I have moved and am settled in Brooklyn with boxes everywhere. I love my new apartment and the life that has started to take shape. It is invigorating to see potential everywhere I look while at times daunting as well.
The most interesting thing that has happened from a business perspective, is the complete flip in how I am working and where it looks like this path will take me. If I continue this way I will probably end up doing a combination of teaching, business mentoring, house calls, private practice, and work for organizations (Alzheimer's Association, Hospice) with a contracting job or two on the side. This is a change, although it seems like a natural progression, from my 7-15 jobs a month that I have been doing for the past 6 years now.
The lesson has been to stay flexible and see where the road leads.
I am relearning that self-employment can mean using the momentum created by unexpected twists to keep moving forward.
Just last Tuesday I began teaching, as adjunct faculty, for the graduate art therapy program in the School of Visual Arts located in Manhattan. It's amazing! I love it and am very excited to inspire and support students on their way to becoming art therapists.
This did not happen by chance or in a simple way. Last January I sent every program in the area my cover letter and resume to both share about the upcoming publication of my book and also the idea that I was interested in teaching. I heard nothing back. I let it go, deciding to follow up after I figured out where life was taking me and put it out of my mind.
Then I got a phone call in June asking if I had any interest in interviewing for a position at SVA. I was thrilled! However, after the interview I heard back and didn't get the job. I was reassured over the phone about how impressed they were and asked if maybe next year I would be interested in teaching a section of the thesis class. I was enthusiastic about the opportunity and thanked them for considering me. After the conversation I put it out of my mind and looked forward to trying again next year.
A couple weeks later I received another call. I was asked to come in for another interview and the head of the program said they were considering adding another section to the thesis class thIs year. I was stunned and immediately jumped into action, pulling together a new syllabus and interviewing packet.
Less than an hour after the interview I was offered the job!
There is no way to know what will come out of something. Just stay positive, gracious, and patient while always putting your best foot forward.
Now, back to unpacking and settling in. My next break will be to prepare for class number two on this coming Tuesday. Oh how I wish these boxes would unpack themselves!
Happy new school year everyone!
Just got back from the annual art therapy conference and it was amazing! Felt inspired and rejuvenated. Seattle is an amazing city and It was fun to catch up with everyone. I didn't present this year, but had my book on sale. I was able to speak to a lot of different people about what was in the book and how it might help them in their lives. It was both an exciting and humbling experience to hear what everyone is doing. We are such a diverse group of people that it constantly amazes me how rich the world of creative arts therapy is when I hear each person's stories, challenges, and achievements.
I have a chapter in the book that is other people's stories. I felt it was so important to show how many ways this work can be approached and I know it is more inspiring than hearing from just one voice. Anyone who would like to guest post on this blog please email me and we will set it up.
Transitioning from one set of jobs to another because of a move.
How to combine self employment with part or full time employment.
Balancing life and work when they feel like the same thing.
Have a great 4th of July!!!
Self Portrait 2011
How do you start? When I first began I would become overwhelmed by the sheer number of things it seemed like I had to do all at once. As soon as I broke it down and gave myself some time to do the fun things, like create business cards, it became more manageable.
Find Your Niche
Who do you like to work with? Is there a population you are excited to do groups with?
What kinds of projects do you enjoy doing? What materials are interesting and fun to work with?
A great way to start is to answer these questions and then look at Google maps and type in key words. (retirement homes, mental health, women's center, etc.) Find out what organizations are in your area and if there are any therapists already doing work with specific groups of people. If there are, great! You have contacts you can make and resources to tap into. If there are not, great! You have an untapped niche to start working in. Both require hard work just in different ways.
Compile a list of all the facilities, community resources, and people that have to do with your interests. If you can find them make sure to include the name of a contact or head of department, so when you send them a letter later on you will be able to be specific about who should read it. Also, note what the titles of the people or departments are and any specific information you can use to individualize the letter or include key words that will trigger the reader's interest. This list will be ongoing and a place you can make notes or record observations.
- Create a business card with your own art as a logo.
-Write down your dream job. Don't be too realistic and just let yourself daydream on the paper!
-Create two art pieces. The first explores any anxiety, fear, uncertainty, etc. The second explores your excitement, joy, confidence, etc. Use various art materials and let it be abstract or representative. Add words if it feels right. When you have finished look at the art side by side and notice similarities and differences. This is a great way to gain a new perspective and I would suggest looking at these every couple months or doing this exercise again later on in the process.
The important part of the creative break is to give yourself a chance to see things differently and to just have fun! Just because it's enjoyable doesn't mean it's not important and it is still working towards your goals and ambitions.
Next post will be about sending information out to perspective places/people and preparing to offer a free group as an interview tool.
Enjoy the process!!
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!
Taking a break brings energy and perspective back to your life and work. It is so important to get away now and then. It doesn't matter if it is a walk to a nearby park, a lunch with friends, or a week long vacation. Get out there and revitalize yourself!
I just spent a few days over Thanksgiving with my family in upstate New York. It was beautiful and relaxing. I still worked on the final rewrites for my book, but the time I spent away from my computer was rejuvenating. Board games, knife throwing, walks in the woods, frisbee with my brother, and the daily work on a 1,500 piece jigsaw puzzle are a completely different routine then I'm use to and it woke my mind up. I also took the train up and back. My car dying may have been a blessing in disguise because I was able to work, nap, read, and just stare out the window listening to music for hours.
After this week I have new perspective on my life and my book. Looking forward to jumping in and seeing what happens next! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
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.
Last week Hurricane Sandy came through and long island was one of the hard hit areas. I was lucky to only lose power for four days and many are still without.
This past year I have been navigating through the end of my marriage.
There are many parallels I feel I can draw, but the one I want to focus on is about what can come from these disasters.
Right now people are pulling together and working harder then they normally would to help those in need. Support, survival being placed above preconceived notions of those in need, and hopefully people are growing from the experiences or relationships happening because of this storm.
While the process of ending a marriage is rocky and unbearable, to say the least, I was constantly aware of the support I received and the growth I realized was happening. I wasn't always happy about it and there was quite a lot of resistance to the changes going on, but I tried to experience those moments none the less.
While I wasn't always successful, looking back, I did what I could and experienced the moments I was able to to the best of my ability. Out of this past year has come a book, a publisher interested in the book, a private practice, closer friends, new found strengths, and sky diving.
When Sandy hit I intended to stay in my new apartment and ride out the storm. Then I heard a huge crack and watched a 30' tall pine tree come down near my building. I no longer felt safe. I also no longer cared that I was at the tail end of divorce and my ex immediately suggested he come pick me up. It felt much better having a disaster with someone I knew and we made it through the storm intact.
No matter what happens, it feels good to be able to set aside differences when people are in need. Whether you are receiving help or can volunteer to help others see if you can pin point those moments you set something aside and learn from the experience.
Change is a scary thing. It does not matter what kind of change. it can be an exciting, happy, growing in a new direction kind of change and that nervous uncertainty will still sneak in now and then.
For me the fear is often around success and failure. Will I fail? What if I succeed? Sometimes the fear of success is bigger because then I have to live up to what I have accomplished. If I fail I can more easily say "Oh well, better luck next time." and move on.
What makes change harder or easier for you? Are there ways you help counteract the fear?
I try to make art, cook, and exercise. Sometimes I just need to sit on the couch and read a book or watch TV. Balancing the down time, conserving energy, with the going out and using energy is a challenge. I am very truly an introvert and I work on that balance a lot. Running my own business is often a pull in a not so introverted way, but it helps me not sink to far into my couch before getting back out there.
A lot of change has been happening recently. 2012 is a big year and I will write more about that in a couple of weeks. In the mean time I wish everyone a happy start to the school year and I hope you are all excited about the fall weather. Fall is always a time of rejuvenation for me, so I am very excited it is just around the bend!
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.