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CREATIVE WORK IS OUR 11-week SIGNATURE program that teaches you to build a productive AND
sustainable creative practice, share your work,
and connect with your people.

It’s the program we wanted ourselves, but couldn’t find.

And it’s starting again (for the fourth time!) on September 20th. We’re accepting applications until September 4th.

 

You’re a creative practitioner of any kind, such as a writer, artist, or musician. You already know or are studying your craft and you want to take it— and yourself— seriously.

But no matter how much you “just want to make art,” knowing and honing your craft isn’t enough.

There’s so much more you need to know and do to feel in control of your creative practice, generate and respond to opportunities, and build your audience and reputation.  
 

You need a vision and cohesive approach for your creative practice that fits with who you are, how you best work, and the reality of your life now (with or without a day job) and in the future.  

You not only need to be able to articulate what you do, but also why you do it (trust us, it makes all the difference). 

You have to continuously figure out how to get out of your own way (Hello Fear,  Anxiety,  Limiting  Beliefs, Creative Stab Wounds, Netflix + Jujubes) so you can make and finish work.  

You must try and survive in a world in which, according to statistics, most artists are living with at least 30% less than what they need. Despite this, you have to stay focused and be productive. 

Plus, to get your work into the world you’ve probably got to get past gatekeepers (publishers, curators, producers, agents, granting bodies, etc.). But even that isn’t enough nowadays—or it might not even be a model that works for you in the first place.  

So, you also need to know how to hang out your shingle in our 21st Century digital-dominated world and connect with your people in a way that doesn’t feel icky—that feels less like “self promotion” and more like sharing your work in a way that is an extension of your creative practice.  

In other words, you have to do things that you probably haven’t been trained for (even in BFA and MFA programs). 


Things that might make your noggin spin and kick up good ol’  Resistance. Not to mention challenge the notion of “artistic purity” caused by pervasive, yet harmful romantic stereotypes about artists toiling away in obscurity, being told not to “sell out.” 

But what if you could learn to do the things that are part of having a creative practicebut sit outside of craftand it transformed the way you work and gave you the tools to allow your creative practice to thrive for the rest of your life?
 

And what if it happened in a deep, nourishing way in a pleasing space around a big rustic table with a community of other folks who get it? What if it even felt like an incredibly useful, soul-satisfying treat too?

 

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from CREATIVE WORK, and what I ended up getting I could never have predicted. It felt like no stone had been left unturned in the development of the program, and during each class I was impressed with the intelligence and clarity with which the material was presented. The program was well thought-out, well presented, far-reaching, practical, interesting, and full of useful resources. I’m sure I’ll be referring back to the course content I came away with for the rest of my life.
— B.A. Lampman, visual artist

 

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

CREATIVE WORK is an intensely practical and highly-actionable 11-week program that happens over almost the entire course of a season (September 20th to December 4th). It's designed for emerging and established creative practitioners of all kinds to help reduce the barriers that get in the way of your success so that you can have a fruitful creative practice over the long term— and be seen.

Open to eight participants at a time (by application), and intended to be offered two or three times a year, this signature program consists of an opening reception (with drinks + appies), three beautifully-catered weekend intensives that have a retreat-like feel, eight evening follow-through sessions (with the option for out-of-towners to do them via phone), a one-on-one consult, and a wrap-up session and closing celebration (with bubbly + cake).

During each weekend intensive, through lessons, in-class exercises, and discussion, we’ll focus on different aspects of creative practice in an expansive and whole-life way. Throughout the fall, the monthly weekend intensives will build on one another, moving from the internal concerns of being an artist  (purpose, vision, mindset), to the more external, including what it takes to make and finish the work  (focus, systems, conditions), to sharing the work and

connecting with your people (brand, visibility, and sharing).

You will use a customized journal to keep track of your progress and goals (among other things) throughout the program and as a leaping off point during the Follow-through Sessions. (Note: Follow-through Sessions are also offered as a stand-alone program. We encourage you to read more about them here.)

Follow-through Sessions will help you stay accountable and inspired, as well as gain momentum. Time will also be allotted during each session to allow you to discuss a core issue in your creative practice or to bring something forward for discussion and your cohort will respond (i.e. “mastermind” style).

CREATIVE WORK is the program we ourselves wanted but couldn’t find. It might be your missing piece too and you probably won’t find anything like it anywhere else.


COMMITMENT

It’s important to make sure you know what you’re getting into. These are the commitments we ask participants to keep throughout the program:

  • Before each weekend intensive, do one to two hours of homework, as assigned.

  • Before each Follow-through Session, spend a minimum of 15 minutes filling out your journal in a thoughtful manner in order to be prepared. Please do not skip any questions or come to class with an empty journal.

  • Maintain what we call “The Three Good Habits”:

    • Make art for (a minimum of) 15 minutes a day (most days of the week);

    • Prioritize three small weekly tasks (“triorities”)—and, of course, aim to complete them;

    • Track and review your progress—both in your journal and via mandatory weekly check-ins in a private Facebook group ;

  • Attend the opening reception and each weekend intensive;

  • Attend each follow-through session, unless it’s absolutely necessary to miss one due to illness or another unavoidable engagement;

  • Book a catch-up call with GOOD if you do end up missing a follow-through session.


Creative Work is an inspiring re-dedication process for anyone with a creative practice who feels the need for a bit of a boost. Not only do I feel more motivated, but I feel more creatively confident as well. It was the kind of practical, creative investment that will continue to pay off for years to come.
— John Threlfall, writer

Like nothing else I’ve experienced, CREATIVE WORK made me think about what I do with my time and why I do it. It has rekindled my desire to write in a way I didn’t expect with a practical view as to when it really works in my life and when it doesn’t. I’m not sure I could have ever made these eye opening realizations, vital to my practice, on my own.
— Vanessa Herman, writer

 

OUTCOMES + BENEFITS

During this program, you’ll do and learn a whole bunch of things that you can keep on doing and maintaining long after the program ends, including:

September Weekend Intensive: Purpose, Vision, Mindset

  • Articulate your purpose—and understand how you achieve it so that it becomes the core thing that guides your creative practice and a filter for decision-making;

  • start figuring out how to describe your work and your value most effectively, which will make it easier to do things like write grant applications or proposals;

  • create a vision for yourself and your work over the next five years so you know where you want to go;

  • look for more alignment between your creative, personal, and professional lives;

  • learn about healthy mindsets that will help you in your creative practice;

  • learn how to identify problems so that you can reframe them and pull up your cognitive thinking socks.

October Weekend Intensive: Focus, Systems, Conditions

  • Learn how to “download” all the things floating around in your head into an Idea Inventory and strategic to-do lists;

  • review and assess your projects, setting up a “project pipeline”;

  • set S.M.A.R.T. goals and know what each project’s deliverables are, and what development and success markers will get you there;

  • break your next project down into phases and tasks—an adaptable model that you can use for all your future projects—so that your priorities are straight and you can make it to the finish line;

  • track your time so that you can learn how to better use it, including learning about time blocking;

  • begin to create routines (evening, morning, and for transitioning in and out of creative practice) that best support you and your practice;

  • consider what creative conditions work best for you;

  • identify what makes you stoppable so that you can come up with countermeasures for becoming unstoppable;

  • define what a healthy practice is for you on your own terms so that you can set yourself up for success.

November Weekend Intensive: Brand, Visibility, Sharing

  • Learn what branding means for you—what it is and isn’t—and why it’s important, as well as reframe any resistance you may have to it;

  • begin articulating a vision for your personal brand that is authentic to both you and your work;

  • start crafting your tagline and brand statement, plus your bio;

  • learn about the various elements of visual brand identity and start creating a brand inspiration board;

  • learn about website essentials, including copywriting tips for key webpages, and begin roughing yours out;

  • learn about “newsletters”, which offer a prime opportunity for you to share your work while also growing your email list, and brainstorm ideas for your own;

  • consider the idea of an opt-in freebie to entice folks to sign up for your newsletter;

  • start thinking about a strategy for using social media to share your work and connect with more people.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • An opening reception to meet your cohort and get your paws wet;

  • the structure of weekend intensives and follow-through sessions, which is meant to feel like boot camp that doesn’t boot you out too fast;

  • the support, accountability, and motivation that the Follow-through Sessions will provide;

  • the closing celebration because bubbly and cake (enough said);

  • being in the GOOD space, which folks say is a lovely, cozy, and very nurturing place to be;

  • being part of a community of like-hearted artists and making new connections;

  • a one-on-one consult in order to go deeper on anything related to the program and/or to receive feedback on work you’ve done during the program (i.e. your brand board or your new website); and

  • access to a private Facebook group in which you can not only connect and share resources, advice, and wins with your cohort, but will also keep you accountable throughout the program from week to week.

 

I found CREATIVE WORK a perfect fit for someone with no idea where to start and what to do. Both during and since taking the program, my creative practice is just that: a practice. A fleshed out program with directions for me to go in (happily), a review system to keep me on track, and an awareness of how to figure things out on my own. My interaction with my practice is so much healthier and more productive. It has improved 100% and I feel very good about it. My participation in Creative Work has changed my life positively in so many ways. I am very grateful for this program and to Jill.
— Janine Shea, visual artist

 

DETAILS

Here are some of the other details you need to know:

Schedule

  • Opening Reception | Friday, September 20| 6:30pm to 8:30pm

  • Weekend Intensive 1 | Saturday + Sunday, September 21 + 22 | 10am to 4:30pm

  • Weekend Intensive 2 | Saturday + Sunday, October 19 + 20 | 10am to 4:30pm

  • Weekend Intensive 3 | Saturday + Sunday, November 16 + 17 | 10am to 4:30pm

  • Follow-through Sessions * | Wednesdays, September 25, October 2, 9, 23 + 30, November 6, 20 + 27 | 7pm to 9pm

  • Wrap-Up + Closing Celebration | Wednesday, December 4 | 7pm to 9pm

  • Consults | various 60-minute time slots, between November 19 and December 4.


* Follow-through Sessions for out-of-town students can be scheduled as phone dates.

 

Homework

On average, expect to set aside three or more hours a week for your creative practice + homework.

Materials

You’ll receive a journal at the start of the program, as well as a workbook at each weekend intensive. Notepads, pens, and sticky notes will also be provided (though you may wish to bring your own). Laptops or tablets will be required for our third weekend intensive, but not before.

 

Catering

Catering is on us! We source fresh, natural ingredients that are delicious and nourishing, combining healthy with a touch of indulgence. We serve ethical, fair-trade Americanos and a range of teas. A healthy snack might be in the form of a Salted Caramel Energy Ball made with dates and almonds, and lunch might be a GOOD Bowl featuring quinoa, roasted beets, arugula, diced apple, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, feta, and apple balsamic vinaigrette. Baked goods range from cakes to cookies to loaves and bars. We can accommodate most special dietary needs (but only if you’re strict about them yourself), excluding serious allergies.

 

Out-of-towners

Turn your three weekend intensives into a full on experience. We’ve structured this program in a way that is friendly to out-of-towners who are willing to travel and stay in Victoria one weekend a month for three months (with Follow-through Sessions happening via phone). If this is you, we’d be happy to recommend our top places to stay, in and near historic Chinatown, which is just a hop, skip, and alley away. We’re also happy to recommend places to eat and things to do while you’re in town that won’t take away from the experience of the retreat.

 

CREATIVE WORK was boot camp for the soul, at once practical and philosophical, integrating my creative work with my life in a way that was balanced, nurturing and sustainable. I came away with a toolbox of new skills, and a refreshed outlook on my own work and its potential.
— Robert Wiersema, writer + books journalist

 

INVESTMENT

Spending money—especially on yourself—can be anxiety-inducing. If you’re going to spend money you need to know that you’re really, truly going to get solid value out of it. We get it and can assure you we take your investment very seriously. Once again, you’ll get:

  • an opening reception with beer + wine and appetizers;

  • three workbooks, a journal, and other course materials;

  • three beautifully-catered weekend retreats (39 hours total), including coffee/tea, sparkling juice, healthy snacks, nourishing lunches, and delicious baked goods;

  • eight follow-through sessions (16 hours total), including tea and baked goods;

  • a 60-minute one-on-one creative consult;

  • a two-hour wrap-up session and closing celebration with bubbly and cake; and

  • access to a private Facebook group, with facilitated weekly check-ins.


The total cost of the program is $1,200 + membership.

Deposit/Payment

Once you've been accepted in the program, a 50% deposit + your membership (if you're not already a member) is required within 48 hours to hold your spot. The remaining payment will be due by the time the program commences.

Alternately, if you are under-waged, you may make arrangements to pay in four installments. Email money transfers are preferred but PayPal payments via debit or credit are also accepted.

Financial Assistance

We want to help folks who truly are under-waged and don’t have as much privilege as others. If finances are a barrier for you, please still apply and indicate on your application form that you would need financial assistance. The amount of financial assistance available fluctuates (thanks in part to our Patron Members). Please note that we don’t ask you to prove your financial status or ask nosy questions, but we have set some criteria (by honour system). If you own real estate, are able to go on vacation, or have a household income that falls in the middle class range or higher, we’re afraid we do not consider you to be eligible for financial assistance.

Refund + Cancellation Policies

Students may receive a full refund up to 14 days in advance of the commencement of the program. No refund will be provided after that date, unless the program is cancelled. 

If, seven days in advance of the commencement of the program, the number of registered participants is six or fewer the program may be cancelled, in which case participants would be notified and refunded immediately.   

 

In a friendly, caring environment, CREATIVE WORK gave me the guidance, time, and space to reconnect with my novel project. Since taking the program, I have developed a more regular writing practice and now have tools in hand for those times when I want to do anything but sit and write. I have tactics to reframe negative thinking, new ways to prioritize projects and schedule creative time, as well as a blueprint for how to connect with my potential audience. The program also showed me how to celebrate creative victories, big and small—if only that always meant a piece of cake from GOOD.
— Athena McKenzie, writer + lifestyle journalist

 

APPLY

We’re now accepting applications!
 

Students will be accepted through an application process that will go like this: 

  1. Click the button below and you’ll be taken to an application form hosted by Typeform that will take 10-15 minutes to complete.

  2. You'll then be contacted for about a 15-minute phone interview to ensure that the program is a good fit for you.

  3. You'll be notified as to whether or not you've been accepted into the program by Friday, September 6th at latest.


The final application deadline will be Wednesday, September 4th at midnight. Again, there are eight spots available in total.

Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  Seriously, we know this is a big investment, so we’re super open to having conversations about whether or not this program is the right fit for you!

 

I went into CREATIVE WORK knowing I was a writer, but that knowing was laden with all sorts of personal expectations, old wounds, and misconceptions about what being a creative worker meant. As I worked through the program, I learned why I write, and in discovering the reason, was able to discard so much that was holding back my creative work. I approach my own work with joy and excitement now, and it’s easier to maintain a regular practice. In addition, I now have this set of tools to help me share my work with the world, and that instills a confidence in me for the future. I feel like my identity as a writer became more legitimate, and that gives me the confidence to keeping working.
— Tara Saracuse, writer

CREATIVE WORK was an inspiring space in which to deepen my commitment to living a creative life. I now understand my practice with a greater sense of purpose and direction.
— Danielle Janess. writer + actor