Are you giving away the “seed” in your writing or are you giving your ideas time to grow and mature?
In this training, I will share with you how to achieve excellence in your finished products.
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The Idea is the “Seed”
I want to talk about a concept that I have recently heard that has been challenging me.
I always think that we should be growing and learning. As a coach, myself, I also invest in coaching, mentoring, training, and continuing to learn.
Right now, I’m in a phase where I’m growing as an artist. I have an art studio in my home and I find that exploring art also helps my creativity with writing, marketing, and all of that, as well.
I was looking for a community, and also for a mentor or coach, in this whole aspect of art, because this whole area of art is new to me. This is despite the fact that I have been a creative and have been writing and publishing books for years, since 2008.
So, I joined an art mentorship group by Matt Tommey. It’s a Christian group. And in one of his videos, he talks about, “are you giving away the seed?”
I thought this would be a great thing to share with you as writers because I think it really applies. It’s been something that’s really challenged me.
So, many times we get ideas. We get ideas for books, blog posts, and many different things that we’re writing – especially our books. We get ideas, and sometimes that idea is the seed.
So what does that mean?
It means that it’s just the initial idea, it’s not mature. We haven’t allowed it to be planted in our life and nurtured so that then it can grow. Sometimes that initial idea that we get, that seed, can grow into something completely different.
I’m a take action Activator. On the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test, it shows that I’m a Doer. Two of my top strengths are Achiever and Activator. So I am a get-it-done kind of person.
I will admit, sometimes, I probably take action and give away a seed instead of nurturing it and giving it time to grow, and really blossom.
I saw this happen in my writing last year. I was writing the book “Broken Crayons Still Color” which I had initially started back in the fall of 2015. I published it in 2016.
I was ready to get it done. I was moving forward in my normal fast speed, and that was a book God did not intend to have written fast. I have written and published books in 7 days – yeah!
Those are books that have been written on topics and things that I have really allowed to mature and grow in my life. They’re based on experience and that sort of thing. So, it wasn’t something that I just got an idea and wrote it without having years and years of experience.
But, this particular book, “Broken Crayons Still Color”, I picked it back up last June. I just sensed God saying, “Shelley just finish the book.” I allowed it to be planted, and I allowed it to continue to be nurtured until it grew into the fruit and the plant.
What happened to me, in particular, is God led me to have a Beta group. Those of you that have been following know this. I had about 150 people agree to be in the Beta group. Probably about 50 of them were really active in giving me feedback.
Through that process of watering, nurturing, and getting feedback from the Beta group, it became a completely different book than the initial seed. It became something so much better and much shorter.
It went from a 12-week study to a 7-week study, which is the norm. As I started my market research, I found out that 6-7 week studies are the average. It became something very much different.
So, I want to ask you today, do you really allow those seeds, those ideas that God gives you to grow?
In the art community, and in the mentoring group, he was talking about ideas God might give us for an art piece, or a painting, something like that. Again, I’m a get it done person, and I realized I don’t have any works in progress. I don’t have any unfinished artwork.
I finish everything! I work small because I like to finish it. That’s my personality. I don’t want these things hanging over my head. I don’t like unfinished tasks or projects.
Yet, the Lord is really challenging me right now. He’s really stretching me, saying, “OK Shelley, is this really your best work? If you did have some works in progress and you left some time, could it become even better? If you allowed yourself some time to think and strategize, and time to get some other ideas, could you have made it better?”
Yes, of course!
Brain Dump: An Art Inspiration Book
So, I have been recently listening to Mandisa’s new album “Out of the Dark” and I love it! I totally recommend it, and I recommend listening to the interviews she’s done.
She was in a deep depression for three years and this album is called “Coming Out of the Dark”. She has a powerful testimony so I really recommend listening to the interviews and the meaning behind the songs.
She has a song called “Unfinished”, and as I was thinking about this whole topic of giving the seed time to grow, God brought that song to my mind. I was like, “Oh, Unfinished!”
I have a page in my journal where I wrote “Unfinished”. I just said, “I sense the challenge and the prompting from the Lord to allow more time for my ideas to germinate and to grow to bear fruit.”
It says, “What does this mean exactly? I’m not sure yet, but this journal (my art journal), is part of the process; a place to write down and sketch ideas, brain dump, refine, pray over, cultivate.”
The other idea I got from this is to have an art inspiration book. I have done this for my writing all the time. I have notebooks, journals, idea books. I also have places that I store ideas online like Trello but I didn’t really think about it for my art.
So I don’t know if you’re already doing something like this, but this is amazing. Have a specified notebook for your ideas – for those seeds. I just started this weekend, and I have pages of notes already. They are just coming!
As I write down these ideas and get other ideas, I capture them, and then I can add to them later. These are things that I really sense God asking me to paint or to do. I may not do it today, but maybe it will come later.
Are you allowing the seed to grow?
Or are you giving away the seed?
Do you have a place to capture ideas?
Do you have some sort of writing inspiration journal?
Create with Excellence
The third thing I want to mention is that we are to create with excellence. Sometimes when we create fast, we just go, go, go, go, go. We don’t allow that seed to germinate. Sometimes we’re not giving out our best work.
Also, we should always be continuing to learn and grow.
It’s been a challenge to me, and right now I’m really focusing on my art. But this also applies to our writing, business, marketing, publishing, or whatever we’re doing.
I’ve really made an effort in the last couple of years to take everything that I do to a new level of excellence. With my Broken Crayons Still Color book, I did everything I could to make that my best book yet.
I did my best whether it was in the formatting, the format, or the content. Everything in there, I went above and beyond anything I’d ever done before. You know what? That book is really selling well.
I’m not saying that it was me who really did that. I just feel like that’s God’s blessing because that’s a book that He wanted me to write. I didn’t want to write it, and I didn’t want to do it but I obeyed.
Are you also growing in your skills?
Are you growing in your skills as a writer?
Are you growing in your skills as a publisher?
Are you growing in your skills as a marketer?
We, as self-published authors, carry the role of all three; writer, publisher, marketer. We have all those roles.
Are you continuing to grow your skills in that area?
That really encouraged us to continue to invest in training. I believe in this 100 percent. When I first started investing in coaching and training, that’s when my business started to take off. I was challenged.
I have been doing a lot of research, taking a lot of classes on Skillshare, and I have purchased a lot of books. I’m a Learner, so that’s what I do. I research, learn, and then I teach it.
But I was kind of challenged. So last week I also invested in an advanced lettering course. An online course to take my lettering to a new level. And people are already noticing it on Instagram and commenting on it.
Invest in Improving Your Skills
So, I want to challenge you today. Have you invested and are you growing in your skill as a writer, publisher, or marketer?
These are three very different roles. There are many different places to invest for that. I have low-cost books you can invest in, but I also have an Academy called Author Audience Academy, and we cover all those areas.
The one area we probably don’t cover as much is just the mechanics of the writing, like grammar and all that. We cover all three things in the Academy, and you get the support and encouragement of other authors. Plus, you also get access to me as a coach every day to ask your questions.
It’s a way that you can invest, and if you’re ready to invest you can join us at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com.
It may not be the right fit for you, or it may not be the right season for you. There may be someone else that you’re investing in. That is good. That is perfectly fine. I just encourage you to keep growing in your skill as a writer, a publisher, and a marketer.
So, tell me, what is one thing that you can take away from this training today?
What is one nugget that really impacted you?
Or, what is one action step that you want to take as a result of this training?
Let me know in the comments below.
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