“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” William Shakespeare
The creative process is stressful, in my humble opinion, as anyone who has ever daily faced a blank page will tell you. Have you ever been paralyzed to do your art because the cost of replacement materials will be too dear to replace?
In another lifetime, I used to do decorative painting on walls, floors and celings in clients houses who could afford elegant carpets and expensive furniture. These treasures were exposed to my accidental faux pas instead of just my faux finishes. Luckily I never kicked over a paint bucket or sat on precious furniture with paint on my pants, but it was stressful just the same.
I have read that some stress is good and I tend to agree. If the urge of playing at my art table never occurs, art never happens. Thankfully, I feel stressed if I don't have something bubbling in the creative kitchen.
Maybe that's when we receive our just desserts!
I had fun doing this mixed media piece. I did it a long time ago and it still makes me happy. It may be when I first discovered how much fun it was to rip up paper and to remember how much fun it was to cut and paste in the real world instead of on the computer.
I sure hope you are having a good week and your stress turns out to be the good tasty kind.
Hello Creative Friends,
A lot has been written about the muse – that ethereal bearer of inspiration that floats mysteriously around whispering sweet somethings into ear of a likely candidate who is awake or sober enough to pay attention.
I have to say my relationship with my muse has become a little contentious of late.
Me: Hallo? Anybody there? I’m back to blogging and it’s time to write a post. I could use a little help here.
Muse: You’re kidding, right? I gave all the good ideas to the bloggers who actually sit down at their computers.
Me: Where do you think I am, Walmart?
Muse: Look, I’ve been dropping hints and you’ve been in La La Land. Is that anywhere near Walmart?
Me: You have no idea.
Muse: Well you won’t have any ideas either if you keep talking to me like that.
See what I mean.
What do you do when you and your muse are on the outs?
Close up of left side of journal page
Close up of right side
I was dragging my feet the other day to get started on a creative writing project. I had already worked my way through two boring jobs that I didn’t want to do as a way of blocking myself to the work I needed to do. (A technique I’ve used before that still doesn’t work for me.)
So instead of forcing myself to sit like a petulant little girl with her arms crossed in front of her computer as if I was being punished, I opened a document that I had already written and read it.
You know what; it was good! I enjoyed reading it. I was clearly amazed that I had written it. What it did for me was quite Blockhead’s yammering that, “Writing is hard,”
“You have nothing to say,” blah, blah, blah, and it energized me enough to move me out of self-banishment in the corner of, “I can’t do anything” to hey, “Look what I did!”
Acknowledging and noticing your past efforts is a good thing. It will lift you up when you are feeling low and not very creative.
There is nothing wrong with having a little party of appreciation for what you have done. Too many of us were taught not to brag or get too high and mighty or sing the praises of our own accomplishments. There is no danger of that here. You are your own audience. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and see if it doesn’t inspire to do more.
Select a piece of your work and spend some time with it. Refuse to be critical. View it with loving eyes. Let it speak to you. Admire the craftsmanship and the detail. Acknowledge the difficulties that were overcome. Thank the person that created it with all sincerity. Allow yourself to be inspired to do other work.
Have a creative week!
"It is best to keep your mouth shut and be presumed ignorant than to open it and remove all doubt." – Mark Twain
Tweet Have you ever had to bite your tongue to keep from saying something that might get you into hot water or cause hurt feelings? What about keeping your mouth shut when you’d rather say, “I told you so.” There are many opportunities when what you don’t say is as important as what you do say. Remember the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
I am here to today to give you credit for what you don’t say.
What does this have to do with energizing your creativity? Your creativity needs protecting and nurturing. Sometime we need to speak up and let our feelings be known: sometimes the requirement is silence.
Here are some times that I think what you don’t say is preferable:
• Keep mum about the mistakes you know or think you know are in your work; let the work speak for itself.
• Don’t blab on and on about a new idea. You will talk it out of your system.
• Don’t argue with a critique. Practice your best Mona Lisa smile and, if forced, use the phrase, “You may be right.” (How can anyone argue with that?)
• Don’t make grand announcements regarding your creative plans to family members or co-workers unless you want to be reminded daily that you aren’t following through as grandly announced.
• Don’t be a know-it-all. Practice listening. You might be inspired or learn something.
• Stop explaining. If you say no to something, you don’t owe a lengthy heartfelt explanation why you are saying no.
Practice verbal awareness for one day or one week. Then give yourself lots of credit for all the stuff that you didn’t say. Celebrate by going in your closet and giving it a piece of your mind if you need to. You could celebrate by taking yourself to a nice meal and not tell anyone!
My friend and I are all the time bestowing credit on each other for what the other managed to keep quiet about, but could only keep quiet about it until they found a sympathtic ear.
Leave a comment here about what you didn't say and I will give you lots of credit that you deserve!
Have a creative day!
Do You Dread Deadlines?
I hate deadlines. I don’t like to be told what to do.
• the voice of authority commanding that I get busy
• doing what I said I’d do
• doing what’s expected of me
• doing something by this time or else
Or else what? Death or Humiliation? (It can certainly feel that way!)
On the other hand, if I don’t have a deadline
• I procrastinate
• I create mountains out of molehills
• I whine
• I put off the difficult parts until my work suffers
• I take frequent avoidance naps and eat avoidance cookies
Deadlines feel like grown up stuff and my artist is a playful kid who wants to ignore them, (except when they are made to her!). Using a deadline to accomplish a task is an old standard productivity trick worth using.
However a little EFT can take the sting out of an annoying deadline and possibly get you going on the right track. Here are some EFT statements to help you let go of the resentment for the need of a deadline, or the fear that you won’t make it, or the rebellion induced procrastination that accompanies it.
Set up statement for EFT:
(Tap on the karate chop point)
Even though, I can’t imagine what I was thinking when I set this deadline and I’d rather be doing anything than fulfill my obligations like maybe give my pet a bath or wash down the sidewalk with a toothbrush, anything but this, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though, I have this annoying deadline that I promised myself I would honor and I made these ridiculous promises to others and I will look like a fool and a flake if I don’t do what I said I would, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though, I have this deadline that is making me crazy and I don’t want to complete it because there is this part I don’t want to do, I know I will feel better when I accomplish this task, even if I can’t even imagine what the outcome will be, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Now take the part of the project that is causing the most resistance and tap on that. Take time to tap on all facets of the projects that you are avoiding. For instance, here is one of mine:
TOH: this project (substitute yours)
EB: this part of the project I don’t enjoy (substitute yours)
SE: this need to (substitute yours)
UE: this belief that I can’t (------)
UN: this burning desire to take a nap (substitute yours)
CH: this wishing someone would do it for me
CB: this deadline
UA: this stupid deadline
TOH: this doing it by myself
EB: this looming deadline
SE: this why did I commit to this in the first place
UE: this resistance
UN: this gotta get it done
CH: this annoying deadline
CB: this work I have to do
UA: this willingness I don’t have
This should get you started tackling a deadline with less resistance than when you started. If not, do more rounds using more descriptive feeling words.
Have a creative week,
P.S. I’d love to hear from you if this helped.
I love learning. I love going to the downtown library here in Houston because there is so much knowledge in the shelves. I am always amazed that they let me take as many books as I like. And then there is the Internet. Have a question? Type it in and boom, the answer appears. I am in awe that so much knowledge is available for a willing learner.
Having said all the above about learning, I would also like to make a case for unlearning. Let me explain. With all the knowledge out there it is so easy to become a know-it-all.
It is easy to become rigidly set in ways and ideas that may have moved past their worthiness or validly.
I believe that a creative person challenges the status quo. A creative person will question what she knows as true and move past what she may have been taught. If you can do that you open yourself up to the mystery and wonder of the muse.
You become a new beginner and you become teachable.
Set aside some time to question something. It doesn’t have to be the meaning of life. Questioning why you do something the way you always do can give wings to a new method that could make your art soar. How would your art benefit if you unlearned a bad habit or an old fear? Unlearn something today.
Hello Creative Friends,
I recently discovered One True Media, a great easy place to make vidoes like the one I am posting for Valentine's Day above.
There aren't a lot of directions on the site but if you can get your photos or video to one spot on your computer you can probably do this.
Here are the basics:
1. Think of theme or topic you want to highlight or show off and select your photos to support it. Artists, here is a great opportunity to show a montage of your work. The possibilities are absolutely endless.
2. Collect your photos in one place on your computer for convenience. I like to use my desktop and then put them in folder when I am finished. It is good to get more than you think you will need, but you can always upload more later if you need them. You also can delete the ones that didn't make the cut. (See, I am already talking like a film director. You will too!)
3. Go to One True Media. (This is after you have visited there and played around, looked at other people's creations. You can also open one of the sites montages and edit it yourself to see how it works which is great cause you can screw up all you want to and get the feel of how things work.)
4. Find a tab that says: Create. (One of my favorite words.) That page will open and you will see another big green Create button. Click and you will be sent to an upload page. Skip the "Select A Theme" button. You have much more creative contol when you edit everything yourself.
5. Upload your photos from your desktop. Hint: If you hold down the control button while you make your selection with your mouse, you can upload more than one photo file at a time. Repeat the process until you have uploaded all the photos and/or videos you want. Click the the done button.
6. This will take you to the edit console. This is where the fun begins. Immediately OTM (One True Media) shows you what your montage will look like, including music.
7. Depending on how savvy you are with these kinds of things, you can feel your way through to make a great video. Like most computer programs there are more than one way to do things. I naturally did it the slowest way possible the first time around so here are some tips, but you will figure out things your own way. It is kind of hard to mess this up.
- Get your photos in first. Use the numbers under each slide to put them in order or click and drag the cross under the photo.
- Create text slides and move them into place. You can edit how they look and preview until you get them exactly as you like.
- You can add effects till you don't even recognize your photos. Caution: This can become too much and take away from the effectiveness of your message or the look you want. But try it all. It's fun.
- When you open your montage, OTM appoints you a song. Don't like it? Change it. Before you finish, be sure your song is as long as the time it takes to show your creation.
- Once you finish and save your montage, give it a title and go to the Share Button. You can upload it to Youtube, Facebook by following the easy steps. If you want to email it to all your friends, press the easy button. Get the html code from that same page page and embed it to your website or blog. WooHoo!
- BTW, a friend of mine could not access it from her Ipad, so there may be an issue with Apple products. The only bummer I could see.
I have not given you step by step directions. Be brave. Click on everything. Hit Preview and see if you like it, if not, no problem, don't click save or better still find some other way you like better.
Give this a try but just know that it can become addictive. Beware, you may have just discovered another way to be your creative self!
Hello Creative Friends,
WooHoo, its International Creativity Month!
I love the idea of a whole month to dream up some thing from nothing and isn't January a perfect time? If you live in the northern hemisphere, it's wintry cold outside and what better time to drag out an intriguing artsy craftsy project and get busy?
When I was growing up, I lived out in the country with two parents who grew up on a farm. In spring and summer and fall for that matter, there was always something to do outside. Yard work and gardening or maintenence around the place was always on the agenda.
As a kid, I was not enamored with gardening and yard work. (I still don't like it.) When I was old enough, I was the designated tractor driver in the garden. The fun of driving the tractor was soon replaced by the bordom of put-putting up and down the same trek of the garden rows. In the summer the garden had to be hoed and the vegetables processed.
There were berries to pick and peas to shell and corn to cut off the cob and all of it to can or put in the freezer. I felt like it never ended.
When would you ever have the time to make a quilt or do some needlepoint or glue popcicle sticks together to build a fort. It just didn't happen at my house unless it rained.
When it rained outside, you caught a break. And in the blessed winter, the ground was frozen and fallow and you did not venture out except to feed the animals. I still had to catch the school bus and do my homework, but there was no "outdoor" work to catch up on.
I could catch up on creativity. And I could do it guilt free.
I hope the International Creativity Month finds you with time on your hands to do something with your hands. And I hope you get to do it guilt free.
Happy New Year Creative Friends,
I always want to say Happy New You because New Year is the time we traditionally think about how we want to do things differently. Even if we as humans resist change, even a tiny bit of change can impact our lives on a massive scale.
Think of a decimal point: Tiny, insignificant dot on a piece of paper.
Change the decimal point in .1000 to 1000. and things get interesting, especially if you are talking money.
I don’t like New Years Resolutions much, so much that I created a workshop called Resolution Revolt. More about that later.
I used to set my self up for failure every year by making grand promises that I couldn’t keep so here is my tip about this if you are inclined to make resolutions.
Make tiny resolutions that you have a chance of keeping. You can use these to balance out the ones that might be more difficult.
Here are some examples of tiny resolutions that I am trying.
- I resolve to use the color red in my art work on the next three pieces.
- I resolve to clean the screen on my laptop before I can no longer see the cursor.
- I resolve to take at least two naps a week. (Falling asleep at my computer does not count.)
These I can do. These feel good to me. They are tiny little actions that can make a big difference just like the tiny little decimal point. They meet all the standard goal setting criteria of S.M.A.R.T. goals. Smart Goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
When I set these goals, I don’t get a lot of grief and lip from my internal critic, Blockhead.
Creativity Energizer Break: You know what I am going to say. Pick three tiny goals that can make a difference in your creativity and make sure they are ones that you can easily do. Success breeds success.
If your Blockhead starts telling you that you can’t or won’t do this goal, then you are setting a different kind of goal.
For those kinds of goals that provoke your Blockhead to admonish you for even thinking of such impossibilities, I have got a workshop for you.
I am offering an online Resolution Revolt Workshop January 12, 19, and 26 at 7:00 CST. The greatest threat to setting a goal and following through is your own internal critic. Join me as we revolt against your Blockhead and the traditional ways of trying to keep your resolutions past February.
For more information here is the link:
“There is no use trying; one can't believe impossible things." (Alice)
"I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Red Queen)
~* ~* ~*~
To be creative is to believe in the possibilities. Too many times we nip our possibilities in the bud before we ever take time to consider them.
If the universe of great ideas is going to continue to send them your way, you must respond with consideration. Not every idea becomes a reality, of course, but not every wild idea is impossible.
Why not try this technique: When something seems impossible, use the words “What if,” to speak about the possibility so that you don’t automatically discount and disallow a budding idea before it ever has a chance to bloom.
“What if I did self-publish my poetry?”
“What if I were able to save the money for that trip to take classes in Italy?”
“What if I went to work early so I could get home while the light is still good?”
Your mind loves questions. Posing your considerations as questions can interrupt and quiet the internal censor until possibilities can become possible.
So try using, “What if, questions. I’ll leave you with this example: What if this helped you believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast?
Do you have issues with time? My friend and I will be talking about a creative project and one of us will invariably say our time mantra, “Oh, that shouldn’t take too long,” and then we laugh, knowing full well that we are wishing out loud – hoping the words will make it so.
As I’ve gotten older, I want to spend my time more wisely. As a youngster, the days stretched out in front of me seemingly forever and I thought I could afford to squander hours on end sitting in front of dumb TV or tolerating people I didn’t like.
I am coming to this conclusion with my creativity as well. I want to spend my creative time on something that makes my heart sing, that invigorates and energizes me or connects me to my spirit.
There will always people, place and things that threaten our creative time, but what about the time we spend inside our art that is no longer satisfying or necessary? Maybe you can eliminate steps that you used to do when you weren’t as sure of your abilities as you are now.
One time waster I have tried to eliminate in my creative process is the “agony hour.” That’s all the time I waste worrying if this piece is good enough, or if someone will like my work enough to pay for it. The agony hour is also time spent dreading a difficult project before I get down to business.
I have other creative project time drains that I am deleting. I used to make tons of gifts to give away. Untold amounts of time was invested in handmade gifts and the (handmade card to go with it) that often delighted me more than the recipient. I rather spend my creative time (and energy) in other areas now.
Creativity Energizer Break:
- Examine how you spend your creative time. Are you making the best use of what time you do have?
- Can you let go of unnecessary tasks that no longer interest or challenge you?
- If you participate in the “agony hour,” see if you can reduce it or eliminate it altogether.
Like sands through the hour glass…
Have a creative week!