Side (broad)jects: Getting Down to Business

One of the main things I thought learned in the second co-op work term of my MBA was that I wasn't meant to be a consultant. I didn't want to be your big flashy idea woman, I wanted to be the one that does the work and sees the project through to completion. And because of the particular project I was working on in this particular work term, I was convinced I wasn't an ideas person. I removed the word 'creative' from my resume, not just because all the resume articles say you should (on account of the term being overused), but because I was I truly believed I simply wasn't.

Two years later, I realize now I was wrong. I am a creative ideas person, I just need to improve my process of getting my ideas from my head to the real world. For some reason, I don't have that problem with other people's ideas, hence my belief that I was a do-er, not a dreamer.

I've mentioned elsewhere that the idea for (broad)ject inc. has been floating around my brain for some time. I've written countless posts and newsletters, launched a million initiatives, and even been interviewed for a podcast or my head. But actually getting this baby in words and on the internet has proved to be more of a struggle. It's partly because some ideas sound better in our heads than they do on the screen. There's also an intense vulnerability involved in launching your ideas into the world, especially when you want people to view you as someone who knows what they are talking about. There are a million excuses, but at the end of the day, I know I just need to do the work.

I can't think I'm the only one who has a million good ideas and nothing to show for it, and part of (broad)ject inc. is to give young(ish) women access to a community of like-minded dreamer doers. Sometimes we just need to know that other people feel our pain and are going through the same struggle to give us the needed kick in the ass to get moving. And thus, Side (broad)jects. I'm still working through the details of the actual meet ups, but I know there are some people out there who have already expressed interest, so I wanted to provide a digital venue for people to seek solace and support in their creative endeavours.

I've created a private community through Mightybell that you can join and chat with me and others about the creative process of trying to get the spark of an idea into the real world where people will actually, GASP, see it. You can join Mightybell for free, then search for side (broad)jects and request an invitation. I'll be posting regularly there about what I'm working on in terms of (broad)ject inc and I'd love to hear about your own projects.


Loving: "Magic Lessons" Podcast

I have never had particularly strong feelings about Elizabeth Gilbert. I read eat pray love and I liked it well enough, although I was in my early twenties so perhaps not quite in a position to truly appreciate her journey. I didn't read Committed, her second memoir, or The Signature of All Things, her novel. Frankly, I often confused her with Julie Powell (of Julie & Julia).

Still, although I don't work in publishing anymore, I like to keep tabs on the Big Books (and the little ones) and Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic kept popping up. I'm obsessed with the concept of creativity. What allows some people to put pen to paper and paint to canvas and words to a tune while others can only create those things as brief visions in their minds? So to hear that Big Magic was about creativity peaked my interest. Then to read the blurb, I was hooked:

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.

Obviously, I'm in. And that the book is being released on my birthday, in a time where I'm struggling with how to tame the creative hamsters in my brain? It was meant to be.

I actually passed up the (potential) opportunity to put my hands on an advanced reader's copy because I want the experience on buying this book on pub date (my birthday!) and diving in. But while I waited, there was something to whet my appetite: "Magic Lessons". This is a podcast, hosted by Gilbert, where she interviews regular (non-famous) women who are creatively stuck and applied to be on the show. After offering some advice and an assignment, she then drafts a famous friend (so far, Cheryl Strayed and Ann Patchett among them) to offer their take.

I've loved each episode thus far, but the set I listened to today ("Sexy, Dirty, Nasty, Wicked") was truly a game changer. She spoke to a woman who feels creatively stuck now that her life is in a new phase and her advice essentially was for her to have a secret affair with her art. I can't explain exactly how it hit me so hard, but I finished listening truly inspired. This is all leading up to a check-in episode, and I can't wait.

Although I'm not Jewish, I love the concept of the Jewish New Year in the fall. Who doesn't feel inspired in September? (Versus January when we feel cold and hungover and just want to hibernate.) (broad)ject inc. is my foray into letting the creativity that has long simmered unused, turning into a "sorrow" as Gilbert would say, out into the world. I hope you'll come along on the journey and tell me about your journey too.