RBBiz Day 6: Sara Avant Stover

Creative Business

I’ve noticed that sometimes what I take away from the daily Summit interviews is less about the notes I take and sometimes way more of a tangential rabbit trail that leads to the barest related thread of an ‘aha!’ moment. Like today, as Sara Avant Stover talked about cycles and seasons, I wandered my way down to the realization that I’m good for a max of 5 years on any one big project before I really, desperately need something else to focus on. The most recent example being What to Feed Your Raiding Party.

I started work on the book in 2010, released it June, 2012, and have spent the last 3 years focusing most of my side-hustle time slots promoting the cookbook. Every time I try to work on something new, something for the cookbook comes up: another convention, an online order, or just the nagging reminder that I haven’t finished the blasted substitutions supplement that I’ve been fiddling with for the last couple of years.

Not that I mind the work that the book requires to promote–not at all! When I’m at conventions I’m having the time of my life, and not because I’m out partying or anything, because I have the chance to talk to people about the book. I enjoy being a salesperson when it’s something I’m so deeply committed to (something I never thought I’d say!).

But I made a kinda big choice at the end of last year not to schedule any conventions until the next book was done. Now that The Crafty Branch is in the mix, it’s likely I won’t be back on the convention circuit for a while, and I’ve started thinking up other ways to promote the book. But today, as Sara spoke about cycles and recognizing when it’s time to walk away, I realized I need to free myself up to be able to walk away from the Raiding Party world as my main focus and do so without feeling guilty.

That last part being the hard one, of course.

While one of last week’s sessions included the gem “completion is overrated,” I’ve made promises to people about the supplement and what’s next. So to make sure I’m not letting them or myself down, I’ll finish the supplement (need to set a date on this, haven’t yet, but soon!), reformat the original book to include the supplemental info to make a good eBook version of it, put that out there, and feel free to focus elsewhere.

I still want to write more cookbooks–there’s a deep well to draw from, there–but it doesn’t have to be now. I need a change of pace or I’ll start to resent it. And that would be worse for all considered.

Does that mean that The Crafty Branch will only hold my attention for 5 years? Not necessarily. When I stopped writing for eHow, I started writing my book. I also started blogging more. I didn’t stop writing, I just changed focus. And I kept doing other things, too, they just weren’t the Main Thing. The Crafty Branch will be a focus-shift, but in five years I would certainly hope that it’d be well enough established and with a competent staff on board that I could trust to handle the day to day so I can pursue whatever’s next.


Each interview usually starts with the speaker offering either a Left Brain Chill Pill or a Right Brain Booster. Sara offered the former, with her practice of checking in with her inner child each day, nurturing that part of herself on a regular basis, and thereby feeding her muse. She also urged us to really personify our inner child, so I (of course) drew mine in my notes:


I can also report progress on the business plan for The Crafty Branch. Over the weekend I finished my big vision collage as well as puzzled through the potential market size numbers (after spendign quite some time flipping between census.gov records). Still a ways to go, but the potential market numbers were a big hurdle to clear!