Everyone has that cousin, Aunt, or nephew who is either a struggling artist or an enthusiastic idealist with an exciting new business venture every few years.
We might also notice that when this family member eagerly unveils their latest project to the family, eyerolls abound and their ideas are gently -or not so gently- rejected. Other, well-meaning family members might encourage them to, "be more realistic" and "think about getting a real job."
After repeatedly hearing such advice, you see your creative relative get a little down and you want to help, but you sort of understand the reasoning in the advice to "be more realistic."
So, how can you be sincerely supportive?
The art of LISTENING
There are few things more valuable than time.
We probably check the time on our phones even more than we check the balance of our bank accounts, right?
It makes sense that we do this because time is the essence of life.
So, giving someone your time is tantamount to saying, "You are an incredibly valuable part of my life."
Along those lines, one of the best ways to support the struggling artist in our family or group of friends may very well be to give them a call and say, "Hey, remember that idea you mentioned the other day at dinner? Why don't you come over tomorrow night and tell me more. It was interesting."
You're not committing to anything other than listening, and you're showing that you respect and support them.
In fact, as you take an hour or so to listen intently to their idea, you might even be able to offer practical suggestions that would help them see their vision through.
Giving someone a listening ear is usually all it takes to make them feel supported and valued!
FOLLOW & SHARE their endeavors on social media
Most freelance artists use free social media platforms to build a fanbase and even acquire customers. So, if your creative family member invites you to follow them on social media, take the opportunity to do exactly that.
As they share posts that sincerely resonate with you and that you feel are appropriate, share them with your followers.
Even if this doesn't result in driving loads of customers their way, it lets them know you care.
Reality hurts, but love heals
A statistic cited on the business insurance site Embroker states that, "About 90% of startups fail. 10% of startups fail within the first year."
That reality hurts.
Whether your creative family member/friend's new venture falls into the categories listed above or eventually goes on to see wild success, support from loved ones will make them feel wealthier beyond measure.
I'm saying all of this from the perspective of that wacky family member who tends to have idea after idea. Over the years, I've created dozens of websites and multiple business ventures. Each one is exciting and gives me a sense of adventure as I pursue it.
And let's just say that after years of doing this, I'm still incredibly far from being a millionaire. But I feel rich in another way.
Family and friends who make me feel like my ideas have a place in this world and really can contribute to the community is far more precious than making tons of money.
They listen when I excitedly stumble through explanations of my ventures and offer excellent suggestions to help me carry out some of these ideas.
And every time I try my hand at something new, I learn more thanks to these kind family members and friends.
If any of you are reading this, thank you.
Or perhaps you're reading this because you have an idealistic creative in your family with lots of big ideas and you're not quite sure what to do with them.
My suggestion is to make them feel loved by listening to them and following them on social media to be supportive to any ideas that just may take off.
Even if their plans fall through, the loving support you provide will lift them up and allow them to keep moving forward.
Writing endeavors are fun.
Every time I start writing a new story, I get that same sense of excitement that comes with waking up before dawn and grabbing my suitcases to head to an early morning flight.
Why have I always flown out in the early morning? I don't know. Maybe flights are cheaper when they depart at 4 and 5 a.m.
But that's not what we're focusing on here, we're focusing on the excitement of writing a new story.
Oh my gosh, it's so much fun!
But at the same time, it's a little scary because who knows how this thing is even going to turn out and if it'll break your heart a little as it teaches you more about yourself- because if there's one thing you've learned over the years, it's that every time you write a story, you delve a little deeper into your subconscious.
So, there's all of that going through your mind and it's exhausting because you also have the story to deal with, in addition to the 'how to market/advertise this book' aspect of it all.
How does a writer get through all of this?
Thankfully, three qualities that you already have come to the rescue: Imagination, the ability to pivot, and confidence in your abilities.
Let's take a quick peek at how those qualities become your own, personal superheroes when you need rescuing.
Your creativity helps you out when you get stuck on chapter seven and feel like giving up. Instead of throwing in the towel when writer's block or writing burnout creeps into your wellspring of ideas, you go for a walk or watch a movie or talk to a buddy.
Suddenly, imagination is poking you in the ribs and whispering, "Hey, see that squirrel that just ran by? Use that image to begin Chapter Seven," or "See how your friend just laughed at that joke you made? Use that joke to breathe life into Chapter Seven's boring dialogue."
Imagination bails you out when you hit those creative dry spots.
It also helps you when it comes to marketing and advertising. Unless you're very wealthy, this aspect of working as an indie author is incredibly challenging. But your imagination helps you think of ways to raise money for advertising expenses and to think of cost-free ways to promote your book.
The ability to pivot
When something in your story isn't quite right, instead of stubbornly sticking to an idea that doesn't work, you adapt.
Your humility, or the ability to pivot allows you to do this.
It also allows you to accept criticism from critique partners who may be younger and less experienced than you but who point out flaws in your writing.
It can even serve as armor when editors who might not have the best delivery show you "what's wrong with your writing" or point out a few places where your manuscript needs improving.
Instead of shouting at these people for pointing out your mistakes, you accept their feedback and decide how you can apply their suggestions.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, you may realize that you've been less than successful because you've been advertising to the wrong audience. So, once again, you pivot.
In the long run, this ability really comes in handy.
Confidence in your abilities
Okay. I'll be very honest here. I am NOT a confident person. At all.
But when it comes to things I want to do because I enjoy doing them -things like writing and publishing books- I become very focused, which allows me to sincerely say, "I CAN do this thing."
So, for me (and perhaps for other writers who battle with low-self esteem) it isn't necessarily self-confidence that drives us towards our goals, it's that we just really, really love this one thing and that love for writing propels us forward no matter what obstacles come our way.
For people who naturally have confidence in their abilities, this beautiful quality allows them to do exactly the same thing. They accomplish what's nearly impossible because where other people see barriers, they see possibilities.
These are the people who start with $0, become indie authors, and eventually turn $0 into millions thanks to their writing endeavors.
So, imagination, the ability to pivot, and confidence in our abilities can help us get through the many challenging moments that appear along the path to our writing goals.
Are there any other qualities you've found helpful to your creative projects?
There's nothing better than a good friend.
On a bad day, they're on hand to listen, ply you with chocolate and hugs, and make everything okay.
But what if you're in need of a good friend?
What qualities can you be on the lookout for to identify someone you can trust?
There are many, but two key qualities are analyzed below.
True friends are loyal
If you find yourself around a pleasant person who is consistently supportive of loved ones and acquaintances, this may be due to their loyalty.
Personally, I've always admired people who go to bat for and defend their friends even when said friends aren't present.
For example, I have a friend who is very close to her parents.
Of course, they don't agree on everything, but she and her parents are truly friends.
I've been around her when someone says something negative about one of her parents, even jokingly.
She, very politely and without aggression, will always say something positive about her parents in return.
She is loyal.
This is the kind of friend that I'd like to be and it's the sort of friend I enjoy being around.
Spending time with someone who is loyal makes you feel secure.
You know the things you tell them will stay with them and that they're choosing to keep you close because they truly value you. This contributes to your self-esteem and confidence.
You easily see that their loyalty to you comes, not from some cold feeling of responsibility they begrudingly carry out, but from their love and appreciation for you as a person.
It makes you want to be loyal to them in return.
True friends respect you
The word "love" is thrown around a lot.
"I love that jacket!" "I love your hair!"... "I love you."
But sometimes, when it comes to loving another person, we forget that love involves respect.
In my home state of Louisiana, domestic abuse is a huge problem.
In addition to the many cases of beatings and attempted murders that are related to domestic abuse, local media outlets say that in 2021, at least 61 homicides related to domestic violence occurred. Many of the victims were women, as Louisiana is one of the leading U.S. states when it comes to men killing women.
I bring this up because in many of these incidents of domestic violence, the abuser will say they "love" the person they abuse.
They often mean this sincerely.
But they hurt them, physically and emotionally.
So, how is this love?
It's a dilapidated form of love, like a "house" that's so damaged it's not even a house anymore, it's a blighted building.
This is because their love lacks respect.
So, is it love?
True love involves holding someone in esteem, regarding them as valuable, which fuels a person's every decision when it comes to how they treat this individual. Because they value this individual's perspective, ideas, and their very presence- they always treat them with respect.
So, a good friend will treat the people they care for with such respect.
What does respect look like?
It means speaking well of someone even when they're not present, it means listening to someone with the aim of understanding their perspective and perhaps even learning from them, it means deferring to them during an argument or peacefully agreeing to disagree.
To be honest, as I write this, I realize I could be a much better friend to the lovely people in my life, because they deserve more loyalty and respect.
This may seem like a random post, and really, it is lol.
But sometimes it's helpful to reflect on these things and assess ourselves as well as the people we've allowed into our lives and hearts.
It helps us to see if we're headed in the right direction or if we need to regroup and change our path.
Thanks for stopping by the blog!
And if you have any thoughts on the subject of what qualities make a good friend, please feel free to share them in the comments section below, or on the comments section of the YouTube video above!
Do you think that the idea of 'friendship' is a singular universal concept, or that 'friendship' can mean different things to different people?
The older I get, the more I suspect that friendship doesn't mean the same thing to everyone, just like love doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.
Some people think of friends as commodities to keep on hand for various seasons. They're sort of like the clothing we keep in our closets, we like what we've selected and we wear what's appropriate depending on the season and weather.
The same is true of friends who we select for days when we want to quietly watch a movie with someone who's shy and chill or nights when we want to go out with other friends who are full of energy and always ready to do something fun. These individuals tend to have a lot of friends.
There are other people who view friendships as something akin to romance. They fall in love with all of their friends, not in a sexual way, but in a way that engenders a deep respect and appreciation for this person they choose to invite into their life. These individuals typically have a few close friends.
I fall into the latter category, and this is reflected in the way I write stories about friendship. They're almost like romance novels because the connections between the friends is incredibly strong.
I used to think everyone felt this way about friendship, but now I believe that most people fall into the other category and friends are, not necessarily disposable, but the connection isn't as strong and the conversations aren't as deep, and this means it's easier to let go and move on.
But maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's a more cautious way of testing the waters of friendship to see if someone deserves your heart, instead of simply handing it over.
The older you get, the more life gives you to think about.
What do you think about friendship? Which category do you fall into? Or, are there other categories that I'm missing? Probably. If you feel like it, leave a comment to let me know!
Do you have an "Idea Folder" on your laptop or phone?
Or maybe you're like me and have far too many sticky notes lying around with ideas written on them.
If that's the case, it's likely you're a goal-oriented person, meaning you get an energy boost every time you set a goal.
Daydreaming about goals is fun, but sometimes, the process of actually achieving them can feel cumbersome, or even impossible.
If that seems to be the case with the majority of goals you set, what can you do to overcome whatever it is that's stopping you from carrying out your plans?
The three steps below may be helpful in this regard.
Plan, plan, plan
What to do: Once you've set a goal, the next thing to do is plan how you're going to achieve it. For me, this means breaking my plans down into daily action-items that aren't too difficult. For example, if I'm trying to write a 300-paged novel, I might set the goal of writing one paragraph every day. Or, on days when I'm super busy my daily goal will become even more doable by becoming "Write one sentence today." Seriously, one sentence. Because that's doable.
So, even if you have to plan ahead for the next year, and literally write out a daily to-do list for the next year, it's worth it if it'll help you move closer and closer towards your goal.
What not to do: Where I often go wrong with this step is overburdening myself with unrealistic daily goals. For example, I might set a daily goal of writing 20 pages of my novel every single day for three weeks straight. That's not realistic considering my physical limitations and the fact that I have a day job. When I set unrealistic daily goals, I can't achieve them, which discourages me and makes me feel like I can't achieve the big, long-term goal. So, don't be like me! Set realistic and achievable daily goals!
What to do: Find someone who has achieved the goal you're looking to meet (or a similar goal) and learn what they did to be successful in carrying out their plans. You might find this person among family/friends, on YouTube, Instagram, or perhaps they're even a celebrity. Thanks to google, social media, and podcasts like How I Built This, it's easier than ever to find out exactly what steps people have taken to achieve their success.
So, find someone who inspires you and learn from them! This way, when you face a moment of self-doubt, you can think of this person and how they pushed through similar moments of self-doubt. This may give you the motivation to keep moving forward.
What not to do: We may hear the phrase, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," from time to time and it's probably true. But does imitating someone else really help us to find joy in reaching our goals? Not necessarily. There's a difference between admiring someone as we use their example as a source of inspiration and idolizing someone as we imitate them as much as possible. No one is perfect and it can be self-defeating to put someone on a pedestal as if they're perfect and try to copy their every move. It's much better to see people as they are- beautiful yet flawed, take what we can learn from their experiences and apply them to our own personality, our own vision/perception of life. If I'm so busy copying someone else that I mute my own personality, I won't find joy in life. I won't even know myself. And that's just sad. It's almost like self-brain-washing or something.
So, while it's helpful to be inspired by the great people in this world, it's important to remember that it's likely they've made some missteps along their path to success, and these are habits that we don't want to emulate.
What to do: Every single day, follow the daily 'to do' list you've created for yourself to help you reach your goals. And if you have a setback, don't get discouraged and give up. Remember that by following tomorrow's plans you can get back on track! So, keep following your plans, one little step at a time, until you reach your goal!
What not to do: Don't overthink it. Don't get to week three of your step-by-step plan and say to yourself, "Can I really do this? I think I might need to give up." That's fear talking, it's trying to get you to overthink everything and throw in the towel. Shut it down by ignoring it and pushing forward!
I hope you're able to find success in reaching your goals.
And if you'd like to share what your goals are, please do! You can leave them in the comments section of this post!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings!