Creating Objections… Fear less!

I have a tremendous respect for fiction writers who have the ability to take us into our imaginations with their remarkable gift of crafting interesting characters, weaving fantastic stories into visual worlds by using words written on a page. The dedication to show up and commit to the process of allowing the story to unfold on its own and not being afraid to let it take over the logical mind is an art in itself. Yet at some level we all deal with some measure of fear when we approach our own writing, fear of not being good enough or not having an audience. The only way to answer that objection is to answer why do we write? Are we really writing for approval anyway?

Removing the validation factor from the equation of success releases our fear of being judged. Creating with intention and being honest in our writing as we craft our own beautiful stories brings forth the courage that is required to create any work of art.

When we marvel at a true “work” of art, we are appreciating the dedication it took from the artist who committed to creating something from nothing and the courage to explore through that creativity.

It is the simplest and purest form of sincerity when we offer our gifts from the heart, where fear has no place. There is no fear placed in the words – in the stitches – in the paint – in the click of the camera so why should we add it to the piece later. Fear is an illusion that we create in thinking we have to satisfy the masses.

The next time you begin to feel that ole fear rising, remember this isn’t a life or death situation if you put something out there that doesn’t appear to be a success you will be ok. Like beauty, success is in the eye of the beholder. You determine how success is measured. Is it by starting and finishing a project, maybe your work inspired a smile or perhaps that quilt brought someone warmth, your painting reminded someone of home.

Let’s stop creating the fear factor into our works and be brave to create with purpose through our commitment and application where fear has no say other than goodbye I am not welcomed here.

Creating Objections – Time…Overruled!

Time business concept. judge

This is the first of several common creative objections people use when asked about their creative endeavors.

Time – there’s just isn’t enough of it. You may feel this way too, there’s just not enough time to devote to my creativity on a full time basis so I won’t bother. But does it have to be all or nothing? What if there is a way to devote fully to your artistic projects by making a decision to do so and working within the time you have. SO you only have thirty minutes late at night to work on your project then devote yourself fully to those thirty minutes. Consider other ways to create during your busy day, even if it may not be the ideal time space you envisioned, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up altogether or punish your life for not being able to devote more time being creative.

If being creative is that important to you then you will create the space. It is about priorities and perhaps right now in your life there are other pressing priorities and your creative life has a smaller piece of the clock but that also doesn’t mean it has to suffer or be silenced, you can still find ways to fill your creative glass without feeling half empty. Once you decide to open up space in your busy calendar by re-prioritizing and making room for your creative projects you will have countered your first objection. Then surround yourself with other creative folks who are encouraging and supportive especially when you feel those creative objections surface.

There is no perfect storm for any artist – the conditions – the finances – and time allowance are always a factor.

If you still think that somehow if you just had enough time then you could become a full time artist, you are missing the whole point in that you still have to commit to the creation. There will always be some form of objection we create to try to stop our creative process, some distraction that says not now, but it is up to us to overrule those objections by showing up anyway and start creating.

That’s the solution to any creative objection – make it a priority – create the space – doing the work will silence the objection. Letting go of the notion that if we can’t do it full time then why bother or that someday we will have more time to be creative are all flimsy excuses that keep us safe from opening the door to creativity.

Your creative muscles are ready, they don’t care about your excuses, in their view this is do or die to their livelihood. They want to practice through commitment, to explore and experiment. This is what enjoying the creative life means, to honor your muse, create with intention, have fun with the process, try new things, collaborate, let go of expectations and trust the evolution in developing on its own without interference of perfection. When we realize that we have the ability to create the life we want, and begin to pay more attention to the choices we make with our time filled days we are well on our way to creating new life. As writer Sarah Selecky says in this article “Choice is creativity. Making choices about life is making art out of it”

To live more creatively means just that, to live more creatively throughout your day. We are amazing creative beings that crave to be open to see new possibilities and seize them. It’s time to start creating our art and stop creating objections.

Stay tuned for Creating Objections Part 2 – Fear

Start. Stop. Start. Stop

Starting BlockFrom start to finish to start. Getting started on a new project is certainly exciting and full of momentum, the juices begin to flow and we fall into our groove rocking along on our creative adventure, but then as we dive deeper into our project we begin to question the direction and seek out a destination. Where is this taking me and when do I get off this creative train? When do we know when we are finished with one idea ready to switch gears and move onto another project?

I’m a serial innovator, I can come up with ideas and new beginnings all day long, it is the execution and commitment to those ideas where my weakness shines through, knowing when the path is complete or incomplete. Should I let it go so it can simmer in its own creative juices for a while or move onto the next best thing? Sometimes when I get to what may feel like a stopping point I begin to release my grip on its perfection and say ok it’s time to release (kind of like this blog post). You are on your own now, I’ve done my part to set the stage it’s your time to shine and if I keep tinkering with you I know that I’ll mess you up into something you weren’t meant to be, like a hovering parent who holds her children too close. Have a little faith, set them free and give them space to come into their own, allow them to fly.

Every ending offers a new beginning. As soon as we embrace the ending of a project we open up space for another opportunity to create again by pouring yourself into something new. These moments are inviting us to set our projects free. They may need some support from time to time but they really need us to accept their time of completion by knowing when to let them live on their own without constant interference. The finish line of one project can be the starting block (which sounds like an oxymoron) to embark on another idea journey, to begin the creative process all over again. Life and art do imitate each other, they are both a continual process of start and stop, capture and let go, ebb and flow.

Letting go of the old and welcoming the new can be an invigorating process, and believe it or not you can teach an old dog new tricks, it’s just hard for that old dog to learn to let go of the old tricks. Stay inspired to the possibilities that live in new beginnings, the sparks of creation that keep things growing, tap into what has been silent for so long, wake it up, nurture it, practice it, love it and watch it grow. New life is always available once we learn to let go of what is finished and start paying attention to what is calling us to bring it to life.

Here’s to getting started or stopping or starting again…wherever you find yourself in the creative game.

Starting Block — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Shame on me for being shameless?

 

The writer lives in solitude until the day their work comes to life through publishing, then the real work begins to market and promote the book. This is where I am living these days, promoting my latest release Nature’s Angels. It’s a fun lyrical story that follows a grandfather and his grandson along their journey through nature. If only this process could be fun and lyrical too!

As much as writers struggle through their own writing process, this step of the publishing journey is the most challenging for me. Maybe it is easy for some people who are born with the shameless promotion gene but for those of us who spend our days with our heads in books and notepads it’s a little harder to really put yourself out there. I’d rather write about it than actually get out there and do it.

This month’s posts have focused on the writing process, so it is only fitting to end this series with the final stage, selling that beautiful work of art. After all we want to see some return for all of our hard work, even though that isn’t our motivation to write. So far I’ve probably given away more books than sales but that’s ok because that is part of the process too, there is a benefit in getting the book out there for reviews, word of mouth marketing, and for me any child that gets to read this book is a reward to me and is the reason I write, for someone to read and enjoy what I have to share.

I would imagine that whether you are just starting out as a writer or a seasoned published author the anxiety has to be the same in asking will there be an audience? This is no different than any stage performer on opening night who wonders if there will be a full house or at least half full? Most performers thrive off the energy of the audience and if there isn’t anyone out there then what’s the point, it’s simply a rehearsal. We all want to be received and our work appreciated in some way and in the writing world that would be through our readers. So whether a million people read my book or just a handful, I find satisfaction in knowing that it has reached a few, that it no longer sits in my unfinished project folder and is just beginning to take on a life of its own and I get to be a part of that journey.

Our culture measures success and sometimes talent by volume, how many record or book sales, how many likes and followers. Which sounds so high school to me, like we are in one big popularity contest? Most artists just want to be able to do their art and live comfortably so they can continue to do their art. We balance between the art of writing and the desire for profit but the real reason we keep at it is because we have to.

So even though the written work on Nature’s Angels is finished, I’ll continue breathing life into it by marketing through social media, making contacts, stepping out of my comfort zone and onto the shameless promotion stage hoping there will be an audience. Looking at this process as promoting the book rather than promoting me makes this a lot easier and is a small price I have to pay to get to do what I love, to write on the page…again.

Please share with me your publishing and promotion stories letting me know that there is an audience out there somewhere beyond this post…

 

Is the day half empty or half full?

sunriseNew month, new ideas and new writing schedule. It’s funny how we can use these time markers to manage our lives, by the hours in the day, days of the week and dates on the calendar. But is it possible to adopt a free spirit lifestyle without these time boundaries and still be productive? It has been a few years now since I’ve been able to shed the Monday through Friday 9-5 standard work week schedule mindset, having worked in that world for so long before I entered into self-employment. It was a challenge at first to look at my days differently but I began to realize that time is really just a tool in measuring time, of course it has its practical purposes like I’ll meet you at the coffee shop at 8:00, or hello I’m another year older but really it is a way to describe an evolution of the day cycle that will repeat itself again and again marking our moments here on earth.

Once we begin to shift our consciousness in how we perceive time and how we spend those hours in the day we’ll begin to realize how much more time is available than we think.

We here so often about how we lead crazy busy lives not having enough time to do the things we want to do and on and on, and in a way I can completely relate to those days while raising a family with work and school activities and varied schedules it can get hectic and time crunched but even that crazy busy lifestyle can be better managed.

When we get caught up in the lack of time mentality we need to remember we also have the ability to make more of it. We can create that space as easily as we fill up our days by simply eliminating certain things that take up the time we wish we had.

I know that some people are time management challenged, the always late to the party or in a hurry crowd then there’s the other prompt time attentive dictators, (I used to be one of them) who manage every minute of the day leaving no room for flexibility. If you want more time to do the creative things you crave, turn off the television. Do you want more time with your friends and family? Then look at how you fill your day and remove those things that prevent you from enjoying those relationships.

As the saying goes time is money and in some ways it really is. Can we make more money? Sure. Can we make more time? Sure. Can we evaluate where we spend our money? Sure. Can we examine how we spend our time? Sure. It’s all about priorities and perception in where you place value and what is truly important to you.

Anytime I feel that lack of time mentality creep in to my thoughts I remind myself to expand into another way of thinking. It’s like looking at the clock with how many hours are left in the day or looking at it with how many you’ve already enjoyed. Is the day half-filled or half empty?

So here’s to a new day, a new week, a new blog post, this is your invitation to start something new.

I’d love to hear what new ventures you will begin today.

photo credit Mike Messerli

How to get out of the block…

Block The beginning of a writer’s life can be the hardest and the easiest…the hardest part is actually making your way to the paper, creating the space in time and committing to the process and the easiest part is you just have to stop the excuses and start tapping away, I know not as easy as it sounds but in some ways it’s just that simple. Before long you’ll begin to find your groove and set a routine for your writing practice, but one day something strange happens, you begin to feel the walls of procrastination creep in. I’ll write my next blog post tomorrow, I think about that later, I promise I’ll do this by the end of the week, until it’s the end of the week and the page is still blank. Yep that is what happened to me, it’s the end of the week and the post I was working on didn’t feel right no matter how much I tried to make it work, it just wasn’t happening. So here’s my writer’s block solution, go find another creative outlet. Do you enjoy painting, doodling, dancing, or photography? Dive into something else to loosen up the creative muscles and that’s just what I did, I jumped into my photo gallery and selected a few shots of my stepping out venture the other day and brought them to life for you.
Natures Art
This twisted vine sculpture caught my eye in how easily nature can create its own works of art.
Turtles
Just for fun – Can you find the turtles sunbathing?
Lake view
Enjoy your creative journey and do a little doodle dance…

Stepping out to step back in…

Nature blog3Making waves and stirring up the status quo is what it took for me to answer last week’s post “What do writers do for fun?” So I made a go of it, by stepping away from the writing routine to venture out and find my way to fun, which for me involves simply being outdoors. As I was strolling along my nature trail I realized that the whole idea of “fun” is subjective isn’t it? My version of fun may not come close to your version of fun, some people need physical activity to experience fun like playing a sport or boating or skiing and some people can have fun by being a spectator watching a sport or going to a live concert. Whichever activity falls into your definition of fun, I’ve discovered how important it is to the writing life to factor in some aspect of fun every now and then. By doing so, you spur creativity that brings in a fresh perspective once you return to the pad ready to write, even if it starts out by writing about the fun you had.

Just for the fun of it this past weekend, I stepped into my fun zone, taking in the sights and sounds of nature. This is where I was able to silence the mind chatter long enough to enjoy what was right in front of me, the trail, the canopy of trees, the water snake slithering through the creek current, the birds chatting back and forth, the goats in the far off field, dogs barking at passersby, and the spray of the waterfall that helped guide me back home. That was fun, my little day venture, as simple as it sounds, getting out into the open spaces of nature is just another writing tool I use when the wheels of creativity get stuck. Stepping out, so I can step back in. stepping out nature

Tis the season…for fun

summer funWhat do writers do for fun? They read of course, or do they write? This is certainly true for us writers who love the solitude of writing and enjoy the stream of flow as the story begins to take shape. But seriously or not so seriously what does fun look like in a writer’s life? Does it take a conscious effort to step away from the page and venture out into new experiences? So many questions make me wonder how my fellow friends in the writing world incorporate fun into their lives. For me, it actually takes as much time, effort and commitment to step away from the keypad as it does to get in gear to write. I’ve even noticed that not unlike the population of people who are addicted to their devices and social media, I am never more than an arm reach away from paper and pen which is part of what prompted this idea to take a reprieve from writing. At least to create some space for “fun” that comes in some other form than words, so I guess that rules out watching Wheel of Fortune.

The timing is perfect as we enter the season of summer aka the season of fun. When the sunny days and warmer temps call us to take part in all it has to offer from outdoor adventures, sharing spontaneous laughter to the unexpected. So here’s the challenge and I hope you’ll join me, what is one thing that takes up most of your time and attention? Got it…Ok now go ahead and give it a well-deserved summer break. It’s time to switch it up, shake up the routine, try something new, meet someone new, let your hair down and make some fun happen. Don’t think on it too much, just pick one thing that keeps you busy or preoccupied and decide that you are going to take some time off and go on vacation, not literally but mentally, that’s right pretend you are on vacation from your routine that habitual cycle of certainty. It may not be easy at first but don’t make it any harder than it is, just make a decision to stop the norm and start a new norm. I know easy for me to say but hey I’m going on this trip with you too. I’ll leave room to write my weekly blog entry though after all you want to see how it’s going right? But I promise I will still find a way to release from my writing obsession and let summer fun find its way into my days. I’m confident it will make me a richer writer to experience life beyond the screen and I hope you’ll share with me too as we jump into the pool of summertime fun. Hey maybe we’ll even discover the answer to the question. What do writers do for fun?

a Writer’s life

typeWriting a book is easy, it is the marketing that’s a challenge or is it writing a book is a challenge, selling it will be easy. Whichever statement you agree with they both hold their own truth. It certainly takes a sometimes monumental and conscious effort to actually create space in your day and commit to writing, getting started can be the hardest part in becoming a writer but once you take that first step and start tapping away, the words somehow find their way onto the page. Soon you’ll discover that starting and stopping is all a part of the process but at least you’ve jumped the gigantic hurdle in getting started. The idea of being a writer seems to be a dream job to so many people and I’ve often wondered why? Is it the appeal of solitude during the writing process, the thought of achieving best seller status, having your work of fiction turned into a movie? Perhaps aspiring writers that have never jumped that first hurdle think of it as the perfect job where you can work from home, leisurely on your own schedule while lounging in your pajamas all day long, as you feverishly try to keep up with your fingers as they hit the keyboard because the storyline is moving at lightning speed you can hardly keep up. Oh how ideas seduce us into simple thinking, there is so much more to being a writer than those scenarios we’ve imagined. I am by no means claiming to be an expert of the ins and outs of a writer’s life frankly because there is no such thing, there is no set formula on what the day’s routine should look like in living a writer’s life. What may work for one writer may not work for another, and writers write for different reasons, some people write for income, some people write for achievement, others for entertainment and some because they have to, which is where I fall into as a writer, I simply have to. Writing to me is like breathing, although each and every breath we take is no less important than the next the same can’t be said for writing but that doesn’t stop my need to write in order to feel alive. Writing saves me; it is my refuge, my counsel, my outlet, my whipping post, my way to communicate to people and my way to express what I truly think and feel. It may be read by others or kept for my eyes only; either way the writing lives on its own not requiring outside validation. If you are a writer I want to ask you, why do you write? Or if you dream of one day calling yourself a writer I want to ask you why don’t you write?