Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: October 2012

The Adventures

Every week is an adventure…and this week was hot air balloons, quiet words, and stacks of books.  Past adventures can be explored here

The View

Epic game of Risk. #fallbreak
And then: the waterfalls.
And now, hiking the Appalachian. #fallbreak
Simpson's Clue. #fallbreak
Andre finds books snugglable

The Delights

  • I've been totally surprised by my very quite introduction of this. Just one tiny tweet (to a half-written page…it's still not finished!) and the response has been…delightful. If you're into it, jump on it.
  • Fitocracy. I'm not sure I can say anything more about this, but suddenly everything that seemed so un-Tara feels do-able + interesting. I blame it all on Lolly.
  • I could not be more excited about (and obsessed with getting everything just right for) the upcoming Holiday Sanity Kit (coming next week! Sign up here to make sure you don't miss it – there'll be a limited number) It's my first ever real-mail business-y goodness, and I'm having so much fun with it.
  • Quilting. Still. Spoonflower is having a Buy 1, Get 1 sale, so I'm finally going to order my first self-designed fabric!
  • I love hearing that I'm not the only one who procrastinates in order to savor an exciting project!
  • Too busy this holiday season with ORDERS to spend time marketing? Here's how to make it last, on Rena Tom for makers, and one for retailers on Vianza.


What was your week like? What were your adventures?

Two years ago (exactly!): Planning for non-planners
Three years ago: My photos – in a book!
Four years ago: Slowing

Making the imaginary real

Do you ever get really excited about something and then…not do it?

I'm not talking about when long projects drag on. I'm talking about when you get so excited about something, that you can't stop thinking about it while you wash the dishes or walk the dog or drink your first cup of coffee.

And then you sit down to work and…
You check your email.
You write that guest post.
You answer a few questions and schedule a few tweets.

But you're still! so excited! about the project!
But…you're not working on it?

That happens to me too.
In fact, it's happening to me right now.

I'm working on a Holiday Sanity Playbook (it's based on this annual, beloved class). And it's the most excited I've been about anything in a long time. It's going to come with stickers. And ribbon. In your mailbox (if you're into that.)

I'm not working on it right now.
I'm writing this, because I realized I was doing everything else, instead of working on it.

And I know you do the same thing, too.
You have a fabulous idea for a new line, a new business card, a new story.
But instead, you answer questions, pack orders, make another thing.

It's not that you're procrastinating work…it's that you're savoring the perfect thing.
You see, while my idea is still in my mind – it's perfect. It's lovely, exciting, delicious and…imaginary. Imaginary things are perfect because the real world hasn't spoiled them. My imaginary Prince Charming didn't leave his socks around the house. My imaginary home never smelled like onions and garlic after I made dinner (it smelled like chocolate chip cookies and chai lattes). And my imaginary Playbook is clever, hilarious, colorful and gives each reader exactly what they need.
But no one can enjoy my imaginary life, so I have to make it real. I marry the guy with the socks because he's hilarious and adorable. I rent the tiny house because it has great light. And I make the real life product because it will help real people, not just imaginary ones.

In the process of bringing it into the world, it'll lose some of its luster.
I won't find the right word.
I'll argue for far too long with Photoshop.
I'll discover I printed something upside down.

But it will exist. And a real chocolate chip cookie tastes far better than an imaginary one.
Just acknowledging this: that I love it so much I want it to perfect helps. Just noticing that I am putting it off because I love it so much helps.
In fact, I think I'm ready to work on it!

What are you imagining today? What tasty thing wants you to whip it up and put it in the (metaphorical) oven.
Why haven't you? What are you afraid of getting not-quite-right?

The Adventures

Every week is an adventure…and this is where I collect the week's photos, finds and lessons.  Past adventures can be explored here

 The view

Mutual snorgling

Beau + Andre do this ALL the time (we call it snorgling), but this is the first time I was able to capture it. 

Fall colors! 

Love the new fabric shop in town

Late night quilting.

Started a quilt

Had a party for a little bro

This @hrosstweets book is soo inspiring, I'm doodling fabric designs.

Love, LOVE this book

Hail! Everything (including yarn that was drying) is covered in it.


The Lessons

The new Heather Ross book has me dreaming of fabric design. I've devoured all the posts mentioned here, added about 100 new books to my to-read list….and started my first design last night. The lesson? It's harder than it looks, but there's nothing like a new passion to fuel my creativity!

As I'm embracing new crafts (quilting and fabric design) I'm also deep into writing a new Holiday Sanity Playbook…and the combination of making and business-thinking has me pondering how the two affect each other. How do your creative skills inform your business decisions? What skills can cross over? Do you apply your lessons-learned-while-crafting to your business adventures? Or do you keep them entirely separate? So many of my readers + students are whip-smart + confident when it comes to their craft (whether it's actual crafting, or writing, or painting)…but they're tentative about business decisions.  How can I help you translate the confidence in one area to the other?

The finds

A year ago: Podcast: Multiple Streams of Income
Two years ago: Coffeshop Clarity 

Feel Good: Quilting

As part of my feel-good experiment, I'm saying yes to the stuff that feels good. One of the biggest challenges (for me) to doing what feels good is LOGIC. I can logic-away all kinds of fun stuff, insisting that I don't have time, I don't have energy, I really should spend my time on finishing those other projects instead of starting a new one. But this month's experiment is saying YES to something I know will feel good, so instead of saying NO to my newest crazy idea, I fully embraced it.

This week's crazy idea was Elise's Quilts by Christmas challenge. After a recent weekend spent quilting with my mom, I wanted to do it again. I was visiting this weekend and my mom has a great quilting set up: a big table to cut on, two sewing machines, plenty of ideas, so this was the perfect storm of inspiration and opportunity. Before I left I sent mom a link and my new quilt was born.

Love LOVE new fabric store. Unfortunately, didn't have black I needed. #quiltsbychristmas

We spent the weekend buying all the supplies, experimenting with the best way to cut triangles (we settled on this one), cutting, sewing, and ironing.
Part of my feel-good experiment: giving in to #quiltsbychristmas Details on the blog.
It felt great to dive into a new project: the endless Pinterest-searching, the fabric-buying, the cutting, sewing, chatting, charting. And you know? None of the logical reasons I had to not start matter at all. I feel refreshed and inspired for my other projects, and knowing that one of my Christmas gifts is halfway done feels fabulous.

What feel-good activity have you been logic-ing away?

The Adventures

This week was full-to-bursting with great conversations (with Diane and Brooke, Sarah, and Melissa), welcoming new members into the Starship, and baking for wrestlers. Why yes, most weeks are this weird.

The view
When you're feeling sad or lonely...look over at the cats. #snoringsoloud

The chilly weather made the cats even more adorable than ever.
My video "studio"-pulled from all over the house. Talking to @pressbound live in 15 minutes!

My “video studio” (which is just my living room, rearranged) where I spent most of my week.


Pumpkin Spice Soy Chai + oatmeal.
Homemade Oreos for Jay's road trip  (meanwhile, my sinuses are so stuffed I can't taste them)

Homemade oreos and…
The last item in today's bake-a-thon for @ultramantis : chocolate peanut butter bombs #vegan

Chocolate peanut butter bombs, all made for this guy:
@ultramantis approves of #vegan baked goods (most of what I baked yesterday was for Jays favorite wrestler)

Ultra Mantis, at the wrestling show Jay went to this weekend, enjoying the vegan baked goods I sent him.


The lessons

If you have three video chats scheduled in a week (and thus, have to look presentable and talk clearly three days in a row), you will come down with an old-man cough and get so mad at your bangs that you cut them yourself on Monday morning. Choose to be amused.

If you choose to say yes to the projects that are right, and no to the projects that are not-quite-right, things will work out. Not 2 minutes after hitting send on an email where I said no to a potential new job, I got an email from a Starship member about reaching her goal. All is right with the world, and I know I'm focusing on the right stuff (building your success).

The people I work with are the smartest. Proof: all three entrepreneurs featured in this week's conversations. I looove to talk to people who are getting clearer and more focused, and I am just squealing with delight that our new workbook had something to do with it.

It all proves what I'm always telling you: You know. You know what to do next, you know what to say, you know how to make your business great. You might just need the right questions and the right framing and the right encouragement. If you feel confused right now, find someone to ask you the right questions.  (This is why everything I write is filled with worksheets – it's all aimed at framing the issue for you, then asking you the question so you can get to your right answer).

The finds

Don't have time for marketing? Here's how to make time, on Rena Tom (written by me!)

8 rules for writing  (and making!) from Neil Gaiman

Adorable handmade business card…envelopes!

Elise has convinced me to make quilts for Christmas. Even though my big sewing machine is in storage (it's  a vintage machine, from the 40's, built into a big table that I don't have space for in my tiny house), I'm heading to the fabric store in just a few minutes. I might borrow my mom's machine, or rearrange my whole living room until the sewing machine fits…but this is a quilt-thirst I hafta quench.


What are your adventures this week?


A year ago: Right Action
Two years ago: The Hard + Soft of Money
Three years ago: The Pain of Craft Shows


Your invitation to get effective

This year Diane + I held two sessions of a live class  that was crazy popular. But every time, we'd get a pile of emails from people saying: This week just doesn't work for me, will you hold it at another time? And as we want to say yes to every single person, we also have a pile of other ideas and projects we're just dying to do.

So we made it timeless. You can take the “class” anytime, anywhere, for as long as you like: it is now in one downloadable PDF.

click here to buy

The only downside: we love the personal question-answering, brainstorming, exciting work that comes from working with someone on their specific blog.

To get our fill, and to celebrate our new book, we're holding three live video one-on-one sessions this week:

Tuesday, October 9th, 1:00 pm EST (10:00 am PST)
We’ll be talking with Brooke Siennes of Sincere Sheep.

Wednesday, October 10th,  2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST)
We’ll be talking with Sarah Wilson of The Sexy Knitter.

Thursday, October 11th,  4:00 pm EST (1:00 pm PST)
We’ll be talking with Melissa Gruntkosky of Pressbound.


You can watch, for free, right here
If you want to share your comments or ask your questions, use the hashtag #effectiveblog

And if you want to make your blog more effective, get the workbook here.

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