Create Your Own Micro-Economy

So part of the deal with starting this blog is that I post something every day. If you want to be a writer, absolutely nothing is more important than developing a writing habit. You can be the most talented writer in the world, but if you don’t get the words down on the page, with some sort of frequency, ain’t gunna work. 

Here’s what I want to talk about this morning, as I sit with my coffee and wait for the sun to come up:

I’ve noticed something very cool about recessions. Yes, something cool about recessions. That’s what I said. A lot of my friends are unemployed or self-employed at the moment. They are also incredibly talented people, artists, and activists, and instead of sitting on their bums (as my right wing Ohio relatives would assume) they are taking this time to pursue their own creative projects, they are volunteering their time and considerable talents to causes or establishing their own organizations for social change, they are going back to school to pursue their dreams, and they are rethinking the whole concept of employment, working from what they love and are passionate about, and trying to build an income out of it. And it’s not just my friends–check out this recent article in New York magazine on art, post-boom. As Scott Adkins, playwright and founder of the BrooklynWriters Space puts it in this interview, you have to create your own micro-economy.

Are you crafty? Set up an etsy shop.

Got a project in mind, but can’t do it without funding? Check out kickstarter.com. (And while you’re there, please please consider supporting my dear friend Sxip’s new album.

 

 

He’s the most talented musician I know, and I’ve been waiting for his new album forEVER and if I don’t get it soon I shall weep tears of sorrow.)

Think out of the (status) box. Thanks to wildly successful social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can promote and plug your friend’s endeavors, and they will do the same for you. I am frequently humbled and amazed by the folks who are out there in the world supporting and encouraging me–sometimes (in fact I’d go so far as to say “often,”) the best support comes from sources and people you would never expect. Life is full of wonderful surprises. Go with it.

In the words of Wayne Dyer:

“Rather than telling yourself: With my luck, things aren’t going to work out for me, affirm: I am open to allowing what needs to happen. I trust luck to guide me….You’ll become what you think about, so even things that you previously believed were evidence of bad luck will now be viewed as what helps you move toward greater harmony.”

Do what you love. Trust the universe. There’s no better way to live your life. Trust me. Or better yet, trust yourself.

When You Let Go of Everything, You See What You Really Have

So, I recently took a big leap of faith and quit my job. Now, “leap” sounds all fun and spontaneous…but in reality it took a good 3 or 4 years of soul searching, working through doubts, therapy, meditation, and self-help books. What I realized was this: the things that I was doing not-for-money–mentoring, teaching, volunteer work, traveling to interesting places like Rwanda, Turkey, and El Salvador, writing, curating a reading series and editing an online journal–were the things that I truly enjoyed and wanted to do more of, and were also things that could generate income if I put my mind to it and placed a little faith in the universe. 

What I found surprising (but in retrospect, not) is that the trade-off of giving up a decent, steady salary in exchange for the freedom to set my own schedule and pursue my own projects was, instead of being terrifying and scary, in fact joyous and liberating, and the kindest gift I’ve ever given myself. And when I shifted my thinking from “My god, how am I going to pay my rent!?” to “Wow, if I just focus on making enough to pay my rent, I can make a lot less money, and I’ll be totally fine.” I knew that I would be okay. I’m pretty scrappy when it comes down to it, and I’ve been supporting myself since my first paper route job at the age of twelve.

And then it became fun to think of expenses I could strip out of my life. I needed to do this in order to make this work. Goodbye monthly unlimited metro card; hello walking everywhere. Goodbye Netflix, hello watching free tv online. Goodbye, fancy groceries; hello minimalist cooking. Goodbye meeting friends for dinner; hello meeting friends for coffee.

One of my current self-help guru crushes is Wayne Dyer, who gives this advice: Whatever you don’t have, you don’t need. If you’re alive, congratulations, you’ve already proved you can live without it, whatever that new shiny thing is that you feel you must have. 

When you let go of everything, you see what you really have.

So that’s the history behind why I’ve started this blog. I’ve committed to spending less and doing more. I’ve committed to finding time to write. And hey, this blog is free, so it fits my current budget. So. Welcome. Thanks for taking this journey with me.