January is a great time to get inspired for the coming year. I’ve been finding mine by reading In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney.
The book is basically a compilation of successful women who each answer a set of questions about their experiences as business owners and creators.
As inspiring as each of these women are, I thought it would be interesting to answer the same questions myself, exactly as if I were being interviewed for the book and see what my answers might reveal about my own process.
Here are a few of the questions asked of these 100 women and my own answers.
* What is your favourite thing about your workspace?
That it is movable. I like the fact that I can write anywhere as long as I have my laptop, iPad, or just a notebook and some markers and pens. This summer I did a lot of writing in parking lots as I waited for my partner while he attended a multitude of medical appointments. As I was not allowed to accompany him inside due to the pandemic, I made sure to bring plenty of work to help pass the time. It worked beautifully and really brought home the point that writing can be done anywhere.
* What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting or running your business?
Time (and this seems to be a popular answer in the book as well). Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours learning, writing, editing, researching, thinking, developing, reading, planning, and dreaming. The amazing thing is that none of it has ever felt like a loss. Every minute that I spend on my writing business is special to me even when it’s not going so well. After spending years wondering what to do when I grew up (I was nearly thirty when I finally figured it out), I am utterly grateful to have found my calling at last, which means I’ll never take it for granted. Ever!
* What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out?
Don’t wait to hear back from an editor before starting on another piece and sending out more work. Always be writing and submitting. I’ve found that not only does it help my business grow but that it keeps me from getting into a funk when I get the inevitable rejections—or complete silence in many cases. By always working on a new piece, I have less time to spend on feeling sorry for myself.
Grace Bonney’s book contains many more questions and inspiring answers. While I encourage you to read the book, I also invite you to answer the questions yourselves. I’m sure you’ll discover some amazing things about your own artistic life. But don’t keep these answers hidden in a notebook. Make sure you find a way to add them to your posts, CV, LinkedIn profile, and anywhere they could have an impact on your creative career.
Here’s to a wonderful writing year!