Creativity, Confidence, and Dan Blank

I fully admit it, I’ve been fairly lazy lately. Between the COVID lockdown here in Jersey, the winter, an injury, what feels like constant stress; I haven’t felt very creative.

Basically, I’ve been a slug for awhile now.

I have recently, however, felt a bit of a creative spark. And I’m working to get it to grow.

I’ve been doing a lot of blogging on my site about how much I love New Jersey as well as my blog about my Italian heritage. I’m working on a new project – not all fiber-fanatic-related – but it is something important and special to me. And I’ll share more about it when the time is right.

So where does this new spark of creativity come from you might ask? Well, first it’s been a mild winter and the sun is starting to stay high in the sky a little later at night. I have learned over the years I am VERY weather and sunlight dependent.

I’m also learning that as I age I care about what people think far less than I once did. I specifically remember the first professional fiber arts event I ever attended. I participated in a talk led by a designer I really admired. She had an amazing sense of style, she was incredibly creative, and built a successful business. At the end of the talk I waited for everyone to leave before I approached her to ask my question. You see, I was too worried about others hearing me. I could barely get the question out to just her. I hadn’t had much luck getting anyone to purchase, or even consider, my crochet patterns. I had a high-level individual from a major magazine show interest in a piece I created, so I sent her all my documentation for how I created it and my original piece. She sent it back several months later after I begged via email to get it back. She had someone mail it back to me… in a garbage bag. I never even received a “thanks, but no thanks” email.

It destroyed me.

So when I asked her in a very mousy voice, how she overcame the worry of having her work rejected, she said in an incredibly confident voice the answer I needed to hear.

“Who cares what other people think? Just put your work out there and get started.”

I started to submit work to magazines and publishers. Both patterns and query letters. While I had a few patterns published, I didn’t light up the crochet industry. So I released my own crochet pattern line. My publishing experience came in handy and I self published. More importantly to me, I had an article and an essay published.

Finding my Creative Spark

I always had a creative spark, but I never really found my niche. I sang in the choir, performed in the school musicals, played in the band and orchestra, learned piano and bass. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t very good at any of it. I tried to draw, but didn’t have any talent. Later I learned to crochet, weave, and spin my own yarn. I really enjoy those things and they help feed my soul. My creative spark.

What I really wanted to do more than anything? I wanted to write.

Since I was a kid I wanted to be two things – a writer and a photographer. Although if you ask anyone who knew me when I was younger, they would have no idea. I never told anyone.

I was on the school paper in elementary school, which was really nothing more than a photocopied sheet that would get distributed a few times a year. In middle and high school I was too busy in the music department to spend much time anywhere else. In college I had my chance.

I was always supposed to be a lawyer. Since I was a kid that’s all I was told. For some reason that’s what was defined as “success.” So when I came home with my major declaration form on a weekend home from college and it listed “Communication,” well, let’s just say it didn’t go over well.

But I stuck to my guns. I focused on journalism and prepress. I fell in love with print production. It derailed my writing plans, but I loved it.

I put my photography and writing journey on the shelf… for a very. Long. Time.

Fast forward almost three decades.

Now I’m thinking about what makes me happy. And for me that’s writing. And that takes confidence.

Confidence to write and, more importantly, confidence to share.

So what does this all mean?

I’ve rediscovered my love for writing. I’ve been really focused on my two blogs and I plan on writing more here as well. I’m looking for inspiration in a lot of different places.

I’m reading for pleasure. I’m working on new projects. And I’m listening to podcasts that are educational, interesting, and inspiring.

Enter Dan Blank.

I worked with Dan a very long time ago. I always found him to be incredibly intelligent and had an out-of-the-box thought process. So when I heard awhile back he launched his own business, We Grow Media, I wasn’t surprised one bit.

I’ve watched his career from afar. In my opinion, he’s living the dream.

I’ve been reading his blog and listening to his podcast for quite awhile. He has grown his business and provided great help to creative types along the way.

He has helped me find my creative spark again after a fairly terrible two years. And my confidence.

For that I am grateful.

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