Growing Gills Swipe File! - Jessica Abel
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Answer these 10 quick questions to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able to take control of your creative work.

Growing Gills Swipe File!

This is a collection of possibly-useful bits of information and images that you can use in your own social media posts, blog posts, or casual conversations!

Mostly, we’ll be using this document the week of the book release and afterwards.


BASIC STATS

Title/subtitle

Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life

Release date

May 10, 2017

Social media handles/links

Twitter: @jccabel

Instagram: @visiblewoman  [who is that dude who has my jccabel handle???]

Pinterest: @jccabel  https://www.pinterest.com/jccabel/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jccabel

Linkedin: @jccabel  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jccabel/

Medium: @jccabel

Key links

Amazon page: http://bit.ly/growinggills

Sales page: https://jessicaabel.com/ja/growing-gills/

The Creative Focus Workshop: http://creativefocusworkshop.com/

Main hashtags

#GrowingGills

#creativefocus

#onegoal

Extra/fun hashtags

#Poweredexoskeleton

#Creativefocusunicorn

#Castoffthedeskchains

#shouldmonster

#stuffaudit

#stopdrowning

Short social messages to use directly or rewrite in your style

Get your creative work off the drawing board and into the world with #GrowingGills http://bit.ly/growinggills @jccabel

Real life+conscious decision-making=your creative work getting done. How? #GrowingGills  http://bit.ly/growinggills

Want to dive deep into your creative work? Read #GrowingGills .  http://bit.ly/growinggills

Drowning in your daily life? #GrowingGills gives you tools to focus on your creative work. http://bit.ly/growinggills @jccabel

Get your creative work off the drawing board and into the world with #GrowingGills http://bit.ly/growinggills @jccabel

Loving #GrowingGills ! In control of my creative life, and making my work! http://bit.ly/growinggills @jccabel

Focus. Finish. Move on to the next project. Check out new book #GrowingGills http://bit.ly/growinggills  @jccabel

Longer (for Facebook, etc.)

I’m reading #GrowingGills (about how to fit creative work into your real life) and it’s working! I’ve gotten more done in the last WEEK than in the previous month. http://bit.ly/growgills

…Or you could write something about what you’re working about, an A-ha moment you had while reading or doing an activity, or how your working methods have changed as a result of reading the book.

…or post a picture of yourself with a project you’re working on, or the book cover on your eReader (or the print book, if  you get one!)

Images in various social media formats

Make your own social media posts using these images!

Instagram

Facebook

Cover of Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You're Drowning in Your Daily Life by Jessica Abel

Twitter

Cover of Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You're Drowning in Your Daily Life by Jessica Abel

Pinterest

Cover of Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You're Drowning in Your Daily Life by Jessica Abel


What’s this book about?

Short version:

Growing Gills is a powerful, actionable book that will take you from overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck, to consistent, clear, and in control of your creative life.

Longer version:

Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life is a powerful, actionable book that will take you from overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck, to consistent, clear, and in control of your creative life.

Growing Gills takes you step by step through the process of pinning down exactly what’s stopping you from finishing your beautiful, inventive, and potentially game-changing projects.

Using the power of conscious decision, you’ll build your own unique system for fitting creative work into your existing life, taking into consideration how you work best.

Like a custom-designed, powered exoskeleton, your personal system will bolster and support your creative practice day in and day out, so that you can grow up and grow old while continuing to make your creative work…without chucking out all the other connections to your family and the world that make your life rich and worth living.


Quotes from the book

One goal

Telling yourself that you’ll just do a bit on this thing and a bit on that, that you’ll fit it in, is a recipe for ending up with very little finished, at least not for a long, long time. And you’re likely to lose steam completely on some projects. When you don’t finish a project, you end up feeling like you’re not working hard enough, so you hate yourself a little bit, or maybe a lot. You blame yourself, and you say, “I just need to work a little harder.” But there is no point at which you find enough time to do all the projects, all at once, so the well of self-blame that goes with this reality has no bottom.

*******

Creative practice

In my own creative life I’ve found no truer words than when Chuck Close says, “every great idea I ever had grew out of the work itself.” The words you write or the marks you make today soak into your unconscious, your mind plays with them while you’re not paying attention, and when you come back tomorrow, you’ve made new connections. If you don’t come back tomorrow, those connections start to fade. Not to say that every day produces genius, but the process is more than additive, it’s compound. The richness of your relationship with the work grows exponentially as you return to it day after day.

*******

The breathtaking act of ego that is making creative work

The decision to carve out time and attention to make your work is a breathtaking act of ego. You’re saying, “I don’t care what everyone else thinks I should be doing with my time. I know this is what I need to do.”

If you’ve been trying to create new work of any kind, even if you feel like you’re failing at it, you have made that decision, somewhere, somehow. But then you also have to live with it every day, as it bumps up against other feelings—that other things are “more important”; that other people need you to do things that take up all your time; that you’re too stupid or untalented to make the thing, and anyway, who gives a shit if you do or not, so why even bother?

So that’s what we’re up against. Let’s be clear on the stakes: This is an existential battle. Existential, meaning: Winning the battle is pivotal to your existence.

*******

Procrastination

The secret to getting past your resistance is not about getting tough and forcing yourself through. The secret lies in divining root causes, taking them apart, and building support systems to buttress you against the specific issues you face.

This is what not-procrastinating looks like:

  • Believing at your core that it’s your right and responsibility to yourself to make your creative work.
  • Knowing that you have control over your choices and behavior.
  • Having an honest understanding of what you actually need to do in your life, and knowing that you’ll need to make accommodations in order to make time for creative work.
  • Truly knowing what your highest priorities are.
  • Feeling confident in saying no to projects and requests that don’t fit your priorities.
  • Making it easy for yourself to get started because you’ve set your life up around doing the work you love.
  • Knowing the next step when creating your work.
  • Forgiving yourself quickly and honestly when you get off track.

Yes, you can achieve all those things. Maybe not all at once and maybe not all the time. No one’s perfect. Still, you can implement changes today that will make a difference, and when you start to make these changes, they build upon one another and self-reinforce.

Procrastinating does not mean you’re broken. It means you’re trying to force something through willpower alone that takes a plan and structure to achieve.

*******

Dilemmas

The reason you’re not making your creative work isn’t because you have no time—and I’m not saying you’re not busy—it’s because you’re like me. I was living in a fantasy world in which I imagined one day I’d wake up and have a room of my own, or a month off from work, or an amazing new laptop, and those external things would miraculously give me a personality transplant, and then I would just painlessly make the work.

The ironic result of consciously deciding not to work on some things until later is that Rebeka finishes vastly more creative work than she did when she started this process. Saying no to her projects—for now—and thus avoiding the “guilt tax” of misery and self-blame while focusing more fully on the project at hand actually means that everything, every single project, happens faster than it would otherwise.

*******

Self-forgiveness is a productivity tool

The end of procrastination is not about trying to do everything. It’s about not doing all the things. It’s deciding between what to do and what not to. It’s taking control over when you do what you decide to do. You can’t make those decisions when your brain is screaming at you. All you can do is run and hide (i.e., procrastinate more).

Weirdly, interestingly, self-compassion—forgiving yourself when you screw up, as opposed to trying to punish yourself for being “bad”—is the most powerful  productivity tool I’ve ever discovered. It’s like we’re all abused dogs, and we act out aggressively until shown kindness.


Book description and back cover copy

Amazon description copy

Go from overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck, to consistent, clear, and in control of your creative life.

If you feel like you’re floundering in the deep end (Not waving, drowning!), and anxiety over the complexity and enormousness of your creative projects overwhelms you, stop scrambling to fit everything in and feeling stretched thin.

Dive deep and swim

>>Sustain the energy you feel when thinking of how awesome your projects could be.

>>Value your own creative work as highly as work you do for other people.

>>Build a reusable structure and process that will consistently get you to the finish line.

>>Blast through your stuck-ness.

>>Focus. Finish. Move on to the next project.

You’re a creative person. Even if you have a hard time calling yourself a “writer” or an “artist” in public, making your creative work is core to who you are and how you see the world. You may be harboring a big, ambitious idea for a project. Possibly a lot of them.

And it’s killing you.

You lie awake thinking about it…and hating yourself for not doing more to make it real. And then in the morning you’re exhausted, and you can’t believe you “wasted” more time on this stupid idea. Who ever told you you were creative anyway? You try to shove your idea away, to forget it. But your creative work is what keeps you sane. You can’t not do this. So you live with guilt and anxiety all the time.

You’ve tried, oh how you’ve tried, to carve out the time and attention you need to devote to your creative work. You’ve made ambitious goals, you’ve written lists, you’ve scheduled calendars…you’ve installed shackles on your desk chair. But chaining yourself to your work only seems to make you more distractible and more miserable. (And those unsightly leg sores!)

Maybe you’ve even tried to borrow time-management tips from the business world. Get things done! Build seven habits! Eat that frog! But following business-minded productivity systems just doesn’t work for you. The issue isn’t simply getting “things” done, it’s allowing yourself to devote precious time and attention to the vital, self-generated creative work that builds toward your vision for the future.

The problem is, the life you’re living is already full. You’ve made a lot of promises, to yourself, your family, your friends, and your community, that you’ll be there for them. You probably have a job; you may have kids. You may well have many competing ideas for your creative work. Where, exactly, can you find that mythical Creative Focus Unicorn?

In Growing Gills, you’ll discover that the power is already within you to make your work.

The biggest obstacles to your getting your important creative work done lie in the unknowns you’re facing.

Growing Gills takes you step by step through the process of pinning down exactly what’s stopping you from finishing your beautiful, inventive, and potentially game-changing projects.

Using the power of conscious decision, you’ll build your own unique system for fitting creative work into your existing life, taking into consideration how you work best.

Like a custom-designed, powered exoskeleton, your personal system will bolster and support your creative practice day in and day out, so that you can grow up and grow old while continuing to make your creative work…without chucking out all the other connections to your family and the world that make your life rich and worth living.

GROWING GILLS: Breathe in the deep end.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

Part 1: SO, WHAT’S STOPPING YOU?

Chapter 1: Facing Your Dilemmas (How to uncover the specific obstacles that stand in the way of your achieving your creative goals.)

Chapter 2: Drowning in Idea Debt (How and why we hold on to too many creative ideas and plans, and how that can stop you from finishing any of them.)

Chapter 3: Open Loops (Identifying and gaining control over the many commitments you’ve made to yourself and others.)

Chapter 4: Self-Forgiveness As a Productivity Tool (Embracing self-compassion instead of self-blame.)

Chapter 5: Authenticity is What You Actually Do Every Day (Acknowledging and gaining strength from what it is that you truly care about)

Part 2: BUILD YOUR CUSTOM-POWERED EXOSKELETON

Chapter 6: Prioritize: One Goal To Rule Them All (How to grapple with your many creative ideas and priorities.)

Chapter 7: Saying No (Coming to terms with the necessity of knowing what your highest priorities are—across all areas of your life—and aligning what you actually choose to do with those priorities.)

Chapter 8: Saying YES (Choosing your highest creative priority, and saying yes to finishing.)

Chapter 9: The Black Box (Breaking down giant, scary projects into small, achievable steps.)

Chapter 10: Your Ideal Week, Next Week (Creating a responsive and effective schedule based around your real daily life and needs.)

Part 3: ALIGNING YOUR TODAY WITH YOUR TOMORROW

Chapter 11: There Is No Finish Line (How to look at your creative practice as a part of your overall life rhythms in a sustainable way over the long term.)

Chapter 12: The Big Creative Rhythms: Being a Parent, Being a Partner, Being a Child

Chapter 13: The Value of Routine (Embracing creative routines as the source of inspiration and joy in the work)

Chapter 14: The Key is the Trust (Creating a robust review process that will keep your creative work on track long term.)

Chapter 15: Planning Backward (Developing a working plan for a creative project with a deadline.)

Chapter 16: The Long View (Finding the long-term vision for your creative life.)

PART 4: FALLING DOWN AND GETTING UP

Chapter 17: The Dark Forest (Why and how we go through creative crisis in the midst of big projects, and some ways to get out of it.)

Chapter 18: The Resistance (Facing and overcoming your own resistance to making your work.)

Chapter 19: Restart (Getting back on track when you’ve gotten derailed.)

CONCLUSION

Answer these 10 quick questions
to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able
to take control of your creative work.