Do you crave a more Creative Life?
As a professional dancer in my early 20s, I had no doubts about who I was or what I wanted to be doing. But ten years later, as a university lecturer working in the formality of academia, I had lost a connection to my creative identity. Getting it back was a gift that opened more doors in my life than I ever expected.
It started with photography, and then I added writing and began documenting the details of my life with a book of photos, words and ephemera. This led to an obsession with modern scrapbooking, and joyful experimentation with mixed media art, watercolor, brush script and textile arts. I slowly grew back into my creative skin and found confidence and joy that can only come from creating, from making stuff that didn’t exist before. It came streaming out of me, from of my head to my hands like a faucet that had been blocked. After forcing my way up the “success” ladder in a world that rewarded left brain work for so long, it felt like finding water in a desert to my thirsty creative heart.
Yet, as all this creative work was pouring out, I was still haunted by a very self critical voice. That voice had a lot of questions and comments (and was a little mean). It went something like this.
Am I actually going to be an “artist” of some kind now? That’s ridiculous. Why do this if it’s not professional work? None of this is any good, why did you think you could make stuff? Have you SEEN what’s out there!? Who will take me seriously if they find out I scrapbook in my spare time? No one will understand what I am doing. How can I focus on developing one skill or genre when I keep jumping from one idea to the next? Why am so scattered in my thinking? What really even is my THING in life anymore?!
In an attempt to reassure that voice and feed my creative hunger, I turned to my tried and true way of gaining confidence: training, practice, and classes. I signed up for art and modern craft classes online and tried lesson after lesson from the safety of my home. I produced a fair amount of work that was never seen by anyone but my supportive husband and two pugs. I still didn’t consider myself an artist (or a crafter). That jerky inner critic would kick in again. After all I didn’t go to art school. What right did I have to call myself an artist. Yes, that was what is commonly known as was my inner critic or Sabateur. We all have one. Mine is still still around,
but I don’t let her be the boss.
Thanks to the influence of some really great friends and coaches, I then realized I didn’t need “A” thing, and I didn’t need to be at any particular skill level to call myself an artist, or to exponentially benefit from a creative experience in the world that was honest to me. I just needed to start, and not worry about where it was going. That would come.
I applied the “i + 1” theory we studied in grad school for teaching foreign language (a difficult skill) to my artistic learning process, and started with one step, and then another, and then another. Not adding too much, just enough to keep growing, and make things that I never thought I could.
Rediscovering my creative life, has gotten me through the hardest times in my life, challenges that that I never could have predicted. Seeing the myself in placed in the world through this more colorful “everyday artist” lens has allowed me to re-write my life story, and flourish on my own terms.
What about you? Are you ready?
Are you ready to be an artist? Are you ready to silence your inner critic, to find ways around all the obstacles, until you find a path to something beautiful that you made and only you could make? Are you ready to feel better about the art you are making? Are you ready to use all those ideas instead of let them paralyze you? Are you ready to get unstuck, in your mind, your unfinished projects, and in life?
As a creative identity coach, I have helped mothers with young children “doing it all” rediscover a new inner dialogue that give them permission to spend time on their creative expression. I have worked with successful single women to develop a whole new body of work and through that creative work, to find love and joy and connection in their lives right now, not in some unknown future when the “right person” or “right opportunity” or “right time” may eventually come along.
I am here to invite you to fall in love with the creative side of you again. To feel more confident in your creative work. To stop getting stuck- either because of fear of the blank page, or because of your constant overflow of potential ideas and finally take meaningful action! It will feel so good, I promise. Take those classes, make art, play music, sew some fabric together, pic up that pencil, write the story, move your body, notice the colors, document the details, find joy and beauty all around you, and create your own version. Do it for you. Do it for them. Put your unique stamp on this world. This life is your chance.
Become an everyday artist.