Walking the Talk

A few weeks ago, I hit a slump. A few bumps in the road and the road seemed too hard to travel. I discussed it with my coach (I believe in coaching, so yes, I have a coach, too. She’s brilliant.) The problem I keep coming back to is being different is not always fun, interesting, or a trait that draws clients. Some clients are afraid of “different.” It’s not always easy to create classes when you are different, and once you have created them, filling them can be a challenge, too.

Inked papers drying. Don't they look like fabric?

Inked papers drying. Don’t they look like fabric?

Retreat producers prefer to have popular teachers teaching popular classes that will result in a satisfying experience and a product that can be a gift. My classes tend to be complex, involve both writing and an art techniques, and deep work. You don’t always work away with a give-away gift. You often walk away with a gift of self-knowledge, acceptance and understanding. You’d be surprised how many people feel guilty about feeling good.

Sometimes I want to do the easy thing. My coach warned me off. “If you do the easy thing, how do you think you will teach it?” I imagined myself zipping through a class without traction and knew that I’d not seem engaged, interested or involved. And an instructor has to be all three.

My coach suggested something I have suggested to my clients many times. Remember the story of my motorcycle, Suzie Lightning, and the instructions to “look where you want to go”? The technique of imagining success works, because you begin to make small adjustments that build your ideas, decision-making and choices. You feel settled with your ideas and make the most of them. (That’s what yesterday’s post was about). So I got busy and visualized the class and people enjoying it. Had some great ideas. Re-worked the plan.

It was still a big surprise and a bigger joy when Madeline Island School of Art called this morning to tell me my class made (Enough people had enrolled to run the class.) I had reached one of the dreams I’ve had for years–to teach a week long retreat combining both deep writing and intuitive art.

mp624And right after that, the flyer went out for the in-person class I’m teaching here in Phoenix on Monsoon Papers and making accordion folders went out. And people began to register! It’s true that to have a successful class you have to find the right audience and teach the right class. It’s also true that the combination is not always easy to fit together.

Both classes still have open slots. If you have always wanted to try combining writing and intuitive art, now is the time to sign up. The give-away of gift cards and a month of creativity coaching will happen at the retreat.  And if you are in the Phoenix area, come join me in making Monsoon Papers.

Quinn McDonald practices what she preaches or her coach will kick her butt.

14 thoughts on “Walking the Talk

  1. You should know that as soon as I see you have a new post on your blog I get so excited! You are fast becoming my favorite blogger. I am so glad that your class filled. Someday, when I am out west for longer than a week, I hope to take a class from you………..

  2. If only I was closer, I’d be there at all your fantastic teaching events! I’m glad and inspired by how you are being true to who you are. Thank you for sharing the journey with us.

  3. Yayyy on the Madeline Island retreat! It’s a lovely area and the people joining your workshop will walk away enthused, delighted and enriched!

  4. It’s really encouraging that you’re making it work; running a business while also being creative while also doing deep and complex things. All of those don’t usually go together (in fact, *none* of them go together most of the time).

    I stopped running my business because in a corporate setting I get to do creative, complex (technical) work but as a small business the work was shallow and repetitive. I couldn’t figure out how to combine all three the way you’re able to. Three cheers!

    • I’m a terrible corporate employee. Once I got that, I had to create a living and a way to support it. I don’t want to make my art carry the burden of producing an income, because then all my creative decisions get created through my checkbook. After all that became clear, I put a business together.

  5. Thank you for your honesty about your process and struggle. I’m a relatively new follower and your observations and insights truly resonate with me.

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