I’m a ‘Scanner’! And It’s Gonna Be Okay!

Hi friends,

When I posted last time about The Curse of the Generalist, a nice man on another continent commented and suggested a couple of authors to me.  (I’m SO thankful for the internet – we live in an incredible era of information exchange.)  I immediately read the excerpt from the link he sent me, and ordered three books by Barbara Sher.  They arrived yesterday, and in between belly dance class and checking my Etsy site, I devoured the first few chapters.

And I discovered that there’s a name for people like me!  We’ve been called ‘Scanners,’ because we’re always scanning the horizon, as opposed to Divers who go deep into their subjects and fields.

I’m a Scanner!  And it’s gonna be okay!

It’s gonna be okay that I have endless, insatiable curiosity about scads of unrelated things.  It’s gonna be okay that my bedtime reading pile includes the newest novel by Barbara Kingsolver, a history book about Marco Polo, the memoir of a woman in the 1920’s who lived with her kids on a boat in Puget Sound, The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam, and a stack of others.   It’s gonna be okay that I’ve traveled to and/or lived in 30 countries and I still want to go to Morocco and India and Argentina and a dozen more.  It’s gonna be okay despite the fact that at the moment, I can’t seem to find a balance of my day job, my Magic Carpet Dance Arts online belly dance accessories business, belly dance practices and performances, rock-climbing once a week, silversmithing classes (and lapidary class next session — I can’t wait!), finishing the novel I’m writing and starting to look for a literary agent, mountain biking and camping on the weekends, and about ten other things.  Oh, and ever since a group of us went to Canvas and Cocktails a couple weeks ago, I’d really like to take a painting class.


I painted this! I keep looking at it in amazement. I actually painted this!


But it’s gonna be okay!  Barbara Sher says in Refuse to Choose is that there are others like me, and my kind of people have a label.  We’re not obsessive-compulsive or ADD.  We’re not crazy!  We’re Scanners!  Pow!  Punch it in, fellow Scanners!

I can’t wait to find out how to manage my personality!  Better go read some more…


The Curse of the Generalist

I once heard (from Mark Wilson, to give credit where credit is due) that some people are specialists and some are generalists.  A specialist is someone who knows when they’re a kid that they want to be a dentist.  They go to dental school, become a dentist, and joyfully work as a dentist their whole lives.  They end up as a highly skilled expert in their field. Specialists look like this:


Then there are generalists.  Generalists want to be a thousand different things.  They try lots of stuff.  They are interested in everything.  They reach age 40 and wonder what they will be when they grow up.  Generalists look like this:

Specialist & Generalist

Note that the Specialist and the Generalist both cover the same amount of area.  The difference is that the Specialist goes deep in a narrow field, whereas the Generalist is broad but shallow.

We need both these kinds of people to make the world go ’round!  One is not better than the other.  (The grass is NOT greener…).

According to Mark Wilson, the Specialist needs to strive to broaden themselves a bit, and the Generalist must challenge themselves to deepen in a few areas.  Like this:

Broaden and Deepen

I am a Generalist.  In no particular order, I am really into belly dancing, writing, rock-climbing, silversmithing, mountain biking, and sewing. Plus I love hiking, bird watching, painting, helping Klu write his blog for kids, Get a Klu, and several other things on an occasional basis.

The Curse of the Generalist:  choosing which areas to deepen.  HELP!!!!! I feel all stretched out and pulled too thin, trying to launch my Etsy shop, Magic Carpet Dance Arts, and finish my novel, while still working 40 hours a week and not letting go of any of those other things.  I feel pained right now…

Shorter Is Better

Hi friends,

Today’s post is gonna be short.  I have about ten different blog ideas in my head right now, waiting to be written.  What it feels like to dance with a sword on my head — empowerment.  My passion since childhood for rocks and gems — coming full circle in my silversmithing.  Advertising my Etsy shop, Magic Carpet Dance Arts — what’s working, what’s not, and what’s a mystery.  How Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way changed my life.  Going to Canvas & Cocktails in Denver with friends, and painting something I didn’t know I could paint — surprising myself.

I lie awake at night and write these posts in my head.  But each one is several paragraphs long.  And right now, every spare minute of my time is focused on getting my online shop launched.  So I’m going to write SHORT posts for a while.  And more of them.  I promise…

And thanks for reading!


An Embarrassing Moment That Really Has Nothing To Do with Musing on My Creative Journey

Yesterday morning, I had the photo shoot for the book on creative women that I’m going to be included in.  The author and photographer, Shelby McQuilken, came over to my house to take the photos.  I wore a dress that called for a bustier rather than a bra.

When the photo shoot was finished, I decided that, despite the uncomfortable corset-like bustier, I’d like to wear the dress to work because it’s gorgeous, and summer is almost over, and I won’t be able to wear it again this year.

I was planning to go to the rock-climbing gym after work last night.  As I was going out to my car with my lunch and my bag of rock-climbing stuff, I realized I couldn’t very well use that bustier under my climbing clothes.  Owwwww!  All those pokey stays.  And it’s super-tight, of course.  So I ran back in the house and grabbed a bra.  Then, just on my way out the door, I grabbed a sweatshirt in case it was cooler when I came out of the rock gym.  I kinda rolled the bra in the sweatshirt and dumped the bundle in the car with my climbing bag.

My day at work was busy and frustrating.  I wanted to leave at 4:30, but two big things came up right at the last minute, and I had to stay an hour late.  I was crabby and tired and frustrated.  I almost didn’t go to the rock gym, but I had promised my friends I’d join them, so I reluctantly went.  I got to the parking lot and grabbed my bag and the sweatshirt, completely forgetting there was a bra tucked inside.

I went in and signed in at the front counter.

I found my friends who were already climbing and said hi.

Then I went into the locker room with my bag and couldn’t find my bra.  I remembered I had tucked it in my sweatshirt, so I trotted back out to my car, thinking it had fallen out when I picked up the sweatshirt.  No bra.  Grr.

I went back in to the locker room and dug through all my stuff.  No bra.  Grrrr.

I went back out to my car and looked EVERYwhere.  No bra lying in the parking lot.  I concluded I must have dropped it in my driveway this morning.  Grrrrrrrr.

I went back in and told my friends what was going on.  (They had several funny but not very practical solutions for what I could use instead of a bra.)  I went back to the locker room, and took one final look through my stuff.  No bra.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I was about to go home, but I REALLY wanted to climb.  So I put on my humility as best I could, and went up to the front counter, where of course it happened that it was two of the male employees working right then.  And then I told a little lie.  “Um, I didn’t happen to drop a blue shirt and a black bra while I was signing in, did I?”  (I’m not quite sure why it felt less embarrassing to drop something else along with a bra, but it did.)  The two guys looked at each other and grinned.  “Well, we found the black bra,” one said, as the other handed it to me, “but not the blue shirt.”

I feel I am entitled to report that I climbed really well, and that the embarrassment was (mostly) worth it.

Unrelated, unabashed plug:  please make me really happy and go look at my Etsy shop, Magic Carpet Dance Arts.  And buy something.  I like sales.

The end.

Art Talk and Voca Femina

I’m rejoicing that the universe has conspired to allow me to be involved with various art sharing events.  Voca Femina is a website for women to share their creativity, and the group also hosts live performance and sharing nights.  Intimate groups, sometimes at someone’s home.  Lots of lovely energy and support.  Women daring to put their creative journeys out there.  Affirmation.  Stories.

And now I’ve been invited to participate in Art Talk tomorrow night.  This event is for both men and women, so the dynamics will certainly be different than Voca Femina.  Belly dancers, musicians, artists of all sorts.  I’ll be dance with Anam Cara Dance Company, which is always exciting.

But even more exciting, I’ll be sharing about my silversmithing.  I’ve been making and selling chunky jewelry online at www.MagicCarpetDanceArts.etsy.com.  For tomorrow night, I’ll be sharing about how I loves gems and metal since I was a child, and what that love has finally blossomed into.  Yippee!  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Learning About Advertising My Etsy Site

I’ve been wondering what works.   I suppose I’m not the only one. For all my fellow artists, artisans, and craftspeople out there, I want to share my experience over the past few days. As creative types, most of us probably don’t like the selling/vending/promoting part. But we gotta do it. We GOTTA!

I make stuff.  Great stuff, actually.  And I make it for a specific niche market:  tribal and tribal fusion belly dancers and other women who have a streak of gypsy or faerie in them.  I make chunky silver jewelry and costume items with henna motifs. I sell it online at Magic Carpet Dance Arts. My belly dancing friends give me lots of compliments. But it’s been a steep learning curve to figure out how to make good use of both the paid online advertising options and all the free internet social networking stuff.

I just recently bought an awesome guide for $17.00 from an Etsy seller.  His shop is called CraftingSuccess.  I was skeptical at first.  But he said that everything he suggests is free, so what did I have to lose, except $17.00.

The first book in the series of four is about setting up your Etsy shop.  As I read it, I was disappointed, feeling like I’d wasted my money because I had already done pretty much everything he suggested.  But then I started in on the second book, Crafting Success, and I was hooked.  (For my fellow Etsy sellers who are reading this, do everything he says starting with building your audience within Etsy itself.  For my artist friends who aren’t selling on Etsy, start reading where he talks about selling outside of Etsy.)

I spent quite a few hours yesterday going step by step through all the things he suggests, setting up Twitter and StumbleUpon accounts, getting my URL registered with Bing and Yahoo and DMOZ, and lots of other stuff.  Yes, it was a LOT of work, but it’s already paying off.  Within a 24-hour period, I have had 6 times more traffic to my site, Magic Carpet Dance Arts, than I ever did before in that amount of time.

I’ll keep you posted about the burst of sales I should be having soon.  🙂  And now I’ve gotta go tweet this post.

Submission to a Literary Agent – Can I Handle the Agony?

Yesterday morning, I emailed off my query letter, my synopsis, and the first five pages of my novel to a literary agent.  So I’m back in the agent-search game.  But may I vent a little right now, and say that I hate this game?

First, an aspiring author (me, for example) spends countless hours over several years writing a book.  She alternates between loving her creation and being in despair over it.  It’s her child, the child of her deepest inner self.

Then, it comes time to find a literary agent to represent her.  She carefully proofreads her submission, and with a trembling finger on the left-click, she hits Send.

Then she waits.  A day or two?  Oh, no.  Try FOUR WEEKS.  Or maybe six to EIGHT weeks.  Okay, so to be fair, literary agents are swamped with submissions, and they have to wade through a lot of caca.  But don’t they know we’re out here suffering debilitating separation anxiety while our baby is away????  Don’t they care??????

The agent-search game feels like a magnified version of selling my creations on Magic Carpet Dance Arts, my Etsy shop for tribal fusion belly dance accessories.  I craft a piece of jewelry or clothing, take the best photos of it that I know how, write text about it, and list it on my shop.  Then I haunt my site, checking all day long to see if I’ve gotten any new hearts (Etsy’s version of favorites).  I listen for the ping of my computer saying I’ve received an email, and rush to see if it’s a sale.

I wish that so much of ME wasn’t wrapped up in each thing I make.  I wish I could separate my sense of self-worth from the reception my creations receive. But if I didn’t have so much of ME invested, would my work be as authentic?  It’s a tough balance.

Speaking of balance, I think I shall be balanced and go to bed.  After I check my Etsy site once more.

A Quick Musing on Getting Started

Getting started is always the hardest part for me.

I was just telling my husband how I’d almost finished a dreaded work project yesterday.  This project is supposed to be done quarterly, but it ends up more like twice a year.  For months, it looms before me, feeling overwhelming.  I procrastinate.  The deadline arrives and passes.  I’m filled with guilt.  I get paralyzed.  Then I finally force myself to make an appointment with the person who works with me on this project.  We sit together, figure a few things out, and suddenly I’m off and running.

It’s the same right now with my query letter and synopsis for my novel.  They’re written.  A writer friend critiqued them for me.  I need to make an hour or two of edits, and then I’m ready to send them off to an agent.  I have my first agent in my submission process all picked out already.  But I’m overwhelmed.  Paralyzed.  Not sure I can do it.

I just need to get started.  NOW.  I’m telling you this so that I will actually do it.  Like I said:  NOW.