Blog Post

Creative Planning

It’s true. I’ve been straddling the fence. Hedging my bets, as it were. Last April, I left my job to pursue freelance visual work and focus more on writing. Over these last 10 months, there have been some up and down times, that’s for sure. During this period, it’s become obvious that I’ve been living in this twilight world, caught between being a visual artist/designer and committing wholly to being a writer.

So, Monday afternoon I was very lucky to have a gentleman (and friend of the family), Fred Scarborough, conduct a creative planning session with eight of my personal “stakeholders,” friends and family members who are concerned and invested in my success. It was unfortunate we couldn’t have my agent there with us since as business partners, she is one of my largest stakeholders. After the process my wife said, “If I’d known this would be so helpful, I would’ve bought Stacia a ticket!”

So, the process.

The creative planning process is one that separates the creative/generative part of decision-making from the analytical. So, during the 3 hour event, we’d decide as a group what’s working for me, what’s not, defined obstacles, suggested solutions. Questions asked were like, “What does success look like?” and a whole wall was filled with Post-It notes with aspects of success. Or problems. Or solutions.

Then in the analytical phase for each question, people were given 5 stickers and asked to place them on the Post-It notes that seem most significant. This way, you’d see clusters of dots on certain Post-It notes, indicating the issues that the stakeholders (and I) felt were important.

Anyway, it was a stressful yet invigorating process. Some of the things that came to light was that I had not fully accepted that I am a writer. It was pointed out that even on my website, top left of the page, it proclaims me a NOVELIST and DESIGNER. And that by trying to be both, I’m not doing either very well.

Another very important thing was discovered. My wonderful office at home is actually a distraction. After 15 years of clocking in at an office in a dayjob, I need that otherness to get shit done. So, I’ve found a super-cheap office space – a 5×8 room really – and will take up residence there in the day as long as I can afford it.

Anyway, the whole event meant very much to me and all the things that were decided, I’m going with. Because I have books to write, characters to kill, love, destroy, elevate, and to atomize. And other stuff.

That is all.



4 replies on “Creative Planning”

John and stakeholders of John, you go! I’m so proud of you and honored to know you. Artists are almost always slightly terrified, so your determination is essential. And, as Yogi Berra said, “if you don’t know where you’re going you could wind up someplace else.” Onward!

Sounds damn fine. It’s wonderful you have people that really care about your success both professionally and mentally.
Now, more importantly, why hasn’t sent my copy of THE TWELVE FINGERED BOY??!!!

Ha! That IS muy importante! Unfortunately, I don’t know. I didn’t even know Amazon had a special Canadian website.

Hey, this is an excellent post. Having peoples’ faith in one affirmed is a wonderful thing. I can’t imagine even laying my confidence on the line for this sort of dissection.

Suffice it to say, you have *it*. It’s been obvious since your debut. You have little reason for uncertainty. Go for it.

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