I was recently introduced to the concept of being stuck in create mode, and it blew my mind a tiny bit.
As an artist, being in a mode of creation sounds like total bliss. I’m picturing days filled with new ideas, experimentation, and that wonderful state of creative flow where time, schedules, and stress just seem to melt away.
Although this might sound like a magical place to be, if your intention is to pursue a creative career or start your own creative business, then hanging out in create mode is probably not really serving you.
So what can we do about it?
Well, what got me thinking about all this was listening to my brilliant friend Erica Machulak being interviewed/coached on a recent episode of the Freelance to Founder podcast.
Erica is the founder of Hikma Strategies, which helps people communicate incredibly complex ideas, connect with new audiences, and build partnerships. She’s been working hard on developing a course about entrepreneurship for PhDs, and was seeking advice about the business and marketing side of the course before launching.
In this interview, she wowed (intimidated) the hosts with her talk of a syllabus, curriculum, and academic partnerships in education. I wasn’t sure what sort of advice the hosts could give her, until they casually dropped that they had launched (and almost sold out!) their entire course with merely an outline in hand.
Their point was simple – why do all the work before you even know if people want what you’re creating?
This question led to a powerful reframe of my thoughts. Maybe pitching work or ideas can be an opportunity to find out what your clients/customers actually want. Maybe this is obvious, but to me it’s a complete mind-shift.
If you’re reading this you may know that I’ve been working on illustrating a tarot card deck. This started as a personal side project that (to my surprise) gained some interest on social media. So I began thinking about selling the deck when it’s complete.
Working on the deck has been a pretty significant time commitment, and aside from some anecdotal evidence I don’t know if anyone will actually want it. So with less than half the cards created, I’ve decided I need to find out (more on this soon!).
While putting something out there that isn’t complete still makes me feel deeply uncomfortable, viewing it as an experiment that may save time and resources if it doesn’t pan out makes the task feel a lot lighter.
I hope that if you’ve read this far that these words inspire you to put something out there too!