creativity

Take Care of Yourself By Making Small Changes (Guest Post on NewMusicBox)

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by making changes in a new year, you’re not alone! I’m scaling way back on the amount of goals and aspirations I’m setting in 2019 (more about that in my next post), in favor of honoring rest and detaching myself as much as I can from being achievement-focused. That doesn’t mean I want to do nothing, but I do want to make sure that I execute goals and new habits in a sustainable way.

I got to write all about that in a guest post (Take Care of Yourself By Making Small Changes) for NewMusicBox, the online magazine of NewMusicUSA!

I talk about some of my favorite topics like mindset, burnout, rest, habits and routines, and self-compassion (the biggest game-changer), and this stuff works no matter the time of year.

Hop on over to NewMusicBox to read it!

Holiday Self-Care Roundup

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Somehow it’s December again? I don’t know what happened.

I also feel like it’s already been winter forever (since I live in Minnesota and it actually did snow on October 14 this year). So, you know what that means:

Time to up our self-care!

(And we probably need more than we normally give ourselves, anyway!)

Here’s a round-up of useful blog posts and podcasts that I hope will help you stay more grounded and present this holiday season:

This is one of my most popular posts ever, and it has plenty of applicable stuff for creatives of all types, not just musicians.

Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean has some great quick tips, and I love the visual style of her blog, especially her handwriting!

Angela Beeching, a career consultant for musicians, highlights gratitude as a way to not only de-stress, but ultimately to help your career. I love how she focuses on mindset.

We always talk about what to do during the busy lead-up to the holidays, but Lauren Cummins of StarHaus Psychotherapy, who created the Self Care Solitaire decks that I really like, wisely focuses on how to take care of yourself afterwards, as well. She also has some good ideas about how to embrace winter here.

PODCAST EPISODES

If you’ve been following along with my posts for any length of time, you probably know how much I love Mara Glatzel’s work and podcast. In my opinion, the most important factor in taking care of ourselves is knowing what we need and giving ourselves permission to go after it.

I loved this episode because it focused not just on being over doing, but also talked about rituals as a way of connecting to the winter season (I’m all for trying to make friends with winter!)

This episode with physician Beth Ricanati focuses on baking as a ritual for self-care (since that’s what her book is about), but encourages us to give ourselves permission (there’s that word again, why is it so hard sometimes?) to take time for self-care.

EDIT: I also did a Facebook live about holiday self-care, which you can watch here!

I hope that these resources are helpful for you - they certainly have been for me, and I’m revisiting them this season (because self-care is a practice, and wellness is always a moving target).

If you need extra support to keep yourself feeling like a full and healthy human during this season, I offer a few different ways of working with me through Coaching for Creative Wellness, including email coaching for people on a budget or with less time to schedule a call.

I also have some free resources available here, as well as my weekly newsletter which is chock-full of supportive real talk about staying well while doing creative work. Sign up at the bottom of the page!

What do you do to take care of yourself during the winter and/or holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

5 Tips for Creatives to Bring Wellness Into Their Lives

Anyone who’s ever talked to me about nutrition in the last year has heard me sing the praises of Lucia Hawley from Essential Omnivore, who I worked with to revamp my diet last summer. Or you might have seen me feature her in a Sunday Shout-out early this year. Her mission is “to teach diet perfectionists how to bring calm back to their bodies from the inside out”, and I totally appreciate how she keeps it real while helping people make sustainable changes to their overall health. 

Lucia invited me to contribute a guest post over on Essential Omnivore, 5 Tips for Creatives to Bring Wellness Into Their Lives, which you can read right here. We could all use more wellness in our lives, right? Especially in an easy and actionable way? (Yes!)

I’m also going to be a guest on her podcast this fall, airdate TBD - stay tuned for that!

(Edit: Here’s the link to my episode of the Essential Omnivore podcast!)

This is the album cover!

This is the album cover!

In album-related news, I submitted my artwork and master this week, so my CDs have begun production! 🎉🎉🎉

The official album release date is coming up soon on October 24, and you’ll be able to buy and stream it through all of the usual places - stay tuned for more details on that.

And, if you’re in Minneapolis/St. Paul, you’re invited to my album release show on October 18, featuring all of the guest musicians on the album (Tim O’Keefe, percussion, Jenny Klukken, marimba, and Laura Harada, violin). I’m also planning on live-streaming it. More details here.

If you want to stay in the loop on the album and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my gig mailing list here!

Virtual Office Hours Now Open!

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I'm excited to announce that Virtual Office Hours are now open to the public! I'm offering free 30-minute conversations about the challenges of creative work, including: 

  • Finding and honoring your priorities
  • Making small + sustainable changes
  • Creating more ease and balance in your work and life
  • Developing and keeping healthy habits
  • Managing time
  • Avoiding burnout
  • Adjusting your mindset
  • Moving through creative blocks⠀

If you want some new perspective on any of these things, let's chat! 

Sign up for a free appointment here, and if you don't see any times that work for you, feel free to send me an email to see if we can work something out - I'd love to hear from you! 


And, it's getting SO CLOSE to Kickstarter launch day - just 4 days away. I have a really fun video that I can't wait to share with you on Tuesday, so stay tuned!

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If you want to stay in the loop on the Kickstarter and upcoming gigs, be sure to hop on my mailing list here!

What’s your biggest challenge as a person who does creative work? Let me know in the comments. 

My Creativity Manifesto + Amazing News!

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As I ponder my new projects (one of which has to do with the amazing news at the end of this post!), and ways that my work might pivot in the coming year, I’ve been pondering big questions like, “What do I stand for?” and “What do I know to be true?”

I’ve had this document going for a couple years now, but I kept postponing posting it because it never felt done. I realize now that, of course, it didn’t feel done because a personal creativity manifesto is the kind of thing that’s always evolving!

I also feel like I need to elaborate on each point, but each one could probably become its own post (some have already, and some will in the future). So, I’m sharing the current version, in list format. (See #35: Done is better than perfect, plus I’m all about sharing my process!) These are the things that I know to be true for myself (and many of these statements are pretty universal):

Everyone is creative (even you).

No one needs permission to create, or to call themself an artist, writer, musician, composer, etc.! We decide how (or how not) to label ourselves.

It’s valuable to think of myself as creative - we miss out on some ways to be creative if we don’t think we are.

Creativity has much less to do with talent than with consistent effort (supported by healthy habits).

I have time to be creative, even if I think I don’t. I just also have to be creative with my time.

People are also doing amazing creative things without realizing it - creativity shows up in so many places besides art.

Don’t worry about creating something completely original that’s never been done before - work is original because it comes from a unique individual.

Just make lots of things, some will be better than others - we have to make some bad stuff to get to the good stuff (and if we persist, we definitely will).

Since creativity is a practice, different types of creativity feed the others, and the whole person (don't forget about physical movement).

Draw inspiration from other disciplines and creative careers. The creative process is endlessly fascinating, in any format.

CREATIVITY IS SELF-CARE.

I need to play and write music, or I start to feel a bit depressed and drained of life.

Self-care is essential - not taking care of oneself is like slash-and-burn agriculture - nothing will grow if there are no nutrients left in the soil.

Creating a sense of ease/flow around my creative habit helps “fertilize the soil”.

Wellness and creativity depend on each other. I will continue to explore this interdependency.

I don’t always have to know what I’m doing, in fact, maybe sometimes it’s better not to!

I need enough white space in my schedule to support and make time for creativity. The “hustle” can make creativity (and my life force!) dry up.

I need more time to process things, whether daily events, things I’m writing about, big successes/failures, or how to approach a project.

Even though being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) can be difficult, sensitivity is also a super power for my life as a musician.

Creativity can happen in small bits at a time. Small bits add up to large things.

Even if I feel fragmented (because the variety of a “mosaic of jobs” is a reality and a survival strategy), pieces can be rearranged to make something new and profound (or, the path may not be clear, but it sorts itself out, bit by bit).  

Prioritize joy - it’s most worth doing work that I’m excited about - creation is hard work but hard work can feel easy.

It’s important to me to share music, and hopefully bring others joy in the process (especially Brazilian music!)

I love working on my own, but also love making music with other people. As an introvert, I have to balance the two wisely.

I need to be disciplined (as in forming a daily composing habit) but keep it fun enough that the work has room to breathe (also a balancing act).

I will support peers in their creative projects (especially women) - by going to shows, sharing info/links, etc. (I'm doing weekly Sunday Shout-Outs on Instagram.)

It’s really important for me to create a welcoming space for others to share their work, and to encourage others’ creativity.

I will never: make someone feel bad about what they’ve created, discriminate based on style of music (or anything else), or pressure or guilt people around their creative habits.

I want everyone to be able to feel: welcomed, inspired, capable, excited to make things, nurtured by keeping a creative habit, fearless (or fearful but doing it anyway), open to sharing their goals, and encouraging of others (a rising tide lifts all boats).

We are all works in progress - art AND life are experiments. We all have permission to figure it out as we go (because that’s actually how it works).

Action > inaction (especially via overthinking and “research” as procrastination.)

There’s no shame in utilizing external accountability if needed (yes, I’m an Obliger). 

I will share my process and journey openly, in hopes of helping others feel less alone.

I would rather make something more slowly to remain in accordance with my values BUT...

Done is better than perfect.

Where I am currently is right where I’m supposed to be in my career/life/etc.

Creating the work is ultimately more important to me than any self-doubts or fraudy feelings, so I have to work through those by focusing on my mindset.

I am committed to my personal evolution as a human and a musician (human comes first). This list will also keep evolving!

COMING SOON: MY FIRST ALBUM!

And now for the amazing news: I am thrilled to announce that I've received a grant through MacPhail Center for Music (one of the places I teach), funded by the McKnight Foundation, toward recording my first album this summer! All three of these original compositions in Brazilian styles will be included, in addition to a bunch of my arrangements of Brazilian songs, and the whole album will include Tim O'Keefe on percussion, among other guests. I'll be raising additional funds to complete the project, so look for that crowdfunding campaign in the near future, to pre-order the album!

I invite you to think about what’s in your personal creativity manifesto AKA what you stand for as an artist. I bet you have more thoughts on this than you realize!

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Let me know in the comments!