](https://yellow-blog-images.imgix.net/2015/11/photo2-copy.jpg)1. Establish Your Focus
Sounds funny, but creatives often have a hard time nailing down what their unique vision is. We are excited about much and then, as the dog in UP reacts, “squirrel,” another creative idea sparks. It’s not how to focus, it’s what to focus on that requires attention. In the writing world, it’s our platform, our elevator pitch, a brief explanation of what the blog/book/article is about and why it will benefit the reader. In a sum, it’s finding my unique voice and sticking with it. This took me years to shape and whittle away at until I began connecting my confetti passions to discover my core voice. I love communicating it through speaking, blogging, designing, writing articles and connecting with people over dirty chai’s. Wherever I go, that’s the natural bent of what springs from within. So it makes sense I lead from that passion. What are your passions? Your unique perspective? Those drummings inside that can’t help but come out? Let those facets shine. Focus your platform and give it everything you have. Establishing your focus takes strategy, time, and consistency. Do these three and you will discover your valuable focus.
It’s not how to focus, it’s what to focus on that requires attention._What are your passions? Your unique perspective? Those drummings inside that can’t help but come out? Let those facets shine. Focus your platform and give it everything you have._
2. Trust the Process
Some parts of defining the brand, the vision, the steps are spent gathering. I create space to dream, read, and process knowing these steps are essential to forming the skeleton of a story. Some parts are spent sanding, polishing, and waiting. This is where inspiration pours out and I write in fast-forward without spell checking along the way. Then I go back with fresh eyes to edit, erase, add supportive quotes and meaty content to make a well-rounded read. And when I feel forced or stressed and I’ve hit a brick wall, I trust it will come and know maybe a beach walk and dance party is in order to get creative juices flowing. Some parts are spent celebrating and enjoying and connecting with groups and readers. They are all equally valuable. Like necessary steps in building a sturdy chair, we can’t sit and enjoy the comfy view without the essential steps before.
3. There are no backward steps, only focused detours.
I spent all summer working on my first book proposal and when I plopped it in front of a publisher, he didn’t even open the first page. “I don’t like the title,” he said. His words lit a challenge within, so I worked for the next year, with the encouragement of my literary agent, and pitched another book proposal. I got 2 offers to publish it, but during those waiting months, I sensed a stirring to go back at it and continue refining it, to really pull out the “extra” and hone in on my unique message. Fear struck as I thought, “Am I crazy for turning down this offer, even if I’m not as passionate about it?” “No,” I confidently decided. Experience has taught me there are no start overs or backward steps, only focused detours. Rough drafts and rejections aren’t failures; they are encouragements to continue communicating what I’m saying in a more creative way. I’m in the process of finishing my 2nd book proposal and don’t doubt for one second that the process has helped shape my message, my heartbeat even more. It’s a risk, but one in which I welcome the detours and thank them for what they teach along the way.
Experience has taught me there are no start overs or backward steps, only focused detours. Rough drafts and rejections aren’t failures; they are encouragements to continue communicating what I’m saying in a more creative way.
4. Surround yourself with Truth-Tellers & Celebrators, and Cheer Others Along in their True-ness:
On my desk, I wrote myself a note that reads, “May the main characters in your story always be truth and love.” This surrounds all of life. My identity must come from a source of truth and love, so that my message speaks from a place of overflow from truth and love. In turn, I have my nest, my truth-tellers and celebrators to call on when I feel distracted or in need of wise counsel. From there, I can speak to women and remind them that they matter, that their story and their dreams matters and cheer them on, unafraid if their brand or platform or name is bigger than mine, because I am confident in where my security is found- in Truth and Love. And the truth remains - every person matters. There are no small people, just big egos.
5. Inspired Toward, Not Intimidated By
A designer/dear college friend shared this truth and I take it to heart daily: Be inspired toward, not intimidated from. It’s all sensory and foundations the value of being awakened by songs, designers, artists, food, and people to find inspiration and write from a place of beauty. Yes, I am communicating my heart, but my main goal is to leave a legacy where others will see beauty in their everyday. Success is not equivalent to my number of followers, but the individual conversations where one’s own inspiration is sparked. In the same way, what often inspires can simultaneously intimidate. When this happens, fear has rooted. I must be willing to look deeper and ask, “Why am I intimidated?” This helps me grow, checks my motives, and pushes me to continue living from my experiences. Legacy-makers are leaders who press on in the refinement journey, even when they are afraid or stand alone. They are willing to display their heartbeats however the world best hears it.
Photos by Karen Marie Hernandez