The Shine Your Light Series is a series of interviews with the creative women who are dreaming big, inspiring others, and making a difference.Today we will hear from the lovely artist and author, Christine Mason Miller. I’m honored to have her share her wisdom with us all.
Christine Mason Miller is a Santa Barbara-based writer, artist, and guide who has been inspiring others to create a meaningful life for more than twenty years. Follow her adventures at www.christinemasonmiller.com
Here is a wonderful quote that I love from Christine that really resonates deeply.
How do you find time to fill your creative well when you work on varied creative projects? Do you go on retreats?
I have different ways of re-fueling, which usually depend on how much time I have! If I only have a small window, it might be nothing more than watching a funny show or movie on Netflix. With a little more time – and energy – I’ll take a long walk, go on a bike ride, and, lately, go ice skating.
I am also inspired and energized by spending time with friends and family and I love to travel. Getting out of my comfort zone and seeing parts of the world that are wildly different from mine always fuels my spirit!
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts with our chocolate lab Tilda deciding it’s time for me to wake up, and promptly licking my face. After I’m up and about, I make a cafe au lait, have breakfast, take Tilda for a walk, and then dive into work. Lately that has involved planning and preparing for my retreats, working with my mentor clients, and putting the final touches on my latest book – a memoir about the spiritual journey I’ve taken with my family.
What are your top 5 tips for running a successful creative business.
1. Give plenty of attention to the details. This is what most people don’t do, and why I believe success is easy.
2. Set your sights on your goal(s), but be open and flexible in terms of how you reach them. The journey won’t be what you think it will, and that’s half the fun.
3. Don’t be afraid of rejection, and don’t take rejection personally. Every rejection I’ve received over the years – and there have been loads – wasn’t necessarily easy, but with the passage of time I’ve come to see them as badges of honor. These rejections are not symbols of my failures, but of my willingness to go for it.
4. Don’t assume that because you’re good friends with someone you’ll be great business partners or collaborators. They are two entirely different kinds of relationships, and have very different needs.
5. If you aren’t familiar with accounting and basic bookkeeping, hire a bookkeeper to go over the basics with you and set up your books. Don’t be intimidated by the financial side of things.
What is the greatest piece of advice you ever heard, and how have you applied that to your life?
On the topic of creating “balance” in life, a mentor once told me, “You never get there, so don’t bother!” This sounds harsh and negative, but it was a relief to hear this from a woman who was older than me and who I respected tremendously. She was saying it to let me off the hook; she was expressing her belief that the goal of trying to attain a state of permanent, perfect balance in life isn’t realistic. She encouraged me, instead, to do the best I could in the face of whatever life might throw my way.
You have licensing success with Demdaco, Trader Joe’s, and What would you say to someone who wants to license their greeting cards, or inspirational art?
You’ll have to show any potential licensee what they can do with your artwork. It helps to have a portfolio of designs, of course, but show them mock-ups of your designs on the products they create. Show them what you envision! This is what I sent to a former licensee. I created all of the mock-ups and then photographed them – so they were real mock-ups. 🙂 The company I sent this to had already licensed a bunch of my designs, but this was for an entirely new collection. The image I sent you was the cover of an eight-page booklet with more images, testimonials, and details about how to create and market the line.
I sent the booklet with a package that included some of the mock-ups. They were very interested, but did not end up picking up the line. But I’m glad I did it and still proud of the presentation!
Do you think art heals, writing mends hearts and souls, and being creative helps us make a difference in our world? How?
My entire career is based on this belief – that whenever someone takes a step toward their most meaningful life, they inspire those around them to take their own steps…and then those people inspire their circles, and so on and so on. The ripples flow outward farther than we ever realize.
We artists feel deeply, and live heart-and-soul-centered lives. How do you balance living a meaningful life with soulfully sharing your creative gifts?
I try not to separate things too much. The attention I give to my work can be the same kind of attention I give to folding laundry. All actions are part of the same flow, and I can create beauty in all of it. My home reflects my work reflects my friendships reflects the way I set a table for a dinner party. It is all interrelated and all gives me an opportunity to practice presence.
Be sure to check out Christine’s books:
She is also speaking July 6-8, 2016 at Brave Girl’s Club Symposium in Idaho! And you can find her teaching at Brave Girl University. Follow along at @swirlygirl on instagram.
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