Indie Author Weekly

178: On being a beginner vs intermediate at your practice (and why being a beginner can be a lot easier!)

February 27, 2024 Sagan Morrow Episode 179
Indie Author Weekly
178: On being a beginner vs intermediate at your practice (and why being a beginner can be a lot easier!)
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we explore the dynamic of being a beginner vs being intermediate at your practice... and why being a beginner can, in some ways, be a lot easier! Tune in now to find out about the pressure I put on myself in my 2nd solo burlesque dance performance, what I took from that experience compared to my 1st solo burlesque act, how this connects back to my work as a fiction author, and the top 3 takeaways for how you can apply this to your own creative practice or craft (including important questions to ask yourself in order to relieve fear and/or pressure from yourself).

Resources & links mentioned in this episode: 

Let’s chat about this episode:

Support the show

Hello and welcome to the indie author weekly podcast where I take you on the behind the scenes journey of my adventures as an indie author. I'm your host Sagan Morrow, and I'm an eighth time polyamorous romcom. Author plus I've also written several business books for solopreneurs. When I'm not writing books, I work as a personal fulfillment and solopreneur Success Coach specializing and anti hustle productivity and helping people build better relationships with themselves and or their businesses. Let's dive into this episode. Today I want to talk about the dynamic of being a beginner versus being an intermediate agile practice, and why being a beginner can in some ways, be a lot easier. So back in December, I did my first ever solo burlesque performance. If you are new to the podcast, then surprise one of my hobbies is that I'm also a burlesque dancer. And if you're curious to know more about that, you can totally follow me on Instagram. My handle is at baby Maverick. So this past December after about, I don't know I think it's been about five years that I've been dancing burlesque, and I started doing a solo development class last fall. And so then this past December, I did my first ever solo burlesque performance. As a result of this, all of the work that had gone into leading up to it, I knew that there could be the potential for having a lot of pressure on myself, when we are learning something new and performing it on stage or simply putting it out there for the world to see whatever that might look like. If you are publishing a book, even if you're just posting just in quotation marks, posting on social media. All of these different things can feel daunting or scary or nerve racking, or just have a lot of pressure on them, especially if you are a high achiever or a perfectionist or anything like that. So with all of that in mind I really went into my first solo burlesque performance with a goal that was very simple and in my mind, very beautiful. My goal was to a have fun and to be entertain the audience. That was basically it with the sub goal being don't fall off a stage basically, you know, ideally, there wouldn't be a wardrobe malfunction but really, I just wanted to make sure that I did not take a tumble off the stage. That's pretty much always going to be one of my underlying goals every time that I am dancing. So that was that was basically the concept. I wanted to have fun, and I wanted to entertain the audience. And so after I did my performance back in December, I went backstage and the other dancers who were back there, they asked me, how did it go? And I told them, I feel great. I felt so good because I had accomplished my goal. I got a lot of laughs from the audience. My whole dance was doing the entire movie of diehard as the burlesque act. So it had a lot of physical comedy. And I felt, you know, felt really good about it. I had a really great time. I had a lot of fun on stage sharing the movie of diehard through dance. It was really great. And I went into it without pressure without expectation. Just really focusing on being proud of myself for doing act for getting up on stage and doing my first solo dance. And I also knew, because I had been part of the solo development class, I knew that my teacher and my peers had approved the dance beforehand. They had seen me they had helped me work workshop through it. So I knew that I wasn't going to make a complete fool of myself on stage. And when I got off the stage, I knew that I had not fallen off the stage. I had not had any wardrobe malfunctions. I was just having fun and the audience was clearly entertained. So it was a huge success, success, and I felt great about it. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I did my second solo burlesque performance. This time, I went into the dance with this whole mindset of I've already done this once. So now this time I should be better. I should be a good dancer. People should see me on stage and be thinking to themselves, wow, she's awesome. Whereas that first time I went into it, and in my introduction, the emcee mentioned that this was my debut performance, so the audience knew to be gentle with me. It was my first time doing a solo dance. But this time, I was like, You know what, I've already done this once before. Now I should be really good. And as a result, after my performance when I went backstage and the other dance dancers asked Sagan, how did it go? I just kind of shrugged. And I said, Well, it could have been better. And it was such a stark contrast to my previous dance where I left the stage with such a high. In this case, I was really focused on Oh, my face didn't do what I wanted it to do. And I missed this, this little flourish that I wanted to do and I didn't feel like I really made this part of it. Part of the choreography really land all of those different types of things. Were really coming up for me. One of my fellow dancers, one of my friends asked me, Okay, say again, what went well? And this was a really great question. And I answered her and I said, Well, I didn't fall off the stage. She was like, hey, that's what when. And it's true. But there were actually a lot of other things that went well, when I really started thinking about it when I really gave myself grace and started thinking back to the performance. And here's another thing that happened. A really interesting thing that happened is I went out into the audience afterward and I was still kind of feeling like, Ah, I don't really know if that was any good. And people were coming up to me, and telling me how much they enjoyed it and how good it was. And someone said that they they thought that I had so much grace, which I think is the first time anyone has ever referred to me as graceful. I think I stared at them for like a full 20 seconds just in confusion. Like, are you talking to the right person? Did you mean to talk to someone else? And so it was really lovely to get that kind of feedback from people. And this performance by the way, was it an homage to Top Gun that's where the stage name vape Maverick comes from? And I have someone in the audience who actually came up to me afterwards and they said, I have never seen Top Gun before. I've always thought that it was a ridiculous movie. I had no interest in seeing it. But now you made me want to watch it, which is a huge huge success. And so I know that I entertained the audience. And I did actually have fun on stage. But
I wasn't going into the dance with those two questions into
mind. Did I entertain the audience? Did I have fun? The answer to both of those questions was a resounding yes. But I didn't go into the dance with those things in mind. Instead, I was so focused on I want this dance to be better, that I didn't have that same feeling of fulfillment the moment that I walked off the stage. Instead, I was so focused on I want this dance to be better. And the thing is, I suspect it was better than my previous performance. I haven't seen the video yet but I feel like it probably was better. And is so fascinating to me, that I was that focused on wanting the dance to be good. And wanting to be this next level elevated version of myself as a dancer that I lost sight of what's really important what really matters, which is about having fun and entertaining the audience. Now a few episodes ago, I think was episode 171 that I actually mentioned that My Word of the Year for 2024 is elevate but it doesn't need to be about elevating the dancing experience in this particular example, it can be about elevating our relationship with our creative processes. And as I mentioned in that previous episode back in episode 171 That is the entire concept that I am bringing the Word of the Year of elevate to my creative writing work to writing books. I'm really elevating my relationship with my writing. And so this kind of brings it back and helps me to realize Oh, when I am thinking about my skills as a dancer and elevating myself as a dancer, maybe I also need to be focused on that relationship and giving myself grace and really focusing on how can I elevate the entertainment of the audience? How can I elevate my joy and my fun on stage rather than, Oh, I need to elevate my skills and I need to be really, really good on stage. Because what does really really good even mean, right? How can we even quantify that type of thing? So all of this brings us back to the difference of being brand new at something being a beginner of something versus having some degree, any degree of experience. Because again, there's not that big of a difference for me as a solo dancer between my first solo and my second solo. Why was I putting all this pressure on myself? It's only my second dance of doing it solo. When you are brand new at something and a complete beginner, there is so much joy in that because even though it might feel scary even though it might be outside of your comfort zone, you can simply be proud of yourself for doing it. That is the real accomplishment when you are brand new at something when you are a total beginner. And this is something that I have certainly struggled with over the years as I am writing books, because the first book was really about getting it out there and being very proud of myself for that. But as I have written more and more books, there's this added pressure that I have put on it. This pressure on myself that I constantly need to be addressing need to be mindful of and need to mitigate. Because I want every book to be better than the previous one. But what if we always just bring it back to am I having fun doing this? And is this entertaining people? What if those are always the goals? You can still have the underlying hopes that it will be better than the previous one. Right? You can still have those types of hopes but those aren't the primary focus. The true goal is about enjoyment, personal enjoyment and public enjoyment right the enjoyment of other people internal enjoyment and external enjoyment. So that everyone is just having a really good time. That's that's what it's really about. So here's what I want you to walk away with from this episode. Number one, if you are a beginner at your craft, whatever your craft might be, whether it is a hobby, whether it's business, whether it's regardless of what it is anything at all. If you are a beginner, embrace that you have a lack of pressure. Really focus on just doing the thing. Your only thing that you need to focus on the only thing that you need to think about is your accomplishment of doing it. The act of doing it. There is no perfecting of the theme. It is simply about the joy of doing the thing. There is a wonderful benefit to being a beginner because all you need to do is the thing itself. It doesn't matter how good it is. It doesn't matter any of that type of thing. It just matters that you are doing it the act of being and doing. So that's the first thing number two, if you happen to have some degree of experience, then reconnect with the joy of beginner tennis, anytime that you start putting too much pressure on yourself. So bring it back to the fun of it and the delight and entertaining the audience, for example. And I also want to note here that, you know, your goal might not always necessarily be something like entertainment. Your goal might be something like education, right if that is the if you are for example writing a nonfiction book and you want to educate people on a topic then maybe that is the area that you are focusing on. Maybe that is your goal. Your goal is not to entertain people but it is to educate them. So you can absolutely change the the concept here but we're focusing on entertainment for our purposes today. So that is the second one. And then number three, regardless of your experience or lack thereof, bring things into into perspective. For example, if you are scared, then what is there really to be afraid of? What about that thing? Doing that thing is so scary. Why Does that scare you? Or if you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself, what is your rationale behind doing so? What would happen if you released some of that pressure or redirected it so that you can have more fun? What can you do to lessen the fear and the pressure that you are putting on yourself? And is it possible that that might actually help you to improve your craft? You can strive for excellence and joy simultaneously. What is the point in excellence or perfection if you're not having a good time along the way? And what if true excellence is found in the joy of the creative process itself? How does that change your approach to your practice? All right, there you have it. Those are a few thoughts for you on being a beginner versus an intermediate agile craft and not letting the fears or the pressure bring you down. Reach out via Twitter or Instagram to let me know your thoughts on all of this. My handle is at Sagan lives. That my friend is a wrap for today's episode. Access the shownotes at Sagan morrow.com/podcast. And please take two minutes to rate and review indie author weekly on Apple podcasts. By the way I do take requests submit your questions and podcast topic ideas at Sagan morrow.com/question so I can keep them in mind for future episodes here on the indie author weekly podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. And I will see you next time for another episode of indie author weekly