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  • Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity // with Laura Packer

Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity // with Laura Packer

  • 14 September 2016
  • 25 October 2016
  • Online


  • $35 per week
  • $40 per week

Registration is closed

Being a creative person in contemporary America is hard. The story many of us are told since childhood would have us believe that being an artist, writer or other creative person is contradictory to financial stability; that living a creative life means we have to give up creature comforts; and that we must work in isolation, achieving success only upon our deaths. This isn’t true. There are many joyful, sustainable and meaningful ways that we can craft our work and our lives. We can choose our path.

We can choose the life of an impoverished, isolated creator, or we can choose a path of meaningful work, creativity, collaboration, support and fiscal possibility. Using creative tools, writing exercises, brainstorming and dreaming aloud, this class will help you think about your work in practical terms, will help you develop the language to talk with non-artists about what you do and why they should care, will help you build or expand your support network, will help you plan for sustainable self-care and will help you develop the resources to succeed.

Read an interview with Laura here about this class, and check out this great post by Laura about being making a living through the arts.

Week by Week

Week One will begin with an overview of of what it means to approach art like a business and business like art. We will start to set achievable goals, mind-map out the next three years and use writing, drawing and/or collage to identify the things that are driving us.

Week Two will break our goals down into achievable steps and identify resources that can help us get there.We will begin to examine the importance of brand and how it applies to far more than marketing materials. We will begin to write our own heroic journey as artists.

Week Three will look at the ethics of living an artistic life and approaching it in an achievable way. We will discuss generosity/scarcity mindsets, intellectual property, how much to charge and what giving it away means, and collaborate new ways to help one another. Our creative prompt will take us out of doors and into our communities.

Week Four will delve more deeply into our heroic journey. We will identify roadblocks and discuss how to overcome them, identify helpers and diversions. We will also identify marketing tools that help and those that distract, discussing where best to apply our energy. We will identify our ideal audience and develop ways to reach them. We will continue to look at personal and professional brand as another step in the artistic journey.

Week Five will look at the value and danger of the internet in artistic life as well as how we are seen by the world at large through our work, our brand and less controllable aspects of our public image. We will examine our own websites and the sites of other artists and will identify strengths and weaknesses. We will also discuss artistic self-care and develop a toolkit to help us remain whole on our journey. Our creative prompts will include obituaries and letters to our own selves.

Week Six will integrate our heroic journey, our ethical choices, our marketing plans and tools. We will re-examine our goals and mind-maps, identifying changes and where we want to focus our energy. And we will make commitments for the coming year’s work.


This is an online class. Each week will include various texts to help us explore the art of business and the business of art. Each week will also include discussions of the readings and our personal experiences, as well as creative prompts. Students should plan to spend 3-­4 hours per week on the class. The class will be formatted in a way that is flexible for your schedule and life.

Who Should Take This Class

This class is appropriate for those pursuing a meaningful livelihood through writing, coaching, facilitating, storytelling, consulting and other transformative language arts as well as anyone interested in how they might make the leap. Anyone who is interested in exploring the connection between art and business, meaningful work, and those who want to move their creative work towards a more public presence will develop essential tools and practices.

About the Teacher

Laura Packer is a performing storyteller, writer, coach and communications consultant with for- and non-profit businesses. She has been a self-supporting practitioner for almost a decade. She has told stories for adults and families in venues as varied as festivals, universities, hospices, retreats, on the streets, fringe festivals and more. Her writing has been published in a variety of print and online publications and she was a featured speaker at the 2012 Ciudad de las Ideas festival in Puebla, Mexico. Laura has worked with organizations ranging from NASA to 4-person non-profits. She helps organizations and the people involved understand the strengths and weaknesses of stories they tell internally and externally; develop appropriate brand stories; works with employees to create a more empowering workplace and helps craft a variety of media to tell those stories to wide audiences. Laura also coaches storytellers, writers, executives, , teenagers, marketers and others in their own stories and for public speaking. She loves applying artistic and creative tools to the practical and prosaic, and thinks solving problems in new ways can actually be a lot of fun.

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