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Get Juicy with a Contest
SARK's newest book, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper (Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually DO It) launches August 5th she's hosting a blog contest!
Start the "ink" flowing by featuring Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper on your blog between August 5 and August 15th. Share your thoughts about the book and you could win a 30-minute creative consultation with SARK! Five other writers will receive a personalized, signed copy of the book. Selections will be announced on SARK's new blog!

To enter, send an email with a link to your blog to juicyblogcontest@gmail.com

Dear Kristen,

I hope your summer is filled with creative goodness! I'm really enjoying the opportunity to spice up my workdays by going outside. Whether I'm hard at work on my yard or headed to the beach, being outdoors has given me tons of inspiration! And yes, I can work there too thanks to the grueling labor my husband and I put into a new patio. It was tough work, but so worth it to have another "room" in the house to work in!
This month, I'm talking about celebrating success. You see, I just released my second book this spring. I'm fresh off four book signings, which really helped to sink in that I've made my creative dream--writing books--a reality. As creatives, we're often reluctant to toot our own horns. But sometimes, you've got to! It's vital to celebrate our successes--and surround ourselves with those who support and nurture our accomplishments.Check out the article below!

I also explore in the second article below what happens if you feel stuck in a rut. Often, it's hard for creatives to express dissatisfaction about an aspect of their job because they generally love what they do. But as you probably know, not all aspects of a creative career are always...let's say, peachy. I'm hoping the article will revitalize your zest for your career!
So feel free to share your accomplishments and thoughts with me! Check out the Creatively Self-Employed blog or drop me a note at kristen@creativelyselfemployed.com. I'd love to hear from you!

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And a huge thanks to all of the subscribers-the opt-in list has grown to more than 300 creatives!
All the Best,
Kristen Fischer
Three Things You Can Do to Embrace Your Success
by Kristen Fischer
I recently received a box full of books. They weren't ordinary books, though-they were the first copies of my new book. After the package arrived I eagerly ripped through layers of packing tape, and I first glimpsed publication. I was in shock-I had written a book.

It's the oddest feeling when something you've been working towards finally comes to fruition. For me, I had read and revised my own words for so long, so seeing it in its final form seemed surreal. Success can be surreal like that.

It got me thinking about victories. So often on this website, freelancer talk about struggling to get clients, having problems completing projects or trying to make sure they get paid. Seldom do we talk about success. When success happens to us, sometimes we aren't sure how to embrace it because we've been struggling for so long. Or we overlook our achievements.

Many of us undermine the good things that happen in our lives. So it is vital to learn how to let the positive things really sink in and benefit us. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your achievements!

Visualize your achievements. For me, holding my book was similar to the way that parents cuddle a newborn child. Soon after the book came, though, I put it down and moved on to other things I had to do during the day. But then I picked the book back up. Too often, we don't let the good stuff sink in-so I felt and touched and saw this book for what is was. I now look at it every day and keep it in a prominent place where I can see it and relive the good feelings each day. Did you create a website that a client loved? Display their thank-you note in your office. Set your browser to open up to their website so you can see what you created each time you open a browser. These are simple ways to be reminded constantly that you've done well.

Mention, don't brag. You may not want to talk up your accomplishments out of fear that others will think you're bragging. If you have this mindset, you probably aren't a bragger anyway. So go ahead and tell your friend that you've landed a big account. Tell your family members about all of the interesting magazine articles you've written. Tell them about your good news and listen to theirs. I would be careful of the way you talk to others in your industry, though. Only my close writing friends know that when I share good news I'm not boasting-others may not have the capacity to understand. But it's good to discuss your successes, and listen to others' accomplishments. It shows support and a sound relationship with someone that you can mention successes and not be jealous or vindictive. Find friends that support you and share the goodness.

Publicize your career bonuses. When you complete a project to a client's utmost satisfaction, this is the kind of thing that you should publicize. And remember that publicizing doesn't mean bragging: it's more about using a success as a stepping stone toward more accomplishments. Use a knockout clip in your portfolio. Send out a press release announcing your client's new website that you've built. These are simple things to do that will help you leverage one success into more achievements. I always add links of websites I've written, for example, to my online portfolio. The more clips the better. In a similar sense, it's okay to mention that you're an "award-winning" professional if you've won an award in your industry. It's not boasting-it's marketing your professional status and all of us need to celebrate the good.

Good happens. Let's all try focusing on the good things, too. Securing a new client, creating a masterpiece...these are things that you should celebrate in your own way. And if you're lucky enough to have a support system, you can raise a glass to yourself every once in a while.

Posted at FreelanceSwitch.com by Kristen Fischer. Image by Hamed Saber.
Breaking Out of a Creative Rut
by Kristen Fischer
by Mati RoseI recently blogged about being in a rut, which to me is different than experiencing burnout. Being in a rut insinuates that you want to do something creative or something new--you just don't quite know how to do it. Or everything feels monotonous and you're not really motivated. There are many different types of ruts to be stuck in.

All you need to get out of the rut is pretty much the motivation to do so. Once you're ready to try some new things, you'll need to take the plunge. These things will hopefully help you shift perspective, and subsequently awaken your motivation to try new things creatively.

Here are some tips on how to get out of a creative rut.

1. Try something new. It doens't have to be something creative--if you're around art all day painting with acrylics instead of oil may not help you shift your energy. Instead, try taking a hike somewhere new, shopping in a different store, taking a spa day, or even heading to the gym if you don't regularly go. There are all sorts of different things to do.

2. Experiment with another creative medium. Sometimes all you need is to get into a different hobby. For example, I enjoy beading, painting and photography--yet hardly ever find time to devote to them. Sometimes I don't have to think about skydiving to get out of a rut; all I need is to try something else creative to get me going. It depends on the rut and what you enjoy.

3. Explore a vaca. You don't have to travel far to get a break. If you're used to sightseeing vacations, maybe you can get in the car for a few hours just for a change of scenery. Plan a trip where it's all low-key instead of the go-go-go type of trip. You want to do something you enjoy but do it at a different pace. If all else fails, play tourist in your own town.

There are plenty of ways to get out of a rut. All you really need to do is make an effort to change things up a little. Remember, even if you have a "fun" creative career it's still a job and that can get stale sometimes. Refresh and revitalize yourself--I think you'll find the results well worth it!

You can reprint this content so long as it includes a link to www.creativelyselfemployed.com. Photo by Mati Rose McDonough.

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April 2009

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