As a parent of three young children, I have worked hard in their formative years to really give my entrepreneurial ventures the best I can offer. I knew that one day, my children's activities would require me to be gone from home on certain nights of the week and even on weekends. I know from experience because whether I was playing on the field or marching in the band, I knew that I could count on my mother to be there- if not at the game, at school to pick me up.
I'm entering my ninth year as a freelancer and business owner but last month, something happened. I felt a shift. I was worried for a few days because I couldn't really place it, but wow when I understood what was happening, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I was coming into the reality that my kids were becoming the priority in our house. Because most of the work I do is from home, I'm able to be 'on the clock' all day long. This would soon be changing and I think the fear of not knowing how weighed heaviest on me.
What will my sixth grader decide to do as an extra-curricular activity? How long would I be able to stave off interests in sports, dance and art in favor of the natural gifts of music which my kids have already shown interest in? As a musician, I can teach my kids in our home but life has began to shift us into the next phases of their young lives, already.
This means that I will have to make difficult decisions if my business isn't where I need it to be in the next few years. On the other hand, I have already begun the steps to establish entrepreneurial perpetuity for them. In a word, there's been a whole lot of shifting going on. Most importantly, I am much more intentional about what I do, because if this pandemic has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that even our best laid plans can be wiped out in an instant. So for me, the change in balance is to leave very little hanging in the balance. When my children were smaller, I could go through life trying to figure things out. Now that they're getting older, there are some things I just need to know as best I can...
The Willis Family 2020
The excruciating pain of creating in open spaces...
Spare me your grammatical judgment! I’m not angry. I’m not even frustrated or confused. I am…busy at work! During an interview earlier this year, an artist told me that they went away to work on their now released new album. Pretty cool, huh? It’s quite common in the creative community for artists to become a recluse and ‘disappear’ as they create. It’s the cool thing to do, to emerge with a masterpiece after noticeable time away.
Even if the masterpiece is only viewed as such by the artist, the process of creating in that space is second to none. So, what about creatives with no creative space? What about those without the benefit of silence amidst life’s noise? They, we…me seem a little mixed up!
Deadlines are missed, projects are unfinished and well…people don’t know what to think! In fact, it looks as bad as what people’s imagination can muster up! Mystery becomes the main ingredient for a creative creating with creative space. This goes beyond having a quiet writing space or studio to play or record vocals.
That proverbial cabin in the woods is a respite. You get to be messy there, unkempt…vulnerable without judgment. In the cabin in the woods, you’re there alone mainly because house guests are disruptive to the creative process. But what about the creative without the privilege of clandestine conception?
We have to hold it together and keep working. Of all the things in our hands, our work-life balance can never succumb to our creativity. Can you imagine trying to create a cabin on main street?
Most people can’t, but there are creatives out there who can testify to just how moronic such a thing could be. With that in mind, I can confess that I have been creating with no cabin in the woods!
Yep, I’ve been distant. I’ve been checked out so to speak. Assignments are piling up on my desk…well, they’re already piled up on my desk. And, I have to go back as far as almost two months to try and catch up with phone calls and emails.
It’s not frustrating, infuriating, or overwhelming. It’s actually exciting! One day, I’ll have that cabin in the woods experience, but this go-round has been without it. What I love is the process. The late nights, early mornings, the metamorphosis…I’m changing!
Normally, the person that emerges from the cabin is completely different. They’re rejuvenated, refueled and ready to share in the new season following a hibernation of sorts. But this has been more like a cocoon. You can see the shape of the caterpillar in the chrysalis but only once the transformation is complete can you behold the beauty of the ornate creation that emerges.
So yeah, you see me but you don’t! I know this has been hard on my colleagues and even readers and listeners, but I have an assignment that must be completed in time!
In order to be able to become a butterfly, the caterpillar has to fall apart completely, decompose
Yep, I Said It!
When I have something to say, I often say it. Many times, I try to find the best way to say it. Other times, there's just no easy way to say a hard thing. My journey in life has made me a person with much to say and the person people least want to hear it from.