Hosting a Stage.

IMG_3536Yesterday I talked about the concept of building a stage instead of a platform but mentioned that one option is to still build your own stage but maybe invite others to use it for a while. This is both to draw people in using already established talent while at the same time still marketing yourself as the “owner” of said stage. This sounds like a great idea but what if no talent wants to come? What if I am so much of a nobody that I can’t even invite talent to come, never mind have any chance of them saying yes!

But here is a thought; in this day and age, we don’t need to have people actually come onto our stage. We can just place them there electronically! What do I mean? Well, this is also where humility comes in. What kind of stage would each of us be REALLY good at creating if we were put our egos aside?

It is easy to forget that you are an expert at something. We all want to be a writer or a dancer or a cook or a movie star. But let’s be honest, few of us are expert enough to be famous in any of those fields. Or are we? I will use cooking as an example, mostly because I hate cooking, I can’t cook, I hate that I have no choice but to cook sometimes, and I have too many bad experiences with family members who used cooking as an excuse to hide in the kitchen so as to avoid contact or intimacy with anyone else in the family. So worse than I hate it, it is also a trigger for me. But just say for a moment that I LOVE to cook, and I want to be a famous cook one day. I cook, I talk about cooking, I watch all the shows on cooking, but for one reason or another, I would never be able to go on Masterchef, I don’t have any famous contacts, and I simply don’t know how to get myself out there. I can’t even take a decent photo of the fabulous things that I cook.

But I am humble enough to recognize that I am pretty good at finding simply GORGEOUS cooking photos on the internet. I drool over them, I bookmark them, I dream of them. So I start a blog. A simple blog, with few words like myself, but every morning I spend an hour on the internet, searching in all the deepest, darkest corners where nobody else can find them, and I share the best that I find that day. Each blog post includes the links to the sites where the photos come from and a few snippets of information about what I love most about the picture. I also write to the author of the cooking site that I have highlighted, to let them know that I have shared them. This is both a courtesy, but it is also because I know that anyone with a site wants it to be shared and that they will be thrilled. They will likely share my blog post about them on their site or at least their social media, and they might even like my Facebook Page and start following to see who they share my space with. As my blogs all have an automatic link to my Twitter feed and to my Cooking Photos Facebook page, without having to do anything, my Twitter and Facebook feeds start to become filled with stunning cooking photos.

People start to notice, and soon I gather a small following, which over time grows bigger and bigger. I know that I am not showing off MY cooking skills yet, but I am building both a following and a stage that people start aiming to be included in. Depending on how hard I work, how good I am at it, and a bunch of other factors, eventually I gain these things:

  • Confidence in what it feels like to actually have a stage…
  • A huge insight into what people are looking for and all the gaps that I could potentially fill in…
  • A following of people who look at my blog, my Facebook and my Twitter, every single day. My photo is in the corner of everything and I engage with my followers where ever possible. They see me as a very real, imperfect person…
  • I become known and followed.

This is that middle space that I was talking about, between the tools of sharing and the stage we want to create. What I love most about this space is it isn’t hard work, it is actually enjoyable, it contributes, and you meet great people along the way. This is the perfect stage for me to launch a book from. The audience is there, it is all about me … even though they came in the first place, many years before, because of my stunning pictures that came from other people!

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Where I hang out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

To NaNo or Blog? (Day 16)

That is the question! I have been writing like there is no tomorrow and it has so far been an AMAZING month of my very first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My new memoir is going great guns even with a stodgy middle and a bad case of self doubt, the right people just “happened” to say the right things at the right time and I would get inspired again.

What I love about NaNo is that because all we need to do is Draft One, I am not stopping to edit, change, fiddle like I usually do. I am just going for it. The upside is that as of yesterday, the official half way mark, I was at 65 thousand words and with at least another ten to twenty thousand to go, I will have a full length novel done and dusted in under a month.

The downside is that that is one hell of a lot of words to edit from scratch. I mean where will I even start?? (other than the beginning of course)…. But between my Dyslexia and Autocorrect (both who hate me with a passion) what I have written might not even make much sense! I am petrified that the task of editing is going to be rather overwhelming …

But of course that is OK, because I don’t have to think about that at all until November is over, and it is still November right now, so we will cross that proverbial bridge when we get there…

My other dilemma is that there is so much going on in my head, so much to write about but also so much to blog about that I can’t keep up. I honestly feel terrible for the people who are sitting in front of their screens desperate for something to write. I know that feeling all too well, ….but this November does not look like that for me and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to write it all! So when I have a free hour do I blog or do I write?

img_5722The answer has come down to stress levels really. I stress about things going wild in my head and find it super calming to get them down on paper. So it comes down to what is more urgent at the time rather than what is most important. Also blogging can be short and sweet but most of the writing is lengthy and needs to be saved for the right head space… So this short gap before breakfast is a perfect blogging opportunity so I am grabbing it.

And now that I have gotten that all out of the way, it is time to get back to writing! See you later …

Leapfrogging

img_3342I don’t know whether Leapfrogging is an “actual” word or not, but it is one that I have found that I use a lot the last few years. For me it means that the relationships that work for me are those where I feel that on some level we are equal, and we are good for each other in that we leap frog each other.

One example is the special friend that I often create with on a Tuesday. Apart from the fact that she and her husband take such great care of me one day a week so that I can spend my day creating with her without having to worry about anything else, I love that whenever we spend time together we add to each other’s art and lives. I used to say that she was so much better than me, and she would say the opposite, but we soon realised that what actually happens is that one of us would come up with a good idea, and I am not saying that without the other it would stop there, however we think so alike that the other would build on that spark of an idea and add greatly to it with a new and brilliant idea that expands it. Which then sparks the first person to do the same thing. It is a little like a chain reaction, or leapfrogging over each other until the end result is quite brilliant. It may end there and we pat each other on the back and wish that we could implement it all if we both had the time and energy to do it, but often it actually amounts to something wonderful (and fun if nothing else).

It keeps us brave and adventurous and sometimes those brilliant ideas are complete failures too of course, but it is exciting and uplifting to have someone that I can leapfrog with. This may sound obvious but because I am self taught, love to experiment, and one needs to buy materials from people who are experts in their field (timber from the hardware store, beads from the beading shops and stalls and so on) and those people are usually interested in what their customers are doing, they ask what I am planning and more often than not I get told that it can’t be done. I find that deflating and unhelpful.

When I got to renovate my home a few years ago the first builder that came to give me a quote told me that I couldn’t put a window there because it is an unusual size. The next builder that came to quote answered that he would think about it, and the next day rang with a solution that was both cheaper and more affective. His new idea sparked an inspiration in me for wall behind that window and so on we went… another leapfrogging experiment and I am sure that I don’t need to tell you who got the job.

This is what I love about blogging as apposed to writing a book (which I also love) … there are so many good bloggers out there who inspire me and ignite ideas in me, and I hope that I can do the same for them. I don’t want to be told that I can’t write this or that, I want to write and be inspired and be real and tell the truth as it is. So thank you to those of you out there who I read, who are transparent and real and brave in all kinds of ways…