This week in the Art and Fear Interviews I'm pleased to present Brandy Walker. I first met Brandy through her Be Class, a Lenten e-course. That class was the beginning of my writing journey this year where I learned that it's okay to make imperfect art and where you can still be a successful e-course participant even if you're weeks behind. I'm so grateful for all her encouragement this year.
What art do you make?
I'm a writer + a speaker + an intuitive coach.
With words, my main art is nonfiction, and specifically copywriting. I'm fascinated and terrified by the art of persuasive writing. I dabble in fiction and I used to do a lot of spoken word. I'm a poet at heart.
As a speaker, I call what I do "guerrilla performance art". I love captivating audiences. Being on stage is a thrill like no other. It's the thing I've done the least, vocationally, but also the thing that when I do it I feel most alive. I know it's part of what I'm meant to do in life. And I know resistance has me in its pointy claws, because I'm not currently doing it.
I just quit coaching officially. The only way to hire me now is through the Rebel Diaries Luxe package. I sort of stumbled onto the fact that I'm an extreme intuitive, and that can be such a powerful force in coaching. But I have to let go of myself and hand it all over to God before a coaching call. I'm not great at doing that all the time. But when I do, it's an art like no other.
What are you working on that you’re most excited about?
The Rebel Diaries. It's the only class I've ever taught where I get to share my writerly expertise. Plus, I get to work with one of my best friends and help women find their voices and own their stories. That's such an honor. Plus, because there are two of us teaching, it's half the work. Haha.
How have you been challenged by fear this year, and how have you responded?
Ha. How haven't I? Actually I just had a major epiphany last weekend that I'm highly motivated by fear. That most of what I do and what I don't do is fear-inspired. In The New Feminine Brain, Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz proposes that we have five basic emotions—anger, sadness, fear, love, and joy. We get into trouble when one of the negative emotions overpowers us. Reading that, I knew right away it was fear for me. I'm an anxious person. Which goes along with intuition: it's my genius and my weakness.
How have I responded? I like to take things head on. If I realize that I'm weak in an area, I try to work on it. So, this week I've been focusing on doing the things I would normally procrastinate on. And spending more time on them, working to make them truly remarkable.
Describe the season you’re in:
I'm 33. Married. I've two kids, ten years apart. My husband is in the Army and so we've got job security for at least 2.5 more years. My big dream is be able to support us financially by the time his contract is up.
So I guess I feel like I'm in a season of hustling. He's worked and sacrificed so much for us. This is my way of giving back. So that when it's time, he can pursue his dreams.
But I have to constantly remind myself that my kids are only going to be this age once. I have to make time to savor that. My son is three and my daughter just turned 13 (!) this week. That was painful! Heh. I spent the whole morning bawling, and in between sobs, trying to work on a project that was due. It was kind of a mess.
So parenting and hustling, and figuring out work/life balance with fear and trembling and grace.
How has God provided for you this year?
My husband was stationed in North Carolina in 2011, right after he enlisted. As a graphic designer, he didn't get to do much designing because the base was super militarized. On top of that, we didn't like the area. We had a BIG dream for him to get the full-time design gig at the Pentagon so we could move back to the DC metro area. We found out in April that he got it! We moved in May—and into our dream apartment. It was an amazing whirlwind.
Plus, I tripled my income from 2013 to 2014. That's not saying much, because I hardly made anything in 2013, heh. But at the same time, it's saying a lot! It's easy to downplay your own success, but I'm proud of myself. And thankful that God has hooked us up in these ways.
What are you thankful for in this season?
I'm most thankful for my family. There was a time when I was not too far away from an abusive relationship and struggling with all kinds of addictions. I'm in the most loving and thoughtful relationship with my husband. We have a roof over our heads and enough money to pay all our bills. That wasn't my reality for so so long.
I'm grateful that I get to work for myself and do what I love. Truly. It's a privilege. But the biggest win will always be that I'm safe and happy and loved.
What are you working on now even though you’re afraid?
Ah. Heh, I have this super secret project that I'm unveiling mid-2015. It's HUGE by my standards. I have to raise or make money just to be able to launch it. I've never had a business idea that required more than $100 start-up capital. That's scary! But I'm thrilled and excited about all the possibilities.
What are the lies you have to push away when you sit down to create?
That I don't have what it takes to make my writing really shine. That I don't have the time or energy or creativity to make it a true work of art—so I should just post it because I'm never going to be able to create the caliber of art that I aspire to.
I have the same problem as many perfectionists. But I've come up with a different solution. And if I'm not careful, I can put out a lot of crap. I have to pause. Walk away and come back to it again when I'm fresh. I have to practice patience. And I hate that.
Who is currently an influential artist for you?
For writing, I'm a huge fan of epic series: J.K Rowling. C.S. Lewis. Madeleine L'Engle. Actually that's pretty much the only fiction I read. Although I do dabble in historical fiction. Someday I want to write stories on that level. That's pretty freaking terrifying, which of course is why I haven't started yet.
Rob Bell is probably my biggest influence. His sermons were what inspired me to want to create hardcore artistic presentations as a speaker.
I'm also wildly inspired by Brené Brown, John Hunter, Jonathan Fields, Christine Northrup, and Jon Stewart.
Do you have any favorite scheduling tips that have worked for you?
Ha, I don't! I'm not a scheduler. I wish I was. But I do focus on meeting deadlines even if poor planning means I'm up all night. Showing up and getting the work done is important to me.
How do you hope for your art to encourage others?
Two main things. First, I want my nonfiction to be raw and relatable. I want others who've been there to know they're not alone. Second, I want my copywriting—especially when it's for other people (I write bios mainly, but I'm working on offering sales pages, too)—to offer people a chance to see themselves through my rose-colored glasses. I want to portray how truly inspiring THEY are.
As an intuitive and also probably as a speaker, I want to encourage epiphanies and real change. I want to inspire people to understand the depths of their potential.
Favorite snack while creating:
Coffee. All day long. Although, at some point, I usually do force myself to switch to decaf.
How do you recharge?
Dreaming. Sleeping. Watching good television. And occasionally watching bad television.
And trips by myself to bookstores or thrift shops.
What encouragement do you have for other artists?
Don't wait to start. You have everything you need right now.
And if you don't, you know what you need to do to get it. Trust your intuition. It's good.
What are you reading?
Describe your dream vacation:
I want to go to Europe so bad. London. Rome. Paris. And all the off-the-beaten track places I'd couldn't name right now. If it were a dream vacation, I'd have speaking gigs in all those places, too. And then in my off time, I'd steal away to monasteries or castles to write. And then in my off, off time, I'd eat local food and wander around the towns with my family.
Where can we find your work?
Elora Ramirez and I are putting the final touches on our third round of The Rebel Diaries, a writing course for women who want help finding their process, their genius, and share it with the world. Registration goes live later this month. You can sign up for the VIP list for all the info at http://therebeldiaries.com.
If you want to read more about my work and my process, I blog at http://brandyglows.com.