you are about, otherwise isn’t it all really just bullshit?

So here it is…drum roll please….I think that the creative business path is really one of the most spectacular spiritual paths you can be on.  There.  I said it.  I think business is a spiritual path and that is the way that I treat it. And thus, it is the way that I want to communicate about it.  And if you think that’s a load of BS, then I bid you a very warm sayonara, it’s been nice knowing you.  Because from henceforth, I will not be talking about business in a way that about a million other business coaches today are.

I will not be skirting around the edges of something that I think is a fact – You, as a creative professional, made your business because you LOVE what you do.  You feel CALLED to what you do, and you wish to make a commitment, through thick and thin, to make that creative path that you love your main gig.  Sounds an awful lot like a spiritual path if you ask me.

And here is another thing – the journey you are on in creating that business, giving it [...]

Honoring the Ebb as much as the Flow

These past few weeks have been a period of hibernation for me. I’ve been laying low, feeling quiet, and the need to just take a bit of a breather. As winter solstice has happened in this time, I’m not surprised at my need to bunker down and cocoon a little. I’ve enjoyed lots of long cuddles with my kids and also my fair share of afternoon naps. I’ve also had a couple of lunches with friends and few extra yoga classes. And my workday has been short, some days, very short. I have had the paintbrush out far more than I have been sitting at my computer.

Once upon a time, I would have had they whip out in noticing this behavior in myself. I would have pushed myself to get my but into gear and stick to my schedule.  But the thing is, that time is done in my life- the time of pushing the river, the time of whipping the very tired horse. It’s a new paradigm for me, one where I listen when my body and emotions tell me to slow down for a while. One where I question the schedule rather than blindly following it, because I need to check that I am on course to a destination that I actually like, as opposed to one that looks good on paper.

But this process is a relatively new thing for me, so I’m not sure yet that I trust it. All I really know is that when I push myself through these times to perform, is that I am not terribly effective and I generally wind up a bit of an emotional wreck- at which time I end up taking the break that [...]

Having A Business Means ‘Making it Up’….A Lot!

Last week I was honored to speak at the Darebin Arts Creative Business Seminar Series. It was a 90 minute seminar in which I shared, quite frankly, my top 10 “Things I Wish I Had Known” when I was starting out in my clothing label,  Manque Design, some 14 years ago.

I could do a bit of a breakdown of what the talk entailed, and I probably will at some stage of the game. But what I really want to discuss is something that I touched on in the talk and extended upon rather hugely in my personal development in carrying off this event.

That thing was: “Things I wish I had known: No.2: HAVING A BUSINESS MEANS ‘MAKING IT UP’…A LOT!”

When you start out in a small business, you basically begin a process of exposing yourself to a large number of things that you have never done before. Learning how to do your books, learning social media marketing, figuring out how to have conversations with clients that sell. The list is endless really. And what this requires is a willingness to think on your feet and trust in your natural ability to figure stuff out.  This is what I mean when I say “making it up”.

Some ‘entrepreneurial types’ are unnervingly comfortable with this – their willingness to try new things on for size just part of their everyday swagger. But for most of us, it’s not so easy. Many of the tasks required of us, make us squirm with unease, with a lack of trust in ourselves that we will be able to pull it off, whatever ‘it’ is.

Last week I heard a quote, it went something like this: “For most humans, their greatest fear [...]

Are You Addicted to Business Being Hard?

I was for the longest time and it is still a habit I am trying to unlearn. It is so easy believe that you have to do a certain thing because you think or have been told that it is the way to do it, that it is guaranteed to bring you success.   And such an approach is very alluring for the creative professional trying to pave their way in the business world. But following this path of the ‘right way to do’ also happens to be, in my opinion, the fast track to making your work life feel hard.

It’s one thing to try new things and see what works for you, it is quite another to employ a method or approach to business and keep doing it even if the process itself makes you miserable.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I have a few clients who are approaching the time in their creative business where they are deciding whether or not they would like to wholesale or take on a more commercial approach to selling their work on a bigger scale, or keep it smaller and more boutique, perhaps not bringing in the big bucks, but maintaining a smaller profile and their role as a maker.

Neither approach is innately right or wrong. But I believe the most important question is not “how can I make more money?” but “Will the daily tasks that this approach to business brings be enjoyable to me or will they feel super-hard?”

There is a subtle but huge difference between putting yourself out of your comfort zone and trying things on for size, and keeping on doing something because you think you should. One denotes [...]