Nearly a year ago, I came back from Spark Retreat zinging with ideas. I was inspired by Dyana Valentine and Jessika here at Oh My! and, really, each of the women who I met and connected with. As I earn my living working with words, though, I was transfixed by Alexandra Franzen. She had found a way to play with words: to really have fun, while inviting all of us along with her.
Sometime in the summer, I had a whim. Why don’t I invite Alex to my hometown? We could run a workshop and people will come to see her. I immediately emailed Alex (surely, if I had thought about it too long, I would have completely over-thought it, and it would never have happened!), and in the span of twenty-four hours, we had dates, themes, and a schedule worked out. Complete with yoga!
This weekend, we meet.
In the meantime, I have booked fifteen lovely writerly yogis, arranged for facilities, catering, and transportation from the closest airport—two hours’ drive away! I registered people by hand. That is, we used email on first contact, and then registrants filled out a google form, which populated a google spreadsheet, which alerted me to the registrant’s choices. All that led me to send paypal invoices in the correct amount. Since opening registrations on October 25, I have had back-and-forth contact with twenty-five people; have refunded six registrations from people who, for various reasons, had registered and then had to drop out; and have found billeted accommodations for seven. Finally, nine women are coming from my home province of Alberta, two from neighbouring provinces, and four from the US.
Now that all of the registrations are in order, I have been looking closely at my budget, and after everyone else is paid, it still looks like I will be making a profit. Which is feeling a little strange. See, my whole intent behind the workshop was to have more instruction-time with Alex. To laugh together! And to bring people (new friends!) to my small town. Making money was the furthest thing from my mind when I followed that whim and emailed Alex in the summer.
Whim. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “whim” as “A capricious notion or fancy; a fantastic or freakish idea; an odd fancy.”
Yes: a “freakish idea.” We are not supposed to make money off of our freakish ideas. Right? So how do I reconcile this with who I am?
I try by going back to math.
Given the amount of emails and phone calls and face to face meetings (with Alex, the attendees-to-be, the caterer and facilities, yoga instructor, and billet homes), I could have made more money per hour selling fridges down the street. So what is it about earning money (even a little) from the things that delight us, from our odd fancies, that seems, somehow, wrong?
Even with the math, I’m working on that. And I am desperately looking forward to next weekend, and all of its writing and yoga and fun.
Do you struggle with making money from something you utterly love? How do you reconcile earning from something that feels nothing like work?