WORD POWER: How Journaling Can Give You Clarity

When I first started out in my biz, I journaled a lot. A LOT. It was one of the tools I learned from my mentor, Deborah Kruger, to get settled into my new artist self. You can see Deborah’s beautiful fiber work and learn about her artist empowerment workshops here.

And Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way</strong, provided other excellent reasons to write daily. Not keyboard or type–WRITE. Cameron stated that something about the slower, more physical act of writing, connects our conscious brains to our unconscious desires and roadblocks more profoundly than typing.

I found this to be true, and wrote religiously.

I began to enjoy more success. My work gained an audience, eventually a national audience. My work appeared in print. I was asked to teach others how to be inspired, how to promote themselves, how to stay true to their artistic self.

I even began to teach others (informally) how to listen to each other, as I’d learned in Deborah’s workshops. I gave my time freely to friends old and new to help them find their own path to art.

But eventually, like that old adage “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”, I realized that, though I listened and listened and listened, no one was listening to ME.

Part of it is, to listen well, you have to learn how to listen–without comment, without interruption, without telling that person what YOU think they should do.

It takes trust. The listener has to have the speaker’s best interest at heart. (You’d be surprised how many people who love you don’t really necessarily want you to be successful.)

And it takes time–sometimes 2-3 hours to really let someone open up and get to the heart of the matter.

Time is short, we’re all busy, and I’m not much at being a squeaky wheel (except with my husband!) And so I’ve been stuck with my feverish thoughts and frantic scrambling to uncover my own secret longings and artistic “next steps”.

Writing this blog has helped enormously. Sharing what I’ve learned, and musing “out loud” on the things that hold me back and keep me up at night have helped me work out a lot of tangled knots.

But yesterday, once again, I realized how much the journaling helps, too.

One last wholesale order has held me up. It’s a good order, from a great customer. But somehow, everything that could go wrong, has. It was misfiled. I was out of a critical component to finish the order. And the customer is on the west coast, making the coordination of phone calls a little trickier.

In short, the order is late. Really late.

This is so unlike me, it’s worrisome. And as I race to finish the order (and as I wait for Monday to see if they even still want the order, I keep asking myself, “Why did I let this happen??”

I walked downtown with my husband for coffee yesterday morning. Earlier, I’d moved a piece of furniture looking for something and found a brand new, untouched composition book underneath. On impulse, I took it with me. And as Jon stood in line with our order, I snagged an outdoor table and began to write.

I really only had about 10 minutes to write at the coffee shop. I wasn’t even really sure what to write about. But I was consumed with guilt about this order, and I wrote about that.

And a page into it, I realized what was going on.

This order was my last wholesale order.

To clarify, it’s the last order I’m filling from a wholesale show. The last order from an era I call “the wholesale show era”.

The wholesale show era began almost eight years ago. It was a strategy that helped me build my wholesale biz to a national level–fast. It was expensive and exhausting, but also fun and thrilling. For awhile, it worked really, really well.

And now it doesn’t.

If you’ve been reading my blog entries, you know of the shift in my focus and priorities. I’m changing strategies to find different wholesale markets. They don’t seem to be venues that go to the traditional wholesale shows. So somehow, I have to get to them.

I’m going back to rebuild retail markets, too. In fact, last week Jon totally revamped my website which you can see at http://www.luannudell.com

There are some glitches, of course, and more work to be done. Check out the site and feel free to e-mail me your comments. Er…when my e-mail link is put back on the new site….

So some of those major changes are already in place. The process is exciting, and thrilling.

It’s also scary and exhausting. There’s a lot of comfort in doing the same old thing. Even if the same old thing isn’t working any more. I call it this limbo-like place of doing the same thing and expecting different results “Waiting for the buffalo to come back….”

And so the thought of this last wholesale order from my last wholesale show (at least for the next year or so) has been holding me back.

And that’s why everything has gone wrong.

That insight–from ten minutes of writing, a page of verbal rambling–was like sighting a clear path through the clutter of my studio. AHA! So that’s what that’s all about!

Knowing what’s going on helps me see what needs to be done.

I will call the store owner tomorrow with my apologies. I will have peace offerings that hopefully will offset the inconvenience I’ve caused.

And with the power of the written word in hand, I will move on down my new path with a little more confidence.

And relief that, even if no one has time to really, truly listen right now, I can always listen to myself.