Early in 2010, I left my job (career) for the unknown. One of the factors in this decision was my acknowledgment that the arts are deeply meaningful to me, and that creating is more than just a hobby. I had no clue what to do with it, but I was finally ready to admit: I am an artist. Fast-forward six months, and I am working as a nanny to two lively boys. It takes a different type of energy than my last job, and there is plenty of brain space for thinking and dreaming…
1. Have an idea. Listen to it.
I’m not sure where it came from, but one day there was an idea in my mind. Poetography. Photography + Poetry. An art show of things I have written and captured. Instead of telling myself that this was crazy-talk, I let it sit in my heart and spin around in my thoughts. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that!” I asked, “What would make this possible?” Which led me to…
2. Research & plan.
Find out the facts. It’s easy to make decisions based on assumptions rather than fact. At least it is for me. But research showed that I actually had nearly 40 poems I was willing to show to others. And at least the same number of photographs. My costs would be around $400, and the perfect time for it would be my upcoming birthday (hint: if you want to run some sort of event and need a space larger than your living room, independent cafes are a great option to look into). Voila, I had my budget and the framework of a plan.
3. Involve your community.
As my plans came together, and I started telling people what I was hoping to do, something crazy happened; they got really excited and wanted to help out. I enlisted friends to read through & edit my poetry. I asked others for input on the photos. I had a couple friends willing to provide tasty treats…Everyone shared their enthusiasm for the idea. It’s easy to believe that you are living life alone, and at the end of the day, my choices are ultimately up to me, but I don’t do life in a vacuum.
Once your plan is in motion, if you’re anything like me, the rest will go like this:
4. Freak out. Some of these poems are about people who will be IN THE ROOM.
5. Do it anyway. It’s too late to back out now. 75 people have RSVP’d.
6. Have a great time, but make an embarrassing speech. “Thanks for coming tonight to see parts of myself that I don’t usually put on display…”
7. Go to karaoke. Karaoke makes everything better.
8. Be open to the next opportunity. You did the art show. You can do this, too.
9. Remember that change is gradual. I’m not a full-time artist. This didn’t change my exterior life that drastically. But it was one of the most courageous things I’ve done, and I am proud of myself for it. I’m learning to say YES more often than I say I CAN’T. And that is taking me places I can’t wait to go.