Progress, Not Perfection by Suzie Banks Baum

Uncategorized Jan 23, 2018

The progression of my work as a writer and artist is very much like the progression of my work as a mother. It is continual, ever changing, and hard to measure success. If I have learned anything from mothering, it is that success does not come with trophies and ribbon cutting ceremonies, but with moments of peace, of resolution, and of time passing. 

Detail of Sleeping Lady canvas SBB Crispina.jpg

What does progress mean for me today?

If I am to progress as a woman, I want to be more of what makes me a woman today, more supple and attentive, more responsive and spirit fueled, more emotionally intelligent and adventurous.

If I am to progress as a writer, I have to put my ass in my chair on a daily basis. I do this. I resist distractions or sometimes, fall in to their arms, but hop back out again, because nothing like work happens on social media. I am a writer who practices daily, who studies with mentors in person and through books, I read and I listen, and I spend hours alone in solitude. And above all else, I write.

To progress as an artist also requires me to show up. Even if it is only to doodle, my thread, ink, watercolor, yarn go a long way towards the days when I have hours at my studio table.

If I am to progress as a teacher, then I cultivate fluency with the things that I teach, like marks on paper, like words, like creative practice. I have mentors here too. Yearly, I study to become a better teacher.

If I am to progress as a ruminant, I light a candle daily, wherever I am in the world, and meditate. I pray so that I can listen more carefully.

If I am to progress as a human, being connected to other humans is key. I cultivate openness and attention in conversation and other modes of communication. I stand up for what I believe is right. I do not back down. There are many ways that I could do more, put up a bigger fight, write my #MeToo story, and stop using plastic all together. I am not sure exactly what I can do about starving polar bears from here.

If I am to progress as a business person, it is to stand for my value in every single action I take, which means working where I am paid for my time. I do not give away my services just because I am nice and do not like to make waves. As a professional, it is up to me to stand for my value. Motherhood accustoms us to working harder than we have ever worked before, for not one thin dime. The benefits of parenting are for a different blog post. After years of doing work for free, I now recognize that there must be an exchange to reflect value. In the world of blogging all of this content appears on your little screen for free. It is necessary to realize that the originators of this content have bills to pay and tanks to fill. So while I offer this writing freely, I also invite you to take a look at the work I do that generates income. I paint writing prompts, one-of-a-kind gems that inspire your writing, or conversation, or any creative endeavor that starts with a spark. I teach at this conference. I published this book. I teach a free program at the Ramsdell Public Library for which I am paid a stipend yearly. Learn more about that here.

It is part of my mission to make my work available to everyone. Blogging lets that happen. The library in my town supports that. I have readers in Norway, Germany, France, Armenia, and Australia. And I teach and sell artwork, which sustains the work I do that comes to you online.  My presence on social media expands the reach of my work, which allows more people to offer support for the work I do in Armenia with women who live in very difficult settings.

I stand in my value & use my gifts to help others discover and use theirs.

This, to me, is progress. What I used to give away freely, I now require an exchange of money or other support, so that I can give to others who have little.

This fills my tank and fuels the tanks of others.


Please follow me on Instagram here.

Or find me on Facebook here.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.