The world we live in has changed. It was sudden and unexpected — but the end result of the pandemic is that the world is not what it was. Nor can it return to how it was.
What will it look like on the other side? I have no idea — and neither does anyone else. We have naught but guesses and speculation to go on. Why? For several reasons.
- We do not know how long social-distancing needs to be maintained
- Nobody knows if mask-wearing needs to be a more common practice
- The effect of reopening without adequate testing and contact tracing in place widens the uncertainty
- When there may be a vaccine or cure is a mystery
- Tons of other unknowns resulting from this
Every question comes with no set answer. That is producing a level of uncertainty that induces anxiety and fear. Uneven and lacking leadership doesn’t help.
What’s more, other issues are impacting the everyday. Black and minority lives being thrown away by police, business, and other authorities in the name of white privilege, business, the economy, and various excuses; the ongoing abuse of power by Trump and his party; election uncertainty and a less-than-dynamic Democratic candidate.
It’s easy to consider just giving up, curling into the fetal position, and taking up residence in a pillow fort. But that is not living — and in the face of all this uncertainty, fear, and anxiety, you still need to live.
Doing creative work inside of this insanity may feel indulgent and decadent. However, arts and creativity are still necessary.
All business dealings are changing
I have been doing a freelance job writing for a company in an industry I knew little about when I started. Even now, six months later, I am still not a subject-matter expert. But I know what I do and don’t know — and am still learning.
Overall, they hired me to write. That included content for their website, content for their blog, classroom content, mailings, and other business stuff. Their model was one I wholeheartedly can get behind, and it has been a very interesting ride thus far.
Then the pandemic swept across the US. Suddenly, the tried, true, and frequently updated business model they used has gone out the window. The work I was hired, in part, to do — that they thought would happen over a year or so — got greatly accelerated.
The business sees that the model is changed. How they do their dealings has changed — and will continue to do so going forward.
While the topics I focus on as a self-help, holistic, self-improvement writer remain the same — my focus has shifted. Why? Because more than ever we NEED to be mindful, aware and employ conscious reality creation and positivity — lest we succumb to depression, anxiety, uncertainty, and all the negativity in the collective consciousness.
Is it callous of me to still sell myself and my work? No. Why? Because I am not taking advantage of anyone else’s misfortune here. But I still need to adjust how I do business as every other industry will.
Developing and adjusting
For some time now I have been working on better developing my personal business model. MJ Blehart, Inc, so to speak. As my website subtitle shows: MJ Blehart — The Business™, is Writer / Editor / Voice-Artist / World-Builder.
Marketing myself and the work I do has been an ongoing challenge for several years now. While there are variations in my abilities and the type of writing and editing, I do — it’s still hard to quantify. I haven’t a good elevator pitch apart from — Yeah, I’m a writer.
If the work I did was just a hobby, this wouldn’t matter so much. But it’s not. It is my business, that which I do to make my living.
The thing is, technology has changed, and the way things are done has changed. Traditional publishing, for example, has become less important than it used to be. However, when self-publishing, all the marketing, and other work falls on me.
So, I either must develop and adjust the material — or hire someone to do it. I have been fortunate that, with my new sci-fi novel, I was able to hire a real cover artist and to hire a promoter to help me get out to bloggers and reviewers.
For just over a year now I have been posting 1–2 blogs every weekday to Medium. While I have a good number of followers I am not yet earning with top earners. My writing has improved, I believe, and I am continuing to work on this. I still am certain that I can make a larger income in this way.
Developing and adjusting is an ongoing process. But with the world in turmoil and all this change, it’s important to stay on top of it.
Your work matters
Like any kind of creative — the work you do is important. Even in these crazy times and amid all this uncertainty and insanity YOU and your work matter.
Why? Because people need insight. There is a need for expressions of emotion and the outrage, anxiety, and uncertainty we’re feeling. People need things to distract them like books, art, podcasts, TV, movies, etc.
Further, creativity and like endeavors may be key to positively impacting change. It will be creative ideas that will get us to the world on the other side of the pandemic.
Here-and-now, all you can do is be the best you that you can be. Practice your arts, make and create amazing things, and work on developing and adjusting however you need to.
Be mindful of what is going on in the world at large — but don’t let it control who you are. It’s not selfish to practice self-care and do what you need to.
Creatives who intend to make a living off their work need to consider developing and adjusting their approach.
What are you doing differently?
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter — however you are developing and adjusting your life.
Originally published at http://www.mjblehart.com on May 29, 2020.