By Michelle FitzGerald
We just passed the 6 year anniversary of starting to work for ourselves, and let me tell you, it has been a journey. When we were both working salaried jobs, finances were a breeze. We just went to work, and we got paid the same amount each month. It was stable, dependable and super easy to budget around.
But then, Nat was laid off. And not long after, I resigned from my job to join him in working from home. And that is when I realized that finances were about to get a lot harder to figure out. If you’ve been in the freelancing game for awhile, or the starting your own creative business game, you know that some months the cash just flows like a rushing river and things seem to go so smoothly, and there are other months, where, for a myriad of reasons, it’s barely a trickle.
It’s hard to plan your life and budget around an income stream so irregular. And not for a lack of trying; we had been to the Dave Ramsey classes, read the...
Oh boy. These past couple of months have been a doozy.
We got the podcast up and running in September, then had a family emergency and health scare in October that made us slow way down, then discovered in November that changing banks for all the business and personal accounts takes a lot more effort than we would have thought.
And on top of that, we’ve been doing our normal full time work of running a makerspace and making sure our freelance work keeps pace, which both keep us busier than normal through holidays.
Oh, then we got put out of commission with a New Year’s flu.
So, I’ll admit, we’ve pulled back from other activities for a bit, and that is not at all bad. In fact, Nat and I have come to realize that taking time to slow down and rest periodically is actually a vital part of living a full life.
Now, if you’re an introvert, like I am, you won’t take much convincing of this, but if you...
In just over a month, we close the door on the 2010s and walk into a new decade. And while this is an admittedly arbitrary dividing line, these markers can be helpful to track the big-picture trajectory of our lives.
Ten years ago, Michelle and I were planning our wedding. I had just moved home after a brief stint in Chicago trying to make it as a full-time musician and had gotten a job as a substitute teacher. She was working as an administrative assistant at a nonprofit and going through a program to get her teaching license. She had done art all through college, but had set it aside for a bit until she finished her program.
Ten years later, she’s running a makerspace to help other artists. I’m planning music festivals, hosting shows, and fresh my band’s third release—second on vinyl—all while I write freelance for a living.
It wasn’t an easy journey. The past decade has been filled with frustrations, artless seasons, career detours,...
Jump on Instagram for a minute, and you’ll likely cross a photo of someone living their best life. They travel whenever they want, live without a care in the world, and work new projects whenever inspiration strikes. And you might think, “Man, I just wish I had that much freedom.” You might think they have that freedom because they happened to win the lottery or have a great inheritance, and very rarely that is true. But for most people who are living their best life and making it look flawless, they have a secret that you can steal. Want to know what that secret is? They are planners. What?! They’re not just carelessly spontaneous? No, quite the opposite. Most people who are able to live with such true freedom have planned it intentionally.
I know I just dropped a pretty big truth bomb on you, and you might be disappointed. You wanted a trick that takes no actual effort. Around here I like to say that you have to plan to be spontaneous....
Last week, we gave you a challenge: spend one intentional hour on a creative project that you've been putting off.
And that challenge was just as much for me as it was for all of you, so I thought I'd pop in with an update.
My goal was to spend one hour recording parts for the NTVTY record that I've been putting off for over four years. Seems pretty easy, right?
Full disclosure: I didn't do it until today, when I realized that the deadline was rapidly approaching.
I had completely intended to do it on Monday, which is Michelle and my day off. But I didn't make an intentional plan to make it happen. I did however restring my acoustic guitar on Sunday night to make it easier on myself, so I should get credit there, right?
But when Monday came around, I let myself get distracted by other things. I spent a couple hours trying to rewire the stereo in my van to work with the rear speakers. Then, I watched some TV and played video games. By the time I remembered that I...
Five years ago, things with SPACESHIPS had slowed down for a few months. Our drummer was working 70 hour weeks and our bassist was preparing to get married.
And then there was me, with nothing extra going on and all these musical ideas that I couldn't share with anyone.
So I wrote a solo album.
But five years later, it still hasn't been released. I've played those songs live a number of times. Sometimes I've even played through the entire album. I've even come up with a name (NTVTY) and made some social media pages! But only one song has been recorded—and it's not even finished.
If you're reading this, I'm sure that story sounds all too familiar. Creatives are infamous for their tendency to start a thousand projects before they've even finished one. We have all of these dreams and aspirations, but following through with those projects is another story.
But why? What's holding us back? Let me try to answer that by looking at the excuses I've told...
Maybe you say that you are not an artist, that you couldn't even draw a stick figure if you wanted to. Well, I believe that's not true. Creativity is part of the human experience, and making art is one of the best ways to express that creativity. And you can learn to do anything with enough practice. Now we can make a broad definition of what art is. You might be more into the culinary arts, music, or performing arts, but that's still art. And there are many reasons why you should be making more of it. Today we'll just look at six of the best reasons why you should be making more art.
Yesterday morning, Michelle's grandma stopped by for breakfast before leaving town. We made jalepeño and herb omelets, a pot of fresh ground French press, and ate Concord grapes straight from the vine growing over our pergola.
As we were tidying up dishes, she said to us, "Oh, this was just so special."
I responded, "This is actually pretty normal for us most mornings."
Just about every morning, we wake up and make a big, delicious breakfast. If the weather allows, we eat it on the back patio, right under the previously mentioned grapevine. We take our time with it, talking at our leisure before getting on to our work for the day.
It's a simple luxury, but it means a lot.
When we were teaching, our mornings were completely shot. We felt lucky if we had time to stop at McDonald's for a McMuffin before school. Big, leisurely breakfasts were a Saturday-only treat, and one that we relished.
One day at such a breakfast, Michelle and I were talking about our dreams and...
In the last several years of running our shop, we've run into a bunch of people who have said things like, "I could never do that—I'm just not that creative."
Often, we feel like creativity is an inherent state of our being. We either are creative, or we are not. Someone else might be able to look at a canvas and imagine worlds hitherto unknown, but certainly, I cannot.
The good news is, that's not true. In fact, a NASA study of 1600 4- and 5-year-olds found that 98% of them performed at genius levels of creativity. The same test administered to adults only found 2% displaying that same level.
Your creativity is like a muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it. It atrophies.
But that doesn't mean you can't get it back. There are a number of things you can do to get those creative juices flowing again!
Here are a few of our favorites.
One of the hardest parts of any creative work is that first idea. Few things are as...
In college, there was a bit of a recurring joke any time anyone mentioned they were getting a business degree.
“So basically, you don’t actually have an idea of what you want to do when you graduate?”
Me and my friends from the arts, music, and philosophy departments would chuckle at their bland lack of creativity.
If they flipped the script on me, I would tell them I wanted to be a drifter—take a tour on a missionary ship, maybe hitchhike across South America...I even mapped out a route for a globe-circling solo boat trip.
When I was asked why (and everyone asked), I would answer with some sort of pithy statement about the world being too big and exciting to not see as much of it as I can. But in reality, there was a much deeper reason motivating my wanderlust.
I was terrified of responsibility.
Taxes were a mystery to me. I didn’t know the first thing about managing a checking account. People would talk about investments, and...
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