Where to start...
Starting today I am going to be doing a three month series of posts that touch on the beginnings, middle, and endings that come with contract work. While I hope this is informative and inspiring I also would love to hear what questions come up for you. In May I will spend the month answering reader's questions, so please comment on the posts or email me!
Create the work you love!
I'm in the final stages of publishing my first book. It's been an insane journey with so many unexpected adventures along the way that I may have to write my next book about this process.
Now I'm getting down to finalizing and editing my manuscript, but doubts and worried keep popping up. What if it doesn't make sense? What if I have lost my flow? What of it doesn't answer the questions people need answered?
I like to think that on the verge of success I would be excited and raring to go...don't get me wrong I have moments of feeling that way, but the freaking out and stress is kicking in more and more often.
I am beginning to realize that the most challenging part of this whole undertaking is dealing with finally putting myself out there. Once this book is out I am going to be held accountable for what it says. I will have chosen my voice. No more rewriting or changing my mind. All of it is out there and in print for anyone and everyone to look at.
There is another interpretation with "I will have chosen my voice". This is my voice. I have tried to include a few others' voices to show how how rich and diverse this work can be, but ultimately I have to write from my experience. I have to realize I can't answer all the questions or cover every base. However, I can get the conversation started with my voice.
And that's what it is. A conversation. I hope this book lays the groundwork for many conversations to come and that others will add their voices along the way.
Do you Have to be an Expert?
Do you have to be an expert to teach, run a workshop, or share your knowledge?
I have met people that say yes, but then I wonder what is an expert? There are some people out there who know a lot about a topic and are certainly impressive to listen to or inspiring to learn from. Do we all have to be at a certain level before sharing?
I was recently mentoring someone who mentioned how challenging it was to run a workshop and she questioned if she had any right to be doing this. Meaning, should she really be sharing her thoughts and beliefs to paying customers when she still feels she has a lot to learn on the subject. I can tell you that she is not lacking in education or knowledge on the topic and I would love to participate in one of her workshops sometime. So why is this successful and knowledgeable woman questioning herself?
Part of the answer lies in the idea that there is always more to learn. We can't know it all. With all the information out there that is accessible to everyone how can we possibly read let alone comprehend everything. Part of learning is sharing the knowledge we have and hearing the responses. The questions we can't answer give us our next jumping off point into a subject. If we are honest about our scope of knowledge there is no reason not to share with others. Remaining open to not knowing will allow your students to both trust in what you have to share and learn how to respond and react when entering into the unknown.
One way I have always approached learning is to enter into a class open to whatever that specific teacher can share with me in that specific moment. It is a chance to gain another perspective. If it is an unfamiliar topic then it is all exciting and new information. If it is a topic I love, then there is bound to be some information I already know, but this person will bring a different understanding or excitement to it then I would.
Of course there needs to be some knowledge on the topic about to be explored. If the teacher brings nothing new or no solid base of understanding to the subject then why teach it? At some point though you have to trust you know enough to share that information with others. Start with novices and see what kind of feedback you get. As you teach you learn how to gauge when you are ready to move to another level, what information is too challenging, and what helps others learn from you. If you remain open to changing and being challenged your students will learn a lot.
Emery is excited that Water & Stone is becoming a reality and hopes this blog will inspire others and be a place to share challenges, success, and exciting moments.