Something is happening here. My blog has been live for five days. This morning two customers, Betsy and Andrea, stood next to each other in my line. Both are good friends of mine, but they did not know each other. When they discovered that they both are big fans of my blog – are gobbling it up – we had a little three-way party. Eliot is a Grammy Award-winning musician whose work I greatly admire. I would say we are acquaintances. This morning he checked out through someone else’s line, but when he walked past me, he pointed dramatically to me and said “Great work – thanks for putting me on your list.” Thirty-seven people have signed up to follow my blog in five days – it took months to reach that number in the past.
What’s going on? Right idea, right time, right person. I think all that is true, but there is something more. I am fully surrendering to the Muse. I am trusting this sucker. I am prioritizing it. I am willing to stay up late for it.
I am making a commitment to my readers. I am committed to sending a personal greeting to each of my subscribers. I haven’t done it with everyone yet, but I have time free this weekend – time I’m keeping free to do this. I am committed to responding to each comment people leave on the blog. I’m committed to thanking each person who sends me an email cheering me on – and there are a lot of them. And to thanking the people who cheer me on face-to-face, like the girl who works in produce who said, “Your blog is inspiring me – I want to be better with customers”.
Your Muse may not yet have clearly announced herself – you may not yet have a particular “art form”. But maybe you express your creativity through cooking or gardening or interior decorating or parenting or through an intimate relationship. If none of these feels like a direct hit, what supports your creativity? Listening to music? Walking in the woods? Eating soul-satisfying food? Making love? Are you willing to make a commitment to your creative force – to prepare a place for it? Are you willing to take a stand for your creativity – to claim that you are a creative person? Are you willing to make sacrifices for your Muse – to choose for it?
This afternoon in the checkout line I was talking about all of this with Anita, who is similarly throwing herself into her ceramic art. She took several steps towards the door, then came back as I had begun talking with the next customer and said, “Making beauty is good for us in every way”, and she left. That felt right, felt powerful – but I knew I hadn’t really integrated it yet. One of my principles of customer service is “Include the customer in whatever conversation is going on.” I frequently get successive customers involved in the same conversation. So I asked Colleen (whom I had never met) what that meant to her. She described a man “who I’ve been making music with” who is totally committed to making beauty. I told her that it sounded to me like she also is committed to her creative force. She said, “If you’re not creating, you can forget it.”
I love to dance – free-form improvisational dance (Asheville Movement Collective “dance church”). It makes me happy. It definitely expresses and feeds my creativity. And I love the Friday night dance. Early today I told Tom – my old roommate, dance buddy and work-mate – that I was definitely dancing tonight.
Late in the day I told him. “I can’t dance tonight – I gotta write.” I had accumulated so many hand-written notes today – three posts worth, including this one. Letting go of my beloved Friday night dance was a big deal, but my Muse required it – and it wasn’t really a sacrifice, I loved writing tonight even more than I loved dancing.
Tom very dramatically (he can be dramatic) said, “You’re not dancing…you’re not dancing” as he backed out of the store. Lindsay, my lovely and brilliant young customer who had just heard this exchange, looked at me and said, “Tonight, writing is your dancing.”