Self-Help

Live Creative Now! with Melissa Dinwiddie: Happiness | Creativity | Productivity | Practical Inspiration | Lifestyle Design f

Melissa Dinwiddie - Happiness Catalyst, Creativity Instigator, Artist, Performer

Are you ready to live a full-color life? For NON-artists, artists, and everyone in between, Live Creative Now podcast provides practical tips and inspiration on creativity and creative productivity, because feeding your creative hungers is one of the fastest ways to happiness, joy, and self-fulfillment. Not only will you feel more alive, it’s how you will CHANGE THE WORLD! If you have a hunger to create, the goal of this podcast is to get you past fear, self-doubt and distractions to do exactly what the title says: Live Creative Now! No waiting. No excuses. No "someday"s. Host Melissa Dinwiddie is a Happiness Catalyst and Creativity Instigator, known for changing people into Creative World-Changers by empowering them to hurdle past fear, self-doubt, resistance and distractions, to get on with their creative work. A passion pluralite / Renaissance soul / multipassionate herself (visual artist, performer, writer, musician), Melissa answers audience questions, shares tools from her own toolbox, and periodically interviews other creatives about their own full-color creative lives. Leave your own question about creativity, productivity, juggling multiple interests or creative lifestyle design in a review here in iTunes, and you may just hear Melissa's answer in an upcoming episode. (Be sure to include your Twitter handle so we can let you know if your question goes live!)

Episodes

LCN 137: How to Be a Successful Creative Even with Multiple Passions – with Mia Scharphie
46:21
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 46:21
LCN 137: How to Be a Successful Creative Even with Multiple Passions – with Mia Scharphie

LCN 137: How to Be a Successful Creative Even with Multiple Passions with Mia ScharphieIf you’ve been around here much, you know I’m a passion pluralite (aka multipassionate, multipotentialite, Renaissance soul), and I’m always thrilled to talk to other passion pluralites (and there are a lot of us out there). And I’m especially thrilled to talk to other passion pluralite advocates.

So when I met Mia Scharphie (pronounced “Maya Sharfee”) in person at a conference earlier this year (after first meeting her in CoCommercial, the social network for business owners that we both belong to), and she asked to come on the podcast and talk about how to be successful even if you’re a creative with multiple passions, it a no-brainer.

We started off by defining the meaning of “success” first, then Mia shared her story. A classic passion pluralite: the woman had so many things going on she barely had time to breathe, but she figured out how to find her own throughline and bring herself from scattered to focused.

Now she teaches others to do the same. (In fact, she has a course for multipassionate women coming up in January, called Double Vision.)

She also put together a Find Your Throughline Worksheet just for multipassionate Live Creative Now listeners, which you can download at buildyourselfworkshop.com/livecreative, to help you figure out what to take on and what not to take on (thanks, Mia!)

Have a listen to our conversation and let me know which parts resonate.

About Mia

Mia Scharphie is a trained facilitator and has worked on women s advocacy for over fifteen years. She s run a research effort on women in social impact design for the Harvard Business School, is a founding member of the Equity Roundtable at the Boston Society of Architects, and was named as one of Impact Design Hub s Social Impact Design 40 under 40.

Mia received degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Brown University. Her writings on issues of equity in design have been published in The Christian Science Monitor and GOOD. She grew up in Chicago and takes an annual rust belt road trip.

Where to Find Mia

Build Yourself: buildyourselfworkshop.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mia.scharphie

Twitter: @miascharphie

Instagram: @miascharphie

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/miascharphie

Something Cool

From Mia:

Saga: imagecomics.com/comics/series/saga

From Melissa:

Loom – supercool, FREE, cloud-based video screen capture, with amazing integrations that allow you to record and embed a video right inside applications like Gmail, Google Docs, Asana, Trello, and more.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 137: How to Be a Successful Creative Even with Multiple Passions – with Mia Scharphie appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 136: LEGO® Learnings In My Living Room
35:36
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 35:36
LCN 136: LEGO® Learnings In My Living Room

LCN 136: LEGO® Learnings In My Living RoomOne of my not-so-secret weapons is a powerhouse online business community called CoCommercial, which I honestly don’t think I could live without at this point.

It was started by Tara Gentile, and it’s gone through multiple iterations, and at this point, it’s really hit its stride. We have yet to see how it handles growth, but right now, as a member of the Leadership Circle, I feel like I’ve struck gold.

Anyway, the real value in CoCommercial is the community the resource there is amazing and Tara Gentile is kind of a small business genius. And one of the many gems I’ve gotten from Tara over the years is what she calls the Living Room Strategy.

In a nutshell, the idea behind the Living Room Strategy is to hand-invite a select group of past customers or clients to a minimum viable experience in order to get you “from idea to income” quickly.

The idea is:

  • To get you to develop an offer based on actual individual needs, to ensure that you’re creating something that people really want.
  • To help you craft a sales message designed for who you want in your program/using your product so you know it resonates.
  • To help you do the least amount possible to create a great experience based on who you’re serving.
  • To help you make money now.

Just the other weekend I put a modified version of the Living Room Strategy to use to run a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) team building workshop for 5 people in my actual living room, and I thought I’d share what I learned from the experience.

My goals were different from Tara’s Living Room Strategy goals, though. They were:

  • To get experience putting some training I’d recently completed into practice.
  • To get feedback.
  • To gain confidence.
  • To get me one step closer to my Big Dream of building my consultancy (which now has its own website: creativesandbox.solutions!)

Background

I recently completed 40 hours of advanced training and certification in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methods and materials, and my Master Trainer advised us to host a workshop immediately upon returning home, even if that meant bribing friends and family with cookies!

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is an experiential methodology that is very hard to fully communicate in words. People need to experience it to really appreciate the immense transformative power and value of this kind of workshop.

As a new facilitator/consultant, this poses some challenges:

  • It’s hard to get people to hire you without social proof from previous workshops.
  • You don’t get the chance to practice, or get social proof, if nobody hires you (see #1 above!)

So I developed the following game plan:

1. Run a practice workshop for friends and family, to get comfortable with the mechanics and timing of leading the workshop in a super-low-stakes setting; get feedback; and grow my confidence.

2. Book and run a handful (target: 5) of pro bono or low-priced workshops for non-profits in exchange for feedback, testimonials, case studies, referrals, photography/video.

3. Armed with confidence, feedback, social proof, testimonials, etc. from #1 and #2, start going after “bigger game” clients!

This case study focuses on #1 above.

In a Living Room Strategy, the idea is to pilot a program for the actual clients you would be running your ultimate program for, but in a really low-stakes manner.

The program doesn’t necessarily have to be fully built out your clients can help you build it! That’s the purpose of the Living Room Strategy!

In my case, I already have a road map/curriculum, including a slide deck that came as part of my training. What I was interested in, mostly, was getting used to the mechanics of facilitating it, and how it all fit together.

My Clients

My potential clients are threefold:

  1. First, there’s the client who hires me, who is likely to be a team lead, head of marketing, or someone in HR at an organization.
  2. Then there’s the CEO or department head who actually writes (or approves writing of) the check that pays me.
  3. Then there’s the participant in the workshop, who could be the member of an executive team, or a board member, or any staff member, or really any employee of an organization.

My practice workshop attendees were 4 friends from my improv community, plus my husband essentially #3 above. I most likely won’t be selling directly to that group, but I could end up with anyone in a workshop, so it was perfectly appropriate to have a group of “random friends” in my practice workshop.

Getting Butts in Seats

I came home from my LSP training on October 21st, and on October 27th I sent an email to 25 local friends and family members whom I thought would be open and interested in doing the workshop.

Here’s what I wrote:

SUBJECT: Want to play with LEGO® with me?

Dear friends and family,

Yes, I’m serious. I’m looking for a few people to come play with LEGO® with me for a very specific purpose. 

Here’s the story:

Last week I was in Whistler, BC, getting trained and certified in a methodology called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (or LSP for short). 

I first encountered LSP at a conference last June, and was so blown away by the power of this methodology, that I knew I had to get advanced training so I could facilitate it. 

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It is a method and process to enhance innovation and performance that uses LEGO® bricks to enable people to “think with their hands,” solve problems, explore ideas, and achieve objectives. It allows teams to understand each other’s interpretations and create deeper shared meaning of key ideas. 

In LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, everyone builds, and everyone shares, resulting in more democratic meetings and a level playing field with equal “air time” for all participants.

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® works best for any kind of sticky question, problem, or situation where there is no obvious answer, including:

  • Team Building / Team Alignment
  • Goal Setting
  • Idea Generation / Innovation of Products & Services
  • Identifying Values & Behaviors
  • Clarifying the Current Situation
  • Creating a Shared Vision
  • Organizational Strategy

(It’s AMAZING for strategy my favorite part of my training was using it to stress-test different scenarios in order to “bullet proof” an organization.) 

Here’s Where You Come In

As a newly certified facilitator of this method, I want to get some practice in a zero-stakes environment before running a workshop for a paying client, and I need participants to run a 4-hour LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshop in my living room.                                 

What’s In It For You

  • You’ll get to spend 4 hours with me
  • You’ll have a blast!
  • You’ll get to experience an amazing methodology you may want to bring to your work/life
  • I’ll feed you well (I’ll provide lots of yummy snacks)
  • You’ll have all the coffee and tea you desire
  • You’ll have my eternal gratitude

Sound Fun? Are You In?

Great! Fill out this Doodle poll to let me know your availability: [LINK]

(And if you have any friends you think might be interested, great! Invite them to fill out the Doodle poll, too I just need names, emails, and phone numbers so I can contact them.)

I only have room for 6 people max. But even 2 people will be invaluable, and enough for me to run a workshop.

Any questions? Reply and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Thanks so much!

xo,
Melissa

If I had been a “Living Room Strategy Purist,” I would have reached out to individuals personally, but I wanted to get the message sent out quickly, so much as I hated to send a mass email, that’s what I did, BCCing everyone on my list directly from my Gmail account.

Honestly, I didn’t know if anyone would respond. 4 hours on a Saturday is a big ask, after all!

But within the hour I had my first Doodle poll respondent! I had one “yes,” and two possible dates.

Technical Glitch: Doodle Poll

Also within the hour, I had my first email from someone else, trying to respond to the Doodle poll… but unable to, because something weird was going on for them with Doodle.

That turned out to not be an isolated incident. Someone else had trouble with the Doodle poll.

For those of us who rely on technology, this is a lesson that I seem to have to keep learning over and over: just because the tech works for me doesn’t mean it works for everyone else! 

In the end, I had to abandon the Doodle poll altogether, and turn to email and texting to figure out the final date and time.

Since my workshop had a maximum of 6 attendees, this was only a minor pain, not a total disaster.

LESSON: Next time, have an alternative schedule polling system in place!

Ducks in a Row

Before long I had a date November 11 and after a lot of back and forth with the 4 friends who’d RSVP’d (plus my husband, who was #5), we had a time 10am to 2pm.

Now I had to get all my ducks in a row: prep the content, prep the music playlist in Spotify, prepare the space, make sure I had snacks and drinks, PowerPoint ready to go, flip charts ready to go, get all the LEGO® ready to go…

Basically, I had a to-do list a mile long!

And working out the kinks in that to-do list is exactly why I was running this practice workshop!

Best Laid Plans…

On the day of, I had just gotten everything set to go when one of my attendees texted that she was stuck in terrible traffic and would be 15 minutes late.

Then another one texted that her babysitter was late.

This is where it pays to be in an improvisor. I had a road map printed out, but I know from hard won experience not to expect to cleave to a pre-set agenda!

My late attendees each urged me to start without them, but this kind of team building workshop is not the kind of thing that works with one or two people coming in late, especially when the entire group is only five people! 

Thankfully, I had a metaphorical toolkit of activities to pull from, so we did a couple of unplanned activities while we waited.

And because I had my road map printed, with the projected start and end times for each section, I was able to adjust over the course of the day, pulling out one of the activities entirely, and ending completely on time, even though we started 45 minutes late!

Bonus: Unexpected Photography!

Wednesday and Thursday the week before the workshop I was in San Francisco at Tara Gentile’s CreativeLive class, Create a Hiring Plan and Grow Your Standout Business, which made prepping for the workshop tight, but led to an amazing bonus when Shelly Waldman (an amazing professional photographer as well as a business strategist I know from CoCommercial) was able to drop by and take some shots with her madskilz!

And yes, I got photo releases (except from one person, who was fine with photos “as long as they don’t show my face,”) so I’ll get to use the pics on my website! Major win! Can’t wait to see them I’ll share some here when I get them. (The photos here are from my iPhone.)

Outcome & Learnings

For my participants, the outcome was that they had a total blast!

They took 4 hours out of their Saturday, largely out of a desire to help me out, combined with curiosity, and they thanked me afterwards.

One woman said she was surprised by how much insight she got into herself.

The biggest outcome for me of running a practice workshop is a huge lessening of anxiety, and increase in confidence.

Before I’ve gone through the paces on a new thing, I can be a bundle of nerves. But once I’ve actually done it, it calms me right down, and boosts my confidence like nothing else. 

For that alone, the practice workshop was invaluable.

I also learned a ton that there’s no way I could have figured out just through thinking.

For example:

 Clarify Materials Expectations

One section of the workshop, for about an hour, everyone builds their identity on the team. There are 5 “builds,” each a few minutes long, when they build a piece of their identity and snap that onto a 5″x5″ base plate.

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® individual identity

Later, those “identities” get placed onto the “landscape” of the table, so it’s important that they’re easily moved about, and are not a jumble of separate small pieces.

The workshop made me realize that it would be helpful to make it clear at the start that everything they build during this portion needs to snap onto the base plate, and to leave room for 5 builds.

 Clarify Time Expectations
Attendees shared that it was helpful for them to know exactly how much time they had for each build: 2 minutes? 3 minutes? 3 1/2 minutes? That’s easy enough for me to state up front, and was useful for me to hear from them!

 Assess Experience Levels
One of my attendees had never put LEGO® together before! She struggled with the technical aspect of getting the bricks to snap together. That was illuminating!

I’ve come up with a fun way to get a group to self-assess according to LEGO® assembly experience, and then if there are any LEGO® newbies in the room, to solicit willing helpers to sit near them to lend a hand.

 Think About LEGO® Distraction Effect
The two guys in the group said as soon as the LEGO® was poured on the table, they had a hard time concentrating and just wanted to build! Consider having a few bricks out for people to play with at the start, during the few minutes of introduction. (FYI, “doodling” whether with a pen or in 3D with LEGO® bricks has actually been shown to help with information retention.)

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® team building workshop

 Redesign Slides
One of my top values is Beauty/Aesthetics, and yet I used the slide deck that I came home from my training with, which desperately needs an injection of good design! Oy…. How embarrassing….

But not to worry. This was a practice workshop, after all.

 Don’t Apologize!
Yes, I started off my workshop by thanking everyone for coming… and then by sort of apologizing for the fact that the day might be a bit messy. As one of my friends pointed out afterwards, this was only strengthening my “apology muscle.”

She’s right. Don’t apologize beforehand. Even to a group of friends.

 DO Apologize… And Fix It!
On the other hand, I blew it with an activity when I gave everyone someone else’s name sort of like a “secret Santa” game but one person got left out. So someone got TWO gifts, and one person got zero. Oops…

I apologized (it was a friend, and he wasn’t upset, but still). And I need to figure out how NOT to repeat that same mistake next time!

 Reinforce that It’s Not a Competition
Because the activities are timed, and probably because we live in a competitive culture, it’s easy for people to fall into feeling like the builds are competitions. Who finishes first, or who builds biggest, or whatever. Especially for people who might feel less skilled with LEGO® (like the person in my workshop who had never snapped bricks together before).

Observing how competitive people in a group tend to be can be interesting for assessment purposes, but the point of my LSP workshops is to bring groups together even if the ultimate outcome is strategy, we always start with team building first so reinforcing that it’s not a competition is super important!

Follow-Up

A couple of things I didn’t do at the workshop itself:

  • Ask for testimonials.
  • Ask for referrals.

I think I was so wiped out from all the anxiety and prep, and afraid to ask too much of my participants.

So I emailed them individually afterwards to make these requests.

This is an entirely new business model for me, this in-person revenue engine, which I expect to be largely based on referrals, once it gets going. I’m figuring it out as I go along!

Part 1 of my game plan is complete (with follow-up still to do); part 2 is in motion.

And yes, Living Room Strategy in an actual living room actually works!

Onward, ho!

I hope this is helpful.

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is Dean Stair Treads. Specifically, non-slip, tape-free, pet friendly, stair gripper, natural fiber, sisal carpet stair treads in Island Sand with black binding, plus a matching 2′ x 3′ landing mat.

After having our floors and stairs redone with bamboo, we were super nervous about slipping down our newly slippery stairs. I looked into getting a runner, but when I discovered these stair treads, and read the reviews, we decided to give them a try. Anything that doesn’t slip, but is easily removed for cleaning, sounded like the way to go to me.

We love them! And our kitty, Nika, loves them, too. Check ’em out.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 136: LEGO® Learnings In My Living Room appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 135: Kat Koppett – “Improv is the Gym for Life”
1:01:55
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 1:01:55
LCN 135: Kat Koppett – “Improv is the Gym for Life”

LCN 135: Kat Koppett   "Improv Is the Gym for Life"I met Kat Koppett at the Applied Improvisation Network World Conference in August, but I’ve actually been a fan of hers for a long time.

Kat is the author of a “bible” in the world of applied improvisation, Training to Imagine: Practical Improvisational Theatre Techniques for Trainers and Managers to Enhance Creativity, Teamwork, Leadership, and Learning.

Kat got into improv rather accidentally. She trained as an actor, and fell in love with improv because, ironically, there were rules for being spontaneous!

(Remind you of anything? Yours truly had to create “rules” in order to free myself of the perfectionist paralysis that was keeping me from doing the creative things I longed to do. “Rules” that ultimately became the 10 Guideposts of my book, The Creative Sandbox Way.)

Plus in improv, unlike in scripted theater, you can play anything. And you get to be writer and director and actor, all at the same time!

I’ve been doing improv for about four and a half years now, and I’ve been telling people for four and a half years that if I could recommend one thing to make a positive impact on your life, your business, your relationships, it would be to take improv classes.

Kat reflected this when she said in our conversation that “improv is the gym for life.”

In other words, improv is the gym for a lot of the skills that individuals and organizations realize they need to help people expand their awareness of their performance and the impact it has, and the range of options they have, so when the choices they make aren’t reaching their objectives, they can make other choices.

Any situation in which you need to collaborate or communicate with other humans, improv is the gym.

#improvisthegym

Listen to our conversation to hear Kat share what it’s like to be in the room during a training, applied improv vs. “purposeless play,” why her book has “the worst title in the world,” and a lot more.

Find Kat online at:

Website: http://koppett.com

Kat’s theater company, MopCo: https://www.mopco.org/

Kat’s new podcast, Dare to Be Human: http://daretobehumanpodcast.com/

Resources:

http://thiagi.com

Something Cool

From Kat:

Oxgord Dog Poop Bags with Clip-on Leash Dispenser

From Melissa:

OXO Good Grips Two-Fold Grater

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 135: Kat Koppett – “Improv is the Gym for Life” appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 134: Forget FOMO Try COMO
22:35
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 22:35
LCN 134: Forget FOMO Try COMO

LCN 134: Forget FOMO   Try COMOYou may have heard the term FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a product of living in a society of abundance.

So many choices! So many amazing things going on, and because we carry around these devices that allow us to see, at all times, what all our friends are up to, it’s easy to get caught up in FOMO.

Where FOMO is the worst, though, is when you go to a conference, right?

Not a boring work conference, but a really juicy, exciting one, with a ton of workshops and panels, where every single one is something you are just dying to attend. You can’t make up your mind, because you don’t want to choose between them, and it’s excruciating. And paralyzing.

That is FOMO.

And I was at such a conference, the Creative Problem Solving Institute, in Buffalo, New York, this past June, when I met a new friend, Erica Marx, who introduced me to the concept of COMO.

COMO has changed everything for me.

COMO is the antidote to FOMO.

FOMO, as we know, is Fear Of Missing Out.

COMO is Certainty of Missing Out.

Because you are going to miss out on some things. It is inevitable. It is impossible, at this juncture in time, to attend multiple conference workshops in different rooms at the same time.

Hermione Granger‘s ability to time travel is not possible in this space-time continuum, alas.

So embrace COMO. Embrace the fact that you are going to miss out on lots of things you would love to attend, let them go, and let yourself be fully present for the things you do get to attend.

Because if you’re lamenting the workshops you are missing, you won’t be enjoying the workshops you’re actually attending.

AND, once you make a decision, your brain is so much happier and less anxious! Our brains hate the state of being undecided!

COMO in Real Life

Of course, COMO applies well beyond the realm of conferences and workshops. Conferences provide very handy examples, but the real power of COMO is in day to day life.

COMO came into play in a very big way in my own life just over a week ago when I woke up to two voicemails from my husband on Saturday morning.

My husband happened to be at a conference in Austin, Texas. And he is not a phone guy, so the fact that there were two voicemail messages from him, early in the morning, got my spidey senses tingling, and not in a good way.

And when he started off the first message by saying he didn’t feel well, and the friend he was staying with had driven him to Urgent Care, well, as you can imagine, I was pretty freaked out.

Turns out he had appendicitis, and about 90 minutes later he was in surgery having his very enlarged appendix removed. (By the way, he’s fine. He’s recovering great, and everything is fine.)

Now. He was supposed to fly home from the conference on Monday. And I was supposed to fly to North Carolina on Wednesday, to go to Life Is A Verb Camp. But because of his surgery, his return flight had to be postponed to Wednesday.

(Oh, and did I mention that Sunday was my birthday? I was going to spend the first half of the day at camp, and then the rest of my birthday in planes and airports. Not with my husband.)

So that left me with a choice.

Choice = FOMO… or COMO!

I could let my husband come home from emergency appendectomy surgery to an empty house, get himself home from the airport, and spend four days recuperating at home all alone, while I go to camp as planned, and spend most of my birthday in transit.

Or I could postpone my flight by a day, pick my husband up at the airport late Wednesday, then turn around and go back to the airport early the next morning for a 6:00 am flight to camp, leaving my husband to recuperate at home all alone, and spend most of my birthday in transit.

Or I could postpone my flight til Friday, get one full day at home with my husband, spend a full day in transit, get a day and a half of camp, before spending the rest of my birthday in transit.

Or I could cancel my trip entirely and stay home with my husband, miss all of camp, but spend my birthday with him.

Whatever I decided, COMO Certainty Of Missing Out on all the wonderful connections and experiences of camp if I stayed home with my husband (plus I was one of only a handful of five-time campers, so I would lose that status if I didn’t go); and Certainty Of Missing Out on time with my husband, and much-needed work time, and much-needed down time if I decided to go.

It was tough decision, no getting around it.

COMO helped a lot.

It’s not that the decision itself magically got easier, but reminding myself that no matter what I chose, I was going to miss out on something, and to embrace that certainty, helped to soften something for me so I could ease into the choice that I knew was right, which was to stay home with my husband.

Honestly, I have done way more than my personal limit of traveling this year. And I really didn’t want to get on another plane. So it’s kind of interesting that the Universe threw this particular monkey wrench in right now.

Funny how life works, isn’t it?

Anyway, thanks to COMO, instead of resenting our bad luck, I was able to enjoy the photos and messages that people shared over in the Life Is A Verb Camp Facebook Group with a full and open heart, while being fully present with my husband.

I was so profoundly grateful for those “extra” five days I got to have with him, and that I got to spend my birthday with him, and I got to have a birthday dinner with my parents, too! That was an unexpected silver lining from the surprise appendectomy!

I hope the concept of COMO helps you as much as it’s helped me. Next time you think FOMO, remember COMO!

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is a brand, new podcast I just discovered, called Unplaced created by Michelle Nickolaisen.

Unplaced is an audio drama that tells the story of a woman who wakes up one day to find that no one can see or hear her, and everyone she knows is slowly forgetting about her.

If you like your podcasts with a mix of introspection and urban fantasy, with a dash of supernatural horror, check it out.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 134: Forget FOMO Try COMO appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 133: The Spectacular Angela Ferrari
48:27
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 48:27
LCN 133: The Spectacular Angela Ferrari

LCN 133: The Spectacular Angela FerrariToday’s guest is Angela Ferrari, an artist, children’s book author/ illustrator based in Portland Maine, who is also the creator and host of the Story Spectacular podcast.

In our conversation Angela shared her story of developing a successful art business, balancing creating for joy vs. creating for clients, and why she decided to expand her creative endeavors into writing and illustrating children’s books, and now her new podcast.

She also shared the creative pursuit she does purely for fun, and why this is an important part of her life, even though she knows she’ll never be really good at it.

We also talked about:

  • The challenge of letting go of the identity that you’re known for by your admiring public, when you find yourself in a creative rut.
  • Life as evolution, rather than a destination you arrive at.
  • “No skill is ever wasted.” Every skill you learn informs every other skill you go on to learn.
  • How Angela approaches writing her children’s books, even though she was always horrible at punctuation, spelling, and grammar in school!
  • Where her book ideas have come from.
  • How she creates her illustrations.
  • Why Angela decided to start her podcast, and how she got started even though she knew nothing about podcasting!
  • “Productive crying / productive frustration” and the importance of tackling frustrating projects early in the day.
  • And more!

Angela grew up in the mountains of western Maine. Living in a rural setting, she developed a talent for finding creative ways to play and captivate her imagination.

After graduating with a BA in studio art from The University of Maine, Angela moved to Portland. She was accepted into the Assets for Artists program which focused on business finance for creative entrepreneurs. After completing the required training, Angela received matching grant funds for working capital. She then became a successful artist, specializing in acrylic on canvas, painting landscapes that capture the picturesque aspects of Maine.

She has since expanded her artistic endeavors, writing and illustrating three children s books: Digger s Daily Routine, An Extraordinary Book, and What Do You See. Most recently Angela has launched Story Spectacular, a children s story podcast. The show features original stories and classic retellings.

Working with kids and parents, she discovered that often times children weren t getting enough time for free-play. Her mission is to help foster the imagination by sharing creative stories.

Story Spectacular is a twice-weekly children’s story podcast featuring original stories and classic retellings, that can be taken along anywhere!

Listeners will enjoy creative stories with vivid characters and sound design. Some shows even feature songs, jokes, or fun facts too.

Find Angela online at:

Website: http://storyspectacular.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/storytacular/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StorySpectacular/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/storytacular

Something Cool

From Angela:

Love Letter Game

Buy on Amazon (aff): Love Letter (Velvet Bag)

Buy on Amazon (aff): Love Letter (Boxed Edition)

From Melissa:

Infographic by Maptia of 11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 133: The Spectacular Angela Ferrari appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 132: A Gentle Reminder that Falling Off the Wagon Is Not the Problem
20:10
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 20:10
LCN 132: A Gentle Reminder that Falling Off the Wagon Is Not the Problem

LCN 132: A Gentle Reminder That Falling Off the Wagon Is Not the ProblemLast week I was out of the country, in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia, getting 40 hours of training in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methods and materials.

What is LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®? It’s an amazing methodology with a wide range of applications that yes, uses LEGO® bricks, to get people thinking with their hands.

I first encountered LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® at a one-day workshop at the Creative Problem Solving Institute, an annual conference in Buffalo, New York, last June, and I was so blown away by that experience that I signed up for the advanced certification in the methodology with Master Trainer, Jacquie Lloyd Smith, of Strategic Play® (tell her I sent you!).

(If you’d like to hear more about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, I had Jacquie on the podcast recently, episode 128, so check that out.)

Anyway, this episode isn’t about LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, although that was the entire focus of my last week, and I could happily talk about it for hours.

What I want to talk about is the byproduct of that: falling off the wagon.

Because I was so intensely focused on my training, and on connecting with the other people in my classes when we weren’t in class, that my daily doodles just flew out the window.

I actually brought my ukulele with me, and I managed to play at least a little bit most nights before bed. And I even managed to get a little French practice in most nights, too (something else I’m making an effort to do every day, since MM and I are planning a trip to Paris next summer, and I’d like to have some idea of what people are saying!)

But the daily doodling fell right out the window.

And here I am the creativity queen!

But here’s the thing: falling off the wagon happens.

Falling off the wagon is not actually even the problem. It’s how we respond to it that’s the problem.

If I responded to my falling off the daily doodle wagon by beating myself up, how helpful do you think that would be?

Do you think it would make me more inclined to pick up my pen?

If I responded to my falling off the wagon by saying, “Omigod, Melissa, you missed seven days of doodles! That means now you have to make eight doodles today to make up for it, instead of just one!”

Do you think that would make me more inclined to pick up my pen?

Guess what? Adding “missed” days to today’s goal is a form of beating yourself up!

Scientific studies have shown, over and over, that the people who respond to their stumbles with self-forgiveness and self-compassion are much more likely to achieve their goals in the end than those who beat themselves up.

This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. If you know you’re going to stumble eventually (because you’re human), and you know you’re going to get a beating when you do, it becomes less painful to just stop trying.

But if you know you’ll be forgiven, you can stumble a zillion times and it won’t matter.

People are often afraid that letting themselves off the hook like this will lead to laziness and dissipation, but in fact, study after study has shown the opposite. Self-compassion keeps you at it, because you always get to take a fresh start, with no guilt.

Which is exactly what I did when I came home from my LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training.

Back on the wagon doodle, 10/23/17

The truth is, when I boarded the plane for Canada, I gave myself a pass on doodling for the week. I knew I wasn’t going to be doing morning doodles, and I let that be okay.

And when I got home, I started up again, and it felt great to get back to it. No guilt, just goodness. Because even though I know other people look to me for inspiration, and part of my mission is to use my own creative expression to inspire others to get creating, ultimately I’m doing my doodles for me.

It has to be that way. If it becomes about impressing anyone else, or doing it for anyone else in any way, then I’ve jumped right out of the Creative Sandbox, haven’t I? And that defeats the whole purpose of what I’m trying to do!

Creating in the Creative Sandbox means there is no wrong (Guidepost #1), and that it’s all about the process, not the product (Guidepost #2). And of course, it means I’m dismissing all gremlins (Guidepost #8) and treating myself with compassion (Guidepost #9).

True, I wasn’t thinking tiny and daily (Guidepost #4) in terms of doodles, but I was creating in other ways while I was in Whistler. I mean, it wasn’t as if I was cramming my creative spirit in a closet for a week, after all. I made a conscious decision about where I was spending my time and energy. And I decided there would be no guilt involved.

And I gotta tell you, compared with my old way of guilting myself and beating myself up, it felt pretty great.

So where do you need to start fresh? Where do you need to let yourself off the hook and bring in some self-forgiveness and self-compassion?

Let me know how it goes!

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is the Duolingo app, which is how I’m learning French! Little by little, day by day, I’m learning French with this app, and I gotta say, it really is pretty cool. And it’s free! Check it out.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 132: A Gentle Reminder that Falling Off the Wagon Is Not the Problem appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 131: Your Highest Value Offering
19:47
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 19:47
LCN 131: Your Highest Value Offering

LCN 131: Your Highest Value OfferingExactly one month ago today I had just come home from my 5th annual Create & Incubate Retreat. (Possibly my favorite week of the entire year.)

The other day, at a networking lunch, a potential business partner asked me what people get out of my retreats. I loved this question, because it made me realize that what the sales page for the retreat had been saying, and what the retreat actually does for people, are two really different things.

Not that the sales page was wrong. It said “Spend 5 Days Living Inside a Hug,” and “Incubate Your Next Creative Project Distraction-Free.”

It talked about how at home, despite the best of intentions, the little slings and arrows of daily life just always seem to get in your way.

And how it can be so damn lonely doing your creating all alone all the time.

All this is true.

It asked, wouldn’t it be wonderful to feel part of a larger creative community, to surf on the buzz of energy that happens when a dozen people are all together in a room, immersed in their own creative process?

To have a tribe of big-hearted people to compare notes with over lunch, or share stories with on a walk around the duck pond, or brainstorm and laugh with over a glass of wine before the fire in the evening?

Wouldn’t you love to recharge your commitment to your creative spirit? To fill your tank with a reserve of energy to propel you through the year?

And wouldn’t it be great to do all of this in a cozy, beautiful setting, with support, guidance, and just the right amount of structure from someone you trust?

These are all great questions. But when my potential business partner asked me what people get out of my retreats, I didn’t answer with any of that stuff.

What I said was that my retreat transforms how they think of themselves and their place in the world.

It transforms how they think of themselves and their place in the world.

“Wow. That’s huge,” he said.

Yeah. It is. It’s huge.

It’s a lot more than just making some art.

And I’m not belittling making art! I’m simply acknowledging that what people get out of my Create & Incubate Retreat is more than making their art.

And it took him asking the question for me to actually articulate that.

So here’s what I really want to talk about today. When I was at the retreat, on the very last day we were doing our final sharing. (Every night after dinner I facilitate a sharing, where everyone has few minutes to share what they’ve been working on that day. And on the last day we do a final sharing after lunch. So we were doing that.)

And Kimberly was sharing this gorgeous piece that she’d been working on throughout the week, which started off with watercolor, and then because she’s a Zentangle® whiz, she added a layer of utterly gorgeous Zentangle® brilliance on top of that.

Artwork and words by Kimberly Michael, created at Create & Incubate Retreat 2017

And as we were all oohing and ahhing, she dismissed it by saying, “And that’s just Zentangle®.”

So I used that as an opportunity for a teaching moment.

Your Highest Value Offering

I shared with everyone that years ago I interviewed a cartoonist, Carlos Castellanos, for an online course called the Thriving Artists Project. Carlos said something that stuck with me:

“The thing that comes easiest and most naturally to you is your highest value offering.”

In other words, the thing that you take for granted, that you dismiss, that you think to yourself, “Oh, anyone could do this,” so you undervalue it, woefully undercharge for it, or give it away for free?

That is the thing you should be charging the most for.

I think my head exploded when Carlos said those words to me, and I could practically hear people’s heads exploding in the room at the retreat. Maybe your head is exploding right now.

So let me repeat that.

The thing that comes easiest and most naturally to you is your highest value offering. It’s what you should be charging the most for. 

Not, “Oh, this is easy for me, so I can’t possibly charge a lot for it.” No. It’s what you should be charging the MOST for.

Just because it’s easy for YOU does not mean it’s easy for everyone. It’s NOT easy for everyone. It’s easy for you because it’s your superpower.

The thing that comes easiest and most naturally to you is your highest value offering. It’s what you should be charging the most for.

So go stew on that for awhile, okay?

My Stew

And don’t worry, you’re not alone in needing to stew, because at the retreat, right after this little lecture, when Jennifer said, “Melissa, THIS is your super power, THIS is your highest value offering,” um… THAT was a connect-the-dots moment for me, big-time.

No, I’m not making Create & Incubate Retreat outrageously expensive (although prices are going up from last year).

But the facilitation I do at Create & Incubate Retreat? It’s exactly the same as the facilitation I want to do for companies with the new creative consultancy I’m creating. And those companies have funds to PAY BIG MONEY.

CONNECT. THE. DOTS.

I’ve been stewing and ruminating on those dots ever since.

I’ve got some HUGE money-mindset blocks, I know. And this year’s retreat shone a light on that for me from a different direction.

I haven’t busted that block YET, but I am chipping away at it with stubborn determination!

And reminding myself of Carlos Castellanos’ words, and getting the validation from my retreatants, came at just the right time.

The thing that comes easiest and most naturally to you is your highest value offering. It’s what you should be charging the most for. 

Something Cool

The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently, by Sunni Brown

I’ve seen this book in my Amazon recommended reads for months now, and I finally took a risk and ordered it. WOW! I’m in love!

So much of what Diane Bleck (whose interview is most likely going live next week) talks about comes straight from the Sunni Brown/Doodle Revolution lineage.

It’s really a manifesto on doodling as thinking. To doodle = to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think.

Having recently just started adding doodles to my notes at conferences, I can say that this is absolutely true. My chicken-scratch doodle notes are much more memorable, more fun, and more likely to be referred to again than any pure text notes I’ve ever taken!

Anyway, if you’re at all interested in visual learning and visual thinking and you really should be I highly recommend The Doodle Revolution.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 131: Your Highest Value Offering appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 130: Van Lai-Dumone Brings Art to Business
56:34
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 56:34
LCN 130: Van Lai-Dumone Brings Art to Business

LCN 130: Van Lai-Dumone Brings Art to BusinessVan Lai-Dumone (pronounced “Vun,” like “Fun” with a “v”) is part business consultant, part employee engagement facilitator, and part creative instigator (sound familiar? It should Van knows how to steal like an artist!  ) With her business WorksmART, she designs and develops business workshops to create a culture of idea sharing.

This whole idea of idea sharing collaboration over competition kicked off our conversation, and we were off to the races (no pun intended).

Van and I talked about how she got started bringing art workshops into companies, how she still doesn’t consider herself an “artist” (even though she creates art all the time), and a whole lot more.

I first met Van back in June at the Creative Problem Solving Institute, a conference on applied creativity in Buffalo, New York. We talked in the hot sun for at least an hour on the first day, and I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. Of course I had to bring her onto the podcast.

As you’ll hear, we seemed to tap into some kind of universal creative… something. The same way that people who have near-death experiences seem to tap into the same universal consciousness.

At one point, although Van has never read my book, listened to the podcast, or read the blog, she was essentially quoting my entire philosophy back to me.

Because this stuff is universal, you guys! It’s not like I made it up out of whole cloth.

When we meet someone who’s speaking our language, every cell in our body vibrates at the same frequency. That is resonance. Capisci?

Have a listen, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Find Van at http://worksmartadvantage.com

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/worksmartadvantage/

On Twitter at https://twitter.com/worksmart_LA

On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/worksmartadvantage/

OXO-measuring-cup

Something Cool

From Van: Cape Gooseberries

From Melissa: OXO Good Grips 2-Cup Angled Measuring Cup

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 130: Van Lai-Dumone Brings Art to Business appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 129: My Yom Kippur Screwup (Or How to Make a Not-So-Awesome Experience Awesome)
29:08
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 29:08
LCN 129: My Yom Kippur Screwup (Or How to Make a Not-So-Awesome Experience Awesome)

LCN 129: My Yom Kippur Screwup (Or How to Make a Not-So-Awesome Experience Awesome)Last Saturday was Yom Kippur, and just like every year, I co-led the 3 1/2 hour service with another lay leader at my synagogue.

Neither of us is a rabbi, or a cantor, but every year we get to “play one on TV” for the crowd who shows up for High Holy Days.

Because that’s the relationship that most American Jews have with synagogues: they show up once a year for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (collectively known as the High Holy Days).

And that has become my own relationship with my synagogue: I show up and lead services.

Usually I get together with my co-leader a few weeks in advance to go over the service, plan out who’s going to do what, put sticky notes in my book, remind myself of the melodies, and basically rehearse.

But this year there was no meeting with my co-leader. She was busy, as always, and when she emailed to try to schedule a meeting I was at my Create & Incubate Retreat. And then I was at a conference.

And although the dates for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have, quite literally, been on the calendar for millennia, I was so preoccupied with all the mishegas of my own little life that, well, I just never got around to rehearsing on my own.

And guess what? The parts that I’m weakest on, I made a royal mess of.

One spot in particular, in the Yom Kippur afternoon service, I chant the Haftarah after the Torah portion is chanted. It’s the custom in my synagogue that we do this in English, rather than in Hebrew, using the traditional cantillation melodies the trope. So because it’s in English, even though I screwed up the trope in several places, there’s not really a right or wrong way to do it anyway, so my screw-ups weren’t a big deal.

Maybe three people in the room would have even noticed.

But after the Haftarah, there are traditional blessings that get chanted in Hebrew. And I’ve always felt a bit weak on those. And guess what? I didn’t practice, so the very last blessing? I just completely bombed.

As in full-stop, deer in the headlights, brain fart, mangled.

In actor parlance, I went up.

I felt my face get hot I’m sure I looked like a roasted beet and I actually apologized.

Then I painfully stumbled my through, like a hog-tied zombie.

It was bad.

That was the afternoon. Before that, the 3 1/2 hour morning service as a whole didn’t flow nearly as smoothly as it should have, because my co-leader prints out these “running sheets” spreadsheets with who does what and instead of transferring that information onto sticky notes into my book, which is what I’ve always done in the past, this year I decided to try it her way, with the running sheet.

So any time there was a new anything, I had to keep referring to the running sheet.

“Turn to page 33 in the supplement,” or “Would somebody like to read the middle paragraph on page 126 in the machzor?” or “Let’s sing together at the top of page 45.”

I didn’t know if my co-leader was supposed to be the person taking charge, or if I was supposed to be the person taking charge, unless I consulted the running sheet. But that meant taking my eyes off the book.

And of course there’s not just one book, there’s also a supplement. And an extra song sheet.

So it gets really confusing!

And since my co-leader was the one who had made all the decisions about who was doing what, it was all inside her brain. But it wasn’t inside my brain.

And of course, we hadn’t met to go over the service as we usually do!

The upshot was that all of this referring back and forth from book to spreadsheet to supplement to spreadsheet made for a clunky, gap-filled service.

I did not like it.

All of this could have been easily resolved if we had simply met in advance to go over the services, as we’ve done every other year. But we didn’t.

And we didn’t because I was waiting for my co-leader to reach out to me. Very stubbornly, I might add. With a sort of attitude of, “If you want my help, then you’re going to have to ask. And if you wait until it’s too late, then too bad I’m busy.”

And that’s what happened. She waited until the last minute to reach out to me, then wanted to get together when I was away at my Create & Incubate Retreat, and then when I was away at a conference.

And when she wanted to a do a brand new song, and get together on Thursday, after I’d just flown home from Philadelphia on Wednesday (when Yom Kippur was starting on Friday), I put my foot down and said “no.”

(Yay me! I set a boundary!)

But in the middle of the Yom Kippur service on Saturday, I realized that my attitude of waiting for her to reach out to me to schedule a get-together to go over the service is extremely tight and stingy.

And I realized that not meeting with her in advance contributed to my feeling like I was phoning it in, which I did not like one bit. Even if nobody else perceived my performance that way, my inner perception felt that way, and it did not feel good. That was not a feeling I wanted to replicate ever again.

If I am going to lead services, I don’t want to bring my B game even if my B game is as good as someone else’s A game! (Which it may or may not be I’m just sayin’.) I want to bring my A game.

And that means feeling prepared.

That means taking the time that I need to rehearse in advance.

That means meeting with my co-leader not just a few days or a week before the service, scrambling to squeeze an appointment into my busy schedule (which is how it’s happened up till now), but at least a month beforehand, and getting that appointment on the calendar well in advance.

And if my co-leader wants to add a new song to the mix, none of this last minute stuff! I need at least two months advance notice for  a new song!

So I made those my requirements for engagement going forward. If they want me to continue to help leading services, I am more than happy to do so, as long as these requirements are met.

I drew a line in the sand.

I set boundaries, folks!

And guess what? My co-leader was delighted! She said it would force her to be more organized, which would be good for her!

She immediately looked at the calendar for next year, asked what my August was like. I said I’ll be in Paris the second half of the month, at the Applied Improvisation Network conference, so we booked a meeting for the first Sunday in August.

Look at us, planning a year in advance!

I’ll get sticky notes in my book, the way I like, so all of the stage directions are right where I can easily refer to them, rather than having to look back and forth from book to spreadsheet and back.

And because we’ll be meeting a month beforehand, I’ll get started early on reviewing the melodies, and reminding myself which parts of the service are my weak spots and need work, and I’ll have four weeks to work on them, rather than a hopeless, last-minute cram the night before, like this year.

That feels so good!

It feels generous, rather than stingy.

I’m actually looking forward to next year rather than resenting it. I realized my resentment was my lack of boundaries, as resentment so often is.

Resentment is anger at myself, misdirected at YOU through the lens of victimhood.

The Golden Formula

Meanwhile, remember that awful moment up on the bima, when I mangled the blessing after the Haftarah because wasn’t prepared?

Oh, that was painful, yes, but here’s the beautiful thing. I noticed that the shame and humiliation dissipated within a few minutes.

In fact, it wasn’t true shame at all. As Brené Brown explains:

Humiliation = I did something bad.

Shame = I am bad.

I was annoyed at myself for being so underprepared (and I also realized after I sat down that I could have chosen to do the blessings after the Haftarah in English. I could have made it a teaching moment “We chant the Haftarah in English, but we never look at the blessings in English, so let’s do that today!” Nobody would have even known that my Hebrew was weak. They would have just thought, “Huh, that was new and different!”)

So there were a couple of ways I was annoyed at myself: I screwed up the blessing because I hadn’t rehearsed, and I didn’t think to do the blessing in English.

But I  knew that beating myself up about it was not useful. 

Hey, people just got to see me being human! How cool is that?

And my big mess-up taught me, in no uncertain terms that I never want to experience that again.

So this whole thing is a fabulous case study example of my Golden Formula in action:

Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

Self-awareness = I noticed my stingy feeling, not feeling prepared, the internal feeling of “phoning it in,” massively messing up and how that feels, and also realizing doh! that I could always at anytime choose to read or chant in English.

Self-compassion = responding with self-forgiveness, self-kindness, and generosity. Asking, “What’s the most loving, open-hearted way to respond here?” Setting boundaries, for one! Getting really clear that yes, I’d love to participate, but these are my requirements for participation.

(Tip: it may sound counter-intuitive, but setting boundaries is always the most loving, open-hearted way to respond!)

When you can approach every situation with this kind of learning mindset, even a not-so-awesome experience can become awesome because of what you get out of it in the end. 

This year’s High Holy Days services were not my best in terms of the performance I delivered, but in terms of overall gifts? Of what I gained from them? I’d say they were off the charts.

Something Cool

Fitbit AltaFitbit Alta (aff)

When my mom lost her Fitbit, bought a new one, then found the old one, she gave the old one to me as an early birthday present, and I have to say, I absolutely love it!

Not only does it track steps (probably not totally accurately, but hey, it lets me know how much movement I’m getting today compared to yesterday, which is what matters), it also tracks my sleep, and it connects to my iPhone to let me know when texts and phone calls are coming in.

This is supremely helpful, since I tend to get distracted and miss important messages. And I can just set my phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode if I don’t want my wrist vibrating.

I had a Fitbit Zip before, but this is a great upgrade.

I was concerned it wouldn’t work with my treadmill desk, since I’m usually typing while I walk, but it captures all my typing steps just the same way my Zip did, plus it has all sorts of other awesome features, and because I wear it on my wrist, I don’t have to worry about it falling into the toilet (as my Zip has been known to do…) Highly recommended!

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 129: My Yom Kippur Screwup (Or How to Make a Not-So-Awesome Experience Awesome) appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 128: Jacquie Lloyd Smith Plays with LEGO® for a Living
1:02:50
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 1:02:50
LCN 128: Jacquie Lloyd Smith Plays with LEGO® for a Living

LCN 128: Jacquie Lloyd Smith Plays with LEGO® for a LivingActually, Jacquie Lloyd Smith trains other people to play with LEGO® for a living.

Huh? What does that mean? Have a listen to our conversation and find out!

In short, Jacquie trains people (like me!) to be facilitators of a methodology called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (or LSP for short).

And yes, LSP uses those little plastic bricks that you probably played with as a kid.

I met Jacquie when I took a one-day workshop in LSP at the Creative Problem Solving Institute conference in Buffalo, New York this past June, and I was blown away both by the LSP methodology, and by Jacquie.

I wanted to learn at her feet, and I wanted to soak up everything I could about LSP.

So I signed up for five days of advanced training in LSP with Jacquie at her headquarters in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, this October (just a few weeks away now yay!).

And I invited Jacquie to come talk to me on the podcast! Because LSP is so cool, and I want other people to know about it, and how it’s bringing creativity into places where you don’t think of creativity going.

Like corporate boardrooms, for example. And for community development, to help communities become less xenophobic. To name just a couple of examples.

Jacquie and talked about what LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® is (in a nutshell, it’s a process that was developed to help people communicate and think better), why it’s different from other creative/arts-based methodologies, and how Jacquie got into it.

We also talked about what it means that LSP is open source.

Some of the specific advantages of LSP include:

  1. It lowers the bar for entry to the world of creativity.
  2. It allows for rich stories to be told very quickly.
  3. It makes collaboration easy, because participants can join their stories together very easily by snapping pieces together.
  4. It allows for rapid iteration, because LEGO® contructs and deconstructs quickly, so we can change our mind at any point in the process.

About Jacqueline (Jacquie) Lloyd, MA, MBA, (ATR), (CMC)

Jacquie is an international speaker, trainer, facilitator, and has presented in North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Oceania.

A successful entrepreneur, she started her first business at age nineteen. Today she continues to grow the global brand StrategicPlay®.

With an interesting educational background in the arts, psychology, and innovation, she now focuses her energy on helping others by revolutionizing how they think, to solve messy problems and to improve their business functions.

For years Jacquie worked as a licensed partner with the LEGO® Group in Denmark, where she was trained and then became a trainer for the company in the method LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. In 2007, she received the partner business growth award from the LEGO® Group, Play for Business Division. In 2009, Jacquie was appointed to the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training board and is a Master Trainer, trained by the LEGO® Group to deliver facilitator training in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®.

In 2010, she joined associates from the EU and Australia and worked to found the leading edge LSP community and network of global facilitators dedicated to the development of and advancement of the use of play and other creative hands-on tools for thinking, problem-solving, and innovation.

Find Jacquie at

Interested in Learning More About LSP?

Check out LSP tools:

Here’s the LEGO® SeriousPlay® Starter Kit 2000414

Here’s a document from StrategicPlay® on why LSP works.

Check out this video case study of the City of Surrey, illustrating how Jacquie’s company uses the power of play to activate thinking to solve messy problems like poverty, align groups, create and measure options, drive actions, and get excellent results.

Something Cool

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methods Diagnostic Cards by StrategicPlayFrom Jacquie:
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methods Diagnostic Cards

SPECIAL BONUS! Jacquie would be happy to give a 15% off discount to anyone who orders using this code: 2017 Melissa Dinwiddie Network. Click this link to go directly to the order sheet.

From Melissa:
Big Little Lies, the award-winning TV series from HBO

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 128: Jacquie Lloyd Smith Plays with LEGO® for a Living appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 127: Don’t Worry About the Feelings
24:24
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 24:24
LCN 127: Don’t Worry About the Feelings

LCN 127: Don't Worry About the FeelingsAfter an endless year of waiting, the 5th annual Create & Incubate Retreat came and went it wrapped up on Sunday.

I swear, those five days are the most wonderful five days of my year, and they just keep getting better each year.

And they seem to go faster each year, too.

I wait forever for the retreat to come, and then it’s finally here, and I’m immersed in magical creative energy, and laughter, and generosity, and warm-heartedness…

The badass ladies of Create & Incubate Retreat 2017, with our gremlins!

And spontaneous visits from deer and quail and hummingbirds…

Deer outside the window of our Incubator at Create & Incubate Retreat 2017!

And uninterrupted create time in the Incubator for five days…

Artists at work in the Incubator at Create & Incubate Retreat 2017!

And then in the blink of an eye it’s over, and I’m home again. Back to the messy chaos that is my normal life.

It’s a short week this week, too. Thursday is Rosh Hashanah, so I’ll be out all day leading services. And then I leave early-early Saturday morning for the Heroic Public Speaking Live conference in Philadelphia.

And, of course, because planning ahead is not one of my strengths, I had a massive project deadline on Monday, so I had to hit the ground running.

And alas, I do not have next week’s podcast in the can, so I’m making this episode a short one, in order to get two episodes recorded this week.

So what I wanted to share with you today is from a little thread from the Create & Incubate Retreat Alums Facebook group, with permission from my best friend, Amy.

See, Amy has come to my retreat every year since its inception. And Amy is, among other things, a playwright. She spent previous retreats working on a play that ultimately was produced last year.

And it was amazing.

This year she used her time at the retreat to start work on a new play. But the gremlins were vicious.

Amy’s first play was set in modern day, is very realistic in tone, and revolves around a couple facing very realistic challenges.

Her new play is really different. It’s based on a well-known classic novel, which has been dramatized into plays and film countless times over the years already.

“What’s the point?” said Amy’s gremlins before she came to the retreat. “Who would possibly be interested in yet another version of this story? Why would anyone want to come see my play?”

She was feeling pretty hopeless about it.

But all of that changed inside the Incubator.

Amy working on her play in the Incubator at Create & Incubate Retreat 2017

It’s impossible to communicate in words the magic of creating in a room together, in companionable silence. Everyone working on their own creative projects.

The cross-fertilization that happens. The inspiration.

And because I start each day, right after breakfast, with Catalyzing sessions, we are all loosened up, laughing, out of our heads and in our bodies.

The gremlins are dispersed, we are grounded, connected with each other, ready to dive into the uncertainty that is creativity.

Artwork and words by Kimberly Michael, created at Create & Incubate Retreat 2017

So by the time we did our sharing after dinner each night, and gave each other a glimpse of what we’d been working on all day, the rest of us were blown away by the imaginative, creative, genre-bending scenes Amy had painted from the story we all knew so well.

A. Ma. Zing!

“You must produce this play to be right before or after Create & Incubate Retreat, so I can come see it!” said Rebekah, who has flown all the way from New York two years in a row to attend the retreat (and has already pre-registered for next year, along with almost everyone else make sure you’re on my mailing list if you want to attend next year, because most of the spots are already taken by this year’s attendees  I’ll be sending out early bird registration info to my Insiders Newsletter subscribers once I have the dates confirmed and the contract finalized).

The Cold of Re-Entry

But here’s what happens: at the retreat, when we’re surrounded by the bubble of warm, cozy support and encouragement, everything feels possible. The gremlins still show up, but we get help in sending them off to get pedicures, so they don’t run the show.

And then we go home.

Usually that means isolation. We’re not in a cozy, creative Incubator anymore. So what felt fun and delightful and exciting and filled with possibility at the retreat, in the harsh fluorescent lighting of our day-to-day lives suddenly feels lame.

Those “you don’t know what the hell you’re doing” gremlins start to rear their ugly heads.

I posted a “re-entry” video in the Retreat Alums Facebook group, to remind everyone that coming home after an experience like Create & Incubate Retreat can be jarring, and to treat ourselves gently and lovingly. And in response, Amy shared this:

Amy - Retreat 2017 re-entry blues

Then Amy shared this Andy Warhol quote, which triggered a little thread/rant:

Andy Warhol image: "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether thy love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." Facebook comments follow.

And that is what I want to share with you today. May it inspire you to put on a timer, if that helps you, and just create. Just start.

Whatever anyone else decides and whatever you even decide about what you create doesn’t freaking matter. What matters is that you DO IT.

So go do it already.

Then let me know you did it, because that will make us both happy.

Go get creating!

Create & Incubate Retreat 2017 - all for one and one for all!

Something Cool

This was the first all-female Create & Incubate Retreat, and our mealtime conversations sometimes got a little… female-specific. Which is leading to this week’s Something Cool. I have not actually tried this myself, but one of the retreatants did, and it made camping out during the recent eclipse much more convenient: Pee Pocket!

This is a device that lets you pee like a guy, and we had a very long, very hilarious chat at lunch at the retreat about it.

I confess I’ve been curious about these things for a long time. There a ton of variations out there some disposable, like Pee Pockets some reusable. If you have had experience with any of these devices, I’d love to hear about it! Chime in in the comments!

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 127: Don’t Worry About the Feelings appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 126: Insomnia, Kryptonite, Retreat!
28:59
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 28:59
LCN 126: Insomnia, Kryptonite, Retreat!

LCN 126: Insomnia, Kryptonite, Retreat!I woke up at 5:00 am three days in a row this week. Which would be great if I’d gone to sleep at 9:30, but I didn’t.

I was obsessing on my iPad till midnight.

I don’t know about you, but five hours, even six hours of sleep is not enough for me.

I’ve been staying up late, even though I know it’s going to bite me in the butt the next day. And then I’ve been popping awake really early and my spinny, thinky brain won’t stop spinning and thinking, and I can’t get back to sleep.

I’m in an insomnia fugue.

I go through these every so often. A lot less now, since I’m on this prescription migraine medication, Topamax, which hasn’t, alas, eliminated my migraines, but it has made me into somewhat less of a walking time bomb, and it’s also had some lovely side effects.

For example, it melted away the recalcitrant ten pounds that I was trying (rather unsuccessfully) to learn to accept and embrace.

And it’s also minimized my inherited tendency towards insomnia, which is awesome!

(It has also, oddly, made me poop more frequently, which is a bit of an inconvenience, but one that is well worth the trouble, considering the trade-offs.)

Clearly, given this past week, Topamax’s power against insomnia is clearly limited. Like Superman, it apparently has its Kryptonite, and it seems we have found it.

Topamax’s Kryptonite

So what is making my pop awake at 5:00, especially after staying up so late?

And what is keep me up obsessing until midnight?

(Though I do have to interject here that, in the scheme of things, my staying up till midnight is a vast improvement, because a few years back my normal set point was 2:00 am! And that was really killing me. So midnight as my “Oh, geez, you stayed up way past your bedtime” mark is kind of amazing. And I want to take a moment acknowledge that! Kudos to me!)

Anyway, back to the WHY? What is going on?

Well, I’m in this very interesting transition in my life. My definition of who I am in the world is changing.

I would say I’m reinventing myself, but that’s not accurate. I’m not starting over from whole cloth; I’m evolving.

I am starting a brand, new business, however a creative consultancy to bring all the work I’ve been doing with creativity and play for the past seven years into the corporate and organizational sphere, to work with teams. And I am excited beyond measure a about it!

And it’s still very embryonic.

I’m still figuring out what this new animal looks like what kinds of clients I want to serve, and how I can best help them.

Right now it’s a swirling stew of uncertainty and new learning hence the insomnia.

The learner in me wants to stay up all night gobbling up, soaking up, sponging up every piece of everything that’s in any way related to this new direction (and there’s a lot). I never want to sleep I want to just go-go-go! Absorb-absorb-absorb!

Plus I’m anxious about how to make all the pieces and parts fit together. Which may be contributing to my popping awake early in the morning.

Here’s what I know so far:

The Easy & Fun Part: My  Tool Kit!

If only I could build a business selling my tool kit! Alas, nobody buys tools, they buy results. They buy what’s in it for them. They buy transformation.

Tools are merely how you accomplish those results and that transformation. Tools are the methodology.

Of course, we practitioners love our tools! These are mine.

Applied Improv

Techniques and philosophy drawn from the world of theater and performance, that get people engaging with each other. Improv activities are great for all kinds of applications, including leadership development, team development, effective communication, innovation, the ability to “think on your feet,” and more.

LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®

Yes, you read that right LEGO® as in the little plastic bricks you probably played with as a kid. I’m getting certified next month in a methodology called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® that uses those same little plastic bricks.

I was introduced to it at the Creative Problem Solving Institute back in June, and I was instantly hooked.

And next week I’m bringing the Master Trainer I’m studying with, Jacquie Lloyd-Smith, onto the podcast! So stay tuned and you’ll hear all about this amazing methodology, which gets the contents of your mind out onto the table unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Art/Doodling

It’s so funny, I’m an artist, I have a daily doodle practice, I sometimes doodle very primitive “sketchnotes” in my journal, and only recently did it occur to me that duh! this is something that I can bring to my corporate work!

I mean, hello, there are people who get paid to doodle for companies as their full-time job!

They’re called graphic recorders they stand in front of a huge sheet of paper with a bunch of markers, and capture the contents of a meeting or keynote in doodles.

Now, I don’t actually want to be a graphic recorder, but I could see incorporating graphics, and maybe training teams in visual thinking, visual communication essentially in how to use their existing skills to communicate more effectively.

Performing/Speaking/Facilitating/Training

These are actually different, but related skills. They all involve being in front of people and holding space. It’s my jam, guys.

What I See Myself Helping With

Creative Sandbox Solutions - mindmap

This is the $64,000 question.

I’ve been working with my coach to drill down and try to figure out my niche, but ultimately, I think it will emerge only as I start to do the work.

One of my sayings is, “You can’t think your way to creativity; you’ve got to do something!” I have a feeling the same may apply here.

That said, doing something includes writing and drawing! 

Retreat! Retreat!

And today is the first day of my 2017 Create & Incubate Retreat. And what I decided I wanted to do at this year’s retreat was visioning for my new business!

As the retreat approached, I just couldn’t get myself excited about spending five days painting or doing mixed-media.

But I’ve had really bad experiences in the past of going to retreats and working on work.

In fact, my very first art retreat, with the Friends of Calligraphy, way back in 2002, I was trying to build up my ketubah print business. My spousal support had just run out, and I had agreed to make prints of two designs in time for different clients’ weddings.

I had planned to go to the retreat as a vacation, to make art for me. But the deadlines were looming, and instead I had to spend the entire retreat working on those damn client deadlines!

I was so stressed! It was a miserable experience!

I had constant migraines, and while everyone else was all blissed out and relaxed, I was working like a dog on work deadlines!

Ugh!

I vowed never to do work at a retreat again.

Well, years later I adjusted that vow to never do client work. Never do any work that isn’t totally compelling to me.

Last year at the 4th annual Create & Incubate Retreat, I spent a lot of time making calligraphy videos for Instagram. Which was fun, but it wasn’t really for me, it was more for external reasons. And at the end of the retreat I felt like my energy was split, like I was half on social media, and only half at the retreat.

I didn’t like that.

So this year, I’ve been really trying to tap into what I want to spend my precious time on at the retreat.

And the one good thing about insomnia fugues is they often give me a lot of information. They can tell me what is really compelling to me right now.

And what is compelling to me is this new business I’m bringing to life. And immersing myself for five days, using my writing and art to vision around that feels really juicy.

So that’s the plan! I’ll keep you posted.

Something Cool

And that brings me to this week’s Something Cool, which is Diane Bleck‘s #21DoodleDays!

This is a free eCourse and challenge that you can find at 21DoodleDays.com. And right now Diane is doing 21 consecutive days of live Periscopes at 7:30 am PT / 9:30 am CT today is Day 13!

It’s not too late the lessons are each super easy, and you can jump in any day.

Stay tuned for an interview with Diane the Doodle Girl on the podcast next month!

She is on a mission to unlock Insights, Inspiration and Ideas for companies large and small across the globe. As an Innovation Strategist, she leads and facilitates workshops with leaders across business functions to create award winning content that inspires team to take their business to the next level. And in her spare time she has created The Doodle Institute where she is the mentor and coach for almost 4,000 students around the world teaching them how to DOODLE YOUR DREAMS.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 126: Insomnia, Kryptonite, Retreat! appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 125: Noah Scott Talks Film in a Freezer
55:39
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 55:39
LCN 125: Noah Scott Talks Film in a Freezer

LCN 125: Noah Scott Talks Film in a FreezerNoah Scott was sitting in a walk-in freezer when he spoke with me the other day.

Granted, the freezer wasn’t turned on apparently decommissioned walk-in freezers make great sound recording studios  but still, he said it smelled a little weird.

Said freezer is part of a startup accelerator and co-working space called the Expert Dojo, where Noah director, producer, and founder of the film production company LA REELS brings his film expertise to bear.

But film expertise is actually pretty new in Noah’s life.

It all started with a 500 km walk across Japan about five years ago, and a spontaneous decision to film that walk with his iPhone.

He tells this story, and what happened afterwards, in our conversation. It kept me on the edge of my seat! Have a listen.

Noah‘s directorial debut feature film, “Scramble,” a Pulp Fiction-esque indie action, releases Fall 2017 through Gravitas Ventures. Additionally, he produces inspirational spoken word videos for Project Spaghetti Wall and continues to serve brands and clients in creating professional video content.

Find Noah at lareels.com and on Instagram at follownoah.

Something Cool

From Noah:

Noah prepared this worksheet with everything you need to shoot video at home, from gear to shooting tips, to how to talk on camera.

So cool! Thank you, Noah!

Medic Alert hearts braceletFrom Melissa: MedicAlert

I’ve been wearing a MedicAlert bracelet since I had my tonsils and adenoids out when I was in kindergarten. I had a reaction to one of the drugs that they gave me, and have had to wear a bracelet ever since (it’s how I learned to tell my right from left when I was a little kid!)

This is the style I wear now.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 125: Noah Scott Talks Film in a Freezer appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 124: There’s No Competition & You’re Not Selling Snake Oil
21:42
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 21:42
LCN 124: There’s No Competition & You’re Not Selling Snake Oil

LCN 124: There's No Competition & You're Not Selling Snake Oil“You should meet Ted,” I said, “he’s also into mindfulness and improv.”

It was lunchtime at the Applied Improvisation Network (AIN) conference this past weekend, and I was talking with another first-timer to the conference. I felt rather pleased that I was connecting people that I didn’t even know!

But the guy let’s call him A seemed skeptical.

“Yeah, I met Ted,” he said. “But I don’t know… We live in the same area, so aren’t we competitors? And really, aren’t all of us here at the conference competitors?”

It was a valid question. 200 improvisers, who use improv in our work in an applied way i.e. Applied Improv convening together for four days.

Aren’t we competing for clients? Competing for business? Competing for scarce resources?

Well, as I said to A, that’s certainly one attitude to take. You could look at the 200 people at this conference as competitors, competing with you for scarce resources. End of story.

But is that a useful perspective?

Not particularly.

And if that were the perspective of the other people here, this conference wouldn’t be happening. I mean, come on, people are here sharing resources, sharing information, sharing knowledge and expertise, boosting each other up.

A rising tide lifts all boats, and all that.

Plus there’s something else I learned from another conference, Heroic Public Speaking Live, an event designed for public speakers, which I’m attending later next month.

As the host of that event likes to say, speakers get speakers work.

In other words, one of the best sources of speaking gigs for speakers is, quite literally, their good relationships with other speakers.

How does that work? Well, say you get a speaking gig at an event, and it goes great. Fabulous.

Now it’s after your speech, and the event organizer is chatting with you, and maybe they have this event once a year, and they need to mix it up, bring in new speakers each year, so they’re not going to hire you over and over again, but you did such a fantastic job, that who do you think they’re going to ask for recommendations for next year’s speaker?

Um, yeah, that’s right: you!

And who do you think you’re going to recommend?

Your speaker friends, whom you know, like, and trust will do a kickass job!

Speakers get speakers work.

Now, I don’t know that the same principle applies exactly in the Applied Improv world, where jobs are perhaps more likely to be longer-term projects, rather than one-off speaking gigs, but the principle of “givers get” always applies.

Not that you should give to get. But simply that you should always be thinking about building relationships, and how you can be helpful, not about “what’s in this for me?”

ABG not ABC

In the play and film by David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross, one of the characters has a tagline with the acronym ABC, which stands for “Always Be Closing.” I recently took a wonderful CreativeLive class, The Art of Networking, with a much better tagline, with the acronym ABG, which stands for “Always Be Giving.”

And for goodness sake stop thinking about what you’re going to get out of the interaction!

This is where Guidepost #2 from my Creative Sandbox Way comes in really handy: Think process, not product.

Don’t go to a conference looking to get a gig! Don’t approach a conversation looking to get something out of someone! Just be open and curious to what happens.

(A very improv attitude, that!)

If A (and you and I) were to approach each interaction with ABG and “Think process, not product” in mind, it won’t matter what the specific outcome is. We’ll all dance with whatever it is.

Guess what? That’s called improvisation. And if you can do that, you can do anything.

Snake Oil?

A’s other big concern was that he’s an academic, and he’d spent the past I don’t know how many years doing research, and immersing himself in his mindfulness training. Now here he was, out of the ivory tower, at this Applied Improv conference, trying to wrap his head around entering the market with his ideas and expertise.

How, he wondered, does one go into business without selling snake oil?

It’s a question so many of us ask ourselves, especially in creative fields. The last thing we want is to impose more snake oil on the world!

I could tell that A had great value to offer the world. I could tell that he wasn’t hocking snake oil, but my saying as much wasn’t going to convince him.

So I asked A this question:

Have you ever personally paid for a service that felt valuable, and transformative, and that you knew wasn’t snake oil?

Ah! That made him stop and think. I could see the gears turning in his head.

And sure enough, he had. At least a couple of times: for example, the improv classes he took over a span of years felt important, transformative, and valuable to him.

“Hmmm,” I said. “So that’s a data point. Clearly it’s possible to offer a service that isn’t snake oil. And someone out there is waiting to receive the transformation that you have to offer them.”

“But how do I charge money for that?” he asked.

Ah, the $60,000 question! (Or now, with inflation, perhaps that’s the $60,000,000 question!)

Here’s the thing: it’s an exchange of value.

You’re offering something of value (your service). And in return, they offer something of value back (money). That’s all that receiving payment for our services is!

Obviously there’s a lot more to pricing and charging than that I mean, entire libraries of books have been written on the subject but ultimately that is all that it comes down to: an exchange of value.

But Isn’t Taking Money Bad?

And a lot of us especially creative types, and self-development types, and healers really struggle with this, because we want to change the world. We want to make the world a better place. And there’s a story in our heads that somehow accepting money for this is bad.

But would expect your oncologist to work for free?

And if you had cancer, and your oncologist said “I have this treatment that I know will help you, but I’m afraid of putting snake oil into the world even though I truly know it’s helpful and, oh, by the way, I just feel uncomfortable accepting money, so instead I’m just not going to offer my services at all”…

Um, that would just be stupid!

There are people, and organizations made up of people, who are waiting for your unique brand of transformation. They’re waiting for you.

Your art, your writing, your service offering whatever it is it is the very thing that is going to help them in such a big way. And they are waiting for it. And they want to give you value in return for the value that you can give to them.

What are you waiting for?

Something Cool

This week’s something cool came out of the AIN conference!

One of the many, many amazing people I met was Cathy Salit (who I’m really, really hoping to get on the podcast stay tuned and hold a good thought!), CEO of Performance of a Lifetime, a 2016 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company of human development experts who use performance and improvisation techniques to help leaders and organizations transform, grow, and develop.

And my Something Cool is Cathy’s book, Performance Breakthrough: A Radical Approach to Success at Work, which I bought on Sunday at the conference, and devoured in two days.

The core idea is that we all have an innate ability to perform, pretend, and improvise. And performing is what allows us to be who we are and who we are becoming at the same time what Cathy refers to as The Becoming Principle .

In Performance Breakthrough, Cathy shares ideas and techniques from theater and improvisation, and tons of stories and case studies from her 20 years in business, which you can apply to enhance your performance at work, and in life, to “become who you are not yet.”

It’s brilliant. Highly, highly recommended.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 124: There’s No Competition & You’re Not Selling Snake Oil appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 123: Listener Spotlight Janet Fowlow’s “Tiny and Daily” as a Therapeutic Life-Saver
47:35
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 47:35
LCN 123: Listener Spotlight Janet Fowlow’s “Tiny and Daily” as a Therapeutic Life-Saver

LCN 123: Listener Spotlight Janet Fowlow's "Tiny & Daily" as a Therapeutic Life SaverIt’s another Listener Spotlight today! Listener Spotlights are exactly what they sound like: I feature a podcast listener whose life has been changed for the better in some way, big or small, from the podcast.

Today’s featured listener is Janet Fowlow, who applied for the Listener Spotlight by writing an iTunes review, and sending me the following email:

Hi Melissa!

I’m a huge fan of yours, and a long-time listener of your podcast. I found out about you through Cory Huff (TAA). I wanted to officially raise my hand to volunteer to be a listener interviewee for your podcast.

There have been so many times I’ve listened to your show, but the one thing I have taken away from it is to practice my creativity as much as I can, “tiny and daily”. This has been very important in my life, and very therapeutic, as I have a very rare brain disorder called Intracranial Hypertension (literally too much water/fluid on the brain), and I have severe anxiety and depression as well. I also work long hours serving others with disabilities.

Sometimes I just come home, and to unwind, I take 1 hr to myself, put on your podcast, and paint/create something. As Martha Stewart calls it, it’s a “good thing” that I look forward to.

I also wanted to thank you, no matter if I’m picked or not so speak with you on the air, for your support of the arts. So many people see the arts as frivolous or luxurious by nature, and they have no idea how important and therapeutic the arts are to our survival, to our sense of expression, and to our sense of ourselves as individuals, communities, and cultures. So for that, a sincere thanks.

Below is my review as posted on iTunes:

“As a long time listener, and fellow “passion pluralite”, I have nothing but good things to say about Melissa. Even more so, I applaud Ms. Dinwiddie for her commitment to the arts, and to understanding her many hidden audiences. For example, I myself have multiple disabilities, and am often encouraged by Melissa’s candour, wit, honesty, and mostly, practice of self compassion. Her first commandment of creative practice: “tiny but daily” has been a therapeutic life saver for me and, I am sure, countless others. So hop on board, hear about her daily artistic practice, struggles, successes, and well-earned life lessons. They will be sure to inspire you for many years to come.”

Sincere Regards,

Janet L. Fowlow
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Needless to say, Janet’s application was an easy yes. We had a video call the other day, which I recorded, and I’m delighted to share it with you.

Some of the themes we touched on include:

  • Going from having no issues with creating, to being stuck as a professional due to disability and depression, and how that has changed some of Janet’s view and purpose for creating.
  • Making and creating while being disabled (specifically, Janet has shortened times of focus due to Intercranial Hypertension).
  • How “Think tiny and daily” helps keep Janet motivated despite depression and anxiety.
  • The therapeutic and cathartic nature of creativity (“Think process, not product”).
  • Working with the disabled and seeing how creativity has changed their lives beyond the idea of art as commodity: a) art as communication (letters to others – Learning Disability), b) art as self regulation outlet (colouring – Autism)

About Janet

Hailing from Springdale, Newfoundland, Canada, Janet L. Fowlow is a respite support worker and emerging artist who has an enduring love for the outsiders of society. A disabilities and homelessness advocate, Fowlow’s work surrounds themes of mental health, disability culture, and the social thought structures that surround prejudice, justice, and poverty. She has a BFA and a BDes (Honours) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax, NS); as well as a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

Janet’s Facebook page

Something Cool

From Janet: Children Full of Life, a short documentary about a 4th grade class of Japanese children and their teacher, Mr. Kanamori, who uses writing, everyday humor, and compassion to teach the children the most important subject in school – how to be happy!

From Melissa: Marsha Shandur’s Yes Yes Marsha newsletter, filled with stories, stories, stories, and brilliant lessons on how to be a better storyteller.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 123: Listener Spotlight Janet Fowlow’s “Tiny and Daily” as a Therapeutic Life-Saver appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 122: The Naked Money Project
29:54
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 29:54
LCN 122: The Naked Money Project

LCN 122: The Naked Money ProjectJust over a month ago, a fellow artist named Eli Trier invited me to participate in a community project she was calling Naked Money.

Most of us are pretty tight-lipped about money I think we’re more likely to talk about our sex lives than the reality of our financial lives and so we’re all walking around in the dark.

We see these images of flashy success all around us, stories of six-figure product launches and four-minute work weeks, but nobody’s really talking about what’s going on behind the curtain.

As Eli wrote in this blog post, “We are doing EVERYONE a disservice (including ourselves) by hiding our money stuff.In particular the secret side of it the shame and the failures and the months where we aren t quite able to make ends meet – but also the practical side of it.”

So she decided to stop hiding, and invited a handful of her artist friends to do the same for her Naked Money Project.

Sign up here, and every day throughout the month of August you’ll get an essay (or audio, or video) from a different creative, on the subject of art + commerce.

Honestly, I had to think a bit about whether to participate in this project at all, and whether to share my contribution here on the blog, because my business is not helping people make money from their art (for that, go to my friend Cory Huff over at The Abundant Artist).

Truth be told, my very first product was helping people make money from their art, but it’s not my genius zone, it’s not what I do anymore, I’ve worked hard to distance myself from that “art marketing person” label, so I don’t want to muddy the waters.

But another piece of the truth is that having a healthy financial life  a life in which there’s no shame around the relationship between art + commerce that is a key piece in living a full-color life!

So, with that in mind, here is my contribution to Eli Trier’s Naked Money Project.

Naked Money

The first thing I thought when Eli invited me to participate in Naked Money is how complicated my relationship to money and commerce is. And I had so many of the thoughts that other participants have voiced:

“I don’t deserve to be a part of this, because I don’t earn my income from my artwork anymore.”

But it occurred to me that it it might be interesting to share with you some of the significant moments on my art + commerce timeline, because their interaction has been impactful. I suspect you may relate, and hopefully glean some insights for your own life.

A Few Moments of Significance from my Art + Commerce Timeline

1995 – my first artistic sale:

My best friend commissioned me to make a piece to give as a baby gift to a family she babysat for.

(I charged her $25. I spent 40 hours on it. You do the math.)

I still have the crisp one-dollar bill she sent me along with the check, with “Melissa’s first artistic sale” written on it.

That was a significant moment. Something shifted internally for me when someone valued my art enough to pay me for it.

1997ish? – my first sale to a stranger

Something shifted even more when a stranger valued my art enough to pay me for it. I have a vague memory that I was paid around $200. And I think it was a piece that I didn’t even think was any good.

But if someone else thinks your work is good enough to give you cold, hard cash for it, you can either:

1) Decide they have horrible taste,

or

2) Decide that there must be something of value in the piece.

If you opt for number two, something shifts inside of you.

1998 – my first feeling of resentment

After a few years of doing artworks on commission, and specifically doing a few ketubot, or Jewish marriage contracts, I was making a ketubah for an adorable young couple and I found myself resenting them like crazy. I was grumpy and grouchy, and I actually thought about quitting my business altogether.

Then suddenly it occurred to me that I didn’t need to quit I simply needed to charge more! The real problem was that I was being vastly underpaid.

My customers weren’t valuing the amount of work I was putting into their pieces, but whose fault was that? It wasn’t their fault! It was my fault, for undercharging!

So I raised my prices. And I kept raising my prices over the years. Every time I started to feel a niggling sense of resentment, I knew that was a gauge that my prices needed to go up.

1999 – my divorce

Then in 1999 I got divorced, and suddenly instead of just paying for my tools, supplies, classes, and conferences, my creative work had to pay for all of my living expenses too.

I had two and a half years of partial spousal support to tide me over. The pressure was on.

2002 – flying solo

By 2002 I was supporting myself financially 100% through my own creative efforts, and I won’t lie something really did shift for me as a result.

As a society, we value money very highly, so when you can generate money from your creative efforts, it’s easier to value your own creative efforts. I hate that this is true, but there it is.

On the positive side, I did manage to grow a modestly successful art business… until it tanked along with the rest of the economy in 2008.

On the negative side, the pressure this put on my art burned me the hell out. I lost track of why I became an artist in the first place, and art became just a job.

I remember walking around my tiny post-divorce apartment, saying to myself, “This is not what I want my life to look like,” and “I can’t wait to retire from doing commissions,” and “I just want to get back to making art for me again.”

And ultimately, the burnout is what led me to start my blog, Living A Creative Life, in 2010. It’s what made me so passionate about helping other people reclaim their own innate entitlement to creative play.

2017 – art + commerce now

So what’s the reality of my art + commerce situation now? Well, I’ve figured out that for my sanity and happiness, it works best to keep art and commerce almost entirely detached.

That is to say, I’m happy to sell my art, but I don’t put any pressure on my art to bring in money anymore, so I don’t put any work into promoting it.

Needless to say, I don’t sell much art anymore!

Technically, I still have the ketubah business the website still exists, but I don’t promote it at all. I get a handful of orders (goodness knows how these customers find me!) each year, and will probably eventually either shut it down entirely, or look into licensing my IP.

And I do have an art shop, where you can theoretically purchase paintings, leggings, and other products, but again, I almost never put any energy into promoting it, so guess what? I almost never sell anything. And that’s really okay with me.

I mean, I LOVE when people buy my work, and I’d love to find new homes for the hundreds of paintings in my house, but my energy is just elsewhere.

I held an artist open studio last May which really really clarified for me that I simply don’t want to put energy into marketing and selling my art right now. It doesn’t feel good to me right now.

That’s not to say it won’t ever; it just doesn’t right now.

So how do I generate revenue?

I run a paid online community for women creatives, called the Creative Sandbox Community.

I have a very small number of 1:1 mentoring clients.

I host an annual retreat (my Create & Incubate Retreat, coming up September 13-17, in Northern California).

I get paid for occasional speaking gigs.

I make some money from affiliate marketing (for example, this year I’m teaching on Life Book, and had some products in another marketer’s bundle.)

I make some money in royalties from sales of my book, The Creative Sandbox Way.

I do the very occasional calligraphy teaching gig.

And the other reality is, right now, my husband’s full-time job as a technical writer is what pays the bulk of our living expenses. When he got laid off a couple of years ago, the stress was phenomenal. We both thank our lucky stars daily for his fabulous job and benefits!

New Direction: Bringing Play to Work!

What I’m most excited about is actually the new direction I’m moving in, taking the work I’ve been doing with creativity and play for the past seven years, and applying it in the corporate and organizational world, helping teams address complex issues using creativity and play.

In a couple of months I’m taking an advanced training in a methodology called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® that is perfectly aligned with my existing expertise and values, and I’m excited to add this to my toolbox as I launch out in my new career direction.

Innovation, problem solving, strategy, team building all of these and more are are the kinds of things I’m going to be positioned to help teams with, using play!

Meanwhile, it’s liberating to finally do my art completely unconstrained from whether customers or clients are interested in buying it.

External Validation/Internal Acceptance

When I was first getting started, getting the validation of people wanting to pay me for my art was hugely important it’s what encouraged me to keep going, and to finally screw up the courage to call myself an artist.

Now, on the other side of the art + commerce equation, my gremlins sometimes tell me I no longer have the right to call myself an artist, but I just smile, give them a cookie, and send them off to get a pedicure (my gremlins love pedicures). Because of course I’m an artist I make art, whether I sell it or not, so what else would I call myself?

What I’m most passionate about, personally, is getting other people doing their own creative things, whatever they are, and I don’t care a whit whether they want to make money from those creative pursuits, so why should it matter whether I make money from my own creative pursuits?

And yet of course it still does, because we live in a society where money is like a god. So of course it matters, whether we like it or not.

Which is why projects like Naked Money are so important. If we never talk about money, that little god will have total power of you, but when we bring our stories to the surface, it gives us a chance to have some agency.

The one thing I’m clear about is that I don’t want money making my decisions about about my relationship to my art. I want my love for my art to make my decisions.

So for now, that’s why I don’t actively market my art. That may change, and if I ever really want to sell my art it will have to. But for now, I’m okay with it how it is: I make my art for love, and I do other things (which I also enjoy) for money.

That’s the arrangement that’s working for me right now.

Something Cool

Resistbot a free service that turns texts into faxes to your Senators and Congressmember about issues that are important to you.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 122: The Naked Money Project appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 121: Geary Street Moments and the Great CD Disaster of 2009
28:17
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 28:17
LCN 121: Geary Street Moments and the Great CD Disaster of 2009

LCN 121: Gear Street Moments and the Great CD Disaster of 2009Last week I shared a story from my sad week at Jazz Camp West.

Part of that story involved my intense feelings of shame and embarrassment when I screwed up a performance.

We’ve all had an experience like that. Even if you’ve never performed onstage, if you’re a creator, you’ve certainly created something that didn’t come out the way you wanted. That’s a guarantee.

And that feeling is the worst, right?

And the bigger the project, the more expectations you load on the outcome, the worse the feeling.

So back when my main gig was as a ketubah artist, when I was a full-time freelance artist and designer working on commission, my entire self-worth was wrapped up in the excellence of whatever piece I was working on at the time.

And because those pieces might take me dozens or hundreds of hours to complete, by the time I was done with them, it was really hard for me to see them objectively. I couldn’t see them at all, really.

I couldn’t tell if they were good, bad, or mediocre.

And even though the client saw progress sketches, and had to approve a sketch before I went on to do the final artwork, I never knew what they were going to think when they came to pick up the finished piece, or when they unwrapped the package if I shipped it.

It was really stressful.

And then there was the Great CD Disaster of 2009.

I’d started singing jazz in 2005, and I’d started gigging about a year after that, and in 2007 I did an hour-long set live on KZSU Stanford radio, which was recorded, from which I took the five least cringe-worthy tracks, and I burned those onto CDs and sold them at my gigs.

Then in 2009 I decided to make a new CD. My goal was to make it just the next step up from that home-burned unit. And to avoid any copyright issues, I wanted to use all original songs.

But I’d only written three songs at the time.

However, my then-boyfriend (now referred to as the Lousy Ex-Boyfriend, because of what happened later, which is another story), the man who lived with me at the time, although he wasn’t a musician, he had, rather randomly, made up an Irish drinking song while driving home from his favorite bar in San Francisco one day. Sang it into his answering machine.

He had also, again, quite randomly, written lyrics to a song about a woman who only dates married men (which might have been a clue as to his general ethical leanings, had I been paying better attention. Ahem.)

The suggestion came up to use these two songs, “Geary Street” and “Married Men,” to pad out my CD (or, technically, EP), and so I did.

I turned the Irish drinking song, “Geary Street,” into a jazz ballad, and gave it a brand new melody. Except that when it came time to record it, I didn’t have the new melody woven deeply enough into my bones. And we only had time for two takes.

Omigod, I was miserably unhappy with the job I’d done with it.

I remember driving to my voice teacher’s house for my weekly lesson, handing her the freshly mastered CD and bursting into tears. I was convinced that I was going to have to pay hundreds of dollars (that I did not have) to gather the band back together and re-record and remaster that song.

Every vocal wobble screamed at me. It was humiliating. The shame was excruciating.

But Margo, my voice teacher, listened to the entire song, looked at me and said, “Melissa, you just need to get some sleep.”

And I gotta tell you, just over a month ago, back on Saturday, June 24th, at 8:00 AM, I was driving up the mountain to Jazz Camp and I popped my CD, Online Dating Blues, in the player to try and get myself in the mood for camp (which we all know didn’t work, but that’s another story), and “Geary Street” came on.

And you know what? It’s almost eight years later, and although yes, I can hear the wobbles and insecurities in my voice, here’s the thing: now I can hear what Margo heard.

Back then, right after I recorded it, the cracks and wobbles in my voice sounded like the Grand Canyon, because I was in the heat of all those feelings. But now I realize that those aren’t the Grand Canyon, they’re really just sidewalk cracks. Someone without any context might just assume they’re texture that’s supposed to be there!

I share this story, because when you can pinpoint your own versions of this story, it can really help you when you’re in the heat of those kinds of feelings the next time.

It’s not going to take those feelings away sorry, the feelings are still going to wash over you but it can help you to remember that the feelings are not going to last forever, and it’s likely that they’re not entirely connected to reality.

So when I was having my meltdown at Jazz Camp after my performance train wreck, I kept reminding myself of “Geary Street.”

It was so serendipitous that I’d listened to it on the drive up! I mean, I had been this close to re-recording that song and canceling my entire CD launch because I was convinced that the track was so godawful that I could. Not. Release. It.

And yet now when I listen to it, I just think, “Yeah, it’s not perfect. But it’s not as bad as I thought it was. And in fact, it’s pretty good. And other people really like it!”

Now, I haven’t seen the recording of my performance at this year’s camp yet. But I imagine it’s probably pretty similar.

I do know that a number of people at camp had no idea that I even messed up. Which is very typical for a live performance, by the way.

And I will probably cringe when I do watch it, and I may notice embarrassing things that I’ve forgotten. But you know, lightning didn’t strike, and it probably wasn’t as bad as my gremlins convinced me it was in the moment.

That is really the point.

So think about those moments in your own life. Those “Geary Street” moments, when things seemed utterly disastrous in the moment, but later you realized they really weren’t.

Take note of those moments. File them away where you can access them the next time you have what feels like a disaster, so you can remind yourself that it probably really isn’t.

Remember, in the heat of a “Geary Street” moment, what feels like the Grand Canyon is probably really just a sidewalk crack, or even some interesting texture.

Something Cool

Morpher folding bike helmet

Check out the video on their IndieGoGo campaign page

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 121: Geary Street Moments and the Great CD Disaster of 2009 appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 120: What’s the Difference Between a Pity Party, Beating Yourself Up, & Just Crying?
36:01
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 36:01
LCN 120: What’s the Difference Between a Pity Party, Beating Yourself Up, & Just Crying?

LCN 120: What's the Difference Between a Pity Party, Beating Yourself Up, and Just Crying? My week at Jazz Camp West this year was rough. I was hit with an unexplained depression that practically knocked me off my feet for the first four days.

Who knows why? It doesn’t really matter.

What’s relevant here is that, because of this weird depression, I was a hair trigger for tears. Anything could, and would, set me off.

I felt like I spent most of the first half of camp trying to regulate my tears because crying in public makes everyone else so uncomfortable, right? It was really no fun.

Then on Tuesday I got an opportunity to perform. I had exactly five minutes, and I decided to share my Creative Sandbox song (updated a bit from this version) which is only about two minutes long so I had about two minutes for an introduction to explain the song, which would still leave me some cushion to safely fit within my five minute allotment.

I skipped my morning classes so I could spent the time practicing in my tent getting the introduction down, drilling myself on the ukulele and I was as prepared as I could be on short notice.

And when my time came, the introduction went basically fine… and then I really had kind of a train wreck on the song. I just… really… blew it.

My fingers messed up. I sang the wrong words. It was a mess.

I felt horrible.

Dinnertime came right after the performance, so I had no opportunity to release my horrible feelings. So I went into the dining hall feeling shaky, and looked for a group of people that felt safe-ish…

And guess what happened?

That hair trigger for tears was still a hair trigger, so of course, I couldn’t hold those darn tears back. And those people I thought were safe-ish, were anything but.

A bunch of them started telling me, “You can’t beat yourself up!” Which I know came from an intentionally helpful place, but it was not helpful.

And one woman actually said something about a “pity party” with a scornful look on her face before stalking off.

And I can tell you that really pissed me off.

Now at the time, I was in the middle of some intense feelings, and I couldn’t think clearly enough to formulate a response. So this is my response.

The Difference Between a Pity Party, Beating Yourself Up, and Crying

When I was sitting at that table, trying to stuff my tears, while knowing that what I most needed was to crycrycry, I knew that I wasn’t beating myself up, and I wasn’t having a pity party. But I couldn’t in that moment articulate the difference between those things.

So what is the difference between a pity party, beating yourself up, and crying?

A pity party is “Oh, woe is me,” with no movement to resolve it or go forward. Sometimes a pity party is a necessary step. I don’t know why, but humans sometimes seem to need to wallow a bit before we can figure out how to move.

Beating yourself up is also no forward movement. It’s all about the past. “I can’t believe you did that, you idiot!” “How could you have…?” “What a stupid moron!”

When you cry, there may be elements of either of these things going on, for sure I was certainly experiencing pity for my poor, bedraggled ego, and I was certainly frustrated with my performance.

But the biggest thing going on was simply a release of emotion, and this was where there was the biggest disconnect in the room at Jazz Camp.

Because I desperately needed to release those emotions! For me, in that moment, my tears were a healing. Crying was like draining pus from a wound it was a way to release toxins and ultimately make me feel so much much better, think more clearly, and heal so much more quickly and cleanly.

But to everyone around me it looked messy and ugly and scary. To them, the crying didn’t look like healing from the hurt, it looked like the hurt itself. To them, crying looked like me beating myself up, or having a pity party.

The “Problem” with Crying

Crying is very triggering to people. When you see someone crying, it “restimulates” memories of when you cried, which was likely when you were hurt in some way. So when you see someone crying, you don’t tend to think, “Oh, isn’t that great this person is healing from some trauma! Aren’t humans amazing that we have wonderful healing mechanisms?”

No, we think, “Omigod, someone is hurt! I want to stop the hurt!” Of course we do!

And because our brains are filled with mirror neurons, it makes us feel empathy. Basically, we feel really uncomfortable seeing someone cry.

So instead of encouraging them to use that amazing healing mechanism to cry themselves to betterness, in order to make ourselves feel less uncomfortable we try to get them to stop.

“Hush little baby, don’t you cry.”

But when we stop someone else from crying “Don’t cry!” “Big boys/big girls don’t cry!” “I’ll give you something to cry about!” it interrupts the body’s amazing healing mechanism. It’s not actually helping.

We might feel better, because the tears, which are triggering us, are no longer there, so it seems like everything’s okay.

We do this all the time, and we think we’re helping. But really we’re just trying to make ourselves feel less uncomfortable, because seeing someone else showing their pain is such a trigger!

And if their tears were interrupted before they were naturally cried out, it’s like sewing up a wound before cleaning out all the pus.

Gross, right? And really unhealthy.

Because that hurt never gets fully healed. It kind of gets stuck in their unconscious as a thorny knot of unhealed hurt. And that thorny knot of unhealed hurt is primed to grab onto other hurts, like a logjam in a river. So that anything that happens with the slightest bit of similarity to that earlier experience not catches on that thorny knot of unhealed hurt and triggers an unconscious reaction.

Now you react from a pattern of hurt, rather than from your clearest thinking.

The Mr. Rogers Way

Have you ever seen a little kid running around playing, fall down and bump her knee? Kid starts to cry, right?

If you say, “Crying’s for sissies,” or “I’ll give you something to cry about,” either the kid will cry harder, or the kid will shut up, but you’re sewing pus up in that wound.

But if you go over to that child, pick the kid up and say, “Ouch, you bumped your knee! That must’ve hurt. I’m going to sit here with you while you cry,” maybe the kid cries for 90 seconds, and then guess what? They’re off and running and laughing again.

All the kid needed was some attention and to let those hurt feelings out through some tears. The body’s natural healing mechanism.

That is how it works. Mr. Rogers understood this.

Mr. Rogers quote

Crying is not beating ourselves up, nor is it a pity party. Unfortunately, most of the world is not clear on this concept, so it doesn’t feel safe to cry in public (even in a seemingly “safe” space like Jazz Camp West, which was founded by a therapist, and where crying is literally mentioned at the All Camp Meeting on the first day as an expected, normal part of the arc of the week).

What to Do?

So what do you do when you’re in a public space and you don’t feel safe, but you can’t keep the tears back?

First, seek out allies if you can, and then let them know what you need.

I assessed the people I knew at camp who could listen in a way I needed. And when those people started giving me advice which was not what I wanted at all I thanked them, and gently told them that I really didn’t want any advice right now, I purely wanted to vent.

This is hard for people! Not everyone can listen without giving advice, so pick your listeners carefully.

And think about the gift you would be giving to be a listener to someone else.

As you go about your day, be on the lookout for people expressing strong emotions like through tears, or it could be shouting to express anger, or shaking to release fear, or laughing to express joy or nervousness. Simply start to notice the different ways the body releases emotions.

And then notice what feelings it brings up in you when you see other people releasing emotions. Do you naturally want to stop them because it makes you feel uncomfortable?

Feelings are Transitory

Meanwhile, although this is hard to remember in moments of strong emotion, remind yourself that all feelings are transitory.

Onstage at Jazz Camp and at dinner afterwards I pretty much wanted to crawl into a hole. I was humiliated and ashamed that I’d made such a horrendous mess of things.

By the next day I still felt embarrassed, but the sting wasn’t quite so bad.

And now, a month later, the level of pain I feel barely registers.

That entire week of devastating depression and hair-trigger teariness is like a distant memory.

Feelings are transitory.

And when I’m able to have a big, ‘ol good cry, with a really good listener, whatever hurt is wanting to come out is less likely to stay stuck inside. I won’t have to operate on top of that hurt.

The feeling may not go away instantaneously (much as I might wish it to), but my body’s wonderful healing mechanism can process it through in its own good time.

I won’t get stuck in the no-movement place of a pity party, or beating myself up. Tears are fluid. Let them flow.

Something Cool

This week’s something cool is BookBub a free daily email that notifies you about deep discounts on acclaimed ebooks. You choose the types you’d like to get notified about with categories ranging from mysteries to cookbooks and BookBub sends great deals in those genres to your inbox.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 120: What’s the Difference Between a Pity Party, Beating Yourself Up, & Just Crying? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 119: Listener Spotlight Anna Goldsworthy is the Possibility Detective
53:17
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 53:17
LCN 119: Listener Spotlight Anna Goldsworthy is the Possibility Detective

LCN 119: Listener Spotlight Anna Goldsworthy is the Possibility DetectiveIt’s another Listener Spotlight today!

Anna Goldsworthy applied for a Listener Spotlight by writing the following iTunes review:

Listening to Melissa s podcast caused me to completely re-evaluate my definition of personal creativity and artistic expression.

I was so tightly connecting commerce to my creative expression that I have been yearning for a commission so I could do art, OMG!  She challenges me to stretch my imagination to new heights.

No longer do I believe the myth that says, I can only create when there is an end purpose … Lessons learned here are simultaneously tiny and life changingly huge!

Thank you, Anna! How could I pass up the chance to talk with Anna on the podcast?

In 2007 Anna left the corporate world behind to explore artistic creation. Paint, brushes, beads, paper, and other delightful found objects inspire her innovative designs and provide focus for her camera lens. She delightfully ignites color, laughter and joy.

Anna has two grown sons and is currently re-learning life through the eyes of her two amazing granddaughters. She lives in Kent, Washington with her favorite first husband.

Her essential advice comes from none other than Dr. Seuss, who said: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

You can find Anna online at www.possibilitydetective.com and feelgood52.com

Have a listen to our conversation, and let me know if you resonate with anything we talked about.

Favorite Quotes from Anna:

“Does this make me joyful?” seldom is that asked in life. I gotta tell you, when you retire, you don’t suddenly become happy because you don’t have job or you don’t have kids to watch anymore.

No matter what it is, what can I do, “tiny and daily,” that gives me joy?

Where’s the fun in it? … We can have that experience in everything, no matter what’s going on.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

LCN 109: Art + Commerce + Boundaries, and the Ultimate Question

Feel Good No Matter What: 52 Inspiring Reflections to Awaken the Life You Love!, by Nina Durfee & Anna Goldsworthy

Something Cool

Improvisor Phil Lunn, who transforms himself into whoever tonight’s audience wants him to be in his one-man improv show, Phil Lunn is… 

I got to see Phil live as … Marianne Macdonough, I think it was, last Friday night, as the second half of a show where my improv group, All That Jazz, was performing as part of the West Coast Musical Improv Festival, and he was amazing.

He transformed himself into a completely convincing cabaret singer, sharing snippets of her fully improvised life story (with the help of audience suggestions “does anybody know where I was born? Yes, that’s right, Switzerland!”), and fully improvised songs, also with the help of audience suggestions.

Jaw-droppingly good and utterly delightful.

Here’s a half-hour clip of Phil as Lola Box at the Mt Olymprov Festival in 2016.

If you get a chance to see Phil, don’t miss it.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 119: Listener Spotlight Anna Goldsworthy is the Possibility Detective appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 118: Intentional Imperfectionism
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 118: Intentional Imperfectionism

LCN 118: Intentional ImperfectionismI was being interviewed for a podcast the other day, telling a story I’ve told countless times, about how I quit making art at age thirteen.

Why did I quit? Because other kids were better at drawing than I was. Or so went my thinking.

They were the real artists, not me. So I quit.

What’s left unspoken in there is that I clearly felt like I had no business making art, no right to make art, if I couldn’t do it up to some impossibly high standard I set for myself.

Hello, perfectionist paralysis.

If I couldn’t measure up to the people I admired most (hello, Comparison Trap!), then the unspoken rule in my own head said I didn’t get to do it at all!

So I didn’t. For fifteen years.

Take a wild guess how locking up my creative expression like that might have affected my emotional state. Do you think I was a joyful person, living a full-color life?

That would be a no.

Perfectionism is an excruciating trap. It’s impossible to be happy, because it’s impossible to be perfect!

Now let’s cut to present time.

The reality is, on one level not much has changed: other kids are still much better at drawing than I am.

In fact, thanks to the internet, I am so much more aware of so many more artists who are so much more skilled than I am at every single thing I love to do!

If I were still living in a perfectionist mindset, where the goal is to impress people in order to prove my own enoughness, I’d still be mired in paralysis, unable to create at thing.

(Sheesh, I wouldn’t even be able to share this podcast/blog post I’ve have deleted it after the first six words!)

Namely, instead of suffering on an endless loop of perfectionism, I now practice intentional imperfectionism.

Intentional imperfectionism simply means acknowledging that I’m human, forgiving myself for that fact, and treating myself kindly, gently, and lovingly.

Intentional imperfectionism, applied to my creative life, means letting myself draw whatever my inner four-year-old feels like drawing, even if my gremlins scream that it’s terrible and embarrassing, and that everything is going to laugh at me.

Intentional imperfectionism means writing the really lame blog post or newsletter, knowing I have to crank out a “crappy first draft” before I can get to a better one, because guess what, we need the crap to fertilize the good stuff.

And intentional imperfectionism means hitting publish when that blog post or newsletter is not as good as I want it to be, because the goal needs to be to make a difference, not to win awards for my brilliant prose. And in order to make a difference, I have to get it out there, not tinker with it forever (which god knows I could do).

Ultimately, intentional imperfectionism means allowing my ego to soften enough to realize that my worth as a human being is not tied to whether I can impress you with my awards and skills and talents, and where I rank compared to my peers, but simply have I touched you, and letting that be enough.

Intentional imperfectionism is hard, I will not lie to you.

It is a practice, something I work on every day. But it is, without a doubt, the single practice that has created greater happiness in my life than anything else..

Which made me think, while I was being interviewed for that podcast, about when I was thirteen, and I noticed all those kids who were better at art than I was. My reaction at the time was, “They’re the real artists, therefore I’m not, and I should quit.”

But that didn’t have to be my reaction.

I mean, there are still tons of people who are way more skilled than I am, and it’s not my reaction now, so it didn’t have to be my reaction then.

Obviously, I’ve had decades to come up with an alternate reaction, but what if we could train our reactions, and our kids’ reactions, to simply be, “Isn’t that interesting?” when they see someone who’s phenomenally skilled and talented, and to get on with creating?

Because what someone else creates or is capable of creating has nothing to do with you and what you are capable of creating. And you’re not doing anybody any good by keeping your creations locked up inside of you.

Who cares if your work is any good? Who cares if it’ll impress anyone? Creating it will make you happier, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Plus a funny thing happens when you create for YOU. The stuff that emerges from the creative sandbox that mindspace where you’re creating when you’re not trying to impress or be perfect is authentically yours, and because it’s authentically yours, it tends to be authentically interesting.

It’s ironic, but the stuff you create when you’re not trying to impress anyone, when you do share it, may start to touch people in ways that surprise you.

It’s just how it works.

So jump in the creative sandbox, and go get creating.

Want some help? Come to my free creativity workshop tomorrow! 

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is Magnetips, magnetic fineliner pens that contain powerful neodymium magnets in each end, allowing them to attract one another, or stick to any steel surface.

So you can actually form the pens into their own pen holder cup…

Or build other things out of them…

And of course draw or write with them.

They’re remarkably addictive and fun. They’re water-based ink, 0.4 fine tip, they come in a set of 20 colors, either color or black finish, for about £40.

Oh, and they’re refillable you can buy refill cartridges for them, the full range of colors. And they also sell chrome balls, to allow you to make cool constructions with them.

I first found out about them through a Kickstarter campaign, and had to order a set. And now they’re available to the general public.

There’s a link in the show notes, and if you want to send a referral commission my way, go to melissadinwiddie.com/loves/magnetips. Or just go to magnetips.co.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 118: Intentional Imperfectionism appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 117: Listener Spotlight: Gretta Lamosa, LCN Binger
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 117: Listener Spotlight: Gretta Lamosa, LCN Binger

LCN 117: Listener Spotlight: Gretta Lamosa, LCN BingerToday is the very first Listener Spotlight! I’ve been talking about this for ages, and today I’m delighted to introduce Live Creative Now listener Gretta Lamosa.

Gretta sent me the loveliest email awhile back, in which she wrote:

“I have been listening for about a year now and you have truly given me new reasons to reclaim my soul in art! Thanks again for doing that thing you do so well!”

In fact, it was this very email that gave me the idea for doing Listener Spotlights in the first place.

I invited Gretta to have a conversation on the podcast, and she replied with a resounding “yes!”

Gretta is a jeweler and silversmith. She’s struggled, as so many of us have, with being surrounded by people who really don’t get what it means to be an artist. This girl has some stories

Have a listen, and let us know if you relate.

Find Gretta on Instagram at @grettalosa

Favorite Quotes from Gretta:

My personal favorite: “I binged you.”

“It’s so awesome to hear that you are not alone.”

“If I’m not making cash dollars for this, [it’s easy to think that] there’s no payment, but you’ve got to remember what you’re paying yourself — you’re paying your own soul, your own need. First things first, it starts with you.”

“If you’re only thinking ‘customer,’ then your vision gets cloudy and you can’t connect with yourself visually or creatively. You get cloudy.”

“When you feel yourself start reeling, those bad gremlins in your head just running that track and just pulling you down… just stop, take a breath, and read one manifesto. And just let that be your focus. Like ‘There is no wrong. There is no wrong. There is no wrong.'”

“Just do it. It’s easy. If you have it in you, just do it!”

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Heroic Public Speaking Live

From Bauhaus to Our House, by Tom Wolfe

Something Cool

McMansion Hell

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, and how the podcast has made a difference in your life. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 117: Listener Spotlight: Gretta Lamosa, LCN Binger appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 116: Forgiving Myself for Being Human
20:57
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 20:57
LCN 116: Forgiving Myself for Being Human

LCN 116: Forgiving Myself for Being HumanI came home from my week in the redwoods at Jazz Camp West, right on the heels of a week on the East Coast, at the Creative Problem Solving Institute, with a couple of days at Niagara on the Lake wrapping up a mastermind group I’ve been in since last Fall… and I promptly got sick.

I’ve been in bed for three days straight.

So today’s podcast is a short one. It’s something I shared over in my Creative Sandbox Way Readers & Doers Facebook group, and my Creative Sandbox Community Facebook group, and it got a lot of positive response. So I thought I’d share it on the podcast.

I was going to share the very first Listener Spotlight, but I’m saving that for next week.

(And if you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight, just leave a rating and review over on iTunes, or the Apple Podcast app, and then email me the content of your review, and let me know specifically how Live Creative Now has made a difference in your life. That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode!)

Meanwhile, on with today’s Reality of Summer Trips episode…

Home from Buffalo, While Packing for Jazz Camp

I wanted to write a short note, in between trips, to remind you that YES, the struggle is real (as Tracey Mahon Elliott would say.  )

EVEN when you practice “Think tiny & daily.”

EVEN when you practice “There is no wrong.”

EVEN when you practice “Think process, not product.”

I was off in Buffalo at a creativity conference, where my days were programmed from 8am til late-late at night.

Then I spent 2 days with my mastermind coach and co-mastermind buddy in Niagara on the Lake.

Then in transit back home to the West Coast (always discombobulating).

Then scrambling to catch up with urgent matters and PACK, to head into the woods for Jazz Camp West, where I will once again be programmed from 8am til late-late at night, for 8 days.

And guess what? Because my regular routine has fallen off a cliff, I have NOT been doing my morning doodles.

EVEN THOUGH it would seem to be simple enough to take 2 minutes and doodle on the freakin’ back of an envelope, right?

EVEN THOUGH I was a captive audience on an airplane for hours on end, where you would think I could have doodled for at least 2 minutes, right?

Well, wrong.

So I have a couple of options.

I could beat myself up. Moan about what a loser I am, and what a terrible model I am to my readers and followers.

Which would accomplish exactly NOTHING useful.

Or I could acknowledge that sometimes this happens.

Stumbling like this is NOT an excuse to beat myself up. No.

It’s an OPPORTUNITY to NOTICE!!

Remember: Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

And the first piece of that GOLDEN FORMULA is noticing.

Self-awareness.

How does it FEEL when I go for days without creating something playful and art-like?

Not very good, in fact.

Ah, good data, that!

NOW I can use that data to respond with self-compassion!!

NOW I can remind myself that I am HUMAN, and I get to FORGIVE myself for being human (rather than super-human).

I get to treat myself gently, and with great love, like a beloved little child.

Sometimes life throws us days and weeks of crazy programming, and instead of responding in a way that we’re proud of, we stumble.

Does this make us terrible people?

Um, no. This makes us HUMAN.

But NOTICING how it makes me FEEL when I drop the ball on my creative sandbox playtime can help me make better choices (hopefully!) going forward.

So now, as I madly cram to tie up loose ends, finish deadlines, and PACK to go to Jazz Camp West early tomorrow morning, where I will be scheduled UP THE WAZOO, I can make a choice.

The next 8 days will be DEDICATED to creative play.

I will be taking a DANCE CLASS, and MUSIC CLASSES every single day.

It’s probably okay if I don’t draw with a pen, because my need to fill my well with creative playtime is being satisfied elsewhere.

I can absolve myself, in advance, from a sense of (false) guilt if I don’t doodle at camp this coming week!

And I can forgive myself for this past week, because I’m human. And I get to be human.

And so do you.

Enjoy the rest of June, and practice self-forgiveness and play while you’re at it.

<3

Something Cool

Contigo insulated travel mugContigo Autoseal stainless steel insulated travel mug

Finally! An insulated travel mug that really, truly, does not leak! You can lock it and toss it in your bag without fear of drowning your stuff in tea or coffee.

The only problem with this mug, honestly, is that it insulates so well, you have to be careful not to burn yourself. Seriously, you might want to pop an ice cube in.

Or, be a little weird, like me, and brew three mugs of tea at the same time. By the time I’ve drunk my other two mugs, the tea in my Contigo mug is the perfect temperature.

Also mentioned, my favorite teas:

Good Earth Organic Sweet & Spicy Herbal Caffeine Free

Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat

Yogi Tea Ginger

Yogi Tea Green Tea Super Antioxidant

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has Live Creative Now made a difference in your life? You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 116: Forgiving Myself for Being Human appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 115: [REPLAY] How to Juggle Multiple Passions & Interests: My Stovetop Model of Life Design for Multi-passionates
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 115: [REPLAY] How to Juggle Multiple Passions & Interests: My Stovetop Model of Life Design for Multi-passionates

LCN 115: [REPLAY] How to Juggle Multiple Passions & Interests: My Stovetop Model of Life Design for Multi-passionatesI’m off in the woods at Jazz Camp West this week. It’s the one island of time during my year when I’m completely offline no internet, no cell connection, no nuthin’ but real-time connections with real human beings.

It’s magical. 

I sleep in a tent under the redwoods and do things I never get to do the rest of the year.

Like play drums. And steel pans. And reconnect with singing, and my ukulele, both of which have been sorely neglected in 2017.

I was even thinking of taking a casino rueda class (kind of like the salsa dancing version of square dancing), which is something I was wildly into back in 1999-2000, but have barely done at all since then, thanks to a foot injury, and then, well, life.

That’s what summer camp is for: deep dives into fun.

Anyway, since Jazz Camp comes right on the heels of my trip to Buffalo for the CPSI conference, and I already tapped out my plan-ahead muscles to the max, I thought this would be a good time to pull out an episode from the archives. (Yeah, there I go again with the transparency. Can’t help it!)

My Stovetop Model of Life Design is one that really could use a revisit periodically, and it’s been a couple of years, so without further ado, here ya go! 

Do you struggle with how to juggle all your passions and interests? In this episode I share how I learned to embrace my passion pluralite nature, AND how to effectively manage it, using my Stovetop Model of Life Design.

Topics covered in this episode:

How the culture values specialists over generalists/multi-passionates.

The “lightbulb moment” that pissed me off and started me on the road to embracing my passion pluralism while I was a dance student at Juilliard.

The nagging feeling that I had that there was something wrong with me, because I couldn’t just stick with one thing.

The revelation that having multiple passions and interests is not something to purge, but something to accept, embrace and work with.

The point is not to be as talented as Leonardo, but to embrace your nature.

Being a passion pluralite/multi-passionate presents some unique challenges, so how to deal with them?

“I get to do everything, just not all at the same time.”

My Stovetop Model of Life Design (and why four burners, not 20 or 100).

“At any given moment, you can only give your full attention to one saucepan, but a skilled cook can handle four burners quite handily.”

What I especially love about the Stovetop Model: in addition to the burners, there’s the fridge, the cupboard, the grocery store!

Passion pluralites/Scanners come in multiple varieties. (I’m a blend of what Barbera Sher calls “The Serial Master” and “The Sybil.”)

The false guilt we sometimes feel when we move a pot to a back burner.

Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” Follow your bliss, not what other people want from you, because that’s a sure recipe for burnout.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Refuse to Choose, by Barbara Sher

The Renaissance Soul, by Margaret Lobenstine

 Something Cool

As this is a replay, Something Cool is on hiatus this week, but it will be back next week!

 

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 115: [REPLAY] How to Juggle Multiple Passions & Interests: My Stovetop Model of Life Design for Multi-passionates appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 114: Cathy Chiba’s Productivity for Inaction Heroes
56:37
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 56:37
LCN 114: Cathy Chiba’s Productivity for Inaction Heroes

LCN 114: Cathy Chiba's Productivity for Inaction HeroesCathy Chiba doesn’t like labels, but if she had to call herself something, it would be a perspective-taker.

She’s always asking herself, “How do I think about this in a way that makes it more inclusive, that helps explain what’s going on, and also makes it more human.”

She’s a speaker, a writer, she helps people with communications. But really, it all comes down to trying to find out how to take someone else’s perspective to try to find out about a situation.

But the real reason I invited her on the podcast is that Cathy has a unique perspective on productivity.

Most people tend to think about productivity as a “value in / value out” model.

You do a certain amount of work, you get a certain amount of value out the other end. This is a very industrial way of looking at things. It’s based all around efficiency, where every hour is equal, and this model has tended to dominate the way we think about work and productivity.

But it doesn’t work for all pursuits!

Take speaking. Or athletics. Or any kind of performance.

In this performance kind of model, to produce something of value the end result is very time-bound and space bound (for example, a 3-minute song onstage, or a 20-second footrace). You put a lot of work in up front, over a long period of time. The industrial model of “value in / value out” doesn’t apply at all.

And there are other models, too, such as the agricultural model, which Cathy touches on in our conversation.

We talked about how the domination of the industrial model has affected us, and how “inaction heroes” can shift the paradigm to become more productive, and ultimately happier as a result.

It was pretty eye-opening, and mind-expanding. Have a listen and let me know what you think!

 Something Cool

From Cathy:

M by Staples (TM) Arc hole punch and Arc Notebook accessories for custom notebooks

Cathy says:

I have been messing with making my own planner, but I hate 3-ring binders. I am really enjoying the Arc system by Staples, which is a disc binder system. Circa is another brand of the same kind of system; papers are bound together by plastic discs.

To be able to make your own notebooks, you need to invest the Arc Hole Punch, a special paper punch, but once you’ve done that, you can do all sorts of experimentation.

From Melissa (and Cathy):

Headspace app

Cathy says:

It’s a meditation app, available online and as an app on smartphones. I use it on my iPhone, but you can also download the app via Google Play and from Amazon, and you can also use it online.

I like it because I love the way Andy Puddicombe (the app creator) teaches meditation (it’s friendly and light but not fluffy), and because its incentive structure works for me. It’s ultimately subscription based, but the cool thing about the “rewards” for consistency is that you receive rewards (coupon codes for subscriptions) that you can give to someone else.

If you tend to be someone who often ends up working in “performance mode,” some kind of mind training is a huge help. Being able to observe your own thoughts and feelings in the moment without judgement, developing the habit of gently drawing yourself back into focus, and allowing yourself to stay present with whatever’s happening in the moment all those are essential skills for someone who must perform in the moment. Meditation and mindfulness training can help us develop these skills, although they are not the only ones.

Your Creative Sandbox play time is a similar practice, because again, it involves staying in the moment and observing (and doing) without judging.

I’ve tended to resist meditation apps because (a) isn’t this something that you can do by yourself, for free? and (b) a lot of meditation training seems to involve cultural trappings that don’t *have* to along with a sensible practice. But I really like Headspace, and would recommend it to anyone who would like to try meditation but is afraid that someone might make them wear a long robe or burn incense.

Enjoy!

Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 114: Cathy Chiba’s Productivity for Inaction Heroes appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 113: Punched In the Stomach
30:01
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 30:01
LCN 113: Punched In the Stomach

LCN 113: Punched in the StomachFive years ago I did something really risky.

Even though it made my stomach lurch, I put money down on a deposit at a retreat center a half hour away from my house to host a creativity retreat.

Three days and two nights, full room and board. I was hoping to get ten people well, nine people plus me but I was on the hook to pay for eight.

Seven people people signed up, so I just got my eight. Barely. We made it happen.

Now here’s the thing: I really wanted it to be five days and four nights, but I knew there was no way I could get people to commit to that my first year out of the gate, because retreats are expensive. Even when you’re not going all five-star, premium, white glove.

So I gritted my teeth and I did what I knew people would be willing to spring for.

And guess what everybody said at the end of the retreat?

“It was too short! I wish it were longer!”

So the next year, 2014, I made it three nights. And I got seven people. Eight altogether with me.

And it was wonderful. And at the end, guess what everybody said?

“It was too short! I wish it were longer!”

So the next next year, 2015, I made it four nights. And I got four people.

And it was lovely, and at the end everybody said, “It was too short! I wish it were longer!” but this was clearly not a good trend. I thought maybe the retreat was just not meant to be. Maybe 2015 was going to be the last year.

I figured I’d give it another shot, but hey, if wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be.

But I’m nothing if not persistent.

So last year, 2016, I ran Create & Incubate Retreat again, five days and four nights, and last year there were seven of us altogether, and something shifted.

The energy was magical.

And last year, although I didn’t have a date booked for 2017, because the venue wouldn’t let a tiny retreat like mine book so far in advance, I was organized enough to have registration forms that people could use to reserve an early bird spot for a special price.

And when everybody handed in their filled-in forms, I knew I had hit my stride. Something had finally clicked.

Then a few weeks later I was able to book the date and finalize the contract with the venue and everything was hunky-dory.

Or so I thought.

The Tilt

Then back in March, I got a call from Eric, the Director over at Presentation Center, the venue I’d used for Create & Incubate Retreat for the past four years.

The venue that I had a signed contract with and a deposit with, if you will recall. And, by the way, I’d just called them two days before to pay an installment payment on my contract.

So Eric leaves me a message saying he needs to talk to me about my retreat ASAP.

My spidey sense told me something was wrong, and my spidey sense was right.

When I finally reach Eric later that afternoon, he shared that, due to their financial circumstances, the Presentation Center Board of Directors had decided to close down the center, effective June 1st.

Rather than honor their existing contracts, the Board broke all of their contracts that extended beyond June 1st!

As you can imagine, I was in shock. I felt like the floor had just dropped out from beneath me.

And poor Eric! He’d just found out himself, and now he was hoarse from spending the entire morning phoning the 68+ conferences and retreats that had contracts after June 1st to personally let them know, so they wouldn’t be shocked to receive the notification letter in the mail.

Many of these conferences had dozens of attendees who had not only already paid to attend, but had purchased plane tickets from overseas!

What a flustercluck.

Plus he, and the entire staff of Presentation Center, were also now out of work!

Unbelievable.

All because the Board of Directors refused to raise prices to market levels…

Anyway, here I was, in a state of shock, wondering what was going to happen to Create & Incubate Retreat…

Right before leaving town for the weekend to deliver a speech, suddenly I had to find a new venue for our retreat on very short notice!

When dozens of other conference and retreat organizers were also suddenly looking for new venues on very short notice, too…

Could the timing be any worse?

But for once the gods were smiling.

The gazebo at St. Francis Retreat - a lovely spot to sit and meditate in between creative sessions at Create & Incubate Retreat!Literally the second phone call I made was to St. Francis Retreat, where one Brother James picked up the phone.

“I’m sorry, we’re fully booked that weekend,” he said, as I expected.

“Well,” I said, “since I have you on the phone, do you ever host small art retreats? I’m looking for a new venue for my retreat for just 7-10 people, since Presentation Center is closing.”

“Oh,” he said, “you just have 7-10 people? Well, that’s a different story!”

My heart lifted. Hope! I could barely believe my luck!

I drove down for a site visit the Monday after my weekend away, and it is perfect for the retreat!

A group of quilters were busily creating in the Upper Room (next to the dining hall), and a flock of wild turkeys even roamed by while I was there, as if giving their blessing to our retreat.

The Moral

Life doesn’t always work out the way we want. It presents us with turning points, forks in the road.

Do we give up? A viable option, to be sure, and not a dishonorable one. Sometimes it makes sense.

Or do we take the other fork and press on, even though it’s going to be hard?

Often either option is hard.

In this case, giving up would have meant putting the breaks on all of the momentum and good will that I’ve built up over four years. It felt like I was finally getting traction all of those retreatants who signed up on the spot for this year before I even had a date confirmed. Plus two more had just signed up.

And I would have had to give back all the money to people who had already paid me. Money that is not just sitting in a pile somewhere.

So giving up didn’t feel like a viable option.

The truth is, Create & Incubate Retreat is not a “profit center” for me. (Especially with the change to the new venue, which charges actual market rates, instead of below-market rates that drove it out of business!)

Retreats are expensive to produce. I was just at a telesummit last week where one of the speakers, who’s a financial advisor and coach to other coaches, was saying that he tells a lot of his clients that if they want to improve their bottom line, they need to get rid of their retreats.

But my retreat is not about my bottom line. It’s about my soul.

If it were just about my bottom line, I’d dump it in a heartbeat. But a lot of things in life are about more than money.

Art. Community. Connection. Nature. Love. White space. Time to create just for you. Laughter. Joy. Good conversation. Learning. Growing. Making friends. Delight. Discovery. Insight. A flock of wild turkeys walking by. Gazing at the stars. Inspiration. The buzz of energy in the room when everyone is working on their creative projects, which energizes and inspires YOU as you work on YOUR creative project.

You can’t put a price tag on that.

Money-wise, the return on investment for my time and energy to produce Create & Incubate Retreat doesn’t make any sense from a business perspective.

But from a soul perspective it’s a necessity.

At seven, I have the same number of registered retreatants right now as I had last year. I have space for 3 more if you’d like to join us. Prices go up (and the option to pay in installments goes away) on July 1st.

Click here to sign up now.

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is an example of something created for love. It’s a video of, well, high-diving giraffes.

When I see something like this, that somebody or a bunch of somebodies, I’m not sure put a lot of time and energy into, for no good reason other than to delight themselves and maybe other people, well, I just think that’s cool.

Check it out. It’s about five and a half minutes long.

Enjoy!

Reminder: Listeners Wanted!

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 113: Punched In the Stomach appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 112: Lisa Manterfield’s Novel that Wouldn’t Let Go
1:00:53
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 1:00:53
LCN 112: Lisa Manterfield’s Novel that Wouldn’t Let Go

Reminder: Listeners Wanted!

Before I dive into today’s episode, I have a special announcement.

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Now on with this week’s episode.

 

LCN 112: Lisa Manterfield's Novel that Wouldn't Let GoLisa Manterfield loves to tell stories. She’s fascinated by human behavior and what makes people tick. She especially loves “fish-out-of-water stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, especially if those situations delve into the unexplained,” as it says on her website.

I wanted to have Lisa on the podcast, because the storytelling in her most recent novel, A Strange Companion, rocked my world.

And yet this book almost never saw the light of day.

“I couldn t make it the book I wanted it to be,” she told me. “But it was the idea that wouldn t let me go, so I kept coming back to it.”

For ten years.

That’s dedication.

And that’s one of the things we touched on in our conversation: how do you know when to give up on a creative idea, and when to let it go?

A Strange Companion - book by Lisa ManterfieldWe also talked about about:

  • Art and commerce, and how different creatives balance the two to craft lives that work for them.
  • How A Strange Companion finally came to be, after ten years of countless revisions.
  • Why not publishing five years ago turned out to be a good thing.
  • When to give up on our creative ideas, and when to push them.
  • The discomfort of getting praise for your creative work.
  • “The Gap” between your vision, and what you’re capable of creating.
  • and more…

Have a listen and let me know if you resonate.

(My thimble-sized review of A Strange Companion: A lot of people want to write novels, fewer people actually manage to finish one. Fewer still string words and ideas together in such a way that the novels they write take my breath away. This book did that. I loved it! And I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I’d finished it. Five stars.)

Something Cool

Bucky Sleep MaskThis is the first time there are two Something Cools in one episode, since I asked Lisa to contribute a Something Cool, too!

From Melissa:

Down Dog – really cool yoga app

From Lisa:

Bucky 40 Blinks SleepMask

Badger Sleep Balm

Enjoy!

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 112: Lisa Manterfield’s Novel that Wouldn’t Let Go appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 111: Sometimes the Solution Really IS Shopping
29:38
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 29:38
LCN 111: Sometimes the Solution Really IS Shopping

Announcement!

Before I dive into today’s episode, I have a special announcement.

Has the Live Creative Now podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I want to start sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way big or small I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at livecreativenow.com/itunes-review).

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. You can email me at livecreativenow.com/contact.

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Now on with this week’s episode.

 

LCN 111: Sometimes the Solution Really IS ShoppingMy husband did not want to go on a bike ride with me.

Huh?

How could he not want to go on a bike ride?

It was a gorgeous day. We had our bikes, which we’d only recently gotten (we ordered them as part of a Kickstarter campaign, and waited for months to get them) specifically so he could ride to work and so we could go on weekend rides together, so what gives?

“I ride almost every day to work,” he said.

“Yabbut,” I said, “it’s beautiful out! Let’s go explore! This will be a fun adventure!”

Despite his reluctance, he did go on the ride with me, and we discovered a hidden bike and pedestrian underpass just a few blocks from our home, connected to a bike and pedestrian bridge over the freeway, neither of which we’d known about.

They led through one of the Google campuses, and wound around to the back side of a man-made lake at the park by the Bay where we often go walking.

Wow! We had no idea! A secret bike route to our favorite walking spot that almost completely avoids car traffic, and got us there in nineteen minutes!

It was an adventure. With lots of bridges (which I love), and wild, outdoor spaces, and the wind in our faces.

“I could ride this route to work!” he said. “It would take longer, but there’d be less car traffic, less fumes, and it would be safer and more pleasant.”

He seemed excited. I was pleased.

Victory, right?

Well…

Wasn’t he glad he went? I asked when we got home, as we were folding up our bikes.

“Meh,” he said.

“Meh?!” What?!

“I got sweaty.”

[Blink.]

This might explain why my man no longer has the flat belly he had when we met ten years ago. Apparently he has an aversion to sweat.

Though with a bit more probing, it turns out it isn’t sweating, per se, that’s the problem. He doesn’t mind sweating when that’s the point.

But he hates sweating when it’s not the point, especially when he doesn’t have a way to change clothes.

See, my guy, as with a lot of guys, has Niagara Falls sweat glands. So engaging in physical activity means really wet clothes, and hey, that’s annoying.

Context

So here’s what was also going on underneath his not wanting to go on a bike ride with me:

Because he (sometimes) now bikes to work, biking is (sadly) now associated with work, not fun and recreation.

 My man does not like to sweat if he cannot easily change clothes.

And there’s another piece of context that you should know. Due to wear and tear and our me keeping a tight hand on the purse strings, he’d gotten down to three pairs of paints and three shirts.

The underwear situation was almost as bad, but I’d just bought him an infusion of underwear, so at least that situation had improved, but what all of this meant was that what to me seemed like a lovely pleasure ride, to him seemed like another load of laundry to be done on the other end.

When you only have three shirts and three pairs of pants, what to your wife seems like a free and easy pleasure ride, to you seems like yet one more reason to do yet one more load of what seems like an endless load of laundry.

No wonder he wasn’t so keen on going on a bike ride!

Deduction

It suddenly became clear to me that if I wanted my man to be willing to do something that made him sweat, I was going to need to let us buy him some new clothes.

So that’s what we did on Sunday.

We went to REI’s big  sale, took advantage of both of our 20% off member coupons to get him some new shirts and pants, plus some new boots to replace his pair with the soles that are wearing out.

And since they were having a 25% off sale, and I hadn’t gotten new walking/hiking shoes since our trip to Istanbul five years ago (!), we got me a new pair, too (Oboz Women’s Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking Shoes the first pair of lace-up / hiking / running-type shoes I have ever gotten that don’t require my orthotics, because the arch support is so good, and my heels don’t slip! They’re amazing!)

It pained me to spend so much money we had to pull it out of our reserves (I usually buy my clothes at Thrift Town, and come home with a whole wardrobe for $100, but I can’t expect MM to do that) but hey, if it helps MM to be more willing to go on pleasure rides with me (and do anything to move his body more), it’s worth it!

The Upshot

So what does all this have to do with living a full-color creative life?

Well, here’s the thing: when something’s in your way, often what seems like it’s in your way is not really the thing that’s in your way. It’s just the symptom.

Often there’s something underneath that thing that’s really the obstacle, and if you can solve that problem, if you can figure out how to get around that, then you automatically fix the thing that was really holding you back in the first place.

Honestly, I don’t know if getting MM a new wardrobe is really going to make him more game to ride his bike with me. The sad truth is, I think I married a man who just likes to live in his head, and would be happy to just ditch his body altogether.

Sigh.

He may never be as interested in going biking with me, or dancing with me, or climbing in a climbing gym with me, as I’d like him to be.

Opposites attract and all that.

BUT, he does like going on walks with me, and once a year we go kayaking for a 90 minutes or so on our anniversamoon in Monterey, and for that I’m grateful.

And the fact remains, if you’ve got a sticky situation that you just can’t seem to get any movement around, try to dig into it.

Keep asking “why?”

When you answer the first “why?”, ask “why?” again.

If you keep at it, often you’ll find that there’s a keystone issue at the root. If you can solve that keystone issue, everything else will fall into place.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Something Cool

Instant PotThis week’s Something Cool is the Instant Pot, which is an electronic pressure cooker.

It kinda looks like a big rice cooker, and you can cook rice in it, but you can do so much more.

It also looks a little like a slow cooker, and you can actually cook stuff and then leave it hot for up to ten hours or something, plus it does have a “slow cook” setting (though from what I’ve read it doesn’t do slow cooking as well as an actual dedicated slow cooker, like a Crock Pot), but it does so much more.

I first heard about the Instant Pot back in November, when people were raving about it on Facebook, and we ended up buying two during Black Friday sales.

The reason I’m making it this week’s Something Cool is that we are still in the depths of our kitchen renovation, and last Friday, after five weeks with no running water in the kitchen, we finally got a temporary sink installed.

And I swear to god the heavens opened and I heard angels singing, it was that miraculous to have running water in our kitchen again!

Actually, it’s our real-life, brand-new sink, and our real-life faucet, but our countertop slab is in a container on a container ship floating in the middle of the ocean somewhere, and probably won’t be installed for another month, so our wonderful plumber McGyver‘ed a temporary sink set-up for us, and I taped plastic all over our plywood counter subtops, so we have a sort of almost functional kitchen.

We have no stove or oven the range is still sitting out in the middle of the dining room and we have no dishwasher (which is out in the back yard), but we have a kitchen sink, so we can finally wash up!

Believe me, washing a big pot in a bathroom sink is a total non-starter.

But now that we have a ten-inch deep kitchen sink, and we can actually wash big pots again, we can use our Instant Pot, so we can cook!

Houston, we have lift off!

Because here’s the great thing about the Instant Pot: you can cook so many different things with it!

The other night, for the first time in over five weeks, we cooked in our kitchen!

We made Gluten-Free Pasta Florentine. And it was fast and easy and yummy.

Which describes just about everything we’ve tried in the Instant Pot.

Partly this is because there are a zillion Instant Pot communities over on Facebook, and a zillion Instant Pot recipes all over the interwebs, so it’s fairly easy to find tried and tested recipes with a quick Google search.

We love our Instant Pots! We’ll cook coconut red lentil soup from Crazy, Sexy Kitchen in one Instant Pot, and quinoa in another, then make baked apples for dessert.

We love our Instant Pots!

So that’s today’s Something Cool.

Enjoy!

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why I m not creative is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon

 

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie10 Tips to Bust a Creative Block: Download Your FREE Poster!

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 111: Sometimes the Solution Really IS Shopping appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 110: Sharon Wildwind: Mystery Writer & More
54:46
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 54:46
LCN 110: Sharon Wildwind: Mystery Writer & More

LCN 110: Sharon Wildwind: Mystery Writer & MoreSharon Wildwind is a Calgary mystery writer, with a series set in the 1970s about Vietnam veterans and their adjustments to civilian life after they come back from Vietnam, complicated by the fact that they are “always tripping over bodies.”

But Sharon creates a lot more than mystery novels. Like me, she’s a passion pluralite. She works in textiles, and paint, and journals, and so much more.

The messaging that Sharon got as a kid from her parents around art and creativity was pretty intense. In fact, it’s amazing that she ever created anything at all.

She had an “aha” moment that made her realize that maybe art could be for her, when she literally thought, “If she can do that, I can do that.”

We talked how she got started, her approach to her work, her creative practice, her art journals, how commerce affects her creativity, and so much more.

Quote from Sharon:

“A human being designed this, a human being made this. There’s no reason I can’t.”

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is an event.

It’s something I’d been wanting to attend for years, but never managed to go before: Maker Faire!

Last year Maker Faire was the same weekend as my open studio (so frustrating).

This year, my dad found out about it, and got tickets for me and my husband, so the three of us went together, and it was amazing.

If you like to make things, if you’re fascinated by the way things work, if you’re interested in engineering, electronics, invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, there is something for you at Maker Faire.

It started in the Bay Area in 2006, and there are now two flagship Maker Faires in the Bay Area and New York, and over 100 independently-produced Mini and 14 Featured Maker Faires all over the world.

Here’s what it says on the About page of the Maker Faire website:

Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But it s not just for the novel in technical fields; Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It s a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. Many makers say they have no other place to share what they do. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is often invisible in our communities, taking place in shops, garages and on kitchen tables. It s typically out of the spotlight of traditional art or science or craft events. Maker Faire makes visible these projects and ideas that we don t encounter every day.

What I loved about my day at Maker Faire is all the ARTY stuff everywhere! The intersection of engineering and art made my toes tingle!

Here are a few snaps:

LCN 110: Sharon Wildwind: Mystery Writer & MoreJumpy the Shark motorcycle Maker Faire - robot suit!Robot suit! Maker Faire - furry critter vehicleFurry critter vehicle Maker Faire - critter vehicleCritter vehicle Cat art carCat art car 3D needle felting 3D needle felting More 3D needle feltingMore 3D needle felting The Grid Kit at Maker Faire - Cardboard constructionsCardboard constructions Adorable little paper cuties!Adorable little paper cuties! A dragonfly vehicle!A dragonfly vehicle! R2D2 units, rolling around the floor!R2D2 units, rolling around the floor! A guy who doodles freehand with a sewing machine powered by sun and bicycleA guy who doodles freehand with a sewing machine powered by sun and bicycle "Pose me!"“Pose me!” Dinosaur sculptureDinosaur sculpture-mobile Human-powered antmobileHuman-powered antmobile Amazing sculptureAmazing flaming moth sculpture

Enjoy!

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 110: Sharon Wildwind: Mystery Writer & More appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 109: Art + Commerce + Boundaries, and the Ultimate Question
43:37
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 43:37
LCN 109: Art + Commerce + Boundaries, and the Ultimate Question

LCN 109: Art + Commerce + Boundaries, and the Ultimate QuestionExistential questions from the perfect storm of open studio + kitchen renovation + a rare client commission.

Last weekend was my open studio two days in which I turn the entire downstairs into our home into an art gallery and open it to the public as part of Silicon Valley Open Studios, a three-weekend-long, multi-city art-tour that’s been going on in my part of the world for thirty-one years now.

Open Studio 2017 Another view of my open studio 2017

Had I known I was going to be in the middle of a kitchen renovation back when I signed up, I never would have done open studios this year, but the registration deadline was December 31st, and last year I did pretty well I sold a big painting and a couple of small paintings, plus several cards and prints and a lot of the work I put in last year would carry over to this year, so I figured, what the heck.

Then once I’d registered, after I realized it was going to be a living hell to pull it off, it was too late to pull out. 50,000 directories were printed with my name and address listed on maps. I was on the SVOS website.

I might as well go through with it.

I sold a couple books, some cards, a print, and a small painting, plus someone who attends my Create & Incubate Retreat saw a pic of the ultra minis I was working on at the open studio that I shared on Facebook and bought six that were at the show, plus a signed copy of my book, so I’m counting those toward the total, too.

WIPs at my open studio 2017

SOLD! 6 ultra minis from my open studio 2017

Maybe 40 people came through, mostly from seeing the signs posted around the neighborhood, so it was nice to meet neighbors. And it was neat to see my art up in one place.

It also got us to clean up the chaos from the kitchen renovation right quick!

Those were the pros.

I also came to a lot of realizations. Not all of which were pretty.

Chapter One

The sad reality: after expenses, I made about $35.

I can lay partial blame for this on the kitchen renovation, which ate my brain, and sucked the life out of any promotional efforts beyond the posts I shared on FB.

I never emailed my local friends and family. I never dug up last year’s attendees to email or sent postcards.

Major fail.

But there’s also a massive disconnect in my approach overall, which I’m processing right now.

Ultimately, though it sounds harsh, it sort of comes down to this:

Do I even want to sell my art or not?

I mean, of course I do, but how much energy am I willing to devote to it?

I know I don’t want that to be my MAIN gig I got clear on this when my friend Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist asked me a great question few years ago:

“What do you want to be known for? Being a great artist? Or being the person who changes people’s lives by getting them creating?”

No-brainer: the latter.

That’s not to say that selling my art can’t be a side gig, but I understand all too well that selling doesn’t happen on its own. It is not a case of “If you build it, they will come.”

Selling art takes work. And I’m honestly not really interested in working on selling my art right now.

If I had a series of new artworks that I wanted to show, that would be one thing  putting energy into creating a show in order to share that series would make sense.

But to bust my butt to put up mostly old art to hustle to ostensibly try and sell it, not even expecting that I will sell it (because that’s the god’s honest truth: I didn’t actually expect to sell anything at open studios this year!) what’s the point?

There is none in this case.

Which has brought me to the question, what do I want to be creating?

Why am I creating this stuff that’s ostensibly for sale, but rarely sells (because I’m not putting energy into marketing and selling it)?

Ultimately, WHY am I creating?

Not in the sense of stop creating, but literally, WHAT does it give me? What do I want to create if I take commerce not just partially, but completely out of the picture, and it’s literally PURELY FOR ME?

Because this past weekend made me realize that the boundary line has not been very clear in my mind. Yes, I create “for me,” but there has always been the caveat that maybe I could sell it, or should sell it.

Why don’t I just create what I feel like creating because I feel like creating it?

And what IS that?

Maybe it’s not 2″x2″ canvases. Or 6″x6″ canvas boards.

Maybe it’s painting on a big sheet of canvas stretched on the back wall of my studio (after the contents of my kitchen are moved out of the boxes currently living there, and back INTO the kitchen!)

Maybe it’s working on a 20″x20″ board that will ultimately go in my living room, underneath or above the other 20″x20″ painting (to replace the one that sold last year), taking my time with it, just playing and having fun.

(And maybe that current 20″x20″ painting will get painted over!)

Maybe it’s more altered book pages.

Maybe it’s getting back to my sewing machine and just playing around with fabric scraps.

Let’s put a pin in that. Let’s call that Chapter 1.

Chapter 2

Meanwhile, at exactly the same time as all of this, I’ve been working on this rare art commission, which has reminded me why I no longer take art direction, and why I basically don’t take commissions anymore.

Here’s what happened.

I don’t normally do commissions anymore, but the director of a Jewish charitable organization, which made a big difference in my life several years back when I was in dire need, called me a few month ago to see if I might have some Judaic art she might purchase to use to give as awards to honor three award recipients at an upcoming gala, or if not, if I might create some art for this purpose.

I don’t have any Judaic art in my inventory, so the only option was to create some…

This woman, the Director, personally changed my life, and I am so profoundly grateful. I told her I don’t normally do commissions, but if she was okay with the fact that I don’t accept art direction, I would be happy to create artwork for the honorees.

We discussed parameters, price, etc., and came to an agreement.

The plan was that I would create multiple pieces, 6″x6″, from which the client would choose three. That way I wouldn’t have to create to any particular specifications (I wouldn’t have to be art directed), but she would feel some sense of control.

Weeks passed. Life threw monkey wrenches at me (as it has its way of doing), and suddenly the gala was a few weeks away!

I had to get started on the art!

I work fast and loose, so it shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Wrong. This is where I was reminded of WHY I don’t do commissions anymore.

It is VERY different to create something purely from the place of “Gee, what happens if I make squiggles here?”  my normal mode of operation now  than it is to have to create something specific to please a client.

In this case, I had to make JUDAIC SHAPES.

I’m used to making SQUIGGLES. Not any particular shapes AT ALL. So this was VERY DIFFERENT.

And although I am perfectly capable of making particular shapes (I did that quite capably for fifteen years, thank you very much), the fluidity and whimsy that characterizes my work these days is very hard to capture and maintain when I have to make particular shapes, instead of just making random squiggles!

Very. Frustrating!

I ended up making several squiggly pieces (which my gremlins snarled were “UTTER CRAP!!!”, and a few more detailed pieces that ended up taking WAY MORE TIME to produce than I had planned, which made me cranky… as the whole idea of this thing was that these pieces would be “quick and easy” for me to crank out.

Ha. Best laid plans…

Sigh…

Anyway, I snapped pics of the several pieces to send to my client, and she shared them with her staff, who loved them. (!) (Take THAT, gremlins!)

Then she shared them with the Board of Directors, who apparently had some issues…

And she finally spoke with me last night.

(Apparently she’s had a stomach ache all day thinking about how to talk to me…)

The Board was wondering if I might incorporate the feeling of the LOGO of the organization into the artwork, so could I (she asked) create some new pieces that do that? Not graphic design, of course, but just embody the flavor of the symbolism that the logo represents… ?

[silence]

Of course, dear reader/listener, you realize that this is precisely a request for graphic design.

It is also a request for precisely what I explicitly said I do not do anymore, which is to take art direction.

I had to think about how to respond to this, while I looked up their website to remind myself what their logo even looked like…

Meanwhile, my inner strong self was screaming “NO! NO! NO! YOU DO NOT TAKE ART DIRECTION! AND YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME, EVEN IF YOU DID TAKE ART DIRECTION!!! THE GALA IS ON SUNDAY!!!”

But my old nice-girl self would have acquiesced and let myself get walked all over…

So what would it be? Would I be nice? Or would I hold firm and risk being thought of as a “bitch”?

I took a long pause.

And I said, “Okay, there are two things going on here. First of all, time. I really don’t have time to create a whole new set of pieces.

“And second of all [which really should have been first of all, but hey, good for me for saying it at all!], I don’t normally do commissions  as I told you when we first spoke about this originally, I agreed to do this because this organization made such a huge difference in my life, and because YOU asked me directly  I probably wouldn’t have agreed if it were anyone else, but you are so special to me. YOU changed my life. And as I said when we spoke  you may remember  I really don’t take art direction on commissions.”

“Yes, I do remember,” she said, with a sigh.

She did not push me. She did not argue with me. she just accepted it!

She told me the three pieces they were going to go with, and that was it!

We worked out the rest of the details, and she thanked me, and we said goodbye.

Lightning did not strike!

I SET A LIMIT AND LIGHTNING DID NOT STRIKE!

May I serve as a model for you, if you also have problems setting limits.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

All of this has been making me think about art and commerce and my relationship to it, and what I want my relationship to it to be. It’s very sticky and slippery.

That is Chapter Two. Let’s put a pin in that.

Chapter Three

Meanwhile, as I looked at my artwork on display throughout the “popup gallery” that was my open studio this past weekend, it was very clear to me which of my paintings feel like they are part of a larger, cohesive “body of work,” and which feel like they’re “flailing.” Like they don’t really fit.

I got very clear at this open studio that I am tired of having a scattered collection of random work.

I really like some of my paintings, but it’s not even so much about which paintings I like, and which I don’t like, it’s more about which ones feel like they belong to a family. The ones that don’t it’s not that they’re bad, it’s that they don’t represent who I am as an artist, or who I am anymore.

Whether or not I participate in Silicon Valley Open Studios next year, those pieces that do not fit are either:

a) going away (as in being given away in the next hauling session), or

b) being re-used as “under canvases” for new paintings.

So I’m not going to have to buy new canvases for a really long time!

But then, I may not even be painting on canvases for awhile, because I’m still figuring out what I want to create! If I’m detaching creating from commerce, or the need for commerce at least for now then canvas and board may not be in my immediate future. Unless it’s for specific location in my home, or for a gift for a particular person in my life.

All of this is what I’m processing right now.

Art + Commerce

Art + Commerce + Boundaries

And, for lack of a better term, Authentic Voice + Working in Series

(For more on that, btw, you might want to check out a conversation that Cory Huff and I had with artist Lisa Call on the podcast we used to co-host, Creative Insurgents. It’s all about working in series, and why you should.

Honestly, I used to be pretty resistant to the idea. Now I embrace it.)

All right. These the are the questions I’m processing. I don’t have all the answers, but perhaps my addressing the questions here will help you to come up with your own answers.

Be well, and go get creating.

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is Artwork Tracker app, .

I know not everyone who listens is a visual artist, but if you are, and if you want to keep track of your artwork, especially if you are an iPhone or iPad user, this app is the BOMB!

(There’s a Mac version, too. And the guy who created this app also makes a Story Tracker app, for writers who want to track their story submissions iOS, Mac, and PC versions.)

I found out about it from my Creative Sandbox Community (Creative Sandbox members rock!), and I am loving it!

(Quick reminder: the price will be going up on Creative Sandbox membership after I come up for air from the kitchen renovation, so there will never be a better time to join. Get in now and you’ll lock in your membership for life at the current rate of just $39/month or $390/year, even after the price increases to $49/month and $490/year.)

Of course, now that my relationship with art + commerce is in flux, it’s sort of ironic that I’m sharing this app today, but it’s still a very cool app.

There are a number of tools you can use to help you keep track of your artworks  from Evernote, to online databases but what I love about Artwork Tracker is that it lets me use my phone to snap a picture of a piece, type in a title, dimensions, price, the date it was created, any notes, even how much time I spent on it if I want, and materials cost if I want all of that right on my phone.

If you like to use your computer, this is not the tool for you. But I hate having to dig through my hard drive to find images. I just want to be able to do everything on mobile, and for $7.99, this little app lets me do it all.

You can also keep track of clients, and also submissions to galleries and competitions, too. Plus you can back up your data to Dropbox, or Google Drive, or your hard drive. You can also export and import your data by typing a URL into a browser, then clicking different links to download different file formats (CSV or Artwork Tracker ADBI format).

It’s not a super robust program, but for a single fee of $7.99, and mobile functionality, it had what I was looking for.

Enjoy!

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 109: Art + Commerce + Boundaries, and the Ultimate Question appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 108: Christine Yablonski: From Community Chorus to Good Morning America
53:57
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 53:57
LCN 108: Christine Yablonski: From Community Chorus to Good Morning America

LCN 108: Christine Yablonski: From Community Chorus to Good Morning America“I learned how to control my fears and my jitters from my experience with the community chorus.”

Back in 2000, Christine Yablonski moved to a new community and joined a community choral group. Little did she know at the time that this experience would end up changing her life.

The confidence that Christine developed from performing with that group helped her volunteer for a live-action role-playing camp, where she ultimately became a director and head of HR.

At the same time, she and her husband began unschooling their kids, and this led to the opportunity to be on Good Morning America. But… the editors had a biased point of view they wanted to get across, and the footage was edited to make Christine and her husband look pretty goofy.

But the next day they had a chance to be on camera again, this time live with George Stephanopoulos, and then later that afternoon with Joy Behar! Both of these went over very well so well, in fact, that Christine went on to be an advocate and public speaker for the next few years.

And it all started with that community choral group back in 2000.

As Christine says, “I learned how to control my fears and my jitters from my experience with the community chorus.”

Good Morning America

Not many of us will have the experience of being on national television, let alone live national television. Let alone getting an apology on live national television from George Stephanopoulos!

Christine Yablonski and her husband had both.

She tells the whole story on the podcast, and it is fascinating. And again, she credits her ability to be articulate and poised in this high-stress, high-pressure situation as having its roots in that community choral group.

Creativity + community = growth and empowerment.

That’s a pretty phenomenal formula!

(And it happens to be what led to my own Creative Sandbox Community. There’s never going to be a better time to join, because prices are going up soon.)

Favorite Quote from Christine

“I get out of my own way and just let the art guide me.”

 Something Cool

Zero-Odor-PetThis week’s Something Cool is Zero Odor® spray, which if you have cats who use a litter box inside, this will change your life.

Actually, I use this stuff in combination with the Litter Genie®, which I guess is similar to a Diaper Genie®, but I’ve never had kids, so never had to deal with diapers.

But I do have an indoor kitty, and litter box smell is a big problem, especially since it is in the bathroom right off my studio, which is basically where I am all. The. Time.

But now I spray the litter with Zero Odor, scoop the litter waste into the Litter Genie, which seals all the smelly stuff away.

And we also keep a bottle of Zero Odor in the master bathroom, and a little one in the powder room. This stuff is amazing it doesn’t just mask the smell, it makes it disappear.

Now I have to confess, it took me awhile to get used to it, because it does have a tracer scent, which is NOT perfume, but it’s an added scent that doesn’t last very long, but they add it so that you know you’ve sprayed the stuff, because otherwise you might not remember. Because Zero Odor literally bonds to the smelly molecules and somehow makes them not smell anymore.

You do have to spray more than one spritz for it to work. My husband was unclear on the concept, and thought one spritz was going to do it. Nope. You need like ten good, strong sprays. But it really works!

The image shown here is Zero Odor Pet, but I really don’t think there’s any difference.

Now, to save money, and plastic, I actually buy the 128-ounce commercial strength bottle and use it, a little watered down, to refill my smaller spray bottles.

No more stinky-stink!

So Zero Odor is today’s Something Cool.

Enjoy!

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Mentioned in this Episode

Life is a Verb Camp

Silicon Valley Open Studios (my open studio is THIS WEEKEND!) – svos.org

 

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 108: Christine Yablonski: From Community Chorus to Good Morning America appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 107: Pricing Pandemonium? Melissa Goes on a Rant
39:10
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 39:10
LCN 107: Pricing Pandemonium? Melissa Goes on a Rant

LCN 107: Pricing Pandemonium? Melissa Goes on a RantI was on a Studio Work Day check-in call last month. That’s something we do in my Creative Sandbox Community that’s sort of an all-day “let’s get stuff done together” accountability group.

Everyone logs in to a video conference room at set times throughout the day to very briefly say what they’re going to work on, then we get to work. Then we come back at designated intervals, usually a couple of hours apart, to report back on our progress.

It is awesome.

I can’t tell you how many times members have said, “I never would have gotten this done if it weren’t for Studio Work Day.” And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that!

Anyway, last month I was on the first check-in call of the day, and it was just me and one other person, and when I asked how she was doing she said she was pretty deflated. She’s an artist, and someone had expressed interest in buying one of her paintings, but when he found out the price, he balked. So she offered him a discount.

And she never heard back.

And now she was feeling pretty bad.

Now, the first thing I should say here is that Studio Work Day calls are not coaching calls. They are very brief check-in calls, where Creative Sandbox members briefly share what we are going to work on in the next chunk of time, so we can spend the maximum amount of that time actually doing the work.

There are two group calls each month that are coaching calls Q&A calls, Office Hours, whatever you want to call them (we call them Rally Calls) where Creative Sandbox members meet up in real time with me and each other in a video conference room to ask me any question they want.

And if you’re not able to join in live, you can post your question in a special thread in our Facebook group, and I’ll address it on the call, so you’ll be able to listen to my answer on the recording.

Given that I charge $300/hour for one-on-one mentoring, this kind of access to me is a phenomenal value. And Creative Sandbox members get it twice a month as part of their membership.

But again, not on Studio Work Day calls. Those are for brief check-ins about what we’re going to work on, not for coaching or mentoring.

But… sometimes I can’t help myself.

It was just me and this one member, and I couldn’t not say something. Because I saw her doing what so many other people do especially creatives and what I have done so many times in my own life, and it has never served me well: undercharging in an attempt to make my offering more desirable.

So I went on a bit of a rant.

Here’s what happens when you undercharge:

You resent them.

Resentment is actually anger at yourself, misdirected at someone else through the lens of victimhood. (Click to tweet.)

They undervalue what they receive.

They undervalue all other similar work.

So yeah, you end up undercutting everyone else who does the kind of work you do. You damage not only yourself, you damage the entire market.

Let’s look at this in the extreme. I know a number of people who are so uncomfortable with the idea of charging money for their work for the value they’ve created, whether it be artwork, or consulting, or anything else that they refuse. They give it away for free.

Now, this is their choice, but is this really doing a service to the people they’re giving their work away to? Maybe. Maybe not.

People tend not to value what they do not invest in.

How many free eBooks do you have languishing on your hard drive? How many free webinars have you signed up for but never attended?

Attracting Freebie-Seekers

I’ll tell you, when I used to offer free trial memberships to my Creative Sandbox Community at the end of my free webinars, I’d get a whole lot of signups, but virtually all of them would cancel at the end of the trial period.

I was attracting freebie seekers, not people who were truly interested in becoming members and adding value to the community.

This is not to say that free trials and free webinars are never a good idea. For some markets and audiences they work fabulously. But just because they work for someone else does not mean they will work in your particular situation.

People tend not to value what they do not invest in.

It doesn’t have to be money, but if they’re not invested, they’re not going to value it. And my freebie-seeking trial members were not invested. They were just looking for a freebie, so they didn’t value it enough to stick around.

People tend not to value what they do not invest in.

The Invitation Disaster

Back when my main gig was being a ketubah artist, making Jewish marriage contracts, I designed a whole suite of invitations to match my ketubah prints, and I paid for a booth at several wedding fairs, thinking this would be the magic bullet that would revive my flagging business.

And because I was so desperate for money, I offered bargain basement pricing, thinking that would make me an attractive option.

I had gorgeous, premium invitations at bargain basement prices what’s not to love?

Except that I couldn’t compete with the super-cheap online DIY invitations on price, and my pricing was too to make sense for the premium product I was offering. It set up a cognitive dissonance for shoppers.

And the few clients I did get, I resented like crazy, because after all was said and done I was paid slave wages!

But whose fault was that?

Not the clients’ fault. They spotted a good deal and snagged it. I was the one who set those prices!

People tend not to value what they do not invest in.

The Art Gallery

I was at an art gallery over the weekend, and I paid very close attention to the prices on the artwork.

Price tells a story. What story do you want to tell with your pricing? Without anything else to anchor value, people will look at the price and that will anchor the value in their minds.

If something costs $0, in general people assume it is worth nothing.

If something costs $25, in general people assume it is worth $25.

If something costs $25,000, in general people assume it is worth $25,000.

People tend not to value what they do not invest in.

Yes, this is a vast generalization, but I noticed my responses to the prices of the art in the gallery, and I noticed that the art that was priced very cheaply felt… cheap to me. Whereas the art that was priced higher felt… more valuable.

Open Studio

I have an open studio coming up May 13-14, as part of Silicon Valley Open Studios. I’ll be showing over 100 of my original artworks, from 2″x2″ to 20″x20″, on paper, stretched canvas, canvas board, and wooden panel, in all different media, and all of them will be for sale.

Let me tell you, that visit to the art gallery, and the conversation I had with the Creative Sandbox member, has made me reconsider last year’s pricing.

Last year I thought, “I have all these paintings, why don’t I offer crazy-low pricing to blow it all out and make room for new stuff?”

So I offered my small 4″x4″, 5″x5″, and 6″x6″ paintings at special “Open Studio” prices that were less than half the regular price.

I sold two.

Compare that with ten years ago, when I had a piece I was tired of having around the studio. I’d lowered the price over the years in the hopes of getting rid of it, but nobody ever bit. So that year I tried something different, and instead of lowering the price, I raised it.

It sold.

Guess what my pricing strategy is going to be for open studios this year?

Price tells a story. What story do you want to tell with your pricing?

People tend not to value what they do not invest in.

Announcements!

By the way, all of this talk of pricing is the perfect segue to two announcements:

1) Pricing will be going up on my Creative Sandbox Community.

Given that one-on-one mentoring with me is $300/hour, and you can get two hours of real-time access to me in Rally Calls every month and sometimes either very few people show up, or the people who show up don’t have any questions and just want to be a fly on the wall, if you join for the Rally Calls alone $39/month is a phenomenal deal.

Plus you get an amazing community. Which is really why I started the Creative Sandbox. I wanted to create the community that I needed as a creative.

I wanted to feel less alone. I wanted to be surrounded by a tribe of diverse creatives, walking the same kind of path that I’m walking the Creative Sandbox Way. People who get me.

I wanted a place where I could go with my frustrations and challenges, as well as with my victories and successes. Where I could share what I’m working on, and share when I’m banging my head against the wall, because I know they get it.

That’s the Creative Sandbox.

Now I share a lot of stuff here on the podcast, I’m pretty pretty open and transparent. But there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t share here that I do share in the Creative Sandbox Community. Because that’s my inner circle.

They’re my peeps. They get the inside scoop that nobody else does.

It’s like a lab, and a salon, and a girls’ night in, all wrapped into one.

And it’s a whole range of types of creators. We’ve got scientists in there, who don’t primarily identify as creatives at all. And we’ve got self-identified artists and writers and musicians. And everything in between.

The one thing that joins us together is that creative expression is important to us. We want to be creating in some way in our lives. We want to be living full-color lives.

And we’re women.

If that’s you, and you want to join us, I’ve just opened the doors again, and for a limited time, the price is $39/month, or save two months and join for $390/year.

Just go to CreativeSandboxCommunity.com

All right, that’s announcement #1.

2) Pricing CPR Sessions

If all this talk about pricing has made you realize you could use some help with your pricing, I’m opening up four spots for Pricing CPR Sessions.

These are quick laser-coaching sessions to assess one specific pricing issue, and help you find the sweet spot.

We’ll assess your audience, your offer, and your price.

30 minutes. $150. BOOM!

Just shoot me an email to hello (at) melissadinwiddie.com, or via the contact page at livecreativenow.com with “Pricing CPR” in the subject line and I’ll hook you up.

SPECIAL OFFER to save 20%: Buy a new copy of my book, The Creative Sandbox Way from that linkand forward your receipt to hello (at) melissadinwiddie.com with “Pricing CPR” in the subject line, and I’ll send you a discount link!

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is tea tree oil as a miracle treatment for that annoying orange-pink mold that grows on your grout and caulk in your shower.

We had awful black mold stains on our shower grout, which was there when I bought the place back in 2006, and finally had the shower regrouted a couple of years ago.

I’ve been vigilant about squeegeeing, and even toweling down the tiles and the corners (I’m way more vigilant than my husband, but after he leaves for work I towel down the drips that he didn’t catch).

And yet that awful orange-pink mold still appears! It drives me crazy!

I learned from the grout guy never to use bleach, because it softens your grout. Very bad! That makes it easier for more mold to grow, and eventually your grout will crumble and fall apart!

But after some searching around on Google I discovered people talking about tea tree oil, and I had some in a cabinet, and I decided to give it a try.

Now I don’t know if it’s bad for grout I couldn’t find anyone talking about that online, so buyer beware!

What I can say is that when I dipped a cotton swab into the tea tree oil and rubbed at the orange-pink mold, it disappeared! Like magic! I was thrilled.

So that is today’s Something Cool.

Enjoy!

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 107: Pricing Pandemonium? Melissa Goes on a Rant appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 106: Laureen Marchand: An Artist Finds Her Flow Again
1:03:21
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 1:03:21
LCN 106: Laureen Marchand: An Artist Finds Her Flow Again

LCN 106: Laureen Marchand: An Artist Finds Her Flow AgainLaureen Marchand is a professional, working artist. But like many professional, working artists, she’s hit up against the reality that the life of an artist is not eight blissful hours a day of creating art.

It doesn’t work that way.

Like me (and many others, I’m sure), for a long time Laureen struggled with an all-or-nothing mindset. If she couldn’t make art eight hours a day, then maybe that meant she didn’t get to have her art at all..?

Support, longing, and action have been key to Laureen’s happiness and success.

If you’re looking for a peek into what it’s really like for a real, life working artist, have a listen to our conversation.

Apologies for the odd creaking sound on Laureen’s side of the audio. Tech gremlins. Grrr… 

The Law of Laureen

One Candle - oil painting by Laureen MarchandIf you’ve followed me for any time at all, you know I’m a big believer in “tiny & daily.” In fact, “Think tiny & daily” is Guidepost #4 of The Creative Sandbox Way!

Although I don’t set a timer anymore, back in 2011, I made a commitment to spending fifteen minutes a day making art.

Laureen took this tiny and daily commitment a step further she’s the one who coined the term “Any amount counts,” which I have branded The Law of Laureen.

Because truly, any amount of time you spend on your creative thing does count!

Grooves vs. Ruts

When you’ve gotten into a rut:

“You have a choice of not having creativity because you’re only repeating yourself, or … feeling like you’re not creative because you haven’t gotten to the new groove yet. And you’re stepping across a gap that’s a little wider than your stride. So all you can do is push off with the remaining foot and hope that the foot you reach out with gets you onto the next trail.”

On NOT Feeding Creative Hungers

“You get profoundly disappointed that you have not followed the thing that’s calling you, that you haven’t fed your creative hunger, and you start to believe that you aren’t able to, you aren’t worthy of doing it, that this feeling of disappointment and failure is what life is really like.

“And it isn’t! Life isn’t like that. Life is full of things you can make and things you can do. Why not make them?

What Helps when You Lose the Path

“Pick something you like and do it.”

“I knew from the other false paths I’d been on what wasn’t going to work.”

“That seems to be how it works: Trusting that it might not be true, but it might be.”

“Ideas come out of making things… If you’re in the place where the making happens, and you’re making, you’re much more likely to understand what’s true.”

“I think you need to take it seriously enough to keep going. It doesn’t matter so much that what you do is good; it does matter that you do it.”

More Quotes from Laureen

“As wonderful as being a full-time freelance artist is, it’s hard work creating your identity with every mark you make!”

“With a job, even a demanding job, you have a built-in structure and a built-in identity.”

“Having to make decisions about who you are all the time is demanding and difficult.”

“Without process there is no product.”

“I think our job is to be honest in the marks we make, and then go and be honest somewhere else.”

Find Laureen at http://laureenmarchand.com

Something Cool

This week’s Something Cool is The Power of Negotiation.

The Power of Negotiation with Vanessa Van Edwards - CreativeLiveNo, not just negotiation, as in a discussion that leads to agreement, but the CreativeLive class, taught by Vanessa Van Edwards, The Power of Negotiation.

I was lucky enough to get to be in the studio audience when the class was streamed live on video last Thursday, April 20th, and my mind was blown wide open.

First of all, Vanessa Van Edwards is a total hero of mine. She is a behavioral investigator (and also a self-declared “recovering awkward person,” though you would never guess that from her pictures and videos, because she is drop-dead gorgeous and utterly captivating!). She runs this amazing lab and website called the Science of People, where she and her team research anything and everything having to do with human behavior and what makes us tick.

She’s also a wildly popular instructor over at CreativeLive.com, where she’s taught body language, people skills, and the power of happiness.

Before this class the very idea of negotiation made me break out in hives, so when the opportunity arose to be in the live studio audience when Vanessa taught The Power of Negotiation for CreativeLive, I jumped at it!

But here’s the thing: even if I had not been in the studio audience, even if I had not gotten to meet my hero and be in the CreativeLive studios (which is a pretty awesome and wonderful experience), the content of the class is so life-changing, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

If you ever have to negotiate (and who doesn’t? I mean, who doesn’t have to buy a car, or ask for a raise, or set a price on a product or service?) you need this class. It will completely transform the way you think about negotiation, and about how you approach every single negotiation you ever take on.

Seriously, in the span of three hours, my mind was completely blown. I’ve gone from feeling terrified and powerless to empowered and even kind of excited. Really!

Captivate, by Vanessa Van Edwards - click here to get the book on Amazon! (Yes, this is an affiliate link, so I'll make a few pennies if you end up purchasing. Ka-ching!)Meanwhile, be sure to check out Vanessa’s brand new book, Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, which just came out yesterday! I got a free (signed!) copy as part of being in the class, and have started digging in. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but like everything else Vanessa does, it’s fantastic.

Enjoy!

Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 106: Laureen Marchand: An Artist Finds Her Flow Again appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 105: You’re Ready When You’re Ready
30:33
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 30:33
LCN 105: You’re Ready When You’re Ready

LCN 105: You're Ready When You're ReadyLast night MM and I sat on the couch for a good hour after dinner for no purpose other than to marvel at our new living room.

Or, more accurately, at our newly reclaimed living room.

There was nothing new in the room except space. And there was a lot more of that, because just a few hours earlier College Hunks Hauling Junk had come and hauled away a quarter truckload of stuff that had accumulated all throughout the house:

  • a really nice office chair I haven’t used for years, since converting to a treadmill desk
  • several bags of clothing, shoes, and handbags
  • stuffed animals given to me by ex-boyfriends
  • 13 stems of glassware that belonged to my grandmother, which we never use, and were only holding onto for sentimental reasons
  • an enormous (dead) fluorescent torchiere lamp
  • 7 racks of music CDs
  • a box of LPs
  • several boxes of assorted chotchkes
  • etc. etc. etc.

PLUS:

  • 2 IKEA tower units
  • a bookcase
  • an IKEA cabinet

All of which furniture items stored things that we either got rid of, or were able to move because of other things we got rid of.

Living Room: BEFORE (Okay, the whole left side of this picture is empty cardboard boxes, waiting to hold the contents of our kitchen cabinets, but still...)Living Room: BEFORE (Okay, the whole left side of this picture is empty cardboard boxes, waiting to hold the contents of our kitchen cabinets, but still…)

 

Behold - Living Room: AFTER. Ahhh! Behold – Living Room: AFTER. Ahhh!

Bless my husband for his sudden willingness to release books back to the wild! I seriously did not think that would ever happen!

We took four enormous boxes of books to the Friends of the Library on Saturday, which enabled us to consolidate all of our living room books to one big bookcase, plus spillover into a rolling cart that holds photo albums, and my sewing cabinet for tall coffee table books which are too tall for anywhere else, and which I’m not quite ready to let go of yet.

(There’s only so much releasing a person can do at one time. Be gentle with yourself if you don’t get to everything! It’s like peeling layers off an onion. This is what, the fifth or sixth major clutterbust for me over the past three or four years. I still have many pockets still to tackle, but hey, as my lousy ex-boyfriend used to say, better is better!)

So now, because of the books and stuff we were able to release, which let me move the remaining books and stuff around, we took four pieces of furniture completely out of the living room!

The red Poäng chair, which always felt like it was sort of in the way, now fits nicely in the corner. And the ottoman, which always felt really in the way, now fits perfectly next to our fake fireplace-that’s-really-a-heater, and Nika has claimed it as her kitty throne.

It’s adorable.

Nika on her kitty throneNika on her kitty throne. (Those colorful squares on the floor are Flor tiles we’re testing out for vacuumability, if that’s a word…)

Maybe the best part is that now that those IKEA towers are gone, although we’ve lost shelf space to display things, we suddenly have wall space to display my paintings!

And with Silicon Valley Open Studios coming up May 13-14, this could not be more timely!

Anyway, the real point of all this, the reason I wanted to share this with you is that last night I truly was marveling at our new space. It’s still in-process and messy there are screws in the walls that used to anchor the IKEA towers to the wall in the event of an earthquake; I havent’ even begun to hang paintings in a thoughtful manner; it has been purged, but not decorated yet.

So when I sent my parents a snapshot and my mom texted, “you could be in House Beautiful now. It looks terrific,” MM quipped, “Maybe House a Bit Better.”

But it is So. Much. Better!

I feel almost like we could be in one of those IKEA home photo shoots, where the couples never look like clutterbugs!

It’s nothing short of a miracle.

AND the way we got here is twofold:

  1. You get there when you’re ready.
  2. Deadlines really help, plus external accountability.

This is the closest I’ve gotten to tidiness nirvana in my LIVE, and it has taken me years. It may not take you years maybe you’ll read the latest Marie Kondo book or hire a pro and you’ll be off to the races.

For me, though, there was so much emotional and psychological attachment to my clutter that I had to peel the layers off a few at a time.

You’re ready when you’re ready, and until you’re ready, you’re not ready.

When you’re ready, ther’es nothing like a deadline, with someone else waiting on you. I had two college students coming to haul stuff away on Monday, so we were incentivized to get everything piled up and ready to go before they got here.

Meanwhile, Joe is coming to demo our kitchen at 7:30 am on Friday, so we better darn well have everything out of the cabinets before then.

[Update: we found black mold in the ceiling, and mold remediation guys came today, so I had to get everything out of the kitchen cabinets today. Talk about a deadline.]

When the incentive is big enough, and you’re ready, you will find a way to make it happen.

Before then, it doesn’t matter how much you might want it. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready.

Don’t beat yourself up for not being ready. Do what you are ready for in the meantime. Keep peeling those layers off that onion. Little by little you’ll get there.

Oh, and when you finally move those big IKEA towers, or their eqivalent in your own life, you never know what you might find.

Years of accumulated kitty fluffs and spider webs, of course, but I also found this painting, 4 3/8″ x 6″, which I made years ago in a workshop.

Abstract Panel artwork by Melissa Dinwiddie

Treasures await when you’re ready.

Onward, ho!

[Epilogue: IKEA delivered 45 boxes of cabinet pieces and parts Tuesday night, so our newfound space was short-lived. For the next week our living room is a warehouse of IKEA boxes.  ]

Our living room: the IKEA warehouse.Our living room: the IKEA warehouse. Sigh… Well, hopefully it’s only for a week.

 

And one more shot. Look at that happy kitty! Look at her!And one more shot. Look at that happy kitty! Look at her!

Something Cool

This week’s something cool is chickpea water, aka aquafaba.

Behold:

Basically, chickpeas are a miracle food.

First I discovered that chickpea flour made farinata, the most delicious, gluten-free flatbread, pizza crust, and quiche substitute ever.

Plus it makes wonderful crepes, and lets me make latkes (i.e., vegetable pancakes) without using eggs or flour, both of which are toxic to me.

But recently software engineer and vegan food enthusiast Goose Wohlt discovered that the water left over from boiling chickpeas can be whipped just like egg whites, and used for just about anything you’d use egg whites for in baking and cooking!

See this article, 20 Amazing Things You Can Do With Aquafaba, by The Vegan Society, for a mind-blowing sampling.

Ever since discovering that I’m sensitive to eggs (waaahhh!!), I’ve missed out on a ton of foods mousses, macaroons, meringues so needless to say, I’m pretty excited about aquafaba!

So far I’ve only used it to make coconut macaroons, and since I was missing one of the three called-for ingredients (brown rice syrup), I can’t say that my experiment was a complete success… My husband suggested I use maple syrup as a substitute, and I blindly went ahead, without thinking that maple syrup is A) much wetter, and B) much sweeter than rice syrup.

Doh!

Needless to say, my macaroons were a little on the soft side, and a little on the sweet side…

But they were edible! And they did work!

And when that bean water whipped into a froth it was mighty exciting, let me tell you!

So that is this week’s Something Cool. Go forth and create something beany!

More info:

Vegans Whip Up a Secret Weapon: AquafabaNew York Times

Everything You Need to Know About Aquafaba, the Vegan Wonder Ingredient – Bon Appetit

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 105: You’re Ready When You’re Ready appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 104: Living the Nomadic Life with Ellen Bard
1:04:57
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 1:04:57
LCN 104: Living the Nomadic Life with Ellen Bard

LCN104: Living the Nomadic Life with Ellen BardA few years before we spoke, Ellen Bard would have introduced herself as a management consultant working in London. Now she’s a digital nomad, based in Thailand.

  1. She’s a freelance consultant, specifically a chartered occupational psychologist (aka, a work psychologist).
  2. She has a personal development website, writing primarily about self-compassion/self-care.
  3. She’s a novelist, who writes paranormal romance.

How did this all come to be? You’ll have to listen to find out!

I will say it involves writing 100,000 words during NaNoWriMo despite being a self-proclaimed perfectionist.

There’s a whole lot of wisdom in Ellen’s side of our conversation that I think anyone who’s ever struggled with perfectionism can benefit from.

We started off talking about the importance of self-knowledge. As Ellen put it:

“The more you can understand yourself and what demotivates or motivates you, what drives you or disengages you, the more you can use that knowledge and information to set up your lifestyle, your work, your structure, whatever it is, to facilitate better creativity.”

Sound familiar? This is exactly my Golden Formula: Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

But that was just the beginning of a rich conversation, in which we discussed, among other things:

  • Ellen’s own journey toward greater self-care and self-compassion, as a result of a car accident over a decade ago.
  • Ellen’s morning ritual (and how it changes when she travels (she took 86 individual flights over the course of the previous year, so she travels a lot)
  • Conscious use of time as a key to get stuff done.
  • How tightly intertwined the body and mind are.
  • Ellen’s story of the power of a smile.

Favorite quotes:

“I think every act, pretty much, can be creative.” -Ellen

“Creativity is what humans do.” -Melissa

Have a listen and let me know your biggest takeaway!

Find Ellen at:

http://ellenbard.com

http://ellenbardauthor.com

http://twitter.com/ellenbard

Something Cool

A Strange Companion - book by Lisa ManterfieldA Strange Companion (aff link), by Lisa Manterfield

I read a lot of novels. When a friend writes a novel, though, it always causes me anxiety, because I know I’ll be expected to read it.

And really, a lot more people think they’re good writers than actually are good writers.

So when my friend Lisa told me she was finally publishing her novel, on the one hand I was thrilled for her.

On the other hand, I broke out in hives, because now I was going to have to read her book and then either tell her what I really thought of it, or lie, or avoid her none of which seemed like good options.

But as it happens I needn’t have worried, because it turns out Lisa is a brilliant writer, and her first published novel is stunning.

As I wrote in my Amazon review:

Many authors can write page turners. Many can make me laugh or cry. Fewer can weave prose that makes my heart sing. Fewer still can craft a story so layered and nuanced that it taps me right to the core, and leaves me buzzing. In A Strange Companion, Lisa Manterfield has managed to do all of the above.

That’s why A Strange Companion is this week’s Something Cool. This book is so good, I want everyone to know about.

Go buy it. Go get it out of the library if you can find it there.

Read it. (Keep a box of tissues handy.) Share it with friends.

This is is a book that will stick with you. If you’ve been through a loss, or if you’re going through a loss right now, or if you know someone who is going through a loss, it may help you or them navigate it.

And if you’ve ever been through a loss (and who hasn’t) it will tug at your heartstrings and expand your soul.

Highly recommended.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 104: Living the Nomadic Life with Ellen Bard appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 103: Embarrassing Confessions (or How Not to Become a Prolific Creator)
29:56
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 29:56
LCN 103: Embarrassing Confessions (or How Not to Become a Prolific Creator)

LCN 103: Embarrassing Confessions (or How Not to Become a Prolific Creator)On Saturday, I drove with my husband (affectionately known on the podcast as Miracle Man, or MM for short) up to Sonoma to the Sonoma International Film Festival, because a friend of ours, who is a professional screenwriter and director, wrote and directed a film that was showing in the festival.

His name is Joel Souza, the film is called Veracruz, and he crowdfunded the money to produce the film a few years ago in an Indiegogo campaign, which we had supported, and this was our first opportunity to see the final product, so of course we couldn’t miss it.

We stayed overnight with a friend of mine from the calligraphy world, then we had drove home on Sunday and promptly took a nap after lunch.

That afternoon, after waking up for our nap, I played in the Creative Sandbox and made some art. Then I photographed it, and shared this picture on Instagram.

Mini Doodle Art: Dancing Elephant

Then I shared this photo, along with a spontaneous post (below) in my Creative Sandbox Community, that touched on something that I’ve long thought about, and have long wanted to write about on the blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to do so in any meaningful way, so I thought I’d talk about it today on the podcast.

Because this is something that I struggled with for a long time.

It led to a lot of pain and suffering, and I know I’m not alone.

So let’s shine a little light on it!

Especially the part that I’m embarrassed to share.

Here’s what I posted in the Creative Sandbox Community (listen to the podcast for a longer riff):

We spent the night a couple of hours away, drove home and promptly took a nap after lunch–so tired after a restless night. So my Creative Sandbox time was late in the afternoon today, Sunday.

I spent a half hour doodling on a tiny canvas, then photographed it and shared it in this grid.

The photography is as much a part of the play and fun, I think, as the art-making–I really enjoy it! And the sharing to Instagram.

This has become part of my (almost) daily practice, something that pleases me very much.

The particulars change–what, exactly, I’m creating–but the FACT that I create something, and share it, just about every day, is kind of a miracle to me.

I have become the prolific artist that I longed to be 20 years ago!

All through the power of imperfectionism and small, daily acts.

All through the power of the Creative Sandbox Way and the Guideposts and my Golden Formula.

20 years ago I had none of those tools. I had none of the *vocabulary*, even. I didn’t understand why I was so stuck.

I thought it was simply that I wasn’t good enough.

Or that I didn’t have time.

Or both.

All I knew was that I was miserable, and I wanted to be creating, but I couldn’t figure out how.

My friends who *were* creating prolifically, I actually kind of hated–it was easier to wish they would stop, than to look at ME and try to change ME.

It was easier to blame external forces (I.e., all the things keeping me from having the TIME) than to look at my FEAR and SELF DOUBT and PERFECTIONISM.

Wow. What numbers we play on ourselves…

I’m so grateful I finally climbed my way out of that pit. Took me long enough!

That’s why I’m so passionate about what I’m doing now. About spreading the word, so others don’t have to stay stuck down there.

I’ve got a ladder, and I’m so so happy to share it!

And right now, in April 2017 I am making teeny tiny abstract canvas doodle paintings, which will be for sale at my open studio in May.

How things have changed from 20 years ago.

Something Cool

Winsor & Newton watercolor markers

Yes, just what they sound like watercolor, in marker form! I bought the 12-marker set (these are Amazon affiliate links, fyi), and I’m having a ton of fun with them. I find I like them best two different ways:

  1. Lay down just a little color with the pen, then spread the color out with a waterbrush the handle holds water, so you never need to dip it; you just squeeze the handle to get more water into the bristles (I use this set of three Derwent waterbrushes, with three different brush tips)
  2. Put some color down on a scratch sheet, which then acts as a “palette.” I then pick up the color from that palette with my waterbrush.

Enjoy!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 103: Embarrassing Confessions (or How Not to Become a Prolific Creator) appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 102: Tamara Bailie on Owning Your Own Voice
49:48
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 49:48
LCN 102: Tamara Bailie on Owning Your Own Voice

LCN 102: Tamara Bailie on Owning Your Own VoiceTamara Bailie knows a thing or two about owning your own voice.

I first met Tamara at Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp in 2013, and when I started the Live Creative Now podcast a couple of years later, I knew I wanted to have her on the show.

Like me, Tamara is not a born performer. Like me, Tamara is filled with doubt.

At some point in her journey, someone said to her about her songs, “These are great songs, if you could just get someone else to sing them.”

Ouch.

Thankfully, she met someone later (someone who would become a long term music partner) who was able to tell her that her songs were hers, and she needed to sing them.

We all need someone who can reflect this back to us. Who can remind us (as Patti Digh did for Tamara) to let go of the outcome. 

(Remind you of anything? Guidepost #2 of my book, The Creative Sandbox Way, is “Think process, not product.”) 

Having those people in her corner enabled Tamara to go on and not just write a whole bunch of songs, but perform them as well! And oh, the stories! Have a listen.

Background on Tamara

Tamara’s family business is running a gymnastics training center for children. But her thing, the thing she does for pure love and joy, is songwriting. And then there’s the glass blowing, which is a more recent passion she kind of fell into (you’ll have to listen to find out the story of that).

Tamara’s first song was a birthday gift for her eldest daughter, when she turned two. At the time of this conversation that daughter was seventeen, and Tamara had put out ten albums, and over a hundred songs.

(Small daily acts, folks!)

One of Tamara’s statements, which she learned from someone else, and which has kept her going over the years, is this: “If you only have a few chords, you can put together a song.”

Words to live by, and a metaphor for so many things not just songwriting!

Songs have been a powerful way for Tamara way to process both bad and good things in her life. “If you listen to a lot of my songs, you’ll get to know me about as well as anyone.”

Listen for Tamara’s story of facing fear and getting up to sing in front of people even when she was scared, and how that made a difference for other people.

When we’re brave, it helps other people be brave, and as Tamara said in our conversation, “that even helps me be brave the next time!”

Amen. I feel braver about the scary things I’m facing in my own life, having re-listened to our conversation.

More Gems:

  • Tamara would have thought that mistakes in performance would make you never want to perform ever again, but a lot of times those moments are the ones the audience find the most memorable and inspiring. If you mess up, just keep going the world doesn’t end!
  • On glass blowing: to create colored glass, you roll clear glass through tiny pieces of colored glass. “Maybe all those broken pieces are the things that bring color to who we are. And maybe that color is how people recognize us in the world.”
  • At the recording studio you have to be brave and let go of other things, and at the glass studio it’s the same thing. Two hobbies that are so different from each other give so much of the same thing!

There is so much more to this conversation. I hope you’ll have a listen!

And find Tamara at:

http://tamarabailie.com

https://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/TamaraBailie

A New Experiment: Something Cool

Last week I started an experiment, inspired by a podcast that I listen to with my husband, called Scriptnotes  a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters, co-hosted by Hollywood screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin.

I’m not a screenwriter, but my husband is, and he loves this podcast. And it’s entertaining enough that I actually really enjoy it, too. So we listen to it together when we’re making dinner on Tuesdays.

Anyway, at the end of each episode, they have what they call One Cool Thing. Each of the hosts (and their guests, when they have them), share something cool.

Nothing to do with screenwriting just a cool thing that they want to share.

I really like this idea, and it occurred to me, you know, I have so many cool things that I would love to share with you, so why not, as an experiment, add a little section to the end of the podcast, where I share something cool?

So last week I shared an Instagram feed that delighted me. And this week I’m making it official.

We’ll see how it goes. It’s an experiment.

This week’s something cool is red lentil pasta.

It’s yummy. It’s pasta. But without all the carb loading.

13 grams of protein, people! 

I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out…

The Art Bundle for Good

The Art Bundle for Good

Through April 2 only – over 50 art resources, over $2500 in value, for under $100, and 25% goes to a great art charity for kids!

Click here to check it out and grab it before it’s gone: bit.ly/ABG2017

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 102: Tamara Bailie on Owning Your Own Voice appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 101: The Most Important Practice
29:59
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 29:59
LCN 101: The Most Important Practice

LCN 101: The Most Important PracticeDoes flying across the country on Friday to for a Saturday speaking gig make me a jet-setter?

If so, I’d like to put in for a minimal Business Class upgrade next time, please.

Seriously, my trip to Connecticut to speak at the CTPPA 68th Annual Convention went smoothly, and my presentation went great. I got wonderful feedback, I sold some books, and I think half the audience whipped out their smartphones to video record me when I played my ukulele.

That was pretty fun.

Then there were unexpected highlights like my lunch with Marisa Balletti-Lavoie of Sassy Mouth Photography, which led to a mini photo session! Yowza! Here are a few of the pics she got:

Photo by Sassy Mouth Photography Photo by Sassy Mouth Photography Photo by Sassy Mouth Photography Photo by Sassy Mouth Photography

This is the kind of magic that can happen when you say “yes” to opportunities.

Falling Off the Wagon

AND, when you say “yes,” it can also throw your schedule totally out of whack.

The past few weeks I’ve been something of wreck. My nerves have been drawn taut, my shoulders have been up to my ears with anxiety and tension.

I was so afraid I wouldn’t have my hour-long presentation memorized. And/or that the technology wouldn’t work out.

There were so many things that had the potential to go wrong, it was crazy-making. And until I had taken this particular version of this particular speech out on its maiden voyage, I was just going to be a bundle of nerves, no getting around it.

I hate to admit it, but so many of my regular routines and rituals got thrown under the bus in the madness of preparing for this trip.

So now I’m home, and things are starting to calm down a bit. (Correction: Life doesn’t ever really calm down entirely there are always new monkey wrenches flinging themselves into the works, but at least I’m coming up for air from this particular all-consuming monkey wrench.)

Now what?

Getting Back On the Wagon

This is where I get to practice what I preach.

Of all the practices we engage in: yoga practice, meditation practice, going to the gym practice, creative practice… the most important practice of all is just getting back on the wagon.

And doing so with great gentleness and self-compassion.

So today I wanted to get back onto the regular workout wagon. A year ago I was working out regularly, intense workouts, 30-60 minutes a day, five to six days a week. It was great!

Then I decided to get my book done, and it all went to hell.

Though to be fair, my workout practice was sliding away long before I decided to do the push to get the book done. But once I made the decision to get my book done in a three month period, that was pretty much the death knell of that particular practice.

So how do get back on the wagon?

Well, as my friend Patti Digh put it so pithily when I told her that the most important practice is just getting back on the wagon,

“Then you’d better make sure that wagon is really short.”

In other words, think tiny.

Or, as my Creative Sandbox Way Guidepost #4 puts it, “Think tiny & daily.” Ridiculously achievable. Stupidly small.

Instead of making it a goal to practice ukulele for an hour, make your goal to strum ONE CHORD!

Yes, THAT tiny. I really mean stupidly small.

Why? Because when your commitment or goal is that ridiculously achievable, then you’re actually going to make it happen.

And when you fall off the wagon again (which you will, because you’re human, and life happens), it’s so much easier to get back on!

So back to today.

My initial thought was to do yoga or a cardio workout for an hour.

Yeah, right I don’t have time for that!

Well, okay, maybe a half hour…

Um.. Wait a minute, I thought to myself. Is that really ridiculously achievable? Why don’t I take a page from my own book?

So I did. I did a TEN-MINUTE yoga workout, and a THREE-MINUTE plank workout.

Ridiculously achievable, so I actually did it.

Which sent a message to my brain that, “yes, you can do this!” Instead of yet one more day of “you’re a failure,” which never helps.

Let me tell you, “yes, you can do this!” feels GREAT!

Sure, it may feel stupidly small, but a stupidly small success is way better than a string of impressive failures that once again I’ve never managed to achieve.

So this is my plan for getting back on the wagon. With my workouts. With my creative practice. With my meditation practice (which, yes, I’ve also fallen off the wagon on. Again.)

Remember, the problem is never the falling off. You can fall off a zillion times, and in the scheme of problems, this is such a non-problem that it doesn’t even count as a problem.

The problem only comes when you don’t ever get back on the wagon.

Which is why it’s so important to keep that wagon short, and to treat yourself with love and kindness, so it’s super easy to hop back on.

The Key to a Consistent Practice

People think that the key to a consistent practice is self-discipline.

Not true.

Studies have proven over and over again that the key to a consistent practice is actually self-forgiveness.

The people who forgive themselves when they stumble in their commitments, these are the people who succeed in the long run, regardless of the goal. People who beat themselves up, on the other hand, these are the people who never get back on track the next day.

This makes a lot of sense if you think about it, because if you know you’re going to stumble (because you’re human! and life happens!), and you know you’re going to beat yourself up when you stumble, then it becomes easier and less painful to just stop trying.

And remember: doubling up on tomorrow’s commitment because you skipped today’s commitment is a form of beating yourself up!

So yes, notice when you stumble, and how it feels when you miss your commitment, compared to when you are consistent. But use that awareness as an opportunity to practice forgiveness and self-compassion.

Remember my Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good

Go get creating!

Something Cool

@sassymouthphoto on Instagram – I especially love her self-portraits as Disney characters, and the monthly video of her painting her studio backdrop (here’s February)! Wow! What creativity!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 101: The Most Important Practice appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 100: Piling Bricks of Fear (Fear and Creativity)
20:51
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 20:51
LCN 100: Piling Bricks of Fear (Fear and Creativity)

LCN 100: Piling Bricks of FearSunday I came back from five blissful days at the Friends of Calligraphy Spring Retreat.

While I was there, I never wanted to leave.

But I missed my husband and my fluffy Siberian kitty. And doing improv. And sleeping in my own bed.

And on Friday I fly to Hartford, Connecticut to speak at the CTPPA 68th Annual Convention. If I lived in a retreat center making art 24/7/365, I wouldn’t be doing things like that. So there are trade-offs.

Still, right now, I’m a bundle of nerves.

Not just rehearsing my speech (honestly, I wish I could spend all day just rehearsing my speech I’d be a lot less nerve-addled if I could), but doing all the other things that have to get done that keep me from rehearsing my speech!

Now it’s after 9:00 pm, and I still don’t have a podcast done.

And the podcast publishes at 6:00 am…

So for this week’s episode I decided to riff on a little post which I published to Instagram yesterday morning, and then emailed out to my ArtSpark subscribers not long after that.

In my ideal world, my 100th episode would be much grander. Definitely better planned out than this.

(Yes, it’s my 100th podcast!)

But this is the reality of life as a creative, and as a human: we make do with what we have, and some days get rocky.

And certainly, things don’t always go as planned.

So we practice self-compassion as best as we can, forgive ourselves for being human, and keep plugging away.

Here’s the post (the podcast contains a lot more than this blog post version):

“Do you feel fear when you create?” she asked.

Yes. All the time.

And right now, my anxiety is mounting as my two speaking gigs approach.

So! Much! Fear!

I know she was referring to the fear of the blank page, the fear of making an ugly mark that I don’t like, but ultimately it’s all the same thing. Fear is fear.

Will I forget what I intended to say? Will my technology not work? Will the audience be bored? Will my break-out activity be fun for them, or bore them? Will they all leave the room in disgust?

And: will my ukulele break a string? Or just break?

Will I have a wardrobe malfunction? Will I get sick? Will I lose my voice?

The anxiety and fear piles up in my chest like bricks, rising higher by the day.

But this is part of the process. This is just how it goes when you do something new.

All those questions are the voices of my gremlins, trying desperately to get me to STOP, to not leave my comfort zone. Trying to keep me safe. Trying to keep me from growing.

Because all growth and creativity happen OUTSIDE your comfort zone. So gremlins will use every trick in the book to try and keep you from leaving!

I just smile, thank them for their concern, and keep right on going.

I do my daily doodle, and get on with rehearsing, creating my slides, and preparing for my trip.

That’s the Creative Sandbox Way.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 100: Piling Bricks of Fear (Fear and Creativity) appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 099: Manifesto of Creative Entitlement
23:07
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 23:07
LCN 099: Manifesto of Creative Entitlement

LCN 099: Manifesto of Creative EntitlementIt happened again. A very thoughtful, kind, well-meaning person referred to me as “gifted.”

Actually, she referred to me as “multi-gifted.” In the context of sharing me and my work with her community.

It was a lovely, generous expression, and I’m grateful for the generous and loving intention behind it.

But I confess it also frustrates me at the same time.

Because calling me out as “multi-gifted” may lead people to think that creativity is something that inheres in me, in my “special giftedness.”

And that is not true.

And yet, people believe it to be true.

People believe that creativity resides only in special, “gifted” individuals.

And the more people believe that, the less likely they are to see creativity as residing in themselves. To see themselves as containers for creative possibility.

And my ENTIRE MESSAGE is that each and every human on the planet is a unique container for creative possibility.

My Manifesto of Creative Entitlement

Creativity is not about “giftedness,” it’s about doing the things that give you joy  whether you feel “good enough” at them or not.

THAT is the message I’m doing my best to spread: we are all ENTITLED to creative expression.

The arts are not just reserved for the “elite few,” the “special, talented ones.” Creativity is our BIRTHRIGHT. It is something that each and every one of us is BORN WITH, whether we think of ourselves as “creative” or not.

And the truth is, the majority of us do NOT think of ourselves as creative (according to Adobe’s 2016 creativity study, only 4 in 10 people describe themselves as creative).

BUT WE ARE.

Creativity is not what’s lacking; ENTITLEMENT to our innate creativity is what’s lacking.

That’s what I want to change.

“Yeah, easy for you to say, Melissa,” you might be thinking, “You’re a Creativity Instigator! You’re the most creative person I know!”

But it wasn’t always that way. Not so many years ago I believed, deep to my core, that I was a completely NON-creative person.

Seriously.

I mean, not only was I NOT an artist at the time, I was a NON-artist, and I believed  I mean TRULY BELIEVED  that I was INCAPABLE of being a creative person.

Not just “I can’t draw,” but “I am not creative.”

That is how deep the trauma goes for way too many of us. Creativity scars. Self-installed glass ceilings.

Damage from living in a society that is DEEPLY CONFUSED about creativity and creative expression.

We grow up with so many mixed messages about creativity:

– On the one hand, it is wondrous and valued, because it leads to things like lightbulbs and iPhones and great music and art…
– On the other hand, it is to be scoffed at, unimportant, frivolous, self-indulgent

– On the one hand, creative people invent amazing things…
– On the other hand, creators/artists are selfish, crazy, suicidal, flaky, stupid, and “can’t make a living…” (<–not true, just talk to Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist (aff), but a myth that is prevalent and strongly believed!)

– On the one hand, the arts are very special, reserved for the elite few, the “special, talented ones” (so precious that they are off-limits to you, regular person)…
– On the other hand, the arts are worthless, not worth putting any money into (after all, look at how little money the U.S. puts towards the arts in the schools and in the wider culture)…

No wonder we’re all confused!

No wonder we have a hard time giving ourselves the gift of creative time!

The truth is, creative expression is an essential part of our humanity. AND our health.

It also boosts your mood and restores energy to your BRAIN (remember that, the next time your gremlins start to whine that you don’t deserve a few minutes of creative playtime).

If we are going to change the world for the better, the place to start is with OURSELVES. And one of the best ways to start is by nourishing yourself with small, daily acts of creative play.

Rally your troops (community is KEY — none of us can do this alone, because goodness knows our confused society is NOT going to help), and give yourself the gift of just a few minutes a day.

(My Creative Sandbox Way Guideposts can really help. Truly. I developed them to help me loosen the grip of my own perfectionist paralysis, and they’ve gone on to help thousands of others, so it’s a good bet they’ll help you. http://creativesandboxway.com)

Small daily acts.

And large doses of self-compassion.

This is how you will transform your life, and ultimately transform the world.

Go get creating!

Resources in this Episode

Adobe’s 2016 creativity study (PDF)

The Abundant Artist (aff)

The 10 Guideposts from my book, The Creative Sandbox Way (download the first 50 pages for free at that link!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 099: Manifesto of Creative Entitlement appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 098: How Denise Logan Became the Sparkle Fairy
1:06:57
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 1:06:57
LCN 098: How Denise Logan Became the Sparkle Fairy

LCN 098: How Denise Logan Became the Sparkle FairyWay back in August of 2015 I received an email in my inbox that made me perk up my ears.

Now, I have to tell you, probably 90 percent of requests from strangers that I receive via email go straight into the trash. But this email, even though it was a request from a stranger, and it was a little on the long side, got my attention.

And this woman, Denise Logan of Chase What Matters, got an invitation to be on my podcast.

That said, it has taken a year and a half for the recording to go live, which is really embarrassing.

Even more embarrassing, there are actually five more conversations from that same time period that are still waiting to be published.

Why has it taken so long?

(And by the way, I published another conversation with Alessandra Wall a couple of weeks ago, which I said in that recording was from Fall of 2016. Correction: that conversation was actually recorded in 2015.)

Well, if you’ve been following me for any time at all, you can guess why these recordings have been languishing on my hard drive: perfectionist paralysis.

In other words, I got it in my head that I needed not only to edit the episodes perfectly, but provide transcripts, or at least phenomenal show notes, all of which are extremely time-consuming.

So as each week’s podcast deadline approached, instead of digging into the vault of recordings, I’d default to putting out a monologue. Because I know how to produce a monologue in a way that won’t take me two or three (or more) full days of my time!

It just seemed like so much less work, so those wonderful recorded conversations have languished all this time.

Sigh…

Thankfully, there’s an antidote to perfectionist paralysis: intentional imperfectionism.

In other words, allowing myself and forgiving myself for being human.

Accepting that maybe it’s okay to put podcast episodes out without transcripts and comprehensive show notes.

(In this case, this preamble functions as the show notes. If you’re reading, you’ll really want to listen to the recording to hear the juicy conversation!)

But back to that email that landed in my inbox a year and a half ago. This is what Denise sent me that got me to invite her onto the show:

Hi, Melissa, hope you are well!  I am responding to your post on the FB page looking for podcast guests who can talk about how creativity changed their life.  I can chat about a couple of different angles on this:

  1. After 15 years as a lawyer, I bought a floral dress that changed the way I saw myself and I ultimately ran off in my motorhome and for several years where I did a different job FOR FREE once a month just to see what someone else s life was like.  Dairy farm, lobster boat, furniture factory sure changed the way I saw the world around me outside of my former intellectual prison and opened the way to a much more creative life.
  2. I accidentally founded The Dream Box Project we make boxes chock-full of school supplies, toiletries and toys for children living in long-term foster care.  Each box is decorated by the volunteer who packed it and contains a message of hope for the child.  Last year we packed 11,000 Dream Boxes and they are changing the lives of the volunteers who make them and the children who receive them.
  3. I ve been doing a series of talks called I m OK with how I am even if how I am is not OK Healing from the Loss of Your Dream.  Although every one of us will face some kind of a loss (illness, betrayal, economic hardship, divorce, death) which signals the loss of a dream we held dear, most of us end up face to face with loss tragically unprepared and so are those around us.  The art of grieving is the greatest gift I ve given myself and the people I love.
  4. What happens when your old answer to the question What Do You Do? no longer fits?  If you thought you are what you do, and suddenly you don t do it anymore, do you not exist?  Finding new and creative ways to answer that question has been my own work and that of my clients.  Now, if you ask me “What Do You Do?” I ll answer you I m The Sparkle Fairy and if that made you laugh, I just did my job!

If any of these feel like an interesting fit for your show, I d be happy to have a chat.

Big sparkly hug,

Denise

THAT is an example of how to write an email to an “influencer” and get them to sit up and take notice. Denise had something to offer that was super helpful and interesting to me. She wasn’t just trying to get something from me she had something to give me.

She had a way to give me an opportunity for an easy “yes.” So I did.

Our conversation was so juicy and rich, I’m almost glad it took me so long to publish it (not really, but almost), because I got to listen to it again like I was hearing it for the first time. I hope you’ll have a listen too, and get some sparkle from Denise Logan, the Sparkle Fairy.

Enjoy!

Resources in this Episode

Denise’s website, chase-what-matters.com

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen (aff)

The Number by Lee Eisenberg (aff)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 098: How Denise Logan Became the Sparkle Fairy appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 097: Confessions of a Seasonal Slacker
21:11
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 21:11
LCN 097: Confessions of a Seasonal Slacker

LCN 097: Confessions of a Seasonal SlackerAfter my wildly productive fourth quarter last year, in which I wrote, published, and launched a book all in the span of three months! I’ve been feeling woefully unproductive in comparison.

Like an unanchored boat, bobbing about in the waves, getting things done here and there, but with nothing like the drive and focus that I had last Fall.

Add in the fact that the aftermath of the U.S. elections have thrown me for a loop, as a lot of my time and energy have gone toward becoming a citizen activist, and well, it’s like an earthquake has shaken my productivity foundations.

It’s also very easy to get down on myself because my life does not conform to the tidy lines and boxes of a day planner.

Now, I am not anti-planner. I actually have a planner a paper planner.

(I love pencil and paper, and I love working big. The planner I use right now, which is not perfect, but which has some features I like, is called the Week Dominator, by NeuYear.net. I also have their year wall calendar, although I don’t put either planner to optimal use.)

I DO like to write down all the things I want to accomplish over the course of a week. I don’t always get to each of these things, but I like to see them as a checklist on the side of the planner week.

And I DO like to assign those tasks across the days of the week, to a certain extent.

But really, I can only project out a couple of days in advance with any accuracy at all, and even then, I am NOT one of those people who can assign exactly which task I am going to do at exactly which minute of the day.

My life is way too fluid and improvisational for that. Unexpected stuff comes up, and I need to allow space.

So at the top of each day’s column I’ll write a checklist of the items I want to accomplish that day, and more often than not, the box next to half of those items, instead of having an X in it at the end of the day, will have an arrow in it, indicating it’s been deferred to the next day.

This is normal.

Anyway, I’m telling you all this to share that I was feeling really badly about being so unproductive lately. And I was sharing with my mastermind group the other day how frustrated I’ve been, that I’ve felt like a slacker.

Honestly, I’ve been escaping into novels a lot lately, too, which doesn’t help.

I did get a draft of a speech done for a couple of gigs I have coming up next month, and I ran a successful free online creativity workshop a couple of weeks ago (I’ll run another one again in March sign up here), and I’m almost done with a bonus lesson I’m creating for Life Book 2017, but man, compared to last Fall, I feel so unproductive, like such a slacker.

And my mastermind group said, “Melissa, um, that doesn’t sound to us like you’re slacking!”

And I suddenly realized, oh, my god, I was putting myself in the Comparison Trap against myself!

For goodness’ sake, writing, publishing, and launching a book in three months is not normal productivity! And it’s certainly not sustainable productivity!

Maybe the way that I do things during “normal” periods is not squeezing every last drop of productivity out of me maybe it’s not “fully optimized” but hey, it’s gotten me this far.

I’ve somehow managed to get by okay for fifty years…

Also, maybe this low-tide phase, which feels like slacking right now is a necessary part of the process.

As Karen from my mastermind group said, maybe all the novels I’ve been reading, maybe that’s a necessary part of the process right now.

It was exactly the reframe I needed. Instead of thinking of myself as a failure who can’t get her act together, I could see myself as someone who’s simply in a different season.

I did manage to write a book last year, so I’ve clearly figured a few things out…

And here are a few of those things:

Art takes time.

We need to incubate.

We cannot rush the creative process.

Our productivity isn’t like a conveyor belt with an on/off switch, it’s more like fluctuating seasons, with variations from season to season and year to year.

This is to be expected.

Most of all, we are not machines.

Much as the productivity experts might tell us otherwise, efficiency isn’t everything.

So yes, planning is great. To a point.

As always, my Golden Formula is the ultimate tool: Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

Are you stuck in the Comparison Trap against yourself?

Where can you bring in some self-awareness? Where might your life benefit from a reframe? Where you can practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness?

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 097: Confessions of a Seasonal Slacker appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 096: Alessandra Wall Doesn’t Like the Title “Life Coach”
45:45
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 45:45
LCN 096: Alessandra Wall Doesn’t Like the Title “Life Coach”

LCN 096: Alessanda Wall Doesn't Like the Title "Life Coach"When San Diego psychologist Alessandra Wall tells people she’s a life coach, she almost wants to cover it up with a sneeze.

She does not like the title “life coach.”

After building up a successful private psychology practice, achieving every goal she set for herself, and then becoming disenchanted with the limitations her life, it took her a year and a half to say out loud that she wanted to go into life coaching.

And then, once she made the choice to follow that path, she got really happy.

Even though pursuing life coaching meant losing a bunch of free time and adding a ton of stress to her life.

Because, as she says often in her practice and on her blog, doing what’s right is not always the same thing as doing what’s right for you.

This is one of Alessandra’s key concepts as a life coach, and it’s one of the topics we discussed in our conversation last fall.

We also touched on:

Feeling “overbooked and underwhelmed”

Assertiveness: it’s all about figuring out who you are, and being okay with who you are, and understanding that this can evolve (my original tagline for this blog was “bliss evolves… keep following it!”)

Having the courage to follow through with what you know is right for you and where does that come from?

The process of finding one’s way: flail, get some traction, find a groove, the groove turns into a rut. Later, rinse, repeat.

Alessandra’s Life Manifesto, and why her primary tenet is “speak in truth,” rather than “live in truth.”

Embracing intentional imperfectionism, and how perfectionism is really living a double life (and exhausting!)

Things we’ve been afraid to share are the things that tend to make people bond with us more!

How the desire to be creative can lead us to push ourselves (and can also lead to perfectionist paralysis).

What Alessandra loves most in the creative process.

Enjoy!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 096: Alessandra Wall Doesn’t Like the Title “Life Coach” appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 095: Done is Better Than Perfect: A Case Study
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 095: Done is Better Than Perfect: A Case Study

LCN 095: Done Is Better Than Perfect: A Case StudyBack in early January I got an email from someone named Brett over at ProFlowers.com.

“Now that the holidays have passed,” he wrote,

we re calling upon some of our favorite creators, crafters, and calligraphists to help prepare for the next major milestone in 2017: Valentine s Day.

As a part of this fun initiative we d like for you to dust off your dip pen, grab your ink and favorite paper, and get ready to create a handcrafted card for your own special valentine. To help jumpstart your creativity, ProFlowers would like to send you a bouquet of your choice from our Valentine s Day collection that you can include within the photoshoot for your DIY Valentine s Day card, or even incorporate within the card itself!

Leading up to Valentine s Day, once all the blog posts have gone live, we will be selecting our favorite images from the blog posts that feature our bouquets and putting them together in a roundup post for the ProFlowers blog. This post will link back to yours so our 150K monthly readers can learn more about you and your website. Also, our social media team will be on the lookout for the hashtag #ProFlowers to regram and repin any posts you may make to social media.

Once all the blog posts have gone live, they will select their favorite images that feature their bouquets and put them together in a roundup post for the ProFlowers blog, which could potentially bring some eyeballs and traffic to my site they claim to have 150K monthly readers.

Plus their social media team will be on the lookout for the hashtag #ProFlowers to regram and repin and posts that go to social media.

So hmm… It was mighty tempting. A free bouquet, an incentive to create some art, and possibly some visibility.

All good, right?

So I said yes. And I picked this bouquet, 30 Purple Tulips, because I love tulips, and purple:

30 Purple Tulips Bouquet from #ProFlowers

Then reality hit.

Reality Bites

Brett at ProFlowers had asked me for a requested delivery date, and this is where my poor time planning muscles really took over.

I asked for the flowers to be delivered January 3oth, thinking that, hey, I’d be home from my week in D.C., but forgetting to take into account that I’d be leaving again on February 3rd for my anniversary trip (though to be fair, I may not have scheduled my anniversary trip at that point, because when I got the initial email from Brett I was recovering from the flu, and we had just canceled our original plans for our anniversary trip, and hadn’t yet rescheduled it).

As it turned out, the week the flowers were delivered was a short week, so just when the flowers were at their peak, I was strapped for time, with no time to make a card or take photographs!

And though of course the smart thing would have been to start work on a card the minute I knew I had the assignment, did I do that? No, I did not…

Meanwhile, do you see that picture of those 30 tulips, arranged in a gorgeous bouquet? Well, the 30 tulips that arrived in a box did not arrange themselves into a gorgeous bouquet like that. Nosireebob.

The flowers themselves were beautiful, but my flower-arranging skills are essentially nonexistent, so as a bouquet, they looked like a big, droopy mess of tightly budded tulips.

And then just as the flowers were coming into their peak, we left for Monterey for our anniversamoon.

(That’s the anniversary of our honeymoon, in case you were wondering.)

We had a wonderful time, and I totally forgot about the flowers, and my commitment, until Monday afternoon, when we came home, and I walked in the door, and there were the beautiful purple tulips, sadly past their prime. AND I didn’t have a card, yet, either.

What to do?

The Creative Sandbox Way to the Rescue!

You may have heard the saying, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done.”

How many times have I don’t exactly that? I’ve had some brilliant idea for a card or a present for someone that I wanted to be so spectacularly off-the-charts wonderful, and I kept building up in my mind that there was just no way I would ever in a million years be able to live up to the vision I’d created.

So I did nothing.

Nada. Zip. Zero.

But the beautiful thing about a deadline, combined with external accountability, is that you can’t get away with that.

Though believe me, I thought about it. I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t want to just bail on this whole thing! But I’d made a commitment. And I was going to follow through if it killed me.

I had two problems:

First, the card. And second, the past-their-peak flowers.

For the first problem, my gremlins were going NUTS, telling me about all the AMAZING, genius works of art that other people would be creating. Nothing I could create would possibly compete.

Truth. But this isn’t a competition.

Sure, my photos may be ignored by the ProFlowers folks, losing me the potential eyeballs and traffic, but that was never guaranteed in the first place. And I didn’t sign up for this to compete anyway.

Besides, a core piece of my message is that the purpose of creative expression / art is not to impress anyone (or win awards, or make money, etc.) the purpose is JOY.

The purpose is to fill your well, to fuel your tank, to recharge, restore, and refresh you!

All that other stuff acclaim, awards, money that stuff is great, but it’s the frosting, not the cake.

If you have that stuff, but you don’t have the joy, what’s the point?

And really, if someone looks at a piece that I’ve created and thinks, “Wow, Melissa’s piece is pretty crappy,” well, maybe someone else will look at that same piece and think, “Hey, maybe I could do that,” and that would make me really happy.

Sketchbook page with section cut outSo, with all of the above in mind, and with a deadline of about twenty minutes (because nothing quiets the perfectionist gremlins like a really, really tight deadline), I literally opened my sketchbook, found a piece that I felt like I could cut up, wrote “Be Mine” on it, and doodled. Cut it out, and doodled some more.

 

Then came the challenge of taking some flowers that were past their prime and making them look beautiful in a photo.

The secret? Close-ups, and Guidepost #3 from The Creative Sandbox Way: Think quantity, not quality.

As any photographer knows, if you take enough photos, if you try enough different camera angles, you’re bound to get one or two good ones!

And indeed, here are four that I thought came out kind of neat.

Photo #1:

#ProFlower

Photo #2:

#ProFlower

Photo #3:

#ProFlower

Photo #4:

#ProFlower

Are they the glorious spectacle I envisioned when I first said yes to this project? Goodness gracious, no!

But they’re interesting, and they would not exist at all if I had not said “yes,” and if I had not tackled these particular challenges.

And THAT is creativity at work: encountering a challenge (AKA a block), and figuring out how to make it work.

So whether you’re making something for a sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, or just contemplating your next creative project, I hope you’ll take a little inspiration from my experience.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of done just crank out something!

Even if it’s not as spectacular as you wish, at least you’ll be able to say, “I did that.” Not a lot is more satisfying in life than being able to say those three little words.

Even if you’re not 100% thrilled with the outcome, the fact that there IS an outcome is something to be proud of.

Go get creating!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017! And you can still register. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 095: Done is Better Than Perfect: A Case Study appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 094: How to Keep Making Your Art in Times of Great Stress
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 094: How to Keep Making Your Art in Times of Great Stress

LCN 094: How to Keep Making Your Art in Times of Great StressI was in Washington, D.C. all last week, Ground Zero of the craziness that’s happening in the U.S. right now.

I blog and podcast about creativity and joy, not about politics, but the frightening truth is that for me, and for many people I’ve talked to, what’s happening in the U.S. government is deeply impacting both our creativity and our joy.

One: Earthquake

First off, we’re being traumatized.

Even if you are a rich, white, evangelical Christian, able-bodied, cisgendered male who has never experienced anything but perfect health in other words, if you don’t personally belong to a group that will suffer from or be targeted by the cruelties and greed of the new administration you have eyes.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you can see the suffering that’s already happening. And if you have an ounce of empathy  if you aren’t a sociopathic narcissist the suffering that other people experience is traumatizing.

People are terrified. I sure am. It feels like we’re all walking around with our stomachs clenched, wondering what’s going to happen next.

This is not normal.

Yet this has become the new normal.

Which is not healthy, of course. It’s traumatic.

It’s like when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit when I was living in Berkeley in 1989.

Now, I grew up in California. I was used to earthquakes. Until Loma Prieta, they were kind of fun, in a horror film, roller coaster kind of way. If it happened at school, everyone would shriek, and we’d tumble under our desks, then head outside, all abuzz.

We were hip, because we’d been through an earthquake.

But once you’ve experienced a Big Earthquake, earthquakes aren’t so fun anymore. When you’ve felt the ground beneath your feet turn to liquid, nothing feels trustworthy anymore. The phrase “safe as houses” no longer applies. The phrase “solid ground” is rendered meaningless.

This is where we’re at right now. Many things I thought to be rock solid about the U.S. have proven to be as stable as landfill in an earthquake, and if you’re like me, it may have sent you into a tailspin.

No wonder your creative output is affective. No wonder you’re feeling just a mite stressed out.

So that’s the first way what’s happening in the world is affecting creativity and joy.

Two: Time Sink

The second way what’s happening in the world is deeply impacting both our creativity and our joy is that if, like me, you are refusing to sit idly by, you are now taking action. Perhaps, like me, you are taking a lot of action.

I realized some weeks ago that taking action was essential to keeping my sanity. Doing nothing just going on with my regular life as if nothing had changed was literally making me feel worse and less sane, whereas every tiny little thing I did to actively resist helped me feel surprisingly better.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is in alignment with Guidepost #4 of my Creative Sandbox Way, “Think tiny and daily.”

(I created the Creative Sandbox Way Guideposts to spark creative action, but it turns out they are remarkably helpful in sparking all kinds of actions, including acts of resistance to fascism. Who knew?)

I remembered that the Holocaust happened not solely because of the Nazis, but equally as much because of the silent complicity of regular German citizens.

I refuse to be silently complicit. Instead I am actively resisting every single day. I am a Jedi Pussy, determined to do all I can to defeat the Dark Side.

Need some concrete suggestions for how to take action? At the Women’s March on Washington, Michael Moore‘s speech stuck with me. Make one phone call every single morning, he said. Make it part of your morning routine, right after you make your coffee (or whatever it is already do every morning).

Think tiny and daily. Think tiny and daily.

“Ridiculously achievable,” remember? Whatever will get you to do it. You can always ramp up later.

And to make it super easy, I signed up for DailyAction.org, which sends me a daily text, with a single action for the day, including a phone number to call that will automatically connect you to your Senator or Member of Congress.

But I don’t even need them to do that (which is good, because sometimes that auto-connect thing doesn’t work): I’ve programmed all the phone numbers of both my Senators, my Congresswoman, my state Senator, state Assemblyman, AND the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) and the Speaker of the Senate (Mitch McConnell) into my iPhone, and added them to my “Favorites,” so they’re on my cell phone’s “speed dial.”

I’ve made it as easy as possible for myself to take small, daily actions, because taking those small, daily actions help me feel less hopeless and despairing.

I honestly never in my wildest dreams imagined it would come to this in my lifetime. I spent the past few months in denial, hoping it wouldn’t happen, but here we are.

So here we are, traumatized, and working our Jedi Pussy buns off, taking action (or getting sucked into Facebook guilty as charged!) during times when we might otherwise be creating.

There’s no time to create, and we don’t feel like creating anyway, because BLEAH!

Now what?

[Cue sound of screeching brakes.]

Time for an Intervention and Paradigm Shift!

Here’s the thing: WE NEED ART MORE THAN EVER RIGHT NOW!

Your art is what is going to pull you through this mess.

Your art is your oxygen tank. It’s your beating heart.

Your art is what is going to help you survive, SO DO NOT BAIL ON IT!

Two Tips to Keep Making Your Art in Times of Great Stress

Tip One: Put Your Art First

One of the most important things I’ve figured out is this: The thing you do FIRST is the thing that gets DONE.

So don’t put your art off until after you’ve done everything else.

It can be tempting to use your art as a “reward” at the end, but this can be a dangerous strategy at times of stress, because you may never get to the end.

And you NEED that reward.

Tip Two: Eliminate the Hoops

The other important thing I’ve figured out is that people are basically lazy (or maybe it’s just me).

For example, back when I used to play guitar, I kept my guitar in a hard case in the closet, behind a bunch of coats. So every time I wanted to play, I had to open the closet, fight the coats to pull out the case, put  the case on the bed, open it up, pull out the guitar, then tune the guitar and start playing.

Then I had to go through the reverse to put the guitar away.

It didn’t take me long to discover that this was going to be a problem. There were simply too  many hoops to jump through:

Open the close door (hoop); fight the coats (hoop); pull out the case (hoop); put the case on the bed (hoop); open the case (hoop); pull out the guitar (hoop); tune the guitar (hoop) that’s seven hoops! Even just to strum one chord!

Guess who didn’t play her guitar very often.

The sad truth is that the more hoops humans have to jump through, the less likely we are to do something. Eliminate the hoops, though, and our chances of taking action start to increase dramatically.

I figured out that if I put a guitar hook on the wall, I could bring those seven hoops down to just one, which meant I actually played my guitar. 

Back at the beginning of 2016 I realized weeks had gone by and I hadn’t made any art. My computer is right behind my art table, and by the time I walked into the studio each day, the gravitational pull of the computer was just so strong, I never made it to my art table  big problem!

What to do?

Well, I knew that the thing I do FIRST is the thing that gets DONE, so I thought to myself, what can I do FIRST THING in the morning, right in my bedroom, before I even enter the gravitational field of my computer?

“I can’t paint with acrylic paints in bed,” I thought, “but I can draw with black markers and a sketchbook.”

So that is how my morning doodle practice started: I eliminated the hoops. I now keep sketchbooks, Pigma Micron markers, and Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils right next to my bed, so I can doodle sitting up in bed, first thing in the morning. (All of those are Amazon affiliate links, btw.)

I don’t even have to walk across the hall to my studio!

Guess who is way more likely to make art every day now?

These are just a couple of examples. I could give you a ton more.

One of my favorites is of someone who wanted to start a morning running habit, but the hassle of putting on her running clothes was just too big a hoop, so months went by, and she never did it.

Then finally she got the idea to sleep in her running clothes, and put her running shoes right next to her bed.

So now every morning she wakes up already dressed to go running, and all she has to do is slip her feet into her running shoes and run out the door.

Someone in the Facebook group for my Creative Sandbox Way readers shared that she created a special box of art supplies that is ready at a moment’s notice, and easy to keep out of reach of her two-year-old. She doesn’t have space in her house for a dedicated art table, and with a two-year-old that would be hard to carry off anyway, but her Creative Sandbox supply box works really well for her.

That box is how she eliminated the hoops so she doesn’t have to spend her time hunting for things, but can just grab her box and GO.

So what can YOU do to eliminate the hoops and be ready at a moment’s notice to get creating?

Art Saves

In this time of emotional earthquakes and time sinks, you need your art more than ever.

Remember, as I’ve shared elsewhere, when you make time for your art, it literally restores energy to your brain’s prefrontal cortex. It gives you more patience and willpower. It refreshes and recharges you.

Making your art helps give you the will to go on when times are rough. Now is not the time to deny yourself your art; now is the time to give yourself MORE Creative Sandbox time, not less!

Do that by putting your art FIRST, and eliminating the hoops. Even if you give yourself just fifteen minutes a day of Creative Sandbox playtime, that healing creative time will make a world of difference.

Let me know how it goes!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017! And you can still register. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 094: How to Keep Making Your Art in Times of Great Stress appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 093: Live from Life is a Verb
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 093: Live from Life is a Verb

LCN 093: Live from Life is a VerbBack in early November I shared a talk I presented at Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp, called “So You Wanna Change the World? Go Get Creating!”

Today I have a treat for you: the actual talk!

Yup the real thing. Audio and video.

I’m in Washington, D.C. this week, visiting my nephew (who has my hair). I flew to D.C. this particular week in order to participate in the Women’s March on Washington, which hasn’t happened yet while I’m recording this intro, but will have happened already by the time you’re listening.

So in other words, the catalyst for my trip to D.C. was something that most people would probably pretty easily categorize as an activist, change-the-world kind of activity.

Marching, peace rallies, calling your governmental representative, writing letters, making speeches… these are the kinds of things that you might think of as world-changing.

Or volunteering at an AIDS clinic or a homeless shelter or a refugee camp.

Or teaching, or being a nurse, or inventing a new technology.

Those are relatively easy to see as having world-changing potential.

But creating? Making art? Playing?

Excuse me?

That is what this 15-minute talk is all about. Watch the video below, or click on the button above to listen to the audio.

Enjoy!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017! And you can still register. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 093: Live from Life is a Verb appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 092: The Messy Truth Behind the Highlight Reel
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 092: The Messy Truth Behind the Highlight Reel

LCN 092: The Messy Truth Behind the Highlight ReelIn the last week of last year, after a year of vibrant health, I got slammed with a terrible cold.

On my wedding anniversary, no less.

And even before that cold morphed into The Sinus Infection from Hell, when it was still just a bad cold, it threw my off my game, big time.

I mean, ridiculously so. Beyond any reasonable expectation.

So I wrote about it in my Creative Sandbox Community for women. Because that’s one of the things I do in there I share stuff that’s going on with me, in the moment. Because that’s my inner circle.

And I thought I’d share what I wrote with you here on the podcast.

It’s an example of the kind of behind-the-scenes, what’s-going-on-inside-my-head that I share inside that group, because I think it’s helpful when we share this kind of stuff.

Because life isn’t always shiny-shiny, happy-happy, “highlight reel” stuff.

Life is messy. And imperfect. And it makes a difference for other people when we show them that messy imperfection, and that it’s okay.

That’s part of my calling to show you the messy imperfection.

So here’s what I wrote:

It’s the last day of the year, and after a year of vibrant health, I got slammed with a terrible cold on my wedding anniversary.

It started as a throat tickle and some sneezing while we were visiting my husband’s family in Mobile, and the day after we got back it exploded into a full-blown head-cold.

Yesterday all I wanted to do was sleep, but I was responsible for making sure the termite inspector got access into all 14 units of our townhouse complex, so I didn’t feel like I could just let myself doze off–what if the inspector tried to knock or phone me, and I didn’t hear him?

It was a largely unproductive day.

And though I had the ENTIRE DAY in which I could have doodled, or colored, or played my ukulele, do you think I did ANY of those things?

No. I did not.

I willfully spent the ENTIRE DAY NOT creating.

Some days are like that.

Sometimes even creativity instigators have days like that.

Was it absurd? Absolutely.

I had my sketchbook and Pigma Microns RIGHT THERE. It would have been so easy for me to pull them out and make a mark.

And yet I did not.

Yes, I had a headache (as I do now). Yes, I felt lousy (as I do now).

But creative play would likely have made me feel BETTER.

And yet I still did not do it. Even the tiniest little bit.

So. I have a choice.

I can moan and wail and beat myself up, lambaste myself for being an idiot and stupid, tear my hair out, cry “What the *bleep* is wrong with you???” etc. etc.

Perhaps give myself a harsh punishment of some sort, or double up on whatever commitment I have, to make up for “lost time.”

That’s choice #1: to beat myself up.

And what happens? Now when I’m considering taking on a commitment in the future, what do you think will happen? Do you think I’ll feel a sense of lightness and joy and enthusiasm about it?

I doubt it. Because now what I’ll remember is the pain of that beating I experienced when I stumbled the last time. Now I’ll associate commitment with pain, because humans are (ahem) human, and we always stumble! So I’ll be a lot more likely to just avoid making a commitment altogether.

So that’s choice #1.

Or I can make choice #2, which is to simply forgive myself for being human.

It’s so simple.

But we make this so hard!! Why do we make this so hard?

It took me into my 40s to forgive myself for being human!

Guess what that’s called?

Self-compassion.

It’s also called imperfectionism. Imperfectionism is the exact same thing as self-compassion.

What they both mean is:

1) Mindfulness: acknowledge what just happened, and how you feel about it. There is no wrong way to feel.

2) Common humanity: acknowledge that what just happened is part of the common human experience. You are not the first person on the planet to ever experience this, and you will not be the last!

3) Self-kindness: treat yourself the way you would treat a beloved friend, or better yet, a beloved friend who is only four years old!

(This, btw, is from Dr. Kristin Neff, the world’s foremost researcher on self-compassion. I highly recommend her book, Self-Compassion. [That’s an Amazon affiliate link, btw.])

I share this with you, because I want you to know that you are not alone if you struggle.

I talk a lot about small daily acts and “tiny and daily,” and yes, I aim for daily creativity, but I don’t always reach it, AND THAT’S OKAY.

I think what matters most is NOT that you hit the target, but that you are shooting at it. It’s a moving target anyway! But if you keep aiming and shooting, you will keep improving.

Happy New Year!?

[Tip: listen to the podcast for some extra editorializing. Yep, you get extra stuff in the audio that you don’t get in the text version. Shhh… don’t tell anyone!]

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017! And you can still register. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 092: The Messy Truth Behind the Highlight Reel appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 091: How Lynelle Danced with Gremlins to Publish a Children’s Book
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 091: How Lynelle Danced with Gremlins to Publish a Children’s Book

LCN 091: How Lynelle Danced with Gremlins to Publish a Children's BookI’ve been doing a little series on the podcast of success stories from inside the Creative Sandbox Community, of members who have made great strides and accomplished amazing things.

Last week I shared Jessica’s story of wanting to do video, being afraid of doing video, to now being the “video queen,” and this week I’m delighted to introduce you to Lynelle Eck, who used the Creative Sandbox to incubate… a book!

Yes, that’s right, in spite of some roaring gremlins (and having recently published my own book, I can attest to the viciousness of book gremlins!), and in spite of initial rejection by a traditional publisher, Lynelle was able to go on and write, illustrate, publish, and sell her own children’s book, A Zoo Just for You (aff).

A Zoo Just for You, by Lynelle EckHow did she manage to accomplish this herculean task? Lynelle gives a lot of the credit to the support and encouragement she received in the Creative Sandbox, which helped her learn to “dance with the gremlins.”

Because, of course, the gremlins never go away.

(As I say in the recording, the closer I got to releasing The Creative Sandbox Way to the public, the louder my own gremlins got! If our gremlins stop yammering at us, it means we’ve stopped growing. The goal is not to shut them up, it’s to learn to waltz with them.)

In addition to producing her book, Lynelle created a T-shirt quilt, and got through knee replacement surgery, so 2016 was a very productive year!

Now Lynelle has a whole safari of follow-up books planned, in the same theme of A Zoo Just for You. Not only that, but she has already sold more copies in just a few months than most self-published books sell in their entire lifespan!

Kudos, Lynelle!

What is especially exciting to me, though, is how Lynelle’s story is an example of the way change ripples out. (Listen around 23 minutes in for how she is sharing what she’s learned and now helping someone else get her book out in the world this is how we change the world!)

Enjoy!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017! And you can still register. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 091: How Lynelle Danced with Gremlins to Publish a Children’s Book appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 090: Jessica’s Journey from “Gaahh!” to Video Queen
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 090: Jessica’s Journey from “Gaahh!” to Video Queen

LCN 090: Jessica's Journey from "Gaahh!" to Video QueenWell, Happy New Year! You may hear from my voice that I sound a little more sultry than usual.

My husband and I flew to Mobile Alabama on Christmas day, to spend 4 days with his family, then we flew home on our anniversary, the 28th, and I was feeling really tired, and had a tickle in my throat, and I was sneezing a little. I figured I had allergies or something but then the next day, I was hit with the Mother of all Colds.

Which exploded into I guess some kind of monster infection, and man, I was so sick.

I was going through boxes of tissues, my poor nose is all ragged. I had my husband go out and find some kind of softer brand because the Trader Joe s recycled tissues felt like I was rubbing sandpaper on my nose every time I blew it. Which was, like, every two minutes.

Meanwhile, my fever would trigger a headache, which would trigger a migraine, and my ears were aching, and, oh, my god, it was just bad.

So finally on, what, Sunday I had a phone appointment with a doctor who prescribed antibiotics, and much as I hate taking drugs, guess what, within 24 hours, I was feeling a lot better.

I still sound pretty bad, but believe me, it is like night and day.

Anyway, the next couple episodes I have something a little different for you. I m super excited to share with you some really special people from my Creative Sandbox Community.

These are just a few of the many success stories inside the Creative Sandbox. One of the things the Creative Sandbox is so good for is helping members tackle their fears, so they can do the big, scary things that feel impossible, and these women have done just that.

This week, I m delighted to introduce you to Jessica Sanders, of Color Me Creative.

I started us off by asking her how she describes herself, and her answer got the ball rolling on the rest of our conversation.

A transcript of our conversation is below.

Enjoy!

Full Transcript

Jessica: [00:00:00] Lately I’ve been calling myself an art explorer. But I don’t know. That seems to be what I’m doing more than I’m just, you know, making art; I’m really just exploring a lot of different things.

 

Melissa: [00:00:13] That’s total Creative Sandbox! I love it! So tell me about, first of all, how did you end up joining the Creative Sandbox Community.

 

Jessica: [00:00:26] Well, I’ve actually been following you for a really long time. I followed some creative business books and from there I found you and the Abundant Artist, and this was like probably 2012 maybe? I mean it was a long time ago.

 

Melissa: [00:00:48] Ancient history!

 

Jessica: [00:00:51] Yeah, really! So anyway, skip to the near present and you were running a program, I think that was free last fall. I joined and did that program.

 

[00:01:05] And then I joined the Sandbox right after that something like that with Creative Courage Lab right after that. And that was so great that I was like OK. I mean you know for the next year.

 

Melissa: [00:01:18] Yes so that was I did a pilot program for the last five months. It was actually was August through December. So the last five months of 2015, and we did Creative Courage Lab, it was like November-December. And then I did the (Creative Sandbox) pilot program was an experiment for me to see do I want to have an ongoing membership community? And I really liked it. So that’s when I offered the ongoing memberships in January. And then you have just been such an integral part of the Sandbox community. You have contributed amazing art tutorials once a quarter and you have been leading our wonderful ArtShares. Can you talk about, first of all, let’s start with the ArtShares. What what made you decide to want to start hosting those?

 

Jessica: [00:02:17] Well first thank you for letting me host them! I was like just really excited. After doing Creative Courage Lab, November-December, like we talked about, I was really excited about the whole group. I was excited about the community that was there, and the people and all the encouragement, and I really just wanted to help. And so another Sandbox member, Petrea, had mentioned, you know, we should do something where we share art, and I was like, “Yeah, that would be so much fun!” And I had actually done something similar offline in the real world, with a mosaic group.

 

Melissa: [00:03:09] And what happens on those calls?

 

Jessica: [00:03:12] It’s like show-and-tell. But no bullies you know it’s just for fun and we just share our art, writing, poetry. You could come and sing if you wanted to. I mean, you know, whatever. Everybody oohs and ahhs, and it’s fun.

 

Melissa: [00:03:29] I know you’ve said it’s not a critique group. So what’s the relationship to feedback in the ArtShares?.

 

Jessica: [00:03:37] Well, I mean, you could ask for feedback if you wanted it. But mostly we’re just saying, “Hey, here’s what I’m working on.” And we admire it. We talk about supplies, and that gets us into trouble and stuff like that.

 

Melissa: [00:03:53] Meaning like, “Ooh, I need to go buy that now.”

 

Jessica: [00:03:57] Yes, exactly. “Now I’ve got to get that!”

 

Melissa: [00:03:59] You are one of the people who has gotten me or is about to get me into trouble with the alcohol inks. You’ve you’ve created a couple of tutorials on alcohol inks and the Intense watercolor pencils. Those are in my wish list on Amazon and I am going to be pushing that trigger one of these days very soon.

 

Jessica: [00:04:24] I know, button.

 

Melissa: [00:04:26] You know, like “first one’s free.” Right. Addicted o art supplies!

 

Jessica: [00:04:31] I know. I’m bad because when we got on the call too, I’m like, “Oh look, I have this book or I have this and I’ve been using for that.” So people write it down.

 

Melissa: [00:04:44] I know my it’s not like my @calligraphyhowto Instagram account is becoming that for some people. They’re like, “Ooh, now I have to go buy a folded nib and give it a try,” or whatever it is that I’m playing with.

 

Jessica: [00:05:02] You had like a rolling pen or something had a very flat tip and I was like, that would be so awesome I think you could probably use it. I don’t know if you can use it with other kinds of ink than you are using it for, watercolor maybe down. And I’m like yeah oh I know it’s contagious.

 

Melissa: [00:05:22] All the stuff you see somebody doing something and it’s like, “Wow, that looks cool. I want to do it too!” So that’s that’s how we end up acquiring all those thousands of dollars worth of art supplies over the decades.

 

Jessica: [00:05:33] The supply shelf.

 

Melissa: [00:05:35] Right exactly. So, and then, I know that the creating the video tutorials was really, like a new thing for you. Can you talk about what your relationship was with that before Creative Courage Lab and how you felt about that idea. Let’s start with that: how did you feel about the idea of creating videos before.

 

Jessica: [00:06:05] OK so it was something I really wanted to do. I had even a camera set up, I built a stand, it was over my table. This was in January or February, before the November Creative Courage Lab, right? So it was something I really wanted to do, but I never did it, because I was really intimidated.

 

[00:06:25] I mean honestly, I was intimidated. I’m like, “I don’t know what I’m going to say, maybe I shouldn’t say anything, I don’t really know how to do this.” So that’s where I was before.

 

Melissa: [00:06:35] So that was like January or February. So it was like 11 months later we started Creative Courage Lab. And then what happened.

 

[00:06:45] Right. So we’ve talked about, I had already been sharing my artwork and I’d been sharing that for a while. And mostly what I liked not what I didn’t like up to that point probably. So you and I had talked about it might be a good time to try the videos. You know you were encouraging me there. And, so, I just, I did and it was kind of a touch and go process. Like, you know, I wasn’t sure how long to make them, or I should put a time limit. And you know, I learned a lot, a whole lot through that process. Because I did it, like how long was the.

 

Melissa: [00:07:27] 30 days.

 

Jessica: [00:07:27] And I made like 20 something videos in those 30 days. So it was a big learning in these areas.

 

Melissa: [00:07:37] Yeah. And what I love about that is that, really, how we learn things and how we get good things and how we figure things out is by doing them. And so that’s exactly what you did. And I remember you took on this challenge that basically every day for your Creative Courage Lab project you were going to be making a video and we got to see those videos and it was so cool to see how your relationship to creating the video changed. And I remember there was one I don’t remember who was a Creative Courage Lab video or not, but you shared a video and we have a policy inside the sandbox that we don’t give advice unless it’s asked for. And I asked if you wanted some feedback on the video and you said yes please give me some feedback. And so we were able to give you some really helpful feedback for you to make the next videos even better than what you did right off the bat and your videos just improved, like boom boom boom boom boom.

 

[00:08:44] The the quality of them. You know? I mean, just little simple things like how to get better sound and stuff like that, so that people are going to want to listen. And your videos are always just so fun to watch. And now you’ve just been making tons of videos and having so much fun with them playing with the time lapse and various different things. And had you tried any of that stuff before? and now not.

 

Jessica: [00:09:10] Uh, no! I tried a lot of it during the Creative Courage Lab session and I tried like a lot of different things. And I guess I always experiment with art products, all kinds of art products and different kinds of art and different ways to do things that I have ideas,”Oh, let me try and this and let me try that,” but I haven’t taken that approach with videos at all. It was just sitting there. And so once I got started, you know, with the encouragement from Creative Courage Lab I got started and I shared there, and I had like zero followers on YouTube, so I shared it on YouTube but I’m sure that counts. But I started experimenting and got feedback from the group and learned to add music to videos I learned to edit videos. I still have a lot to learn, but you know, it was a lot!

 

Melissa: [00:10:07] It’s huge. And I mean we all have a lot to learn, right? I mean there’s there’s always so much. But one of the things that I loved about watching your videos is that you were not afraid to say, “Well, I’m going to try this thing and I’m going to see what happens. Let’s see what happens. You know I don’t like this but let’s try this other thing over here, and this isn’t so bad,” or “Oh, I really like what’s happening here.” And so we got to see the whole process and hear your thoughts on the process which is so incredibly… I don’t know it’s just.. it’s inspiring, it’s educational, and it’s just entertaining, too. It’s like everything all wrapped up.

 

Jessica: [00:10:52] Thank you! That’s awesome. That’s everything I would like for them to be.

 

Melissa: [00:10:58] Yeah. It’s amazing, in the span of 30 days. You went from “I’ve never done a video. I really like to, but I’m really scared,” to the Video Queen.

 

Jessica: [00:11:10] Yeah, it really was an amazing process. I mean, like looking back on it, especially, I’m like, “Really? Was it hard? Now it’s not.” You know?

 

Melissa: [00:11:20] That’s the really interesting thing isn’t it? When we’ve got a community that can encourage and support and champion us, this thing that feels so big and hairy and scary, it ends up not being nearly as big and hairy and scary as we thought it was, or it doesn’t take us nearly as long to make the progress, you know, in our own mindset shift as we fear that it’s going to, because it’s just a matter of taking that action, taking those little small actions towards that goal, and suddenly you’re like, “Whoa, I need a bigger goal now!”

 

Jessica: [00:12:01] Yeah. Very true. Yeah, the community makes a huge difference. I mean, because, like I said, I didn’t really have followers on YouTube. Some people from the Creative Sandbox community followed me on YouTube, but I basically didn’t have any. I have a few more now I’m working on it. So I’ve basically felt I as sharing in a completely safe environment, even though I knew someone could watch this on YouTube. I was OK with that because getting started I guess. But then sharing in the Sandbox, I was like, “Oh, my friends will help me and they will and encourage me,” you know.

 

Melissa: [00:12:37] Yeah, that’s one of the things that I feel so strongly about that’s so important. Because when we share our creative things it’s so vulnerable. You know, like, we pour our heart out, whatever it is we’re creating, you know, and it feels like any feedback on that thing that we’ve created is directly reflected on who we are. Right? It’s so vulnerable and it’s so essential for us to have a space that’s really safe, that’s really positive, that’s really nurturing, where you know nobody’s going to diss you. Where you know the only comments you’re going to get are going to be encouraging comments. And also because you know there’s a wide range of expertise and experience. People there are not going to lie to you. If they don’t think it’s great they’re going to give you some kind of positive feedback or they’re just not going to leave a comment at all.

 

Jessica: [00:13:44] Yeah. I think also a characteristic maybe of the group is that you know maybe somebody is doing something it’s not your style or not my favorite thing or your favorite thing, or it’s completely out of your your wheelhouse like you don’t do that stuff at all. But the people who are there look for something that they can relate to where they can encourage you.

 

Melissa: [00:14:09] Exactly. That makes total sense you put it so. Way better than I did it. No that totally nails it. That’s so right. Because there are so many different styles and you know, different kinds of techniques and mediums and just creative expression types that people are doing inside the Sandbox and some, obviously, you’re going to relate to more than others, but we are all creatives and so there’s always something that we can find to appreciate or relate to in what somebody else is doing even if it’s not the style that maybe we’d put on our wall or something like that. We can always relate.

 

[00:14:46] So tell me more about, you know, what I’m interested in is, how has being in the Sandbox affected the rest of your life? Has it made a difference in the rest of your life in any way?

 

Jessica: [00:15:04] Do you mean outside of art?

 

Jessica: [00:15:07] Anywhere. I mean it could still be art, but outside of our little closed safe community. Has anything changed for you as a result of being part of the Creative Sandbox Community.

 

Jessica: [00:15:20] Well, I mean I am sharing my videos on YouTube and I have a small following there. I mean I have 50 subscribers or something, so for me that’s changed where I can actually share outside. I was sharing outside before, but like I said, I didn’t have any followers.

 

[00:15:38] And also, just in general I find I do more creative activities because I know I have somewhere to share even if it’s not perfect or pretty. If it’s something creative I have somewhere to share it, so I do, I generally do more creative stuff I think.

 

Melissa: [00:15:57] That’s awesome. Yeah.

 

Melissa: [00:16:02] This is something I don’t think I’ve asked you before and I’m just curious. Going through Creative Courage Lab, which is a program inside the Creative Sandbox Community that I ran last November, has that spilled out into other areas of your life at all?

 

Jessica: [00:16:33] That’s a good question. I have to think about that. So how has creative courage spilled out into my life in other ways. I think even though I was willing to experiment with art and things before, I’m even more willing to experiment now. I think that it has affected me in that way. And also there are some things like it made me realize that maybe, you know, I could actually talk to people in real life about my art. I mean online is real life, but you know, face to face a little bit different. And I feel like also it’s kind of I’m not on this kind of path to building out classes and things like that from my website which is just a mind blowing thing for me.

 

[00:17:35] So in that way I feel like it’s really spilled over into into other areas of my business and my art and life.

 

Melissa: [00:17:45] That’s fantastic. So tell us more about your business.

 

Jessica: [00:17:49] Well, I sell my art online and I have a website ColorMeCreativeArt.com. And right now I’m working on doing some alcohol ink related things coming up for the holidays. I’m going to have ornaments for sale but I’m also working on some online classes that I’m hoping to get up there before the end of the year for making different alcohol ink tutorials. I have like … 40 plus techniques just for alcohol inks. So I want to put that together and make it into a class or, you know, I don’t know yet, but that’s what I’m working for.

 

Melissa: [00:18:38] That’s exciting. Very very cool.

 

[00:18:42] And what is your favorite thing about the Creative Sandbox Community?

 

Jessica: [00:18:53] My favorite thing is the community itself and just having people to talk to. Everybody’s doing their creative endeavors. I think, you know, it’s not always all the same people we have people coming in, we have people leaving. I joined as a yearly member and so I’ve seen people come and go and there are some people who’ve stayed the whole time. People will jump in and they do creative things and we all talk about it and it’s just a great place for, you know, someone to prop you up to just come alongside you and you lean against each other. And so, yeah, that’s my favorite part.

 

Melissa: [00:19:37] That’s a wonderful metaphor that really rings true for me. And I hear that over and over whenever I ask people, “What do you like best? What’s your favorite thing about the Creative Sandbox?” and it’s always the community. I mean there’s all this stuff in the membership side that people can access, but really at the heart of it is the interactions between human beings inside our Facebook community.

 

Jessica: [00:20:03] Yeah, I think so. There’s so much content on the website, too, that we can access, which is really great. I mean, Marie Goodwyn ash contributed videos and I have contributed videos. And you have a ton of stuff there, and there’s a lot of self-paced things we can do. And I guess the other thing that I wanted to say to you Melissa is thank you because I’ve been in other groups before and I’ve not had a mentor who is so personally there like you’re there. You answer any question and you know you’ll talk about whatever subject to talk about you’re right on point. And so you’re there to help us and I really really appreciate.

 

Melissa: [00:20:56] Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah, this group is really special to me and I love being able to share and be helpful in whatever way I can for people and I want them to not have to be stuck by the stuff that had kept me stuck for so many years and to be able to really blossom and grow their wings and live that full-color creative life they really want. I’m glad that that comes through.

 

Jessica: [00:21:33] Yeah it does, it really does.

 

Melissa: [00:21:36] Cool. Any last things you wanted to share or say or ask or anything?

 

Jessica: [00:21:48] I can’t think of anything specific. I’m just really happy to be here and chat with you and really happy to be part of the group. It’s a great place to be.

 

Melissa: [00:22:00] If somebody were contemplating whether or not to join the Creative Sandbox, what would you tell them?

 

Jessica: [00:22:12] Oh, I’d tell them to join. Yeah. It’s well worth it. It’s just so much support there. Just do it. Just go for it, it will help you so much. You’re out there and you want to create. You’re not sure, and you’re dealing with these inner voices, gremlins, or inner critic, and this is the perfect place to come and be around people who deal with all the exact same things and who will support you and help you get rid of the inertia and get moving creatively.

 

Melissa: [00:22:49] I love that. That says it all. Jessica thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and share your experience.

 

[00:22:57] And I like I can see a poster on your wall behind you! I love it!

 

[00:23:05] Thank you so much and thank you for sharing all your art and your wonderful tutorials and everything. And I will see you over in our Facebook group.

 

Jessica: [00:23:13] All right. Thank you Melissa.

 

Melissa: [00:23:14] All right. Bye.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017! And you can still register. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 090: Jessica’s Journey from “Gaahh!” to Video Queen appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 089: The Thing Nobody Tells You (and No, the Problem Isn’t You)
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 089: The Thing Nobody Tells You (and No, the Problem Isn’t You)

LCN 089: The Thing Nobody Tells You (and No, the Problem Isn't You)Last week I talked about small daily acts, how they are such a cornerstone of my message, of what I do, and of how I’ve accomplished every creative project worth noting in my life.

Sometimes, of course, small daily acts combine with large daily acts, or large acts of some other time interval.

(For example, right now my husband and I are in the midst of planning a lowish-budget kitchen remodel, and it feels like I’m pouring lifetimes every day into scouring the internet for right-drain sinks that will fit a 30″ cabinet, or cheap backsplash ideas, or low-maintenance alternatives to concrete countertops, or creative drawer pulls, getting bids from cabinet installers, and on and on. Because that’s what I do. I specialize in obsessing on creative projects.)

But, of course, we don’t always have the luxury of a big creative project to dive into. It starts with small daily acts.

And even with small daily acts here’s the thing that no-one ever seems to tell you:

It’s hard to keep it up alone.

We feel like it should be easy. Small daily acts are small, after all. How hard can it be?

Everyone else seems to be creating. We scroll through our Facebook feed, our Instagram feed, and everyone else seems to have no trouble cranking out their small daily acts.

So what is wrong with US?

We automatically assume the problem is with us. That we are somehow flawed.

Everyone else can do this with no problem (we think). We are the problem (we think).

This causes a terrible downward spiral.

If we can’t even do this small daily act (we think), we must be an abject failure.

Shame. Despair. Hopelessness. Giving up.

Why bother?

That does not lead to a full-color life of creative joy!

No.

Going it alone is hard work, and not for the faint of heart. And going it alone is not what we were wired to do!

We need each other!

We need each other to remind us that we’re not alone.

We need each other to understand our struggles.

We need each other so we have an audience to share our creations with, where there’s no judgment, and total acceptance.

We need each other to give us a sense of purpose, so we’re not just shouting into the wind.

We need each other to encourage us when we’re feeling low and discouraged.

We need each other to celebrate our wins and successes with us.

We need each other to turn to when we have questions and need resources.

We need each other to inspire each other and to fill our creative wells with new ideas when we run dry.

We need each other to give us reminders, when the world is beating us down, that our creative lives are essential to our humanity.

We Need Community

Community is the life blood of creators.

When we have a supportive, safe, non-judgmental community of kindreds who understand our struggles, who truly appreciate what goes into our creations, we create more, we share more, we can expand into our full selves, and the world opens up for us.

This is huge.

So where do you find community?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get that in my  day-to-day, 3D world. So I created the Creative Sandbox community.

We think we should be able to go it alone. After all, most of us do our creating in isolation. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?

But it is that hard. 

We are swimming in a soup of confusing messages and artist oppression. It’s like constantly being “gaslighted.”

We need community to ground us in reality.

When you are encircled by a powerful, loving, supportive, creative tribe, here’s what happens:

I’ve gotten a huge boost in confidence, both in myself and in my creative soul/the things I create. I’m so lucky to have stumbled upon this amazing community you’ve started and built with the help of these amazing individuals, Melissa.

-Jessica Catania

Love you Melissa Dinwiddie! you have no idea the amazing impact you have made in so many aspects of my life. The supportive, encouraging environment, which not only allows me creative freedom, but extends into many aspects of my life. Thank you Melissa.

-Laura Richards

In the course of a month, I’ve had three people contact me about illustration for books and a series of stickers. I swing from excited to scared to avoidance to telling myself, “Hey, you got the chops, you can do it.”

What a roller coaster, but I tell you what… the courage to keep moving forward regardless to those voices, I owe to the Creative Sandbox Community. And, embracing the evolution of my art and my voice and whatever creativity is still waiting to be released.

My need for creative outlets is becoming palpable as the creativity continues to release and my voice/vision/etc. evolves. And the Creative Sandbox is allowing it to evolve and come forth in a way that I feel alive again. Happy. Laughing more.

Thank you again, Melissa and this group for a safe and enouraging space to reflect and grow.

-Carla Olson

These are just a few examples. Next week we’ll dive deeper with some case studies of the kinds of transformation that small daily acts plus the right kind of community can create.

Meanwhile, save the date!

Erase the Chaos Day-Long Intensive

Let’s Start off 2017 Right! On Saturday, January 14th I’m offering a special day-long intensive workshop, to help you Erase the Chaos in your life.

Spend a day with me to hone in on the specific causes of YOUR time-crunch chaos, and we’ll use the time during our day together to clear your plate to make space for creative joy.

You ll discover:

  • The truth about your mile-long to-do list
  • 3 quick erasers to create more white space TODAY
  • The truth nobody tells you about time-management (hint: it s a lie!)
  • How to hone in on what s most important, so you can let go of the rest
  • The ONE tool that has the power to change everything in your life for the better
  • and a lot more

And yes, we will CLEAR YOUR TIME-CRUNCH CHAOS during the workshop.

You name the price for this life-changing day. I ask that you pay enough that you’ve got some “skin in the game,” so you take this day SERIOUSLY.

What is it worth to you to transform your relationship to time?
What is it worth to find time to pursue your real passion?

Is it worth a year’s worth of lattes? A weekend at the spa? A three-month membership at a yoga studio?

YOU decide what dollar amount your time is worth to you, and relieving your time-crunch chaos is worth to you. Just go to melissadinwiddie.com/intensive, enter the dollar amount you decide on in the field to register, and *bam*, you’re in!

See you there!

CSW Holiday Special 2016

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 089: The Thing Nobody Tells You (and No, the Problem Isn’t You) appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 088: Is This Big Misconception Keeping You Stuck?
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 088: Is This Big Misconception Keeping You Stuck?

LCN 088: Is this Big Misconception Keeping You Stuck?It’s a riff episode!

Full confession: usually I put a lot of time into writing out the thoughts that I want to share with you on the podcast, but today I wanted to share off the top of my head something that’s been on my mind.

I want to talk about this big misconception that so many creators have. A huge misconception that kept me in a state of suffering for at least a decade, and has kept countless other people that I’ve worked with, people in my communities, students, and clients in a state of suffering, too.

Years ago, I used to walk around my apartment saying to myself saying to myself, “I wish I had time to make art for me.”

At that time, I made my living making art for other people, for clients, and I was really unhappy, because I was never making art for me, because I never had the time. Oh, how I wished I had time to make art for me!

The misconception that I was laboring under, the big lie, was that I needed great, big chunks of time.

Of course, I never had great, big chunks of time. It was impossible to find great, big chunks of time!

The only time I managed to get great, big chunks of time was once a year, when I would go on retreat with my calligraphy guild, the Friends of Calligraphy, when I would get Wednesday evening through Sunday lunch to do whatever I wanted.

Meals were prepared for me, I didn’t have to deal with telephones and email at the time they didn’t even have wifi! and all I had to do was whatever I wanted!

That was the only time, once a year, when I would create for me.

And I remember, every single year I would come home and create these elaborate schemes to create a quarterly weekend staycation to turn off the phone and turn off the computer and just make art all weekend long.

And then reality would set in, and I would realize there was no way I could take an entire weekend.

So I would lower my expectations and create a variation on the theme: a Saturday once a month, a Friday afternoon.

It never happened.

Then on February 1st, 2011, as I write about in The Creative Sandbox Way, I was interviewing an artist named Michele Théberge for my first online course, the Thriving Artists Project.

Michele is a fine art gallery-exhibiting artist who also mentors artists who aspire to fine art gallery-exhibiting careers, and you would think that her mentees would have no problem creating their art, but in fact they struggle with resistance just as much as the rest of us.

In the interview, Michele shared with me that she tells her mentees that if they can’t put fifteen minutes a day into their art, they’re making an excuse.

In that moment I felt myself getting hot and defensive.

Part of me, the mindful part of me, was able to step outside my defensiveness and notice it, and realize that yes, I was making an excuse.

Michele had absolutely nailed me.

Before that interview was over, I made the decision that I was going to commit to fifteen minutes a day on my art, every single day that month.

Now that was February, so it was a short month.

I did not think that fifteen minutes could possibly amount to anything. How valuable could that possibly be? But if Michele said this to her mentees, If igured it was worth trying.

And you know what? That teeny, tiny, ridiculously small commitment changed my life. 

And just the other day, I was on a video conference call with a mentor that I’m working with, talking about my big initiative to take my message out to corporations.

Currently, I’m used to working with people on a private level in my online community, the Creative Sandbox (which will be opening up for new members in January); in my annual retreat in September, Create & Incubate Retreat (which, btw, is already almost full from all the returning folks from last year, and I haven’t even opened up registration yet for 2017!); in private classes and workshops I teach; in private coaching, mentoring, and consulting.

Bringing my message into corporations is really new, so of course it’s bringing up all of my self-doubt gremlins. “What corporation is going to pay you to help their employees get happier and more creative?” they’re snarking at me.

Well, you know how other people can hone in on who you are and what you do with more perspective than you can? Because of course they have more distance you’re too close to it.

Karen was able to say to me, “Melissa, what your specialty is, is small daily acts.”

Well, duh.

That’s kinda everything I share. If you go to my Instagram, or go to my Facebook page, or listen to my podcast, or read my book, so much of what I write about and speak about revolves around that concept.

Small daily acts build creative confidence.

Small daily acts grow a body of work.

Small daily acts create joy.

Small daily acts change your life.

Small daily acts will change the world.

And small daily acts do not require great, big chunks of time.

So this misconception, this lie that so many of labor under, are stuck inside of we need to blow that.

So here are a few examples from my own life of small daily acts.

Small Daily Acts 2011

Back in 2011, as I mentioned, I had this conversation with Michele Théberge, and I made that commitment that I would put in a minimum of fifteen minutes a day of making art, and then I would reassess.

It was an experiment. And it was transformative!

I had no idea. I did not expect it to be as profound and powerful as it was. I made so much art I did not believe how much art fifteen minutes a day would lead to.

Here’s the secret: fifteen minutes a day gets you started.

The thing is, starting is the hard part. And when you set your commitment really tiny and “ridiculously achievable” (fifteen minutes is totally arbitrary you can make it two minutes; you can make it, as my friend Laureen Marchand says, “Any amount counts” (which I now refer to as the Law of Laureen) it doesn’t matter what the actual number is, as long as it’s small enough that it gets you past the starting friction, that’s the important thing.

So my rule at the time was, I got to spend more than fifteen minutes if I wanted to, but if all I spent was fifteen minutes, that was totally fine. That was a complete, 100% success. And there were plenty of days when that’s all I did was fifteen minutes.

Surprisingly, I discovered that fifteen minutes was actually enough to get me into a state of flow!

This completely blew my mind. I had no idea I could get into a state of flow so quickly.

In any case, over the course of eleven months in 2011 I made over 150 finished artworks.

Now, I didn’t make a piece a day that’s not how I approached it. I worked on large sheets of paper over, which I might work on for several days or even a few weeks. Then I would tear that sheet into a dozen or fifteen or more pieces, which I would then turn into finished pieces over the course of a few days.

So that initiative, that commitment, fifteen minutes a day, February 1st, 2011, resulted in a body of work of over 150 pieces over the course of eleven months. Which I then continued to make in 2012 and 2013.

Small Daily Acts 2014

In 2014 I started playing with Loopy HD app on my iPhone (and later iPad) to layer my voice and other sounds, so I can be a one-person chorus and one-person band.

I’d been wanting to do this for years, and finally realized “there’s an app for that!” and for a number of months I was creating a new loop every day and uploading it to Soundcloud, which then automatically posted it to this part of my blog.

My commitment to myself was to post my loop tracks, let them be imperfect (this was hard), even though people might actually listen to them and hear my voice cracking, hear my imperfect harmonies, and get over my fear of creating imperfect things.

I was basically improvising a new song every day for something like a hundred days.

And before that (I totally forgot!)…

Small Daily Acts 2013

I did a year-long project! Project 3x5x365.

Every single day for a year, I grabbed a word out of a book, randomly, and used that as my prompt to fill a 3×5 card.

I just wrote, and filled a 3×5 card.

It doesn’t take that many words to fill a 3×5 card

I confess, my ulterior motive was that this initiative would turn me into a great poet. I am living proof that a year of filling a 3×5 card will not turn someone who is not by nature a brilliant poet into a brilliant poet, but it was a fantastic exercise. And very challenging.

And I was tempted about 360 out of those 365…

Most of those days I thought, “Oh, my god, this is total crap…”

But part of the challenge was to get used to posting crap and mediocre work! And the beautiful thing is that now when I go back and look at Project 3x5x365, I don’t remember what I wrote, so I can look at it with fresh eyes, and some of those cards I actually like.

I wrote 365 pieces of writing. Poems, prose poetry, pieces of writing. A stack of writing five inches tall.

That is a body of work.

Small daily acts.

Small daily acts created a body of work, and in that body of work are a few maybe more than a few that I actually like, and that I never would have created had I not decided to take on small daily acts.

Small Daily Acts 2015

I did a whole series of paintings fast, small, paintings. 6″ x 6″, 5″ x 5″, a few 8″ x 8″.

My goal was to learn how to paint quickly. I was tired of always making paintings that took hours and hours to complete, so I set myself the task to develop a style that I could do fast.

And you know what? I ended up making dozens and dozens of paintings!

I think I have sixty hanging on the wall by the ceiling encircling my dining room, and that is just a fraction of the number I created.

A body of work.

Small daily acts.

Small Daily Acts 2016

I realized that I wasn’t getting to my art table every day.

I figured out a long time ago that if I want to get something done, the best way to make that happen is to do it first thing.

The best way to make that happen is to do it while I’m still in bed. 

If I want to get creating while I’m still in bed, it’s not going to work very well to use acrylic paints… But (I reasoned) if I bring sketchbooks and Pigma Micron markers, and (more recently) watercolor pencils with water brushes with the water in the handles, guess what? I can create in my bed! 

Before I even get up and on with the rest of my day!

So I started doing that at the start of 2016, because I realized that I wasn’t getting to my art table.

Guess what? The little doodles, the black and what drawings that I was creating, those ended up in my book, The Creative Sandbox Way!

They ended up informing what my book became!

Small daily acts.

Small daily acts.

Busting the Lie

We do not need great, big chunks of time.

We want them. I am not saying to not take great, big chunks of time! What I am saying is, do not let the absence of great, big chunks of time prevent you from creating!

Now, it just so happens that I popped over to Facebook, where I have the Newsfeed Eradicator plugin installed, so instead of seeing my newsfeed, all I see is a random quotation.

(I do this, because when I see my Facebook newsfeed I get sucked right down a rabbit hole, and it can be hours before I’m able to extricate myself.)

It just so happens that the quote that was on there right before I started recording this podcast was this:

Doing just a little bit during the time we have available puts you that much further ahead than if you took no action at all.

~Pulsifier, Take Action, Don’t Procrastinate (from the Newsfeed Eradicator Facebook Plugin)

Small Daily Acts

That is the lesson I want you to take away: doing just a little bit.

Small daily acts.

For me that has come out as my ArtSpark artworks. It has come out as looping. It has come out as 3×5 card poetry/prose writing. It has come out as my doodles.

It always seems to circle back to something visual for me that seems to be a grounding force. Figure out what your grounding force is, if you have one. Though maybe you’re different from me.

What is that thing, and where are the pockets, the nooks and crannies in your day, where you can always fit something in?

For me, it’s first thing in the morning. That might not work for you, but where is your first thing?

It might be first thing after work.

It might be first thing after you drop the kids off at school.

It might be first thing after breakfast.

Where is that first thing time for you? How can you build it into your day?

If it’s not built into your day, if you’re leaving it up to chance, if you’re leaving it up to when you find the time, it’s not going to happen.

Small daily acts.

Small daily acts build creative confidence.

Small daily acts will change your life.

And small daily acts will change the world.

CSW Holiday Special 2016

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 088: Is This Big Misconception Keeping You Stuck? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 087: Peach Trees Don’t Feel Guilty
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 087: Peach Trees Don’t Feel Guilty

LCN 087: Peach Trees Don't Feel GuiltyI stumbled upon a metaphor the other day, that really helped me during this weird, post-book-launch phase I’m in.

Writing and publishing and launching a book is a major project. Actually, it’s three major projects. Four, really, if you add in the designing of the book, which is a major project in its own right.

And I managed to do all four of these things in the span of less than three months.

So, really, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I was pretty wiped out by the end of the launch. It’s only been a few weeks since then, and I feel like I haven’t quite gotten my full energy back.

And guess what? Because I’m such a driven person, because one of my top Strengthsfinder 2.0 strengths is Achiever, I want to constantly be producing, and when I’m not, I feel really frustrated.

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling, well, frustrated, and like there’s something wrong with me. I was actually feeling guilty.

Until a very wise person I’ve been working with pointed out that, um, I just published a book in three months. And maybe I get to take a break.

You know, farmers have to let fields lie fallow every few years, that kind of thing?

Um, yeah.

And that’s when this metaphor of a peach tree sprang to mind.

It occurred to me (and I wrote this in a little spontaneous note to my Insiders a couple of weeks ago) that I’m like a peach tree. Really, any fruit tree, so imagine your favorite fruit tree. Stone fruits work especially well for this metaphor,

I happen to like peaches, so I’m going to go with a peach tree, but if you prefer cherries or plums or apricots, knock yourself out.

So here’s the thing our creative process is just like a fruit tree’s creative process.

You get an inkling of a creative idea that’s like little buds starting to form on your branches in the Spring.

Then those little buds blossom in an explosion of ideas, and then those ideas start to grow into little, baby peaches. All this creative energy sucks up from your roots and goes into producing, producing, producing, turning those ideas into what will, over time, become juicy, ripe peaches.

Spring rolls into Summer, and now you bear fruit. Tons of fruit.

You fruit and fruit and fruit and FRUIT!

So. Much. FRUIT!

You have to can it, freeze it, bake it into pies and breads and cakes and jams and everything you can think of, because everyone around you is OVERFLOWING with the wonderful fruit you have produced!

And then what happens?

Then the last of your fruit falls off, and your leaves fall off (hence the name of that season, Fall), and you’re basically a lot of sticks.

For several months, throughout the Winter, you’re sticks.

You may be a bunch of cherry sticks, or plum sticks, or like me, peach sticks.

But you’re basically just sticks.

And you know what?

Fruit trees do not feel guilty for being sticks during the winter.

This is what I am working on right now: not feeling guilty that I am not currently in Massive Creative Output phase.

I just went through an enormous Massive Creative Output phase.

It was called, Writing, Designing, Publishing, and Launching a Book.

Now I am in the Post-Massive Creative Output phase.

That looks a lot like being a peach tree in winter.

It is not very pretty.

But it is equally as important as the bearing-peaches part of the peach tree‘s creative life cycle.

And in fact, a lot is going on underneath the bark. You just can’t see it or smell it or taste it. It isn’t a very satisfying part of the cycle, but it is an essential part of the cycle.

The Peach Tree and the Rut

This metaphor of the peach tree came to mind again this week in a conversation inside my Creative Sandbox Community, where someone brought up the frustration of the particular brand of stuckness where you’re able to produce, but you’re not producing anything you truly love.

Nothing’s lighting your fire. You wish it were, but it’s not, and it’s really frustrating you.

So you keep plugging away, but it’s not energizing you. You might even be wondering if you will ever find inspiration and joy and passion and enthusiasm in your creative work again.

That’s what I call the “rut” phase of the creative process. Part of you might know that this, too, is part of the process, but dang, that doesn’t mean it’s fun!

And if you don’t already know that this is an expected and normal part of the creative process, you might be wondering if there’s something wrong with you. (Let me assure you, there is not!)

So, kind of in line with the peach tree metaphor, I thought I’d share a brief outline of my personal experience of the creative process, from start to finish. This is pretty much how it goes for me, almost without exception. Perhaps you will be able to relate.

For me it goes something like this:

1. Flail!

2. Flail some more! (Total chaos!)

3. Yet more flailing! (Will I ever create something of any value whatsoever again???)

4. Starting to catch…

5. Hmm… Interesting…

6. Ooh.. I like this!

7. I think I may have found a groove! (Note: this part may take a lot longer to get to than shown here.)

8. Groove!

9. Groove!

10. Groove!

11. Still groove, but not quite as exciting…

12. Getting bored…

13. REALLY bored, but not ready to admit it yet, because I had SUCH a lovely groove going!

14. RUT.

15. RUT.

16. RUT.. Okay, I really MUST get on with something else…

17. …

18. …

19. Flail!

Lather, rinse, repeat.

With liberal sprinklings of gremlins throughout, of course.

If this reminds you at all of the cycle of growth of the peach tree, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Whether you think of it as a peach tree, or as a cycle of “flail, groove, rut,” it comes out to the same thing.

And all this is to say, if you are going through a stick phase, or a flail phase, or a rut phase, know that you are not alone. Know that there is nothing wrong with you. Know that it is part of the process.

It is not a fun part of the process I’m sorry to say that it is something that just has to be gone through. But hopefully knowing that it is a natural part of the process will help you get through it with more grace and self-compassion.

Treat yourself kindly. Do something loving for yourself. Fill your well.

And enjoy the ride, because you never know when the next phase is going to start. The only thing you can count on is that it will.

Resources In this Episode

Strengthsfinder 2.0

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 087: Peach Trees Don’t Feel Guilty appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 086: A Conversation with Finnish Artist & Art Educator Paivi Eerola
0:00
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 0:00
LCN 086: A Conversation with Finnish Artist & Art Educator Paivi Eerola

LCN 086: A Conversation with Finnish Artist & Art Education Paivi EerolaWay back in August of 2015, I had a long conversation with Finnish artist and art educator, Paivi Eerola, of Peony and Parakeet.

I recorded that conversation.

For the podcast.

Then I never published it.

Why did I never publish it? Because conversations, it turns out, are a lot more work to produce than monologues.

Or, shall I say, the expectations I had put on myself have made conversations a lot more work to produce than monologues…

They don’t actually have to be that way. 

As you can see, intentional imperfectionism is a work in progress, not a destination.

It clearly isn’t a destination that this particular imperfectionist has arrived at…

In any case, I’ve got a treasure trove of recorded conversations on my hard drive, and it’s time to share them. They are not perfect. They are not going to be beautifully edited.

But the people in these conversations are gems. They are where the gold is, and it kills me that I’ve been keeping then hidden away from you.

This episode is one of several I’ll be sharing with you over the coming weeks.

Paivi and I discussed a wide range of topics, including:

  • creativity;
  • the right-brain/left-brain metaphor;
  • how representational, realistic art wasn’t enough for Paivi;
  • technical skills are just one small piece of creative expression;
  • if you create enough ugly things, together they will become interesting and beautiful;
  • the role of music in healing creative block;
  • and so much more.

Enjoy, and be sure to check out Paivi’s work at peonyandparakeet.com
xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Resources In this Episode

Paivi Eerola’s site, peonyandparakeet.com

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 086: A Conversation with Finnish Artist & Art Educator Paivi Eerola appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 085: Are You Reneging on Your Gifts?
19:46
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 19:46
LCN 085: Are You Reneging on Your Gifts?

LCN 085: Are You Reneging on Your Creative Gifts?What did your parents model to you about creative bliss?

Was it seen as important? Or an impossibility, to be shoved aside and boxed away, in favor of more practical things?

There s a legend in my family that when my parents met, my father wanted to be an actor, but that he closed the door on that dream when my mom said she wouldn t marry someone with the kind of unstable income that an acting career was sure to bring.

How serious my dad was about pursuing the acting bug that bit him in college I ll never know.

Maybe it was a passing phase. Maybe he would have been happier doing community theater and making his income elsewhere anyway.

I know he loved the high-tech career he went on to build, and I certainly had a more stable home life with an engineer/systems analyst father than I imagine I would have had with an actor father.

And yet.

What do we model for our children when we reneg on our gifts, as my friend B puts it?

Her own mother only pursued her inborn talent for art once the kids were all grown and gone, and I could name several other friends off the top of my head whose parents closed the door on their creative dreams in order to support their families.

What message does that kind of self-denial give to a child with a burning hunger to create?

Understand that I m not casting blame or judgement on any of the adults who made decisions they saw as necessary to support their families. We re dealt the hand we re dealt, and we can each only do what we think is right at any given moment.

I am, however, asking us now to think about it.

Many of us have the luxury to create lives our parents and grandparents couldn t have dreamed of.

My immigrant great-grandparents escaped pogroms, sailed in steerage across the Atlantic and struggled to survive in a new world so that their children would have a better life.

Generations later, I m profoundly grateful for the opportunities in my world that have allowed me to focus on building a business that sustains me financially, nourishes me creatively, and also changes the world.

Imagine!

Time, place and good fortune have made it a helluva lot easier for me to follow my bliss and to factor creative joy into my days than it was for my antecedents.

Although the economy is in the dumps and this is perhaps the first generation that hasn t almost automatically surpassed their parents standard of living, we still have opportunities that simply didn t exist for my ancestors in the shtetl.

For most of us, the path to following your bliss has never been more accessible, whether it has anything to do with how you earn your living.

And let me say here and this is very, very important to me that you understand living a full-color creative life has absolutely nothing to do necessarily with how you earn your living! You do not have to earn your living from your art in order to live a full-color creative life.

That’s one option, but it’s not the only option. And it’s not even the best option. That all depends on you, and what works for you, and how you are wired.

For many people nowadays, at least those with the resources to read a post like this, what s really getting in the way is not drought, or famine, or living in a war zone, or living in a shtetl, or pogroms, it s mindset.

The idea that we don t deserve to pursue our creative passions. Or that doing so is frivolous and unimportant.

If that wasn t what we were told in words, it s often what we were told in actions.

Now let me ask you: if the adults in your life boxed up their dreams, imagine, how might your life might be different now if you d witnessed them making time and space to follow their creative joys instead?

It must be said that a parent who follows her or his bliss to the exclusion of effectively caring for their family is no better a model than one who closes the door on that bliss entirely. But there has to be a balance, don t you think?

In my book The Creative Sandbox Way, I include a chapter called “5 Reasons Why Creative Play is Essential (and World-Changing).” Reason number two is this:

When you create, you model for others that they can create, too.

Wouldn’t you like to live in a world where everyone grows up with this kind of modeling?

You have the power to be a model for others.

In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that this may be my real purpose as an artist: not to make amazing art, but to model creating. Period.

I don’t have children, but I know that following my passion speaks volumes to those who know me, regardless of their age. It’s ultimately the reason why this blog exists.

And I intend to keep doing it. I hope you’ll do the same.

Now your turn. What do you think? Did your parents follow their own Blisses?

How did their model affect your mindset about your creative passions?

And what are you doing now to feed your own creative hunger and follow your Bliss(es)?
xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Resources In this Episode

My book, The Creative Sandbox Way

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 085: Are You Reneging on Your Gifts? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 084: What You Need to Hear AFTER the Big Project
21:49
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 21:49
LCN 084: What You Need to Hear AFTER the Big Project

LCN 084: What You Need to Hear AFTER the Big ProjectAt the end of August, not quite three months ago so a season ago I baked a muddy intention in the kiln of resolve into a rock-solid commitment: I would write a complete book before my fiftieth birthday on November 5th.

I was serious. I cut out a lot of things that I’d been spending time on in order to make that happen.

Thankfully, I was sane enough to push the actual publication date out a week and a half, to November 15th, in order to accommodate a 9-day trip east for two back-to-back conferences and allow for some time to promote the book as well as to write, edit, layout, and design it, but the upshot is, I birthed a book in three months.

The Creative Sandbox Way launched last Tuesday. I had a week-long launch party with daily Facebook Lives, complete with daily free downloads and daily giveaway drawings, and lots of bonuses for people who purchased during launch week, all of which involved my building web pages and setting up membership levels and setting up emails and autoresponders, and more moving parts than a chess set.

Oh, and I also gave away $200 worth of art supplies to one lucky book buyer, too.

Today, as I record this, I closed down the bonuses page, announced the winner of the art supply giveaway (Rebekah Nemethy of Reflective Photos congratulations, Rebekah!).

Then I collapsed in a heap.

Actually, that’s a bit hyperbolic. In fact, all week long I’ve been in a state of sort of continual collapse. After every Facebook Live I’ve felt utterly sapped. I’ve spent a lot of time lying on the couch, reading novels.

And it was in this drained state that a note landed in my Facebook message box that I really needed to read, from one of my Launch Team Ambassadors.

My Launch Team is a group of people who applied specifically to help promote The Creative Sandbox Way. They committed to write a review on Amazon, and share the book on social media, and with friends, and in exchange they got an advance review copy as a PDF, and an inside view of the writing, designing, publishing, and launching process.

I could not have done this without them.

Gina, of Around the Writer’s Table, wrote me the following note, and gave me permission to share it with you. In this letter she has encapsulated so much of what has been bouncing around in my own mind, and said it better than I ever could say it myself. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.

Dear Melissa,

As I do my morning writing today, you are heavy on my mind.

As I have watched you these last few weeks a dynamo of energy and mirth around the launch of your book I smile at every milestone and hold you close in my heart for safety and joy on your journey.

You know the creative process, but I feel that I am supposed to remind you today of what you already know.

You have just gone through actually, are still in the midst of a massive phase of creative output. You are pouring out everything inside of you into us, into your book as your gift to us all.

The bombardment of ideas probably felt as if you were being pelted by paintballs. The hectic pace and lack of sleep, and maybe too much caffeine or not eating healthy, may be intensifying the sensitivity of your creative nerve.

You have been giving and giving, and pouring and pouring OUT through the entire process of book-writing and promotion.

If you haven t already, you likely will move into a stage when you feel totally drained, nothing left, maybe even enormously deflated. You might even be disappointed, confused.

For certain, you are tired and likely will feel . . . empty.

Know that if you are feeling ungrounded, unfocused, maybe even a little disembodied, this is part of the natural cycle, the way of things when we pour our souls into a project the way you have.

As a writer, you want your message to be heard, and as writers, we all want need, in fact to have someone, anyone, listen.

What I see over and over with authors who self-publish, no matter the extent of their promotional efforts, no matter what their expectations, once the book is out, they embrace a sense of failure.

Here is where I caution you: DO NOT misinterpret your physical exhaustion and creative depletion as failure.

Nor should you measure how many copies your book sells now or forever as a measure of your worth in this world. It is easy to fall into that human trap of material measurement.

Your value to all of us cannot be gauged by the price of a printed book or the ranking on a bestseller list.

The people who need to hear your message will receive it. What you are sharing is valuable and necessary.

Your message, your sheer existence is a major part of what we need to heal our world, to have not only joy in the moment of creating, but long-lasting satisfaction of true self-expression and how we leave our unique fingerprint upon the world.

Expect to be tired. Expect to be deflated. Expect to feel drained and empty.

Now honor your creative spirit by giving yourself a refill. Do something (which just may be doing nothing ) to allow yourself to heal and recover and rejuvenate, because there is so so so so much more.

You are an empty vessel just waiting to be refilled. So nurture yourself and permit the refilling to happen when and as it will.

Give yourself time and space and love.

But you know this.

In eternal service and everlasting gratitude and with gianormous buckets of love,
Gina

Gina, I needed to read this. Thank you.

Resources In this Episode

My new book, The Creative Sandbox Way

Around the Writer’s Table

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 084: What You Need to Hear AFTER the Big Project appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 083: Book Launch: The Creative Sandbox Way is HERE!
25:34
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 25:34
LCN 083: Book Launch: The Creative Sandbox Way is HERE!

The Creative Sandbox Way - Now avaialble! http://creativesandboxway.comMy new book, The Creative Sandbox Way, is finally here! What does the culmination of a book launch look like behind the scenes? I part the curtains for you to see.

I even tie in a somewhat embarrassing, and tragic story from the days of planning my first wedding, back when I was a 27-year-old bridezilla.

Oh, and be sure to join me every day this week on Facebook for my week-long Book Launch Party! There will be entertainment, art, Creative Sandbox concepts, and even “party bags” to give away.

Join me here:

My Facebook business page

My Facebook personal profile

I’ll be streaming LIVE at these times (and these livestreams will also all be recorded and live forever on Facebook for you to watch, so if these times are already past, you’ll find the recordings on Facebook):

Tuesday 11/15 – 12pm PT
Wednesday 11/16 – 2pm PT
Thursday 11/17 – 12pm PT
Friday 11/18 – 9:30am PT
Saturday 11/19 – 12pm PT
Sunday 11/20 – 11am PT
Monday 11/21 – 10am PT

Resources In this Episode

Check out the launch week bonuses for The Creative Sandbox Way. And download a free sample while you’re there.

LCN 010: Power Your Productivity with a Morning Ritual

LCN 038: Morning Ritual Redux & Banishing Perfectionist Gremlins

Blog Post: Why I Intentionally Sabotaged My Morning Ritual

Patti Digh’s Life Is A Verb Camp

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 083: Book Launch: The Creative Sandbox Way is HERE! appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 082: So You Wanna Change the World? Go Get Creating!
23:44
2017-12-02 05:18:20 UTC 23:44
LCN 082: So You Wanna Change the World? Go Get Creating!

LCN 082: So You Wanna Change the World? Go Get Creating!On Friday, November 4th, I delivered a fifteen-minute TED-style talk at Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp. I thought you might like to hear it, so I recorded it for the podcast.

Enjoy!

Resources In this Episode

Check out the launch week bonuses for The Creative Sandbox Way, which launches on November 15th! And download a free sample while you’re there.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 082: So You Wanna Change the World? Go Get Creating! appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 081: The 50th Birthday Episode!
14:22
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 14:22
LCN 081: The 50th Birthday Episode!

LCN 081: The 50th Birthday Episode!If you’re a podcast listener, you get a sneak-peek at my birthday post, which will publish on my 50th birthday, November 5th.

Resources In this Episode

Opt in to get a reminder when my new book, The Creative Sandbox Waylaunches on November 15th!

Brenda Peregrine, née Brenda Errichiello, of Forest North Books

My favorite performance of my song, “The Last Five Pounds”:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 081: The 50th Birthday Episode! appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 080: The Lie of “I’m Not Creative”: Another Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox Way
18:45
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 18:45
LCN 080: The Lie of “I’m Not Creative”: Another Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox Way

LCN 080: The Lie of "I'm Not Creative": Another Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox WayIt’s another excerpt from my new book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life

Have you downloaded the sample yet? Click here to get it now.

Resources In this Episode

Opt in to get a reminder when The Creative Sandbox Way launches!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 080: The Lie of “I’m Not Creative”: Another Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox Way appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 079: An Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox Way
13:45
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 13:45
LCN 079: An Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox Way

LCN 079: An Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox WayAfter working like a maniac for weeks, I just uploaded the files of my forthcoming book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, to CreateSpace!

I’m headed out to dinner with my husband to celebrate, but thought it would be fun to record an excerpt from the book for the podcast.

Have a listen, and stay tuned for a downloadable sample of the book coming soon!

Resources In this Episode

Opt in to get first dibs when I post a sample chapter of my book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 079: An Excerpt from The Creative Sandbox Way appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 078: Reflections on the Worst Week Ever & Shedding the Shadow Artist
25:08
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 25:08
LCN 078: Reflections on the Worst Week Ever & Shedding the Shadow Artist

LCN 078: Reflections on the Worst Week Ever and Shedding the Shadow ArtistI woke up on Monday morning and realized it was October 10th. That date may be meaningless to you, but to me it brought up two seemingly unrelated points that I knew I had to take time away from working on my book to share with you.

October 10, 2010. 10/10/10. This Monday, October 10, 2016, was six years to the day from a day that will live in infamy.

That was the day I stepped out of the shower and wham! slipped and dislocated my knee. That scored me an ambulance ride to the ER.

Four days later, my cat died. Yeah, it was pretty much the worst week ever.

(Turns out he chewed through an extension cord. That cat loved chewing things, so at least he went quick, doing something he loved.)

But going through this crappy week, and its crappy aftermath (surgery, months of painful recuperation) led me to the greatest love of my life.

Bad Luck, Good Luck

Do you know the Chinese proverb about the farmer and his son? They had a beloved stallion who helped them till the fields, and one day the horse ran away. Their neighbors said, “Oh, what bad luck!”

The farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck: who knows?”

A few days later the horse came back, leading a beautiful white mare. When the neighbors found out, they cried, “Not only has your horse returned, but now you have a second horse! What good luck!”

The farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck: who knows?”

Later that same week the farmer’s son was riding the white mare, and she threw him to the ground and he broke his leg very badly.

The neighbors said, “Your son is crippled! What bad luck!”

The farmer replied, “Good luck, bad luck: who knows?”

Shortly after this, soldiers from the national army marched through the village, drafting all able-bodied young men and boys. But they did not take the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg.

The neighbors said, “Your son was spared! What good luck!”

You can guess what the farmer said.

A Bad Luck Week, Good Luck Week?

My week from hell was a lot like that. My injury, the loss of my cat, having to have major surgery and spend months in recuperation were all very bad luck.

But they were also what made me finally realize that the man I’d been seeing (and whom I’d kicked to the curb twice, I might add) was not only a keeper, he was my keeper. Because MM (my husband) leaned in closer, and made it clear that I could count on him, that he would be there for me when times got rough.

I had been so focused on finding the kind of guy I’m most drawn to out there, taking action, a mover and shaker making change in the world that I hadn’t been paying attention to what was really good for me.

I’d been looking for the male version of who I wanted to be, not who would make the best teammate for a team that included me.

Honestly, two me’s would not make a good team! We’d be constantly butting heads and competing with each other competing to be better, competing for the spotlight and attention. Competing for our thing whatever it might be to be the focus.

In fact, I’d been in that relationship many times before! My first marriage, and more than one of my long-term relationships that followed, were with men who competed with me. No wonder it didn’t work out!

But this guy, the man I originally referred to, privately, as Shy Guy (because he was), and later as Medicine Man when he came back into my life as a healing balm after another relationship ended this guy not only didn’t compete with me, it seemed to make him inordinately happy to help me shine.

Even before he took on the role of emergency room supporter on the day of the knee dislocation, and rehab nurse after the surgery, I realized that this man made my life go better in every way.

He wasn’t just a Medicine Man, he was a Miracle Man!

If you’ve ever wondered why I sometimes refer to him as MM, this is why.

What had I been thinking of when I broke it off with him (twice!) and tried (thankfully unsuccessfully) to find a girlfriend to set him up with??

Deal Breakers

To be fair, it wasn’t that I was a complete idiot. He didn’t show much of himself to me. He was so shy and quiet around me that trying to carry on a conversation over dinner was like trying to drag a wet queen-sized mattress up a hill by myself! It took a long time for him to open up so I could see who he was.

What little I saw at first felt like a deal-breaker, honestly. For example, my husband has a really goofy, 10-year-old boy sense of humor. I’m attracted to dry, quick-wittedness, but he’s more into puns and fart jokes.

There was no way I could imagine myself being with that for the rest of my life.

But you know what? His goofy humor grew on me! It started to infect me and loosen me up. His goofiness helped me to allow myself to be goofy something I’d basically kept off-limits since adolescence.

Girls are supposed to be beautiful, not clownish. And ugh, I bought right into that sexist message. My goal was always to play the princess or the queen, not the jester.

But thanks to MM, I’ve rediscovered my goofy, clownish side. Allowing yourself to be goofy is a helluva lot more fun than always trying to be the beautiful, perfect princess. There’s so much more room in the clown role than in the role of the ingenue, or even the femme fatale.

My husband, in other words, has helped me allow myself to be imperfect.

And yes, it also took me a long time to appreciate that what I needed was not the male version of who I wanted to be, but the best teammate for a team that included me.

Shadow Artist

I am reminded of years ago, when a woman I was close friends with at the time met her boyfriend. He played guitar and wrote songs, and one time I was at a small party at her apartment and he pulled out his guitar and serenaded us.

WOW! I wanted a boyfriend who would write original songs and serenade me like that! How romantic!

Not long after that I did end up dating a guy who was a skilled guitar player (though not a singer/songwriter). He got me to start playing guitar myself. And some years later I dated another musician who, in fact, wrote songs for me to sing.

These two relationships played a big part in my becoming a musician myself. And ultimately, long after both of these men were out of the picture, I realized that maybe what I’d been longing for all along was not a musician boyfriend so much as to reclaim my musician self.

I’d decided at age 15 that I sucked at music, that other people were the musicians, not me, so instead of pursuing music myself I became to what Julia Cameron refers to in The Artist’s Way (aff) as a “shadow artist,” longing for a partner to fill the music-shaped hole in my life.

Cameron writes:

Shadow artists are gravitating to their rightful tribe but cannot yet claim their birthright.  Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light, fearful that it will disintegrate to the touch.

But I don’t need a boyfriend or husband to fill the music-shaped hole I get to do it myself! Because (and this is important) I don’t have to be a brilliant musician, or a professional musician, or a signed-with-a-label musician to be a musician.

THAT is what allowed me to step fully into the identity of Musician. No, I don’t make my living from my music (not even close!) I don’t write songs very often, and sometimes I go for weeks without making music at all.

But I still get to own that I am a musician, because I love making music. It is something I do, and who I am.

And of course it’s the same for you. If you want to make music, or write a book, or make enough paintings to fill an exhibit space, or anything else, you get to do it.

You get to claim that birthright, even if you suck at it!

For the HOW around that, along with the WHY, be sure to grab a copy of my book, The Creative Sandbox Way, when it comes out on November 15th!

Surround Yourself with Champions

To sum up this rambly essay (which reminds me that my first year in college I wrote an essay in the style of Montaigne, and I literally composed the last few paragraphs on my electric typewriter [this was before personal computers!] before running to hand it in just barely on time, and I got an A! Which, I’m sure, is only because Montaigne was pretty rambly), I have to say, that it helps a lot to have people in your life who can champion you. MM does this for me. Not once has he complained about my being hyper-focused on getting my book done.

Instead, he pitches in to make sure both our lives run as smoothly as possible. I do the same when the roles are reversed.

Keep your eyes open for potential champions in your life, and when you find them, keep them close and treat them well.

And pay attention to how the bad luck episodes in your life aren’t always all bad.

And pay attention, also, to where you might be playing the “shadow artist” role.

Now I am going back to scanning artwork and laying out my book!

Resources In this Episode

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (aff)

My book is coming! Get on the list at creativesandboxway.com

Opt in to get an Insider-only backstage view while I finish writing, illustrating, and publishing my book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Cultivating Happiness Through Creative Play.

Apply to be on my Launch Team, and get a free advance review PDF of the book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements, and more.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to read all about it and sign up.

yourcreativityis

The post LCN 078: Reflections on the Worst Week Ever & Shedding the Shadow Artist appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 077: Book Covers, Rosh Hashanah, the Creative Process, Failure, & Persistence
15:41
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 15:41
LCN 077: Book Covers, Rosh Hashanah, the Creative Process, Failure, & Persistence

LCN 077: Book Covers, Rosh Hashanah, the Creative Process, Failure & PersistenceThis episode is all about failure, and starting again, and persistence, and the importance of allowing yourself to make crap, even though nobody ever wants to.

It features more on the book publishing adventure (not all of it pretty!), and a visit to a synagogue for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. But trust me, even if you have no interest in publishing a book, and no interest in the Jewish High Holy Days, this episode will resonate for you. 

Have a listen!

The best thing about self-publishing a book is that YOU have total control.

Instead of taking two years to hit the shelves, you can sell your book immediately. And instead of the publisher having control over decisions like the interior design and the cover design, YOU get to make those decisions.

The worst thing about self-publishing a book is that YOU have total control.

You have to make all those decisions.

Last week I put up a poll for my subscribers to vote on their favorite cover. Then I had some feedback from someone whose opinion I trust, who felt that combining the photo of me with my arms outstretched above my head with my doodle artwork made the book look… self-published.

Of course, it is self-published, but I knew what she meant. The thing is, not only do I want this book to reach the people who need it, but I also want to be able to use it as a calling card to help me get work. As in speaking gigs and even corporate workshops.

And the covers on my poll, my advisor felt, would not position me well for that second piece of the goal.

Sigh…

So it was back to the drawing board for me.

Meanwhile, as the text has evolved (and btw, the manuscript is now with my editor, who is making line edits, which she should have back to me by Friday, so it is basically done!), the metaphor of the Creative Sandbox Way as a path has become more prominent, and my subtitle, Cultivating Happiness Through Creative Play, is not sitting right with me.

Cultivating is a gardening metaphor, and what I need is more of a journey or road metaphor.

So I’m rethinking subtitles as well as cover designs! And honestly, it is making me crazy!

That’s what’s up with that. I will be holding another cover poll sometime soon, so be sure to subscribe if you want to vote!

Meanwhile, I wanted to share a recent experience, because it relates to everything I talk about.

It has to do with leading Rosh Hashanah services for my synagogue on Monday, which is something I’ve been doing for over twenty years.

What does this have to do with living a full-color creative life? Have a listen, and I’ll tell you!

Resources In this Episode

My book is coming! Get on the list at creativesandboxway.com

Opt in to get an Insider-only backstage view while I finish writing, illustrating, and publishing my book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Cultivating Happiness Through Creative Play.

Apply to be on my Launch Team, and get a free advance review PDF of the book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements, and more.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

bg-button2017purpleWQ@-450PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! And registration is NOW OPEN. Click here to check out the teacher line up and sign up.

The post LCN 077: Book Covers, Rosh Hashanah, the Creative Process, Failure, & Persistence appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 076: The Creative Process: Creating a Book Cover Design
17:54
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 17:54
LCN 076: The Creative Process: Creating a Book Cover Design

LCN 076: The Process of Creating a Book Cover DesignIn case you haven’t heard, I’ve got a book coming out soon! As in, my book is launching on November 15th!

My subscribers voted on the title last week, and the winning title is The Creative Sandbox Way: Cultivating Happiness Through Creative Play.

The manuscript is so close to being ready to format I hand in the most recent revision to my editor on Thursday, we’ll meet on Friday, I’ll implement whatever final feedback she has for me over the weekend and get a final draft to her by Monday, October 3rd, and she’ll have line edits back to me by Friday, October 7th!

Then it will be a matter of formatting the text and illustrations (of which there are many) in Adobe InDesign. This will be a huge job in its own right, and I’ll only have a week to do it, because my deadline to upload the file for printing is October 15th!

I’m not leaving all the design til then, though. I’ve been making headway on making all the interior design decisions (font choices, margin widths, etc.), scanning artwork, and for the past several days I’ve been knee-deep in cover designs.

I’ve spent close to ten hours playing with different cover design ideas and coming up with concept mockups. Soon I’m going to put the best three on a private page for my subscribers to vote on to help me decide on a winner.

Want a chance to vote on the cover? Click here and sign up now!

This week’s episode is a riff on the creative process of designing a book cover, starting from abject refusal (yep, I was originally planning to hire a professional!), winding through the murky depths of “this will never be good enough,” and “now THAT’S a great idea, but it’s impossible to implement,” and ultimately coming out the other side.

Have a listen and enjoy!

Resources In this Episode

My book is coming! Get on the list at creativesandboxway.com

Opt in to get an Insider-only backstage view while I finish writing, illustrating, and publishing my book, The Creative Sandbox Way: Cultivating Happiness Through Creative Play.

Apply to be on my Launch Team, and get a free advance review PDF of the book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements, and more.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

bg-button2017purpleWQ@-450PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! Click here to check out the teacher line up.

The post LCN 076: The Creative Process: Creating a Book Cover Design appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 075: 3 Lessons from Leaping Without a Net 4 Times in a Week
19:41
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 19:41
LCN 075: 3 Lessons from Leaping Without a Net 4 Times in a Week

LCN 075: 3 Lessons from Leaping Without a Net 4 Times in a WeekThey say when it rains, it pours, and that is certainly how the past week felt to me. I’m intensely focused on my book, feeling the pressure of a tight deadline, because the launch date is November 15th just two months away so I want to pour as much of my time and energy into it as possible.

But life doesn’t stop or slow down for us, of course. And last week I had a two-day trip to San Diego on Sunday and Monday, and when I got home I had no fewer than four shows with my improv group, All That Jazz, because we had been accepted into the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Yay!

And oh, no! Four shows, four drives up to San Francisco in rush hour traffic, meant something like twenty hours out of my week!

But I still managed to get almost nine and a half hours of work done on my book. Considering that my goal is at least two hours per day, and I was gone for two days, that’s not too bad.

And, having four improv shows in one week was quite a learning experience. So I thought I’d share with you some of the lessons learned from leaping without a net four times in a one week.

In short:

1. Quantity = improvement.

2. I am an unreliable judge of my own performance.

3. If you do something scary often enough, it becomes the new normal.

Listen to find out more.

Resources In this Episode

My book is coming! Get on the list at creativesandboxbook.com

Global Entry

All That Jazz Improv

San Francisco Fringe Festival

Margo LeDuc, vocal coach extraordinaire

Opt in to get an Insider-only backstage view while I finish writing, illustrating, and publishing my book, The Creative Sandbox Way (working title).

Apply to be on my Launch Team, and get a free advance review PDF of the book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements, and more.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

bg-button2017purpleWQ@-450PPS — I am SUPER excited that I’m teaching on Life Book 2017 next year! Click here to check out the teacher line up.

The post LCN 075: 3 Lessons from Leaping Without a Net 4 Times in a Week appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 074: Mark McGuinness on Resistance, Rejection, and Resilience – a replay of Creative Insurgents #11
33:41
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 33:41
LCN 074: Mark McGuinness on Resistance, Rejection, and Resilience – a replay of Creative Insurgents #11

LCN 074: Mark McGuinness on Resistance, Rejection, & Resilience - a replay of Creative Insurgents #11Before I started the Live Creative Now podcast, for about a year I co-hosted a podcast with Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist (aff).

That podcast was called Creative Insurgents, and you can still find all the episodes we published archived here on Cory’s site.

Unlike Live Creative Now, Creative Insurgents was a 100% interview podcast. Some of those conversations are real gems, and they deserve to reach a wider audience. So with Cory’s blessing I’ll be republishing them here from time to time.

(Full confession: this serves the double purpose of exposing these conversations to new listeners, while also liberating some of my time to keep working on my forthcoming book hurrah! Launch day is only 61 days away yikes!)

In this episode (Creative Insurgents #11), we speak with poet and creative coach Mark McGuinness, author of the books Motivation for Creative People: How to Stay Creative While Gaining Money, Fame, and Reputation and Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success (aff).

Note that this episode was recorded back in the Spring of 2014, so the time-specific info you’ll hear is no longer relevant.

Show Notes

9:20 Introducing Mark McGuinness, poet, coach for creatives and entrepreneurs, founder of LateralAction.com, author of Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism On the Road to Success.

10:32 Cory jumps in and fanboys

10:15 Mark s secrets of productivity/creativity (which are one and the same).

13:19  You re either doing it, or you know you re making excuses not to do it, and the keys to overcoming resistance.

15:20 The uncomfortable comfort zone.

15:49 The story of how Mark came to write his book.

18:10 Cory on the realities of facing rejection as an actor.

20:00 How to deal with rejection when it s a regular part of your creative work.

20:30  We take a length of gut from our bellies and serve it up then the bourgeousie get their knives out. -Gustave Flaubert. It should hurt! -Mark McGuinness.

21:50 Why some criticisms hurt more than others. (And what to do about it.)

25:40 The importance of making the time, and doing creative work first, and reactive work second.

31:00 The secret behind William Carlos Williams very short poems. ( The form following the function of the doctor s bag.

Resources In this Episode

My book is coming! Get on the list at creativesandboxbook.com

The Abundant Artist

Creative Insurgents podcast archives

Opt in to get an Insider-only backstage view while I finish writing, illustrating, and publishing my book, The Creative Sandbox Way (working title).

Apply to be on my Launch Team, and get a free advance review PDF of the book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements, and more.

Find Mark McGuinness at LateralAction.com

Find Mark s poetry and thoughts on poets at MarkMcGuinness.com

Mark’s books (Amazon affiliate links):

Motivation for Creative People: How to Stay Creative While Gaining Money, Fame, and Reputation

Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 074: Mark McGuinness on Resistance, Rejection, and Resilience – a replay of Creative Insurgents #11 appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 073: Behind the Scenes of Writing & Publishing a Book, Week 1
25:49
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 25:49
LCN 073: Behind the Scenes of Writing & Publishing a Book, Week 1

LCN 073: Behind the Scenes of Writing & Publishing a Book, Week 1What’s really involved in writing, designing, and publishing a book? It’s Week 1 of my “Get the #@&% Book Done” initiative! Go behind the scenes with me as I tell all!

Resources In this Episode

My book is coming! Get on the list at creativesandboxbook.comOpt in to get an Insider-only backstage view while I finish writing, illustrating, and publishing my book, The Creative Sandbox Way (working title).

Apply to be on my Launch Team, and get a free advance review PDF of the book, your name mentioned in the acknowledgements, and more.

Tara Gentile

Tara’s CreativeLive class, How to Write and Publish an eBook (aff)

FREE WEBINAR! Born to Create: Why Your Creative Play is ESSENTIAL, Not Self-IndulgentSign up for my FREE online workshop, Born to Create: Why Your Creative Play is ESSENTIAL, Not Self-Indulgent, at freecreativityworkshop.com

 

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one! It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download: Download the Poster!

The post LCN 073: Behind the Scenes of Writing & Publishing a Book, Week 1 appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 072: Melissa Gets Ruthless! And Makes an Important Announcement
24:25
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 24:25
LCN 072: Melissa Gets Ruthless! And Makes an Important Announcement

LCN 072: Melissa Gets Ruthless! And Makes an Important AnnouncementYes, I’m getting ruthless! Which has everything to do with my important announcement.

This episode is an expansion of this post, which started out as an email to my calligraphy subscribers.

The show notes are minimal today, which will all become clear when you listen to the episode…

Quotes In this Episode

“A book is never done, it’s only published.” Paraphrased from Patti Digh

We have to learn to say “no” to the small yesses, in order to say “yes” to the bigger yesses inside.

Resources In this Episode

A snapshot of the print proof of Color Yourself Creative, the collaborative adult coloring book co-created by 17 members of my Creative Sandbox CommunityThe original letter on which this episode is based.

Viral calligraphy video with 7,700 views.

Viral calligraphy video with 28.4K views.

My forthcoming, collaborative adult coloring book, Color Yourself Creative: Coloring Pages from the Creative Sandbox Community.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one! It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download: Download the Poster!

The post LCN 072: Melissa Gets Ruthless! And Makes an Important Announcement appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 071: The Good, the Bad, and the Hysterical from the Retreat
40:02
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 40:02
LCN 071: The Good, the Bad, and the Hysterical from the Retreat

LCN 071: The Good, the Bad, and the Hysterical from the RetreatComing home from a retreat is always a bit of a shock to the system.

I just spent five days immersed in creative play at my 4th annual Create & Incubate Retreat, wrapped in the most loving, supportive community of creatives a person could ask for.

How does one even start trying to describe something like this?

Here’s what I’d like to share about it.

You know how I say if you do something enough it becomes normal? Well, the first time I ran my retreat, I carried an undercurrent of tension and anxiety the whole time.

How would it go? Would people like it? I was super anxious about making sure everyone was happy.

It was my first time leading a group in what I call “catalyzing sessions,” but what are essentially improv games, and I was anxious about that. Would they participate? Would they roll their eyes?

The whole thing was a big experiment. I wanted to create the retreat that I wanted for myself creativity, community, courage, compassion (which, btw, are the official theme words of Life is a Verb Camp, which you should totally come to in November! I’ll be speaking this year, and it’s happening over my 50th birthday, so I’m treating it in my own mind as a big birthday and life celebration!)

Anyway, I wanted to create the retreat I wanted, because I knew it would be wonderful… but would other people feel the same way?

Would people even come to something that wasn’t a structured workshop or conference? Would they even get how valuable it is?

I understood, because I’d been going to creative retreats for years. I knew how special it is to gather with other creators simply to create.

I knew how energizing it is to be in a room together, each working on our own thing.

I knew how inspiring it is to see what everyone else is up to.

How amazing it feels simply to be in the company of other people who get you, and who will encourage, support, and champion you.

Voices of the Retreat

“You threw some of your work in the trash? Well, pull it out and let’s see it! Oh, my gosh you rejected this?? Seriously, I think it’s beautiful, but when I don’t like a piece, I either layer over it with gesso, or cut it into pieces to find serendipitous gems, or soak it in water to take some of the paint off, then crinkle it up to create some cool texture (and, by the way, someone here brought a tub just for that purpose).”

“Oh, you forgot your scissors or waterproof ink? I brought some use mine!”

“And hey, have you tried these Inktense Watercolor Pencils? (aff) Use mine and see what you think they’re awesome!”

These are the kinds of voices I don’t hear in my day-to-day life, working in isolation in my studio. But at Create & Incubate Retreat, we hear this kind of thing all the time.

The vibe is pure generosity and sharing.

Playing and Experimenting

In fact, Kimberly did bring Inktense Watercolor Pencils, and I fell in love with them!

They work like watercolor pencils: you can draw with them just like regular colored pencils, but then you can take a wet brush (or, even better, a waterbrush (aff), with a built-in water reservoir in the handle), and when you brush over the dry color it blooms into the most vibrant, wet, flowing watercolor, except that it dries permanent waterproof! So you can layer over it with more pencil or water media and it won’t turn to mud!

Kimberly's luscious illustration of the morning's Catalyzing session game of "Bunny Bunny," using Derwent Inktense Watercolor PencilsKimberly’s luscious illustration of the morning’s Catalyzing session game of “Bunny Bunny,” using Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils

(Can you guess what I added to my Amazon wish list?)

And I brought a ton of stuff to share, too: several big jars of acrylic poster paint; brushes; Adult Coloring Book Treasury 1 and 2 (aff) (which I contributed designs to); lots of markers and colored pencils; a box of magazines and calendars for collage, plus a couple of big books of decorated paper, and glue sticks; and a stack of Readers’ Digest Condensed Books for altering enough for everyone.

I load up my car with all this stuff so that everyone has something fun and playful to do if they want to take a break from their project at any point.

And people used the stuff! Amy colored a page from one of the coloring books, then cut it into tiny squares and made a paper mosaic on the cover of one of the Readers’ Digest Condensed Books. Then she typed a poem on the mechanical typewriter I always bring (did I mention that? yes, I always bring my mechanical typewriter!), and collaged it on, too.

Amy's paper-mosaic book coversAmy’s paper-mosaic book covers

Relaxing and Recharging

Presentation Center swimming poolPresentation Center swimming pool

And did I mention the beautiful pool right outside our window? Every so often I’d notice someone leave the room, and a few minutes later I’d see them in the pool.

The weather was glorious, as August in this part of California usually is, and I did more swimming than I’ve done since a trip to Hawaii in 2003! Every day around 4:00pm I’d set the timer on my iPhone for 20 minutes and swim laps.

(Next year I’m bringing my snorkel and mask, which is what one of the attendees did this year brilliant! No need to turn your head to breathe, only to get water in your ear.)

Some people went hiking into the redwoods, or took a stroll around the pond, or walked the labyrinth. Or just went back to the cottage to nap.

One afternoon I sat outside and read a novel by a splashing fountain.

It was just so relaxed. None of the sense of urgency and pressure and GoGoGo! that fills my normal life.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieFree Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

Except…

Well, except that I did allow some of that to leak in, in this one way:

Every morning I did at least one calligraphy video to post to my @calligraphyhowto Instagram account.

Like this one:

And this one:

See, I started that account back on June 7, to share my calligraphy exclusively.

My main account, @a_creative_life, is a mishmash I share whatever I happen to be working on. But I wanted a dedicated, curated, calligraphy-only account, and really, I started it as an experiment.

I’d been noticing how popular calligraphy has gotten these days. There are numerous calligraphy Instagram accounts with tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of followers. And I was curious to see how quickly I might grow an audience.

So I created the @calligraphyhowto account as an experiment, and have been posting to it daily (except when I was off in the woods at Jazz Camp West), and right before I left for the retreat the account had a little growth spurt.

The day I left home, I passed 800 followers, and the next morning I was at 963, and a few hours later I topped 1,000, so I wanted to surf that wave.

By the time the retreat was over I’d hit 1,400, which, coincidentally, I had also just hit the day before on my main account!

Now my @calligraphyhowto account actually has more followers than my “main” account! I achieved in two and a half months and 132 posts what had taken over three years and 1,950 posts on my other account!

Time to Pay the Piper

But here’s what I noticed:

It’s fun to create the posts, most of which are videos, and mostly of people’s names, because I’ve been running this ongoing name lottery you enter by following my @calligraphyhowto account on Instagram, tagging a friend, and leaving a comment on my most recent #namelottery post with a friend’s name (not your own name) that you want me to calligraph.

Creative Sandbox ManifestoSo yeah, it’s fun for me, but it’s also very product-oriented.

And if you remember my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, rule #2 is “Think process, not product.”

I usually end up writing the name more than once (sometimes several times), and sometimes I end up videotaping it more than once, because I want it to be the best I can make it.

Now I should say that I still practice imperfectionism, because it is never perfect, and very often I’m personally not as happy with my efforts as I’d like to be, but at some point I just have to accept that it’s not going to get any better right now, so I post and move on.

And this also means I spend a lot of time in iMovie, cropping videos and often speeding them up to fit in Instagram’s 60-second maximum.

So instead of playing in the Creative Sandbox, I spent a lot of time at Create & Incubate Retreat making very product-oriented calligraphy videos, posting them to Instagram, and then checking my Instagram account to see how many followers I have now, and responding to comments.

All of which is fun, but

Sounds a Lot Like Work

Instead of playing in the Creative Sandbox, which I like to do as much of as possible at the retreat, because Lord knows I never get as much as I want the rest of the year, instead of that I spent a good chunk of my retreat time in a very different vibe and headspace from making messes for the joy of it and following my curiosity.

I did get pure Creative Sandbox playtime in as well, but a lot less of it than I would have had I not been obsessively Instagramming!

I don’t regret it it was its own kind of fun but I do think next year I’d like to set a different intention.

My Golden Formula at Work

This is a perfect example of applying my Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

First, self-awareness: this means noticing that I felt disappointed that I didn’t feed my need for pure play and exploration more.

In my younger years, I would probably have beat myself up for this, but I’ve learned that loving myself up works ever so much better.

Don't beat yourself up - LOVE yourself up!

So what is the self-compassionate response?

First, I can acknowledge that I’m human. I’m not the only person on the planet who’s ever gotten pulled away from a goal by the gravitational pull of social media! I get to forgive myself for that.

And I get to decide in advance how I’d like things to be different next time, so I’ll have the best chance of meeting my needs.

This, my dear creative, is how it works. Notice, love yourself up, and tweak to adjust. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Best Year Yet!

Meanwhile, I get to bask in the glow of also noticing that this retreat was absolutely the best Create & Incubate Retreat yet.

Why?

I was more relaxed than any other retreat   I feel like I’ve sort of hit my stride this year, and I feel like I’ve got the structure (what little of it there is) down.

I reacquainted myself with COLOR (when I was not obsessively creating calligraphy videos!), which was great fun (time to figure out how to get some regular color play back into my day-to-day days!)

I also laughed more than I have in a long time. We laughed during our Catalyzing sessions in the mornings, and we laughed during our games nights   on Friday night, when we played word-picture-word Exquisite Corpse (which, I learned from Kimberly, someone has monetized into a boxed game, called Telestrations (aff)), I laughed so hard tears were streaming down my face!!

One of the regulars, Randi, who’s been coming every year since we started in 2013, brought a photocopy of the last section of the Exquisite Corpse sheet from last year that had us all helpless with laughter for days, and posted it on the wall in our Incubator work room. “Look before you leap” somehow became transformed into “May I have this dance, chicken?”

The Exquisite Corpse sheet that brought us all to tears from laughing so hard last year.

It still busts me up.

(I decided this year, btw, that those Exquisite Corpse/Telestration-like sheets live in a special binder that will come to every retreat, for future retreatants to leaf through and get a chuckle.)

Randi with her mosaic heart-in-process Pam, sharing the art she created Josiah, sharing a page from his graphic novel
As always, we had rich conversations over (and after!) breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And most importantly, every person who came was exactly the right person to be there. And lest I have any doubts about that, they have all already signed up to come back next year!!!

Even though I do not yet have confirmed dates, and probably won’t for months, because the retreat center requires a group of 60 or greater to release dates this early!

I am on the waiting list for 5-day/4-night, Wednesday-Sunday stay in mid/late August 2017. Depending on which work room I get, I’ll have room for anywhere from one to four new people to come. If you’d like to snag one of those spots yourself, get on my mailing list and stay tuned I’ll announce the dates and open the remaining spaces as soon as I have a signed contract.

Members of my Creative Sandbox Community get first dibs.

This is absolutely the best five days of my year, and I have a lot of awesome days  the Friends of Calligraphy Retreat in the Spring, Jazz Camp West in June; Life is a Verb Camp in November–all so wonderful.

But this, this I created, and it is finally growing into what I always dreamed it could be.

I feel full. Tired, happy, and beautifully filled up.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

Quotes In this Episode

Click to tweet:

My Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good

Don’t beat yourself up, LOVE yourself up!

Resources In this Episode

Create & Incubate Retreat

Life is a Verb Camp (which is happening over my 50th birthday!!! And I’m speaking this year!)

Jazz Camp West

Inktense Watercolor Pencils (aff)

Adult Coloring Book Treasury 1 (aff)

Adult Coloring Book Treasury 2 (aff)

My @calligraphyhowto Instagram account

My @a_creative_life Instagram account

Creative Sandbox Manifesto

Exquisite Corpse

Telestrations (aff)

Creative Sandbox Community

Friends of Calligraphy

 

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 071: The Good, the Bad, and the Hysterical from the Retreat appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 070: When Comparison Makes You Want to Quit
19:00
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 19:00
LCN 070: When Comparison Makes You Want to Quit

LCN 070: When Comparison Makes You Want to QuitWhen someone writes on Facebook that they wish they were camped out in your living room right now, it has a way of making you sit up and take notice.

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook notifications, I got an email the other day, letting me know that writer Lou Blaser had written just that, tagging me in the process.

It was a comment on her own status update to her Facebook profile. A status update that wrenched my heart, because I related to it so deeply.

Here’s what Lou wrote:

I read a page of Ian McEwan’s and my heart breaks, not in tiny tidy pieces, but in large sharp shreds.

I read a post by Julia Cameron and I just want to crawl back to bed.

These are my favorite writers. I devour what they write. Their words get under my skin. I live in their made-up worlds.

But when I read their work in comparison to mine, I shrink into the tiniest ant. I am torn between throwing their books at the wall, and shredding mine.

Their work and mine? They re not even in the same country, let alone same ball park. How will I ever measure?

Such is the paralyzing exercise of comparison. And truly, what purpose does it serve?

Over and over, I repeat to myself. Every expert was once a beginner.

Your journey is your own. Your voice is your own. Comparing your work with others is disrespecting your own art.

# WritersLife

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieFree Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

Clearly, Lou had already found an eloquent resolution to her comparison problem. And yet the first comment on her post was her own. That’s when she wrote:

Melissa – oh how I wish I was camped in your living room right now.

(I just love that. I got this great visual of Lou in a sleeping bag on my living room floor.)

I wrote a lengthy response, and I thought to myself, dang, that should be a podcast episode!

So I copied my response here, tweaked it a bit, and here it is.

When Comparison Makes You Want to Quit

Dear Lou,

The paralyzing exercise of comparison you speak of is exactly the same trap that made me quit writing entirely in my late 20s. Believe me, at the time this choice may have felt like a relief from pain it did, in a way but it did not lead to greater happiness.

Because denying ourselves our creative joys does nothing but deny the world our unique gifts! And, of course, it denies us our creative joys, too.

Now, I have to say that I still feel the same way as you describe and you describe it so beautifully. I feel that way every single time I look at my heroes’ art, listen to my heroes’ incredible songs, read my heroes’ breathtaking prose.

I feel like that teeny, tiny ant you describe, with my heart in large, sharp shards.

And yet, this is very hard for me to believe, but there are people out there who feel this way about my work!

And the reason I share that, is that there are people out there who feel this way about your work, Lou.

When I read Big Magic, it was hard not to think I should just quit, because what’s the point? She said it all. How could I ever measure up to Liz Gilbert?

And yet not long ago, a former student of mine emailed me to tell me she’d recently read Big Magic, , and thought it was good…

But she got so much more out of the program she’d gone through with me, and was waiting for MY book to come out!

Knock me over with a feather!

That book that she’s waiting for is the book I have not finished yet, partly because it feels so ridiculous for me to write a book, when I compare my pathetic prose and my meager attempts to what Elizabeth Gilbert has already written!

But here’s the thing: what I’m going to write, maybe in my eyes it’s never going to be nearly as good as anything Elizabeth Gilbert will write, but nobody’s going to write it the same way that I would write it.

My former student may resonate with my work, and she might read my book and get a ton out of it, but when I read it, all I see is “vastly inferior to what Liz Gilbert can do.”

So here’s what I have to do:

I have to continually remind myself that my job is not to compare and judge. My job is to CREATE. (Click to tweet.)

Calligraphy art: My job is to create, not to judge or compare.

My job is to create. And that is the same for you.

Your job, Lou, is to create, not to compare and judge.

The other thing, as I said, is that there are people out there who will resonate with what I create…

There are people out there who will resonate with what you create…

In fact, some of those people may even resonate MORE with what you and I create than with what our heroes create!

For whatever reason.

Maybe even BECAUSE my prose is not as breathtaking as Elizabeth Gilbert’s. Maybe they will relate better to me because I feel more like them more accessible, less “perfect.”

Because Elizabeth Gilbert, to me, seems so perfect as a writer.

Who knows.

It doesn’t matter why they resonate.

All that matters is that I create.

All that matters, Lou, is that you create.

And that we put our creations out into the world, regardless of how pathetic they feel when we hold them up next to our heroes’ creations.

I may never be as well regarded or successful as my heroes, but that’s not what it’s about.

My imperative is still to create, because that is what humans are here to do.

Your imperative, Lou and anyone else who’s reading or listening is to create and put your creations out into the world, regardless of how you might judge them or compare them to your heroes.

Your imperative is to create, because that is what humans are here to do.

Besides, nobody else, all of human history, will ever create in exactly the same way you will. And somebody is waiting for your next creation. Who are you to deny them? (Click to tweet.)

Somebody is waiting for me to finish my book, so who am I to deny them?

If I can make a difference for one person, even if all that difference is is that I make them smile, or make them think slightly differently about something, I’ve changed the world!

That’s huge. That’s important. It might feel tiny, but it’s really big.

I have to remind myself of this constantly.

There is a reason I teach this stuff. We teach what we need to learn.

And I am the Poster Child of stepping in the Comparison Trap!

I step in the Comparison Trap, on average, at least six times a day. My job is to pull myself out and get back to work. (Click to tweet.)

And that is the same for you, Lou.

The Universe needs your creations. Only you can create them, and
if you let the Comparison Trap stop you, you rob us, in addition to yourself.

You are robbing the Universe. You are robbing the people who are waiting to read what you have to share.

We need you to keep creating and keep sharing.

(And as I read this, I am also saying to myself: The Universe needs your creations, Melissa. Only you can create them, and if you let the Comparison Trap stop you, you rob the Universe, in addition to yourself.)

So that, Lou, is what I have to share with you today. I really hope it’s helpful.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

Quotes In this Episode

Click to tweet:

“Every expert was once a beginner.” @loublaser

“Comparing your work with others is disrespecting your own art.” @loublaser

My job is not to compare and judge. My job is to CREATE.

Somebody is waiting for my next creation, so who am I to deny them?

I step in the Comparison Trap at least 6 times a day. My job is to pull myself out & get back to work.

If you let the Comparison Trap stop you, you rob the Universe, in addition to yourself.

Resources In this Episode

Lou Blaser

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 070: When Comparison Makes You Want to Quit appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 069: The Dangers of Coloring Books
25:59
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 25:59
LCN 069: The Dangers of Coloring Books

LCN 069: The Dangers of Coloring BooksMy Creative Sandbox Community members have been up to something pretty cool that I’m excited to share with you:

We’re producing an adult coloring book!

As I wrote in the book’s introduction,

This book is a labor of love and courage, a collaborative project and gift to you from seventeen members of a very special group: the Creative Sandbox Community.

It s a labor of love, because we are selling the book at cost none of us is making a profit from our work. It was a fun project for us to undertake, and it feels good to be able to gift our creativity to you.

It s a labor of courage, because sharing creative work can be scary, even for self-defined artists, and not everyone who contributed would define herself as an artist!

Those who contributed despite their fears did so because inside the Creative Sandbox Community we practice creative courage. We do this, first, by sharing our creations inside our private Facebook group artwork, writing, music, and anything else we create. Even inside this safe container, sharing creative efforts can be scary at first, but the way to get over fears is to do the very thing that scares you. And here s a secret: the more you do something, the more normal it becomes. [Click to tweet!]

Eventually, sharing inside our sacred space on Facebook starts to feel easy and normal, which means it s time to seek out bigger pastures like this book.

And yikes! That s scary, because it s new.

But we encourage and champion each other, and I specifically set up this project as an opportunity for each of us to practice imperfectionism: forgiving ourselves for being human. I m thrilled that these seventeen members all decided to contribute, in spite of any fears. That is creative courage at work.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

We’re at the final stages of getting the book laid out, and just starting to tackle the technical hurdles of dealing with ISBN codes, CreateSpace and Amazon, having a proof made, etc.

It’s a lot of work, and I will be SO glad when it’s done, and the book is out in the world for you to play with.

So why on earth would I title this episode “The Dangers of Coloring Books”?

What the heck is that about?

Well, here’s the thing: I have a lot of conflicted feelings about coloring books.

First off, I have to confess that although it can be meditative, coloring is not the thing that really excites me, personally. I’m much more excited by creating a design from scratch.

Two Phases of the Creative Process

As Jonathan Fields writes in his book, Uncertainty (aff), the creative process can be divided into two phases:

  1. The insight phase, where you’re connecting dots, making discoveries, and coming up with solutions; and
  2. The refinement/expansion/production phase (REP for short), where you’re, well, refining, expanding, and producing from an existing idea or design

Whatever you’re creating, you have to go through both of these phases to get to completion.

But here’s the thing: for each one of us, one of these two phases charges us up, while the other one sucks us dry. You might be really good at both, but it’s rare that both really energize you.

Me, I’m an insight gal.

This is why I’m so in love with improvisational art forms: they allow me to conflate the two phases together, so that I’m discovering at the same time that I’m producing.

On its own, production, or REP, sucks the life out of me. BORING!

This really hit home for almost twenty years ago when I made my first edition of artist’s books.

An Insight Gal Gets the Life Sucked Out of Her

Little Star Book - miniature artist's book in tunnel-star format by Melissa Dinwiddie

This was maybe 1999. I was in a class with the late Shereen La Plantz, a book artist who never made an edition smaller than 300. So after I spent days figuring out the design which took a lot of engineering and problem-solving I figured I’d go easy on myself and make an edition of 100.

Big mistake!

After assembling the first few, and working out a system to make the binding as efficient as possible which was in itself an interesting problem to solve I got bored.

Really bored.

I think I bound maybe 80 altogether over the years, but I practically wanted to gouge my eyes out from boredom.

I want to be creating!

What This Has to Do With Coloring

So back to coloring books.

There is, of course, a lot of creativity and insight that goes into selecting what colors to use where, and when and how to blend them. But once the color scheme is figured out, it’s pure REP, and I want to get on to the next problem to solve!

Now this is not a global problem. Not everybody feels the same way I do. A lot of people are REP folks, and for them, coloring is probably deeply satisfying.

The problem I have with coloring books leaped into the forefront of my consciousness just the other day, when I was Facetiming with my 6-year-old nephew and his mom.

My nephew was excited to show me some art that he’d made, including a couple of coloring pages, and my sister-in-law shared that he’d said, of one of the pieces, “Doesn’t this look like an adult did it?”

“Doesn’t This Look Like an Adult Did It?”

This really disturbed me, because I remember being that age, at that stage in life where you’re starting to compare your work with other people’s work, and for me it was a slippery slope from there to comparing my work negatively all the time, and ultimately stopping making art entirely, thanks to the Comparison Trap.

For kids, coloring books can be great for training small motor coordination and technical facility, which is great. But it’s all too easy for the focus to become all about technical execution doing it “right.”

This is particularly true if the design represents a real scene or object. The game then becomes finding the most realistic colors in your box of markers or crayons, and staying inside the lines.

Again, learning that technical facility is great, but it comes with a dose of training in conformity, doesn’t it? And I have conflicting feelings about anything that trains kids to conform, to do it just like everybody else did it, to always stay within the lines (which sounds a lot like always thinking inside the box).

It’s not that coloring books aren’t allowing kids to be creative, it’s that the creativity they foster is limited.

What About Adults?

Now let’s talk about adult coloring, which I’m also conflicted about.

First, I should say that if coloring gets someone started with creative expression, that’s definitely a good thing. Where I have a problem is that I see a lot of colorists stuck there: “I’m a colorist, not an artist.”

I should also say that what some colorists are doing in the realm of adult coloring is awe-inspiring. It’s really a fabulous form of collaboration, an artistic skill in its own right, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Besides, some people are much more energized by the REP phase of the creative process, and whether they get jazzed by coloring, or bulk addressing envelopes in calligraphy (another REP phase task that makes my skin crawl), or anything else, who am I to tell them they shouldn’t hang out there, or that the insight phase is somehow superior?

Just because I prefer to be in the insight phase does not mean everyone should!

In fact, perhaps coloring draws (no pun intended) REP phase creatives! Maybe that’s a form of art creation that fits them most comfortably, and nothing’s wrong with that.

What’s important to me, though, is that people not feel stuck there, like anything else artistic is out of the range of possibility for them.

And/or that coloring in a particular fashion (skies are always pale blue, trees are always green, and coloring outside the lines is a disaster) is the only option available to them.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

Breeders of Perfectionism

My other big concern about coloring books is that they can be breeders of perfectionism.

Yes, they’re great at getting experience with how colors interact, and training small motor skills as we learn to wield a pen or crayon and stay inside the lines, but they reinforce staying inside the lines as the ultimate value.

Again, this is the opposite of creative, out-of-the-box thinking.

Staying inside the lines can become such an intense focus that any straying beyond the lines feels like a massive failure.

My best friend, when she was a kid, actually used white-out correction fluid to cover up the marks that went outside the lines. For her, coloring books became a flog with which to beat herself.

They were painful “proof” that she was not an artist, and she bears those creativity scars to this day.

But coloring inside the lines of a coloring book is not a valid indicator of whether someone is an artist.

How many people end up like my friend, though, convinced that art is not for them, because they couldn’t stay perfectly inside the lines?

This breaks my heart!

Coloring Books Don’t Hurt People, People Hurt Peopls

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying nor do I believe that coloring books are by themselves to blame. They can, however, play right into already existing perfectionist tendencies.

What’s the answer?

Certainly not banning coloring books! They give millions of people so much joy and pleasure. And they can act as a “gateway” art, a non-intimidating way to get people started with artistic tools.

This is great!

Some people may never go any further, content to color other people’s designs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But my hope is that some people will be inspired to try other forms of creative expression, and maybe create from scratch.

This is one of the reasons I love sharing my abstract, black and white art. I love showing that art isn’t just photographic realism, or the kind of refined precision you’ll find in a Johanna Basford coloring book.

Art can be abstract, weird, even messy looking. And I love creating art that makes people think, “Hey, I could do that!”

Summary

So, to sum up, I have conflicting feelings about coloring books. And I’m publishing one very soon.

I hope that you’ll buy it (remember, it’s going to be published at cost!), and I hope that it will inspire you to go beyond the lines.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

Download the Poster!

 

Quotes In this Episode

The more you do something, the more normal it becomes. (Click to tweet!)

Resources In this Episode

Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance (aff), by Jonathan Fields

Books by Johanna Basford (aff):
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book
Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book
Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book for Adults

Shereen LaPlantz books (aff):
Cover to Cover 20th Anniversary Edition: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals & Albums
The Art & Craft of Handmade Books

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

The post LCN 069: The Dangers of Coloring Books appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 068: What the Heck Is Imperfectionism, Anyway?
36:25
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 36:25
LCN 068: What the Heck Is Imperfectionism, Anyway?

LCN 068: What the Heck Is Imperfectionism, Anyway?If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you know that I’m a self-declared imperfectionist, and imperfectionism is a foundational concept when it comes to living a full-color, creative life.

But what does that mean, exactly?

It’s easy to think that imperfectionism means sloppiness. Settling for less than what we’re capable of.

But imperfectionism isn’t that at all, and I want to set the record straight about what imperfectionism is.

The other day I wrote a blog post about it, specifically aimed at my calligrapher readers, because ever since I started doing calligraphy again, after pretty much avoiding it for years, I’ve been struck by how much it brings out my perfectionist gremlins. Practicing intentional imperfectionism for the past few years is the reason I’m able to approach calligraphy again without becoming utterly frozen. So I figured other calligraphers could probably use a lesson in imperfectionism.

But of course perfectionism, and perfectionist paralysis, don’t just hit calligraphers. They hit all of us.

So today I thought I’d share what I wrote in that blog post on the podcast.

Click here to read the original post.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

Download the Poster!

 

Quotes In this Episode

The purpose is joy.

Don’t beat yourself up, love yourself up.

When I can forgive myself for being human, and accept myself as I am, what other people think of me doesn’t have the same kind of grip.

Resources In this Episode

My 4th Annual Create & Incubate Retreat – August 17-21, 2016

Christine Martell’s Artosaur

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (that’s an Amazon affiliate link, fyi)

Creative Sandbox Manifesto, rule #2: Think process, not product.

Creative Sandbox Manifesto, rule #1: There is no wrong.

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Kristin Neff (aff)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Imperfectionist Manifesto, combined with my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 

The post LCN 068: What the Heck Is Imperfectionism, Anyway? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 067: Christine Martell and Her 9-Foot Artosaur
32:27
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 32:27
LCN 067: Christine Martell and Her 9-Foot Artosaur

LCN 067: Christine Martell and Her 9-Foot ArtosaurAbout thirty years ago, while living in Texas, Christine Martell decided that she should have a dinosaur. Last year, with help from her husband and a high school robotics team, she finally got one.

Or, rather, they made one.

A robotic dinosaur Artosaur who travels around Hillsboro, Oregon, and beyond, serving as an advocate for the arts.

Artosaur is a nine-foot long, six and a half feet tall, interactive, mechanically living being, made from a quarter of a mile of wire, and a 3-D-printed heart. He serves as a wild advocate for the arts, to encourage others to free their creativity in all forms.

Clearly Artosaur is a kindred spirit.

So is his creator, so naturally, I had to talk to her!

In this episode, Christine shares the story of how Artosaur came to be, and what Artosaur does in the world.

We also talked about other creative projects Christine has worked on, how creating an Artosaur has impacted her creative life, keys to effective collaboration, and the creative process in general.

Enjoy!

Artosaur Truths

From artosaur.com:

The Artosaur is here to be free of the shackles of what defines art, and show us as all that art is everywhere!  His message is simple:

Everyone can experience art.

Art is accessible, immediate, magical, and unexpected.

Art is valuable and paying for art is an act of creative expression.

Creative expression is everywhere, including places you might not think to look. You never know where art will turn up, or what it will do for you, and with you.

YOU are as wild and creative as he is.

Resources In this Episode

artosaur.com

Artosaur’s Facebook page

Christine Martell’s website

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 067: Christine Martell and Her 9-Foot Artosaur appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 066: The Line Between Healthy Commitment & Unhealthy Obsession
22:01
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 22:01
LCN 066: The Line Between Healthy Commitment & Unhealthy Obsession

LCN 066: The Line Between Healthy Commitment and Unhealthy ObsessionOne of the subjects I’ve written a lot about over the years is the tension between the pursuit of excellence or mastery, and the pursuit of happiness.

This tension has been on my mind this week, because lately I’ve been lax in my commitment to work out.

Some Background

Almost a year ago, I started doing these online TurboFire workouts, through Beachbody.com. I really wanted to get in better shape, I know exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain, for willpower, for creativity, for longevity and quality of life, and I was so excited to find a way to get more exercise into my life that didn’t require driving to a gym.

I committed to following the TurboFire 20-week calendar six days a week for twenty weeks.

Now, I didn’t always stick exactly to the program, and I there were days I missed, but for the most part I was pretty consistent, and it paid off.

And I kept it up, even after those twenty weeks!

It felt great to be making my health and fitness a priority! I had finally figured out how to build workouts into my days, and I thought I’d have a (mostly) daily workout habit from now on.

I even had dreams of getting the flat belly I’ve always wanted, but which has been out of reach since my metabolism has slowed down as I’ve gotten older.

Well, the flat belly didn’t happen, and recently, I have to admit, my commitment has flailed.

Now, part of the issue is that, although I started out doing my workouts in the morning (because the thing you do first is the thing that gets done (click to tweet!)), ultimately I moved my workouts from the morning in order to reclaim that time for creative stuff.

That worked okay for awhile, but the problem is, if I don’t start a workout before my husband gets home, it’s almost impossible to make it happen.

And lately I’ve really fallen down on starting in time.

Other things have been feeling more important, like making videos for my @calligraphyhowto Instagram feed, so I’ve let them take priority.

And much as I’d love to celebrate my 50th birthday this November with the fittest body I’ve ever had, honestly, I just don’t think my commitment level is there.

I don’t think I’m really willing to make the kinds of sacrifices in other areas of my life in order to get those washboard abs I’d love to have.

And here’s the thing: I’m actually okay with that.

So what does all of this have to do with living a full-color creative life?

Well, in the Facebook group for my Creative Sandbox community, we have a workout accountability thread, where anyone who wants some accountability around getting more movement into their life can share. And the other day I shared the following:

It’s so challenging to keep up with any given commitment when you have SO MANY things that are competing to be top priority. ?

Also, I have to keep reminding myself that HEALTH and fitness are the real reason for working out. It’s very easy for me to slip into wanting to do it for aesthetic reasons: lose the belly, slim down, muscle-up.

When appearance becomes the focus, nothing good results, as it sends me into old , unhealthy patterns, residual from my bulimic days.

I’m grateful that I can keep returning my focus to what’s really important: health, wellness, a full-color life, good relationships.

(Yep, I struggled with bulimia for close to a decade. That came from this focus not being on authentic desires and needs, but on external validation, and the belief that only if I were super thin and super-model beautiful would I be worthy and lovable.)

Someone replied:

Great observations, Melissa Dinwiddie. There is often only a fine line between health-promoting habits and unhealthy patterns, and sometimes I am concerned when people seem to be unable to see this.

Bingo!

Where is the line between a healthy commitment and unhealthy obsession?

Between discipline that brings rewards, and discipline that sucks the joy out of your life?

I used to think that mastery being The Best, or among the best, at something; being world-class would lead to happiness.

If only I were a world-class dancer, or a world-class calligrapher, or a world-class jazz singer, then I’d be happy.

But what was I really seeking? What would being world-class give me?

If I really dissect it, I think what I really wanted was to be loved. To feel worthy and lovable.

But was the route I was taking to get there, becoming world-class, actually going to get me there?

Being world-class at something certainly garners a lot of admiration. And envy. But close human connections? Not so much.

So while it felt like being world-class would finally validate me and make me feel enough, it’s a bit like eating a bird for its song: not actually a useful tactic for achieving the underlying goal.

The Harsh Reality

Now, I’m sure I have much less of a chance now to become world-class at anything I do than I did when I was so intensely focused on that goal. It takes drive, commitment, grit, dedication, and willingness to sacrifice to become world-class at something.

Think of Olympic athletes, who give up a lot to get to the Olympics. Think of world-class musicians, who spend their lives locked in a room, practicing.

Back when I was a teenager, I would have given everything to dance at the level I aspired to. It was so important to me that I dropped out of UC Berkeley, flew to New York City and auditioned for Juilliard, and when I got injured during my year there, my sole focus was getting well enough to dance again.

For five years I was on the quest for the miracle cure, and I remember not caring if I could ever walk without pain again, if I could only dance again!

Now, from my perspective of present time, I wouldn’t make that trade.

What Brings Happiness, Anyway?

Success external success and mastery were more important to me back than happiness, because in my mind they were what would bring me happiness. 

And now, the year I will turn 50 (!), things have shifted so far in the other direction. My younger self would look at me in disgust and say I’ve settled.

And she’d be right, in the sense that I’m no longer willing to make my life miserable in the pursuit of excellence.

So, yeah, I’m never going to achieve the levels of excellence that I dream about.

And yet I’m so much happier now than I was back then.

Now, I haven’t given up the pursuit of excellence. I’m a very driven person, and I am always going to pursue excellence. I am wired to be driven.

I’ve just gotten clearer about which sacrifices I’m willing and not willing to make. And most importantly, I’ve gotten clear about what I’m really seeking underneath it all.

Instead of seeking enoughness through impressing others which is, I confess, really what I used to do I have a much more solid grasp on my enoughness.

The Gifts of “Settling” for Imperfection

Accepting myself as enough allows me to share a lot more freely!

I don’t feel I have to wait until something is perfect to share it, because I now understand that the imperfection of my creations does not take away from my value as a human being. (Click to tweet!)

Practicing self-compassion and imperfectionism very intentionally for the past handful of years has made such a huge difference.

I no longer feel that I’ll only achieve enoughness when I achieve world-class mastery and excellence.

I have come to accept myself as enough right now.

My worthiness doesn’t depend on how amazingly skilled I am. It’s who I bring to the table that really matters how myself I am not what impressive things I can do. (Click to tweet!)

Or how flat and ripped my belly is.

(Thank goodness, because it’s probably never going to be flat and ripped. Oh, so sad!)

That’s what I have to say today. I hope there’s something in here that you find useful.

And now, I’m off to get a workout in before my husband comes home!

Quotes In this Episode

Click to tweet:

The thing you do first is the thing that gets done.

The imperfection of my creations does not take away from my value as a human being.

It’s who I bring to the table that really matters how myself I am not what impressive things I can do.

Resources In this Episode

Beachbody.com

My @calligraphyhowto Instagram feed

My Creative Sandbox community

Create & Incubate Retreat, August 17-21, in Los Gatos, California (only one spot left at the time of recording!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 066: The Line Between Healthy Commitment & Unhealthy Obsession appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 065: “I Feel Like I’m Not Allowed to Make Crap, Because Crap Won’t Sell”
32:36
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 32:36
LCN 065: “I Feel Like I’m Not Allowed to Make Crap, Because Crap Won’t Sell”

LCN 065: "I Feel Like I'm Not Allowed to Make Crap, Because Crap Won't Sell."It’s another listener question episode today!

I love answering listener questions, and my favorite ways to get them is as voicemail messages at livecreativenow.com/questions, and in 5-star iTunes reviews.

I learned recently, though, that iTunes only shows me reviews from US-based iTunes users.

So if you live in any other country, I won’t ever see your review or the question inside of it unless you let me know you left it, and let me know what country you’re in!

The best way to do that is to leave your review, including your question, and then go to livecreativenow.com/questions and also record your question in a free voicemail, letting me know which country you’re calling from.

If for some reason you don’t want your voice on the podcast, then of course you can always email me instead.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with today’s question from Maria, who left the following in a 5-star iTunes review. It starts with her review:

Melissa is my favorite because she is very not lecturey, and her podcasts are so easy and fun to listen to!

I thought I was creative, but after listening to Melissa, I felt like she was the honest voice in my heart, the voice that talks about all the things I ve been afraid to face.

I didn t even know there were other people out there caring too much to create! WOW!

I m excited to hear more! I LOVE MELISSA!!!

[Thank you, Maria! That made my day!  ]

Melissa, if you re reading this, could you please talk about: How to get permission to make crap when my parents/people are constantly watching to see if I can make a living as an artist?

I feel like I m not allowed to make crap because crap won t sell, and I ll get lots of I told you so! ?

So right now I feel frozen and can t make anything, any advice?

Do I have advice? You know I can talk for hours about just about anything.

You Are the Only One Who Can Grant Permission

The first thing I want to say is that the only person who can give you permission to make crap is you. And you have to take that permission.

You have to own your entitlement to creative play.

Now, I’m not saying this is easy. It’s not. At least it wasn’t for me.

It has been an ongoing practice.

You set the intention that there is no wrong (Creative Sandbox Manifesto rule #1).

And you set the intention to think process, not product (Creative Sandbox Manifesto rule #2).

And you make something. Maybe you make something intentionally bad!

Then you apply my Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good. (Click to tweet.)

Self-awareness means noticing. How does it feel when you create in this way? What feelings are coming up?

Then, regardless of the feelings, you respond with self-compassion.

What Is Self-Compassion, Anyway?

Dr. Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (aff link), and the world’s foremost researcher on self-compassion, has found three components to self-compassion:

  1. Mindfulness: The ability to be in present time; to observe, in a nonjudgey way, your surroundings, sensations, and reactions, without being swept away by them.
  2. Common humanity: Understanding that you are human, forgiving yourself for being human, and understanding that you are not the only person every to experience this kind of suffering.
  3. Self-kindness: Responding gently and kindly to yourself, the way you would to a beloved friend or a child.

When you practice allowing yourself to make crap, some of the feelings that might come up are disgust (“OMG, that’s so awful!”), frustration (“I’m never going to make anything worthy!”), guilt (actually false guilt “How can I create this drivel, when I’ve trained for years to create X?” See episode 64 for more on the subject of false guilt), shame (“I’m a terrible person.”), fear (“Nobody will ever like or accept me.”)

Those sound a lot like gremlins talking.

Never take direction from your gremlins. (Click to tweet.)

Never Take Direction from Your Gremlins

Maybe other feelings come up. It doesn’t matter. Whatever feelings come up, whatever gremlins start yammering at you, do not let them stop you! 

This is critical!

Remember, gremlins exist to keep you safely inside your comfort zone. And letting yourself make crap is, for most of us, well outside your comfort zone.

But the only way to discover what you’re capable of, and to express your full potential as a creator, is to let yourself make crap! (Click to tweet.)

So practice that. Practice setting the intention, noticing how it feels, responding with self-compassion, and not letting the gremlins stop you.

Even if what comes out seems horrible!

Remember: we need the crap to fertilize the good stuff. (Click to tweet.)

The Crap to Gold Ratio

In a lot of creative fields photography, songwriting, to name just a couple it’s no unusual to expect 90% of what you create to be crap! That means only 10% will be gold.

This is okay! This is perfectly normal!

Sheesh, believe me, I write a lot of crappy stuff to get to a blog post that feels good enough to publish. If I let my fear of creating crap stop me, I’d never write a darn thing.

In fact, that is exactly what happened back in 1994, when, for a brief time, I decided I was going to be a writer.

Now, you know me now as a writer, because I write all the time on my blog, and other blogs, but back in 1994, I decided that I was going to be a professional, full-time, write-for-a-living writer.

My expectations were so high, and the pressure felt so intense, that nothing I created felt any good at all. It all felt like crap, and back then I did not give myself permission to create crap!

So guess what. I created nothing.

Zip. Zero. Nada.

For sixteen years! 

Is that really what you want? I don’t think so.

Okay, so that’s the first thing I want to say, Maria.

They Don’t Like It? Don’t Show It To Them!

The second thing I want to share is a lesson from an improv teacher of mine, Joshua Raoul Brody, who teaches musical improv for BATS Improv making up songs on the fly.

A lot of improvisors who take his classes feel very insecure about their voices. Maybe their whole lives they’ve been told they can’t sing.

So Joshua says, “If somebody doesn’t like the way you sing, don’t sing for them!

If your parents’, or anybody else’s, disapproval is paralyzing, stop showing your work to them!

The Purpose of Making Crap

Okay, now, the third thing I want to say is in regard to your statement, “I feel like I’m not allowed to make crap because crap won’t sell, and I’ll get lots of ‘I told you so!'”

I have two points about this statement.

First, we allow ourselves to make crap in order to free ourselves up. To open the channel to our richest, deepest, most authentic creativity.

Allowing yourself to make crap is the only way you access your best stuff! (Click to tweet.)

Also, if we never let ourselves make anything bad, we never start. We never learn what needs improving. We never discover new ideas to follow.

The crap we create is not trash it’s manure. We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff. (Click to tweet.)

If you feel that everything you make has to be for sale, that is a fast route to either perfectionist paralysis (if you choke up, like I did with writing back in 1994), or burnout (if you just repeat what you’ve already done ad nauseum).

You MUST give yourself sacred Creative Sandbox time, where you create purely for the joy of it. NOT for money.

This is critical!

I know not everybody listening is interested in making money from your creative efforts, but if you are, it is critical to make sure you dedicate some time to Creative Sandbox play every week, ideally every day. Otherwise you will burn out guaranteed.

When you’re in the Creative Sandbox and you find yourself thinking, “Oh, geez, what am I doing? This will never sell!” remind yourself that this is Creative Sandbox time. That it’s not about making money it’s about freeing up your creativity and feeling more alive!

And fertilizing the good stuff.

If you let yourself do that, that will eventually lead to creating stuff that will bring in the money.

Assumption Paralysis

The second point I have about your statement that “crap won’t sell,” is that this is a huge assumption.

You don’t actually know whether it will sell or not!

And though your focus when you’re in the Creative Sandbox must be on play and freedom and joy not “will this make money?” what emerges from your time in the Creative Sandbox may end up surprising you in its sellability.

But unless you give yourself Creative Sandbox time, where you don’t think about making money at all, you will never know.

I have a practice of sharing what comes out of my Creative Sandbox sessions, whether I’m pleased with what I’m working on, or disgusted by it. I share the process regardless.

More than once I have posted a painting to Instagram and Facebook, and thought to myself, “Well, that’s a piece of crap. I am going to gesso over that painting tomorrow!” only to have someone ask to buy that very painting!

One person’s crap is another person’s treasure. (Click to tweet.)

The Power of Perception

This is one of the reasons I’m such a big believer in sharing work before you feel ready.

Our perceptions are so distorted by the gremlin-tinted glasses we’re wearing. We only see what we don’t like about what we create. Where it falls short of the vision.

But other people don’t see that!

Other people see your work for what it is. You see your work for what it isn’t. (Click to tweet.) (Hat tip to calligrapher and teacher Peter Thornton, from whom I first heard a variation on this phrase.)

You only see the lack.

When I started sharing in-process work on social media, it changed my life, because it helped me see my art, my writing, my music, through the lenses of other people’s glasses, instead of my gremlin glasses.

It helped me take off my gremlin glasses and put on neutral glasses for awhile.

That helped me have more appreciation and compassion for my work, and for me as the imperfect creator, aiming for an ideal, platonic vision, and falling short.

Detaching from Frozen Needs for Approval

In order for me to see through other people’s glasses, though, I had to unhook myself from the need for other people’s approval and praise.

There’s a huge difference between putting something out there with the energy of “Do you like this? Is it okay? Is it good enough?” and the energy of sharing. Truly sharing with an open heart and open mind, unattached from the outcome.

Giving a gift to the world, not seeking praise or validation.

Patti Digh, best-selling author and creator of Life Is A Verb Camp (which you should totally come to it’s amazing! And I’m going to be speaking there this year!), calls this “making a strong offer.”

Strong Offers

That’s a concept from the world of improv, where an offer is anything you do or say that fills in a piece of the world or situation you’re creating in a scene.

I might hold my  hands together, palms up, look down at them, and say, “Oh, Jim, honey, it’s the most beautiful necklace I’ve ever seen! Thank you what an incredible anniversary gift!”

That’s an offer, and it contains a lot of information for my partner: he now knows that his name is Jim, that he just gave me a necklace, and that we’re celebrating an anniversary.

But what happens next, what my partner does with this offer, is out of my control.

I may have it in my head that we’re a married couple, celebrating our first anniversary at a restaurant on the beach in Kona, Hawaii.

But my partner may respond with something that totally negates my idea. He may say, “Well, Sally, I know it’s been ten years since we first cheated on our spouses together, and you’ve been wanting me to leave my wife ever since, so the least I could do to show you how much I love you is to buy you some expensive jewelry and take you on this African safari.”

Clearly the scene that he has now set us in with his offer is different from the one I had in my head. And if I hold onto my idea that we’re a married couple celebrating our first anniversary in Hawaii, the scene goes nowhere.

In fact, it implodes, fast.

Make the Offer, Then Let Go

In order for improv to work, each improvisor has to make an offer and then let go of the outcome. You have to be open to accepting whatever comes next, and rolling from there.

Putting creative work out into the world is like this. Make the offer post your work online, enter that competition, apply to teach at the conference then let go.

Your job is to make a strong offer. Period.

The outcome is out of your hands, so practice letting go of it.

Summing Up

So, Maria, the upshot is:

  • You are the only one who can grant you permission. And that takes practice.
  • If your parents (or anyone else) don’t like your work, don’t show it to them.
  • Letting yourself play in the Creative Sandbox which includes allowing yourself the freedom to create crap is the only way you’ll ever access your richest, deepest, most original, most creative work. It’s also how we get better at anything we need the crap to fertilize the good stuff.
  • One person’s crap is another person’s treasure. What you judge to be crap, somebody else may totally love!
  • Your job is to make strong offers and let go of the outcome.
  • It’s very simple… but not easy at all. I know, because this is the same exact journey I’ve been on for the past several years.

I can tell you, though, that it gets easier with practice to let go and play in the Creative Sandbox.

I was the poster child for perfectionist paralysis, so if I can do it, you can, too.

It all starts with the decision to do it.

Do you want to live free from the chains of your parents’ and other people’s judgments and expectations? If so, the only way to get there is to set the intention and practice.

Which means, guess what, letting yourself be crappy at it at first!

The only way to unsuck is to let yourself suck first. (Click to tweet.)

You can do this.

I’m cheering you on!

Free Workshop!

FREE WEBINAR - Born to Create: Why Your Creative Play Is ESSENTIAL, Not Self-IndulgentJoin me tomorrow, Thursday, July 14, for a free webinar to help you STOP the guilt and get past the resistance, and get creating: 

Born to Create: Why Your Creative Play Is ESSENTIAL, Not Self-Indulgent

You’ll learn:

  • The surprising truth about why you feel resistance to the thing you love to do.
  • How to make every creative block your friend.
  • The unexpected science of how creative play affects the brain (you’ll never look at it the same way again!)

And more! 

Can’t join me live? Register anyway, because I will send a replay link to everyone who registers. 

Quotes In this Episode

Click to tweet:

Melissa’s Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.

Never take direction from your gremlins.

The only way to discover what you’re capable of, and to express your full potential as a creator, is to let yourself make crap!

Afraid of making crap? Remember: we need the crap to fertilize the good stuff.

Allowing yourself to make crap is the only way you access your best stuff!

The crap we create is not trash it’s manure. We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff.

One person’s crap is another person’s treasure.

Other people see your work for what it is. You see your work for what it isn’t.

Putting creative work out into the world is like improv. Make the offer, then let go.

The only way to unsuck is to let yourself suck first.

Resources In this Episode

Creative Sandbox Manifesto

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Dr. Kristin Neff (aff link)

LCN 003: 6 Reasons to Share Your Work (BEFORE You Feel Ready)

LCN 064: Help! My Fans Want My Old Stuff, But I m Burned Out!

Joshua Raoul Brody, musical improvisor, Musical Director and Improv Coach at BATS Improv

Patti Digh‘s Life Is A Verb Camp

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 065: “I Feel Like I’m Not Allowed to Make Crap, Because Crap Won’t Sell” appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 064: “Help! My Fans Want My Old Stuff, But I’m Burned Out!”
39:38
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 39:38
LCN 064: “Help! My Fans Want My Old Stuff, But I’m Burned Out!”

LCN 064: "Help! My Fans Want My Old Stuff, But I'm Burned Out!"It’s a listener question episode today!

One of the things I love doing most with this podcast is answering listener questions.

In fact, in case you weren’t aware, there’s actually a button on my site at livecreativenow.com/questions, plus in the sidebar and footer of just about every page which allows you to leave me a voice message with your question or issue.

Surprisingly enough, almost nobody ever takes advantage of this.

Seriously, a grand total of maybe three people have used that voicemail option at all, and I don’t think anyone has ever actually left me a question for the podcast with it.

I guess my listeners are shy.

Which means that if you’re brave enough to use it, your chances of getting your question on the air are very high right now. So go to livecreativenow.com/questions before everyone else figures out that this voicemail option is available and beats you to it!

Anyway, thankfully there are also other ways of getting me to answer your question on the show. You can, of course, send me an email. Or better yet, leave your question inside a five-star iTunes review (go to livecreativenow.com/itunes-review for step-by-step instructions for how to do that).

I’ve gotten some great listener questions recently, and today I’m answering a question that another Melissa sent me just last week, which resonated with me so much. Let’s get to it!

Hi Melissa!

I’ve been listening to your podcasts love your insight and your doodles and things so much.

I am having a dilemma. I had a digital stamp shop (for card making) for 5 years. I sold my black and white line art for people to color. It was an accidental success.

It had started as a doubtful hobby and snowballed. That was good and bad… I had seen what others were doing and wanted to try it but after time the passion was gone and I kept going with the art because I needed the income and I felt guilty about the idea of quitting.

I also felt like I was obligated to a certain style and had no room for growth and that I was not connected to what I was doing anymore. I let those feelings go on for way too long.

I finally had to quit, for my sanity. But it was a shock to my fans and customers when I announced closing it all, and in ways I felt like it could have ended better.

Long story short I felt a bitterness (like I don’t even want to use my shop name anymore even though it’s how everyone knows me), hiding from the world and my old art.

It has taken me more than a year to TRULY regain my artistic passion. But it’s still shaky at best.

And I try to quietly show my new drawings on my Facebook profile, since praise really helps, but a good number of my friends were old customers. So I often hear them sadly say how they wish they could still buy my art. That they need what I’m drawing.

They colored it before when I had my shop and my art has evolved since then, but I still draw in a way that’s very conducive to coloring.

I have to work really hard to NOT become obsessed with making money again. I have A VERY strong entrepreneurial vein in me (much like my dad had) and every idea I have my mind thinks I have to make money from it. As much as I don’t want money to be my focus like it was before, I know I have fans and a lot of potential.

I don’t know what to do. It’s eating me up. I want to use my art for something, but how?

I would love some help or outsider insight. Thank you so much in advance.

Love,
a fellow Melissa <3

Oh, my goodness, Melissa, I so relate! And I know lots of other people do, too. This is a classic artist’s dilemma.

As creators, we have a need to explore and grow. But if we grow an audience, they want more of the same. And if that’s all we produce, we stagnate and ultimately burn out.

Add money to the equation especially if your art is how you pay the bills, as was the case for me with my calligraphy and ketubah business and it becomes an even harder trap to escape from.

You Are Not Alone

First, I want to simply acknowledge that your feelings are normal.

Passion, by its very nature, tends not to burn at the same intensity forever. You change, and what at first intrigued and challenged you can eventually become boring.

Also, you are absolutely not the only person to feel guilty about quitting. When we see people appreciating us for something, it can feel like a betrayal when we let that thing go.

Even just stepping back from something you’ve worked hard to master can feel like a betrayal! As a calligrapher, who spent years honing my skills in the attempt to master my craft, creating a piece of art with no words on it felt like some kind of defection, like I was an unfaithful lover, like I was doing something bad!

How could I just toss out all those years of practice and study?

The Responsibilities of Being a Redhead

But you know what? I had almost the exact same internal struggle when I cut my hair.

Yep, all my life I’d had long hair. And because I’m a redhead, I got lots of comments about my hair, on an almost daily basis.

Being a redhead is a big part of my identity! But eventually I got tired of having long hair it wasn’t particularly flattering; it mostly looked kind of stringy, except just after brushing it; it was a pain to take care of; and I would mostly just put it in a ponytail. Boring!

But when I even thought about cutting it, I felt this weird sense of (false) guilt, as if I’d be depriving all the people who liked to look at my long red hair of something important.

Ridiculous, right?

I didn’t owe anyone my long hair! Cutting my hair short was not actually harming anyone!

False Guilt

This is why I call my feeling false guilt. True guilt is a helpful feeling when we are culpable of true wrongdoing. But not providing people something that is not your responsibility to provide is not wrongdoing!

I do not owe anyone long hair, or calligraphy on every piece of artwork I create for the fun of it.

You do not owe anyone the black and white line art they want from you.

Unless you have an actual contract with someone, or someone has paid you to create in a particular style and you have agreed to it, you are not obligated to create in any style, or even to create at all for them.

Your only true obligation as an artist is to yourself. (Click to tweet.)

This is a huge obligation. You absolutely must feed your need to create in the ways that excite and intrigue you. If you don’t, it results in the kind of burnout both you and I have experienced.

Bitterness. Hiding. Complete stuckness, even.

The Big Exacerbator: Money

But what if you still need or want to make money from your creativity? How do you balance the popular, moneymaking kind of creation (which leads to burnout, if that’s all you do), with the creating that you really want to do, which pushes and grows you as an artist?

Here’s what I feel, really strongly:

Whatever kind of art you do, whether for money or not, you must carve out and maintain space to create purely for you. (Click to tweet.)

Sacred time to explore, make messes, follow your curiosity, and create just for the joy of it. Where nobody else’s opinions matter one whit.

I call this Creative Sandbox time, and it is essential.

I used to think that the reason I got burned out on my art business was because it was a business because money got involved and tainted my relationship to my art.

I’m no longer sure that’s entirely true.

Money can very easily taint your relationship to your art. If you’re not very, very careful, it will taint your relationship to your art. But I don’t know that it has to.

If you have a few very important things in place.

What MUST Be In Place to Prevent Money from Tainting Your Relationship to Your Art

1. You must set things up very intentionally so that you don’t have to do things that suck the life out of you.

For example, if you know that you can’t stand other people telling you what to do, then taking on commissions in which you relinquish creative control is not going to work well for you. So make it clear up front that you don’t accept commissions.

Or maybe you do accept commissions, but only if they are not art-directed in any way. The client pays you to create a unique piece in your own unique style, but they have no say in how the end result will look, beyond whatever parameters you establish in advance: maybe dimensions, color palette, theme, or medium.

YOU get to decide. That’s the point. 

You get to determine what you will and will not do. It’s your business, not theirs. If you decide at any point that a particular thing isn’t working for you, stop offering it!

If you no longer want to work in a particular style, take all pieces in that style out of your portfolio and get them off your website!

The other thing that’s absolutely essential is Creative Sandbox time.

2. You must make time to play just for you regularly.

Ideally you’ll play in the Creative Sandbox daily. Even if only for tiny bits and snatches. (Creative Sandbox Manifesto rule #4: “Think tiny & daily.”)

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, combined with my Imperfectionist Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 
If you do not create “just for you” space and time, you will burn out. I am convinced that if I had figured this out both parts, but especially Creative Sandbox time I would not have burned out so badly on my own art business. I may still have decided to move on. In fact, I’m quite sure I would have, but I might have spared myself so much pain and misery.

Hacking the Creative Sandbox

Here’s the thing about Creative Sandbox time. Whatever you create in the Creative Sandbox has to be purely for you, purely for the joy of it.

But… That doesn’t mean you can’t also offer it for sale.

Now this can get a little tricky. Your mindset is critical. If you come at the work thinking about what will sell, it will ruin it. Guaranteed.

That’s not to say you can’t also make things that you know you want to sell. Go for it! Knock yourself out! But not during Creative Sandbox time.

When you’re in the Creative Sandbox, you cannot let money enter the equation. It has to be for you. Period. 

In truth, I share and sell! things that I create in the Creative Sandbox all the time. But while I’m creating I have to keep my focus on doing it for me.

As it says in Creative Sandbox Manifesto, rule #2: Think process, not product.

Manifestos by Melissa DinwiddieGet the Poster!

It’s a colorful, hand-lettered version of my Creative Sandbox Manifesto, combined with my Imperfectionist Manifesto, so you get two posters in one!

It’s ready for printing and posting on your wall where you can consult it daily (I sure do!) Just click the link to download:

Download the Poster!

 
After I’ve created something, then I can share it, and even offer it for sale.

But if these thoughts start entering my mind while I’m creating in the Creative Sandbox, I do my best to let them go and redirect my focus to the process play, exploration, discovery.

“Wait a minute, Melissa! I see you share works in progress all the time. I thought you just said to wait until after you’re finished creating in the Creative Sandbox before sharing. Aren’t you contradicting yourself?”

Ah, yes. You’re right I share my Creative Sandbox just-for-me creations-in-process all the time, but this is an advanced technique. Creative Sandbox energy is strong in me now (after years of practice!), so I’m pretty good at kicking out the “This Better Be Good” and “This Better Bring in Money” gremlins, and bringing my focus back to playing just for me. Even when I know I want to share something or offer it for sale.

As they say in those car commercials, though, do not try this at home! Give yourself the space and freedom to truly create for your eyes only first.

Then, once Creative Sandbox energy is strong in you, knock yourself out!

 

A Lesson from Meditation

Here’s a tip: this redirecting of thoughts is exactly the same process I practice in meditation.

My goal is to be in the present moment, with my attention on my breath. But guess what? Minds are made to think, so inevitably my mind will start wandering into the past, into the future, bounding down a thought trail.

This is not a problem!

In fact, noticing that my mind has bounded off is the Golden Moment in meditation!

That is known as mindfulness. And it’s the ultimate goal (rather than a thought-free mind), because if I can notice that my thoughts have carried me away from present time, then I have choice.

I can choose to follow that thought train, or I can simply let go of whatever thought my mind has latched onto and return my attention to my breath.

This is the practice.

And it’s the same with focusing on the process, on the joy of creating for you in the Creative Sandbox.

Other thoughts will come in:

  • Gremlins. Those voices that say things like, “OMG, this sucks!” and “You’ll never be as good as So-and-So!”
  • And money thoughts: “How can I make this sellable??” “Will this sell?”
  • Or just “Will anybody else like this?”

These thoughts will come in! This is not a problem, as long as you remember that you are not your thoughts, and as long as you notice your thoughts and come back to “think process, not product,” back to creating for you.

Your Fans Are Irrelevant

When you are inside the Creative Sandbox (and remember, we are making time for that every single day!), your fans are irrelevant. Your family is irrelevant. Your friends are irrelevant.

The Creative Sandbox must be your private bubble.

And here’s the ironic or Zen? thing: the more you’re able to shut the rest of the world out when you’re in the Creative Sandbox, the more you’re able to let yourself be totally free, the more authentic and YOU your work will be. The more rich and creative it will be, too.

And the more your true Right People will resonate with it!

In fact, you may find yourself with more and more loyal, raving fans when you create your art without your fans in mind! 

And the other fans who don’t like or resonate with your new stuff? They are not your responsibility.

So my prescription for you, Melissa, is to go get creating in the Creative Sandbox. For you.

Practice this.

It is a practice, and you will find you get better at it the more you do it. And the better you get at giving yourself Creative Sandbox playtime, the more your world will open up. Then before you know it you’ll be living that vibrant, full-color life you’ve been longing for.

Let me know how it goes!

Create & Incubate Retreat - August 17-21, 2016Would you like a deep dive into the Creative Sandbox, to practice Creative Sandbox skills and immerse yourself in creative play?

Join me at my 4th Annual Create & Incubate Retreat, August 17-21, in the hills of Los Gatos, California, above Silicon Valley.

5 days and 4 nights of uninterrupted create time, facilitated by the Chief Instigator and Gremlin-Whisperer Extraordinaire, yours truly!   

Quotes In this Episode

Your only true obligation as an artist is to yourself. (Click to tweet.)

Whatever kind of art you do, whether for money or not, you must carve out and maintain space to create purely for you. (Click to tweet.)

Resources In this Episode

Ask me a question of your own for the podcast! Click here.

LCN 005: My Top 10 Tips to Get Past Any Creative Block: Creative Sandbox Rules

LCN 041: MELISSA LIVE! The Creative Sandbox Manifesto

Click here to download my Creative Sandbox Manifesto poster.

My online meditation mentor, Susan Piver. Check out her wonderful Open Heart Project.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 064: “Help! My Fans Want My Old Stuff, But I’m Burned Out!” appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 063: Immersion, Blobs, and Transformation: My Jazz Camp Journey 2016
29:34
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 29:34
LCN 063: Immersion, Blobs, and Transformation: My Jazz Camp Journey 2016

LCN 063: Immersion, Blobs, & Transformation: My Jazz Camp Journey 2016On Saturday afternoon I came home from eight days in the redwoods. No wifi. No cell service.

Totally unplugged.

Jazz Camp West (a production of Living Jazz) is an island of time in the middle of my year, a musical utopia (except for the camp cot and mosquitos).

I’ve been to JCW ten out of the last eleven years (and the one year I missed was a huge mistake).

The last week of June is sacred time. Nothing gets between me and Jazz Camp West.

Last year I remember spending a couple of days in digital withdrawal. Not this year  I savored filling my visual field with trees and dirt and people and instruments, instead of glass screens. Before I came home from camp on Saturday, I was already counting the days til next year. (359 as I type this.)

All of this makes it sound like the unpluggedness was what defined camp and made it so wonderful, but that’s just one teeny-tiny glint of a sparkling, multi-faceted gem.

How to even describe the magic that is Jazz Camp West?

To say it is a week of making music in the woods would be true… but not a complete picture.

To say it is a week of loving community would also be true… but not a complete picture.

To say it is a week of transformation would also be true… but not a complete picture.

So What IS the Complete Picture?

Jazz Camp West is the fueling station, the inspiration injection, that propels me onward when I’m already musically jazzed, and brings me back to my musical center when I’m not so jazzed. Jazz Camp reminds me of where I shine, when I’ve forgotten. It weaves me back into the web of community and music that I often feel so disconnected from during the rest of the year.

This is why I block the last week of June off in my calendar every year, and nothing nothing touches it!

Yes, it means that much to me.

Even though music has been on a back burner of my stovetop for quite some time. Or perhaps because of it…

Even though setting up my life and business so I can disappear entirely for eight days, and packing up the car with my tent and bedding and everything else I’ll need for the week is a helluva lot of work.

It is more than worth it.

After ten summers at Jazz Camp West over the past eleven years, plus two summers at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and another five (or six? or seven?) at California Coast Music Camp, I have gotten very clear about the fact that I need the immersive experience of music camp.

I’m an evangelist for “tiny and daily” (Creative Sandbox Manifesto rule #4) on a regular basis, AND I’m also an evangelist for full immersion whenever possible. 

And that means prioritizing it. Blocking the time off on my calendar. Setting aside money over the course of the year, in order to pay for it.

I do this for three main immersive experiences each year:

1. The Spring Retreat with the Friends of Calligraphy, every March.

2. Jazz Camp West every June.

3. My Create & Incubate Retreat every August. (There’s still room click here to join me August 17-21 this year!)

Why are immersive experiences so important?

Because they’re profound and powerful. Because they create transformation over the span of days, rather than months or years.

Every eight days at Jazz Camp West is its own journey, and every year I come to the end of that journey changed. A different person.

My 2016 Jazz Camp Journey

This year that transformation was made especially vivid because a friend of mine, Huy (a killer bass player) shared with me and several others a graphic on the first day.

It was a cartoon-like tree, with cartoon-like, blob-like, humanoid characters engaged with the tree in some way: climbing the trunk, dangling or falling from branches, or lounging in the grass below. Some blobs were alone, some in pairs or groups. Some had smiles on their faces, others frowned or grimaced.

I won’t post it here, because the Blob Tree graphic is copyrighted, but you can click here and a similar image will open up in a new window.

Huy showed each of us the graphic on his phone, then asked us to decide which one of the blobs we identified with. Which one was me, in the context of Jazz Camp, or music in general?

Tough question! Honestly, I could have said a few of them, but Huy insisted it had to be one.

My Blob: #13

So I chose the blob that appeared to be lounging on its belly in the grass, gazing at the greenery. In the image I linked to above, this blob looks pretty unhappy, but in the one Huy showed me, it appeared to be smiling.

This is important, because if it looked unhappy, I wouldn’t have chosen it.

The reason I chose this particular blob (labled #13 on Huy’s graphic) was because I’ve arrived at a very interesting place in the past few years.

I spent a lifetime grasping for perfection, desperately wanting to be The Best, or at least Outstandingly Excellent. I never felt good enough, and spent so much energy wishing I were more and better than I was, which left me feeling pretty miserable about myself basically all of the time!

In the past handful of years, though, I’ve worked a lot on forgiving myself for being human. Accepting, and even embracing my imperfections.

And though I still aim for improvement and yes, excellence, I am actually able to love and appreciate myself NOW, and to enjoy where I am in the journey. Even when I’m mediocre or crappy at what I (still) long to be really good at.

That blob, lounging in the grass, resonated with me because I’m not at, or anywhere near, the top of the tree of music or any of my creative passions but I’m actually okay with that now.

Yes, some of my drivenness has melted away, which means I’m probably even less likely to achieve the kind of excellence I desire, but life feels so much more kind and enjoyable now. So although my past self would be disgusted with me for “letting myself go,” it’s a trade I’m now willing to accept.

I’m able to be happy lying in the grass, instead of despising myself for not being one of The Greats in the upper branches.

So although my blob was not up in, or even touching, the tree, it felt like a triumph and a relief to be okay about that.

Transformation in 8 Days

What was really interesting, though, was what happened at the end of camp.

At the barbecue lunch on the last day, Huy once again pulled out his phone and pulled up the tree graphic. “Which one are you now?” he asked.

Ah, so very interesting to see how much had changed! Now the blob lounging in the grass did not feel like me at all.

Eight days of immersion in music, and in community had me feeling way more connected than that.

And eight days of being seen had validated and mirrored back for me strengths and gifts that I tend to dismiss or forget about.

I didn’t feel like the blob standing at the very top, victorious and proud. But neither did I feel separate from the tree.

Now I felt wrapped in the hug of community, part of the musical world. I felt like I belonged on the tree, like the little cluster of three blobs, sharing a branch with smiles on their faces. Taking risks, supporting each other, right smack-dab in the middle of the community.

“Which one of the three is you?” asked Huy. “Or are you all three of them?”

“I think I’m all three of them,” I replied. Part of the whole. Distinctive, but without the need to shout, “Look at ME!!!”

That’s what eight days of Jazz Camp West did for me.

It may seem small, but to me it felt huge. And although if you were to go to Jazz Camp, or come to my Create & Incubate Retreat, your journey would be completely unique, and completely different from mine, the one thing I can say with confidence is that there will be a journey. There will be transformation.

That’s really all I have to share today. That, and this video of me performing at Monday’s Open Mic last week at Jazz Camp West (which, honestly, I was hesitant to share, because OMG, the pitch problems and vocal cracks! Ack! But hey, I’m embracing imperfectionism, so here I am in my imperfect glory):

I wish you openness to the journey, wherever you are on your path.

Go get creating!

Resources In this Episode

Jazz Camp West

The Blob Tree, by Pip Wilson and Ian Long

My Create & Incubate Retreat

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 063: Immersion, Blobs, and Transformation: My Jazz Camp Journey 2016 appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 062: A Conversation with Renaissance Man Chris Wesley
1:17:51
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 1:17:51
LCN 062: A Conversation with Renaissance Man Chris Wesley

LCN 062: A Conversation with Renaissance Man Chris WesleyToday you get to be a fly on the wall for a conversation I had with one of my artist peer-heroes: Chris Wesley.

It s a pretty long conversation over an hour and we actually spoke last year, way back in September. The reason it s taken me so long to publish it is that I originally planned to publish conversations, oh, maybe once a month, but I realized pretty quickly that if I m going to do any editing, and put together any kind of comprehensive show notes, it is just way faster and easier to do a monologue!

I honestly thought that episodes with guests would be faster after all, I don t have to come up with content the guest provides the content. Our conversation just becomes the content. Whereas with my monologues, I put a lot of time into writing out what I want to talk about.

But after recording, conversations are a lot more work.

In order to create show notes, I have to listen to the entire conversation again and take notes. And honestly, my perfectionist tendencies kinda go wild.

Yes, I’m a card-carrying imperfectionist, but what that really means is that I’m a recovering perfectionist. I am completely transparent about the fact that I am not fully recovered yet!

For my podcast, I had visions of editing my conversation recordings into really tight, streamlined, narrated, This American Life kind of productions.

And that is just crazy time-consuming. Like full-time job time-consuming.

So I have a lot of interviews, recorded conversations, that have just been sitting on my hard drive!

I finally realized the only way to get these recordings out onto the podcast would be to lower my expectations. (Either that or hire an editor, and I just don t have the funds for that!)

So, I sent my perfectionist gremlins off to get a pedicure, and I decided to publish this conversation with Chris UN-EDITED.

Boom.

You are truly getting to be a fly on the wall.

And if there are sections that are not interesting to you, you know, that is what the fast-forward button is for!

And if you don t have time to listen to an hour and ten minutes right now, hey, that s the beauty of podcasts: you can turn em off and pick right back up where you left off later.

So, without further ado, I want to introduce my friend, Chris Wesley!

Chris Wesley is a real Renaissance guy. I met him at a music conference several years ago, where he read poetry instead of playing his songs. That really perked up my ears.

Turns out in addition to being a musician and a poet, he s also a killer fiction writer, and a photographer and fine artist. In fact, I think there may be nothing that he doesn t do!

We have had a number of conversations over the years about being an artist and combining art with the rest of life making a living, having a relationship, all of that, so when I was planning on starting my podcast, (Which btw, will be exactly ONE YEAR AGO next week!)

So OVER a year ago now, I knew that Chris was someone I wanted to share with you.

So let s do this. I hope you enjoy being a fly on the wall for my conversation with Chris Wesley author, fine artist, explorer of the human condition.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Chris Wesley’s website

Chris’s music

Books by Chris Wesley

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! Ratings and reviews make a big difference in how the show is ranked, and that makes a big difference in helping other people find it, and that helps grow the Creative Uprising!

So you can be an important part of this movement simply by leaving a review.

Plus, if you have a question about living a creative life that you’d like me to address, type it into your review and you may just hear it featured on a future episode! (Yep, to incentivize you to leave a review, I prioritize questions that are left inside reviews.  )

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 062: A Conversation with Renaissance Man Chris Wesley appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 061: How Can I Create When Others Are Suffering?
14:31
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 14:31
LCN 061: How Can I Create When Others Are Suffering?

Heads Up!

Brush Lettering GuidesBefore I get on with today s episode, a brief heads up that if you ve ever been interested in learning the art of calligraphy, I m giving away a set of brush calligraphy guides!

Yep, totally free – just click here to download the guides, and then watch for more calligraphy-related content to come your way soon…

LCN 061: How Can I Create When Others Are Suffering?My last episode, episode 60, was a response to a listener question about being able to make all kinds of art EXCEPT for the art that she really wanted to be making the art that she really cared about.

If you ve ever found it hard to do the thing you most longed to do, you ll definitely want to check out episode 60.

In today s episode, I want to talk about what tends to happen to sensitive, tender-hearted people, whenever some kind of tragedy strikes others: we often find it really hard to create.

It feels selfish as if we re not touched by the suffering of others.

I wrote a blog post about this issue back in 2012, and with the recent tragedies in the news it seemed like a good time to revisit it. So let s do it!

Click here to read the original blog post. 

Learn Brush Calligraphy with My FREE Guides!

Pointed Brush Copperplate Calligraphy GuidesGet started with pointed brush calligraphy today with my brush lettering guides. Basic stroke exemplars in two sizes, plus guidelines for a variety of letter heights from 1/4″ to 1/2″.

Just click the button to download:

Download the Guides!

 

Quotes In this Episode

Artquote: Creating more suffering in the world by stifling my own joy does not make the world a better place. Artquote: Joy is contagious. So is gloom. Choose wisely. Artquote: Joy is contagious. So is suffering. You are the vector. What will you transmit? Choose wisely. Artquote: The fact that other people are suffering is the lamest reason ever for not following your joy.

Creating more suffering in the world by stifling my own joy does not make the world a better place. (Click to tweet.)

The fact that other people are suffering is the lamest reason EVER for not following your joy. (Click to tweet.)

Joy is contagious. So is suffering. It s a choice. (Click to tweet.)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Learn Brush Calligraphy with My FREE Guides!

Pointed Brush Copperplate Calligraphy GuidesGet started with pointed brush calligraphy today with my brush lettering guides. Basic stroke exemplars in two sizes, plus guidelines for a variety of letter heights from 1/4″ to 1/2″.

Just click the button to download:

Download the Guides!

 

The post LCN 061: How Can I Create When Others Are Suffering? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 060: Do You Care Too Much? Overcoming the Resistance of Caring
24:10
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 24:10
LCN 060: Do You Care Too Much? Overcoming the Resistance of Caring

LCN 060: Do You Care Too Much? Overcoming the Resistance of CaringA few days ago I got an email from Barbara, a textile and mosaic artist, that touched a nerve with me.

The problem that Barbara is struggling with is exactly the same problem that I had way back when. I know it’s a problem that a lot of other people share, so I thought I’d address it here on the podcast/blog.

If you listened to (or read) the last episode, #59, you’ll find a lot of overlaps with this one. That’s how it works: all the blocks and resistances and stucknesses that hold us back are intimately related and woven together, and the solutions for getting past them are, too.

Everything is interconnected, so when you learn to handle one challenge, you’ll find that you actually know how to handle lots of challenges.

Here’s Barbara’s letter (edited a bit for clarity):

Hi Melissa,

I ve noticed that the more I care about a textile, or a mosaic, the harder it is for me to get it done. If I care less, I work more easily, and I m not waiting until I m good enough whatever that means to do a subject justice.

My teenage son, who writes and acts, brought this point up independently a few weeks ago. He thinks the kids who would like to be professional actors, and who don t have as many other interests outside of theater, don t seem to preform as fluidly as the kids who are doing acting just for fun. (The serious kids also tend to act more like jerks, according to him, but that s another story.)

I enjoy making the art I m doing now, and it s great fun for me to see work evolving from my workbooks to finished designs, even if it takes me several years. But in a larger sense, it is not THAT important to me, which is why I can do it as much as I have. It s not my first love  I actually want to write most of all.

I did take some workshops [a long time ago], but I haven t written seriously in many years . . . I care too much.

I never thought of myself as an artist, so I am not particularly critical of the work, since my artwork was never part of my core identity. I am thrilled when what I sketched in my notebooks comes to life.

It doesn t bother me when I make a mistake, or things don t turn out as I envisioned. It s all a learning process, and that s fine. Why can t I be the same about writing? So yes, my caring too much my ego  is my biggest challenge.

Thanks,
Barbara

Ah, yes. As I said, Barbara, your problem is almost an exact copy of my own. I actually started making art back in the mid-90s as a way to procrastinate from writing!

I wanted to be a writer so badly a good writer, a successful writer and that choked me the heck up. I wanted everything I wrote to be amazing, but everything I wrote felt nowhere close to amazing, so I choked.

I wanted to be a writer so badly that I couldn’t write a thing.

The Truth About Wanting

Our logical minds think this is weird, that it’s hard to do the thing you want most, but the counter-intuitive truth is this:

The more important something is to you, the more resistance you’re likely to feel. (Click to tweet.)

Your expectations are higher, which means more pressure. And pressure and creative expression do not mix well.

When I started making art, it was purely for fun. There was no passion attached to it just curiosity.

So guess what? I made art all the time! It felt easy and fun.

I mean, it was often hard in that it was technically challenging  I don’t mean it was simple  but my ego and identity were not all wrapped up in how I or anyone else judged my work.

And as a result, I was able to approach art really freely and joyfully.

For a time.

From Smug to Stuck

During my first year or so of making art, I remember hearing lots of other artists complain about how hard it was to get themselves to make stuff, and I just didn’t get it.

Why would it possibly be hard to do the things you love most to do?

I confess I felt a little smug.

Not for long, though. About a year and a half after I started, I went to a calligraphy conference, where over 500 calligraphers gathered to convene, take workshops, shop for supplies, and go to lectures and exhibits.

One of the most exciting parts of the conference for me was getting feedback from three “big name” calligraphers in private half-hour sessions.

The feedback I got was so encouraging and validating. All three of them, plus my workshop teachers, told me how “talented” I was, and how much “potential” I showed.

I was walking on air for the rest of the week!

But guess what: when I got home, I found myself more and more stuck. 

My ego and identity were now so wrapped up in being a “good calligrapher,” and being “talented,” with “lots of potential,” that it felt like nothing I made could possibly live up to those expectations!

So I mostly made nothing.

History Repeats Itself

If you think about what happened to me with writing, doesn’t this sound a little familiar? Now I can look back and see that my stuckness with calligraphy and my stuckness with writing were exactly the same issue: I wanted to be good too badly.

And because my expectations were nothing short of excellence, everything I did fell short. My head was packed with “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlins, who were so loud that I couldn’t hear any other comment about my work.

Unfortunately, it took me about fifteen years to figure out how to deal with this issue!

But the good news is, I did learn to deal with it, and you can, too!

The Fix

The past-time me wanted nothing more than to be a prolific creator first a writer, and then when I gave up on that, I wanted to be a prolific artist. But back then, I was the opposite of prolific.

I was constipated!

Now I actually am prolific. I mean, I could always be a lot more prolific, but I exhibited 170 paintings in my artist open studio a few weekends ago. I’ve written enough content on this blog, and other blogs, and ebooks, and class content to fill multiple books.

This is a 180-degree reversal from my years of stuckness.

So what changed?

Ultimately, it all comes down to imperfectionism.

In other words, I allow myself to create crap. 

It’s really as easy as that.

The Challenge

But omigosh, this is so hard! We spend our lives learning to be competent at things, learning to do things well, and our egos want so desperately to be judged good and worthy.

But the thing is, in order to get good at any skill, you have to let yourself suck first. (Click to tweet.)

Or, as I like to say:

We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff! (Click to tweet.)

If we don’t let ourselves produce any crap, we end up producing nothing (ahem constipation!)

Giving myself permission to create crap in fact, giving myself assignments to create crap has freed me up tremendously.

I’ve had to work at this. Learning to let go of the outcome doesn’t usually happen overnight. But like everything else worth doing, if you keep setting and resetting your intention, you’ll get there.

The Creative Sandbox

My Creative Sandbox principles principles have been key for me in this process, and they’ve helped countless others, too.

Now, whenever I go into create mode, whether writing, or making art, or making music, or anything else, my intention is do it from inside the Creative Sandbox.

In other words, I get into the mindspace of being a four-year-old, where it’s all about exploration and play. Where there is no wrong. Where the purpose is joy in the process. Period.

(Not surprisingly, this is a big part of what we work on inside my Creative Sandbox community!)

There’s usually push-back about some of this, which goes something like the following: “But if I allow myself to make crap, if I let go of the outcome and focus only on the process, won’t I only ever make crap?”

It’s a common misconception, but an understandable one. The irony is that the only way to access your richest, deepest, most original creative expression is to let yourself make crap. (Click to tweet.)

It can be hard to wrap your head around, but I challenge you to try it.

Just give it a try and see what actually happens, not what you’re afraid will happen.

Remember, just because you allow yourself to create crap doesn’t mean you will. But it does mean you’ll create! (Click to tweet.)

Practice Makes Permanent

Again, I do not claim that freeing yourself from the stuckness that comes from caring too much will happen quickly or easily. But the solution really is that simple: let yourself suck.

As with anything else worth doing, it takes practice. So practice.

Practice allowing yourself to suck. Practice focusing on the process, and bringing your focus back when it wanders off into judgment. Practice treating yourself with compassion   or as I like to say:

Don’t beat yourself up, love yourself up! (Click to tweet.)

If you’d like some help at this, I made you a visual reminder of what to focus on: my manifesto poster, with both the Creative Sandbox Manifesto, and the Imperfectionist Manifesto.

To download your own copy, just click the button below. (Plus, you’ll also get an opportunity to grab my signature ecourse, Creative Sandbox 101, for 82% off the regular price!)

Download the Poster!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie

Now go get creating!

And Barbara, I hope this helps you get writing.

Quotes In this Episode

The more important something is to you, the more resistance you’re likely to feel. (Click to tweet.)

In order to get good at any skill, you have to let yourself suck first. (Click to tweet.)

We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff! (Click to tweet.)

The only way to access your richest, deepest, most original creative expression is to let yourself make crap. (Click to tweet.)

Remember, just because you allow yourself to create crap doesn’t mean you will. But it does mean you’ll create! (Click to tweet.)

Don’t beat yourself up, love yourself up! (Click to tweet.)

Resources In this Episode

Creative Sandbox Manifesto blog post (or listen to this podcast episode, or this LIVE performance)

Imperfectionist Manifesto blog post

Free Manifestos poster (free download!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 060: Do You Care Too Much? Overcoming the Resistance of Caring appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 059: “How Do I Get Past the Idea that I Suck?”
20:56
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 20:56
LCN 059: “How Do I Get Past the Idea that I Suck?”

LCN 059: "How Do I Get Past the Idea That I Suck?"When you subscribe to my Insiders’ Newsletter, in my first email to you I ask a question, and I really want people to answer it.

I ask, “What’s the biggest challenge getting in the way of your living the full-color creative life of your wildest dreams?”

Not everyone replies, of course, but often people do, and the responses I get make for some great blog and podcast content!

The other day someone named Greg wrote back:

My biggest block is motivation. I have a seriously hard time getting past the idea that I suck.

Greg is not alone! His response is wildly typical.

I sent Greg a reply, and because so many people (including me!) have the same issue, I wanted to share my response here on the podcast and blog.

If you’ve ever struggled with this kind of self-critical thinking yourself, this one is for you!

Ah, the “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlin. I know it well.

A blood relative of the “Everyone Else’s Stuff Is Better Than Mine” Gremlin (AKA the Comparison Trap, or Compare and Despair Syndrome), and the cause of Perfectionist Paralysis.

It’s what made me quit making art at age 13.

It’s what made me quit making music at age 15.

It’s what made me give up writing at age 27.

All things I now do with great joy!

Too bad I spent decades not creating, bound up in misery, believing that the fact that I sucked meant I should quit!

Seriously. Even if you do suck (which is your subjective opinion, btw, and who are you to say that your opinion that you suck is more valid than someone else’s opinion that you’re awesome?), the only solution to that is to DO THE THING in order to get better at it and unsuck!

Remember, much as we all hate making crap, the fact is that we NEED the crap to fertilize the good stuff! (Click to tweet.)

You have to crawl before you can walk, and you have to fall on your butt a few thousand times to learn how to walk!

We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff!

Seriously, the solution to the “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlin is simply to allow yourself to make crap. (Click to tweet.)

Yes, I understand that you don’t want to make crap. Nobody does. Shoot, I sure don’t!!!

But that permission is essential.

It’s like getting drinking water from a rusty faucet.

You’re thirsty, so you turn on the taps, but what comes out is brown, funky, disgusting unfit for human consumption. Blechhh!!

But how do you get a drink? The solution is not to turn the taps OFF! No, you let the faucet RUN.

You let it run for a good, long while, and eventually  voilà! clear, potable water!

It’s exactly the same with our creativity.

If we never allow the gunky flow to come out, we never get any better!

We NEED the crap to fertilize the good stuff.

Plus remember: just because you ALLOW yourself to create crap doesn’t mean you will. It just means you’ll create! (Click to tweet.)

Now, I understand that allowing yourself to create crap is not something that comes easily for most of us. We’ve trained our entire lives to be good at things, so it goes against everything in us to allow yourself to be bad.

But this part is essential.

If you do not allow yourself to suck, you will never do anything, and you’ll while away your life, longing and wishing, but never actually doing.

Never deriving joy. Never seeing what you might create, if only you’d given yourself a chance.

It’s easier to understand this than to act on it, however.

And the way we learn to allow ourselves to suck is the same way we learn to do anything: practice.

Set the intention that you are stepping in the Creative Sandbox in order to make a mess.

Set the intention to practice forgiving yourself for being human.

Set the intention to not let those self-critical gremlin voices stop you.

Set the intention to treat yourself kindly and gently, to love yourself up, not beat yourself up.

And most importantly, set the intention to keep resetting these intentions!

If you can do this, you will get there eventually. I see this as a life-long practice, but trust me, it’s worth it.

I hope this helps!

For a regular visual reminder to help you keep creating, even if your “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlins are harping on you, click the button below to download a printable copy of my two manifestos: the Creative Sandbox Manifesto, and the Imperfectionist Manifesto

Download the Poster!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie

Quotes In this Episode

Much as we all hate making crap, the fact is that we NEED the crap to fertilize the good stuff! (Click to tweet.)

The solution to the “Everything I Do Sucks” Gremlin is simply to allow yourself to make crap. (Click to tweet.)

Just because you ALLOW yourself to create crap doesn’t mean you will. It just means you’ll create! (Click to tweet.)

Don’t beat yourself up, LOVE yourself up! (Click to tweet.)

Resources In this Episode

My Stovetop Model of Life Design blog post

Creative Sandbox Manifesto blog post (or listen to this podcast episode, or this LIVE performance)

Imperfectionist Manifesto blog post

Free Manifestos poster (free download!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 059: “How Do I Get Past the Idea that I Suck?” appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 058: Riding the Open Studio Roller Coaster
25:00
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 25:00
LCN 058: Riding the Open Studio Roller Coaster

LCN 058: Riding the Open Studio Roller CoasterLast weekend I hosted an artist open studio for the first time in probably a decade. It was something of a roller coaster experience, and I learned a lot from it, so I thought I’d share it with you!

First of all, in cast you’re wondering, what’s an artist open studio? It’s where an artist literally opens up their studio to the public, with their art on display and for sale.

(Though technically it doesn’t have to be in the artist’s actual studio; if their studio is too small or inconvenient for displaying art, the artist might use an alternate space, and several artists might also join together to display all of their work.)

Often communities will have city-wide or county-wide open studio events, and in my part of the world, Silicon Valley, there’s an open studio event that’s been going on for 30 years: Silicon Valley Open Studios (SVOS for short).

Over 350 artists participated this year, across multiple counties and municipalities, over the course of three weekends. Each artist pays a fee to SVOS, and in exchange we get a listing on the SVOS website, and another listing in free printed catalogs (with maps!) that are distributed all over Silicon Valley. Plus we get ten 18″x 24″ bright, yellow signs to post around our neighborhood.

All of this is background, to give you an idea of what I was up to this weekend.

Although in fact, the work involved stretched well beyond the weekend. Not even counting making the art!

I had to clean off the display panels that live in my parents’ bike shed (and accumulate rat poop and spiderwebs in between uses..)

Then transport the (heavy) panels to my townhouse…

And figure out how to set them up to display my 170 (yes, 170!) paintings in my little back yard…

And then move everything inside to the living/dining room, when it looked like rain.

Plus I did the following:

  • Added hanging hardware to a bunch of paintings
  • Made labels for all the art
  • Made small signs leading from the street to my unit
  • Had all the signs laminated big and small
  • Bought sign stakes to post the large ones around the neighborhood
  • Bought snacks and drinks, plates, napkins and cups for my visitors
  • Ordered balloons to pick up each morning to tie out front
  • Got up early on Saturday to post the big signs around the neighborhood, and took them down after the show ended on Sunday

All of this took hours. And hours.

Open Studio: the view from the entrywayOpen Studio: the view from the entryway

Open Studio: more art! Open Studio: yet more art!

Open Studio: the wall of minis!

Then I spent 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday being “on,” welcoming visitors, engaging them in conversation, answering questions, and talking about my process.

It was a helluva lot of work, and though I got a lot of help from my husband (who had no idea what he was in for!) I was utterly wiped out afterwards! But I sold some paintings, and made some lovely connections including with some people in the neighborhood who may be interested in coming to live workshops!

Honestly, given all the time that went into it, from a purely financial ROI (Return On Investment) perspective, it’s ridiculous. But I’m still really glad I did it, and I’m planning on doing it again next year. (And hoping my customer base grows over time.)

And the best part was noticing how I’ve changed in the past several years.

Particularly how unattached I felt to other people’s responses to my art.

My last visitor of the weekend commented, “Showing all your art like this must be incredibly vulnerable.”

She’s right, of course it’s super vulnerable, but it actually didn’t feel scary to me.

THIS IS NEW!

When I’ve done open studios before (and I think it’s been at least ten years since the last one), I did feel very vulnerable! I think I felt very anxious about what people thought of my art.

Not a big surprise, because I was so critical of it, so why wouldn’t other people be as well?

Makes logical sense, right?

But I’ve come a long way since then. Creative Sandbox energy is strong in me now, after years of flexing those muscles.

Now, instead of desperately hoping my art will impress, working to make art that will impress, now I make art FOR ME, for the joy of it.

Whether it impresses anyone else is not the driving force, so when people walked in the door this weekend, took one look, and walked right out again, it didn’t hurt me.

I still hoped to sell as much art as possible, which of course requires that other people like it, but my sense of worth as an artist has become (thankfully!) pretty detached from whether it sells or not.

At the same time, I can tell you I got a big boost when the first person to visit on Saturday bought a painting.

SOLD! Turtle Tricks, mixed media, 6" x 6"

And when a friend bought another painting within a few minutes of that first sale, my eyes were gleaming with optimism!

SOLD!

SOLD!

Then when nobody even showed up for the first two hours on Sunday, my mood got very blue.

(But the silver lining of having no visitors is having time to make art! ? I drew much of this piece during the down time.)

Doodle drawn mostly during Open Studio 2016

When two hours went by on Sunday, though, with no new visitors, I wondered if all this work to pay for and set up the show was a waste of time. At that point my sales hadn’t even covered my expenses to participate!

But then people started to show up, and someone bought some small paintings, and then an hour before the end someone else bought the largest painting I had on exhibit!

SOLD! Untitled mixed media, 6"x6" by Melissa DinwiddieSOLD! 6″ x 6″ mixed media painting SOLD! Mixed media painting, "Dancing Through My Tears" - 20" x 20"SOLD! “Dancing Through My Tears” mixed media painting, 20″ x 20″

You can bet that lifted my mood right up!

Up, down, up, down, up.

It’s weird. On the one hand, I’m unattached to what anyone else thinks, because I make art FOR ME and I’ve worked very hard for years in order to be in this place.

And on the other hand, putting work up for sale means that of course I DO care what other people think, because I want to have buyers!

It’s a tricky path to negotiate.

(Although no longer relying on my art to pay all my bills has taken a ton of pressure off.)

Here’s the thing: in order to make our richest, deepest, most authentic and creative work, we MUST let go of the outcome, and let go of the need to please or impress others.

And yet, if you want to sell, the imperative to create things that people want to buy is a constant force pushing on you, which must be reckoned with.

And when you’ve put money and time into an event, with the hope and expectation that you’ll recoup your expenses and make a profit, it is so deflating if it doesn’t pay off the way you’d hoped.

I had over 170 paintings on exhibit, and honestly I really hoped to sell a good chunk of them, as much to make room in my studio as to bring in cash!

I still have over 170 paintings to store.

But heck, some of them have new homes, and that’s progress. And lots of people walked in my door this past weekend and left with a smile, and that’s progress, too.

But the biggest progress is in myself.

Putting my Creative Sandbox principles into action, practicing imperfectionism and my Golden Formula (self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good) has made me feel more solid in my identity as an artist than any amount of money I’ve ever made from my art.

So I guess the upshot here is, whether you’re a writer, painter, musician, filmmaker, jeweler, cook, gardener, or anything else, if you want to own YOUR inner artist, a roller coaster ride is probably guaranteed, but if you keep coming back to the Creative Sandbox you’ll probably enjoy the ride a lot more.

Onward, ho!


Quotes In this Episode

To make our richest work, we MUST let go of the outcome, and the need to please or impress others. (Click to tweet.)

Melissa’s Golden Formula: self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good! (Click to tweet.)

Resources In this Episode

Silicon Valley Open Studios

Creative Sandbox Manifesto

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 058: Riding the Open Studio Roller Coaster appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 057: The Truth (and 4 Lies) About Finding Your Passion
37:48
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 37:48
LCN 057: The Truth (and 4 Lies) About Finding Your Passion

Artist Open Studio & Art Sale

Announcement! Open Studio this Weekend!

All the paintings I ve made in the past few years will be on display in my back yard, and in my home and we re talking a lot of paintings over 100! So if you re in the San Francisco Bay Area, drop on by this weekend! Click here for more information..

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LCN 057: The Truth (and 4 Lies) About Finding Your PassionAs I m getting ready for my open studio this weekend, it felt like a good time to talk about finding your passion. Four lies about finding your passion, actually, plus the truth, which may be very different from what you might think.

This episode is inspired by this article, which I wrote on the blog back in 2012. If you already have a passion (or several, as I do), you may find this episode illuminating. But if you don t have a passion, but would like one, this episode is for you!


Quotes In this Episode

Barrie Davenport‘s life passion equation: Strong interest + practice + engagement + purpose = life passion

“The process of transformation from investigating a strong interest to waking up and recognizing it as your passion is a passionate experience itself.” -Barrie Davenport (Click to tweet!)

Finding your passion is more often gradually wandering into love than “eureka!” (Click to tweet!)

Resources In this Episode

The blog post that inspired this episode: 4 Lies and a Truth About Finding Your Passion

Eli Trier’s Demystifying the Artist project info & sign-up page

Barrie Davenport‘s article on Jonathan Field’s blog, Desperately Seeking Passion? Roadmap Revealed

Create & Incubate Retreat, August 17-21

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 057: The Truth (and 4 Lies) About Finding Your Passion appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 056: Demystifying the Artist
18:35
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 18:35
LCN 056: Demystifying the Artist

LCN 056: Demystifying the ArtistToday I m sharing some thoughts that were inspired by a fellow artist and blogger, Eli Trier, who invited me to participate in her 31-day project, Demystifying the Artist.

Eli invited 31 different artists to answer the question, What does being an artist mean to you? If you join her Demystifying the Artist mailing list (and I ll include a link in the show notes), every day in May she ll send you a new essay from a different artist. It s been really interesting to read what other artists have been writing!

As I was working on my answer, I realized it would make a great podcast episode, so that s what I m sharing with you today!

What does being an artist mean to me? It means allowing myself the freedom to play, to explore, to make messes, to follow my curiosity purely because it feeds me to express myself in this way.

Being an artist doesn’t have anything to do with medium, or tools, or format, or genre.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that, whether we’re talking about visual artists, writers, musicians, or any other kind of creator, there is only one difference between artists and everyone else.

It isn’t talent.

It isn’t skill.

It isn’t taste, or style, or whether or not you make money from what you create.

It isn’t awards, or public praise and attention.

No, it’s much more foundational and perhaps more subtle than any of that.

The only real difference between artists and everyone else is entitlement. (Click to tweet.)

Entitlement?

Yes, entitlement.

Before you can create, you need a sense of permission. You need an internal understanding that yes, you get to do this thing. That making art, in whatever form that takes for you, is not reserved for the elite few, nor is it a frivolous, self-indulgent waste of time.

Entitlement means that you see creating as an important act, a worthy act, one that you have just as much right to as anyone else.

This inner sense of permission is innate. It’s our birthright. Every single human is born with it.

The problem is, most of us lose our sense of entitlement by the time we reach adulthood, and often long before that.

Shame and Creativity

Brené Brown has spent a good chunk of her career researching shame, and her data suggests that over 40% of the population can remember a specific incident from school in which they were shamed around a creative act so badly that it forever changed how they thought about themselves.

My best friend was shamed around drawing when she was little. Big surprise that she avoided drawing forever after. She doesn’t even enjoy going to museums.

In the school choir, my mom was told to “mouth the words, honey nobody wants to hear you try to sing.” Can you guess how she felt about her voice after that?

I know more people than I can count with similar stories.

Self-Shaming

Nobody said nasty things to me about my art, but as a pre-adolescent and young teen I managed to do a fine job of shaming myself, by stepping in the Comparison Trap. I compared my work to other people’s work that I admired, and to my dismay, mine always came up short.

So at thirteen I gave up making art entirely.

Back then, it seemed to me that being an artist meant being able to draw. As in photographic realism. And although I wasn’t terrible at drawing, I was also not one of those kids who naturally excelled at it.

Now I understand that drawing realistically is simply a skill that can be developed with time and effort. But at thirteen I didn’t understand this. I was also consumed with self-hate, as a lot of young teenagers are, so when I noticed that there were kids, let alone adults, who were able to translate what they saw onto the page much more skillfully than I could, the conclusion I drew from that was that they were the real artists, not me.

So I quit.

A few years later I did the same thing with music. It was clear that other kids were better at their instruments than I was at mine, so I concluded that they were the real musicians, not me.

So I quit.

And then I repeated the same scenario again in my late twenties, when, for a brief time, I thought I would become a writer. I couldn’t write nearly as beautifully as my writer heroes, so I concluded that they were the real writers, not me.

So I quit.

Yep, I didn’t write for fifteen years, until I started my blog!

A Former Non-Creative Person

In fact, for most of my teens and young adulthood I truly believed that I was not creative. Not just that I wasn’t an artist, but that I was a non-creative person.

Now I call myself a “passion pluralite,” because I pursue so many different creative interests, from painting and calligraphy, to songwriting, to improv, to playing the ukulele!

Anyone who meets me now finds it impossible to believe that I once thought I was non-creative, but it’s true. I spent a good fifteen years living my life in black, white and grey, with my creative spirit locked in a closet. And the problem, I can see with hindsight, was not that I wasn’t good enough, which is what I believed at the time.

The problem was purely that I lacked entitlement.

Entitlement = Space

See, when you’re entitled, you make space in your life to create.

You don’t go on the assumption that only the specially anointed get to create.

You don’t go on the assumption that everything else in your life is more important than your creative expression.

You don’t go on the assumption that a negative judgment of your work means anything other than an individual opinion. And it certainly has no bearing on whether you should keep doing it!

And this applies even when the negative opinion about your work is your own!

You may still have those self-critical gremlin voices, even if you’re entitled. In fact, any time you do something truly creative you will have those self-critical gremlin voices, because gremlins exist to keep you inside your comfort zone, and creativity only and ever happens outside your comfort zone, in the zone of uncertainty! But when you’re entitled, you don’t give the gremlins any credence, and you certainly don’t let them drive the bus.

So now, when my gremlins tell me, as they often do, that “So-and-So’s work is so much better than yours,” and “They’re the real artist (or writer, or musician, or teacher, or performer), you’re just a hack, and you really should quit,” I simply thank them for their opinion, and for trying to keep me safe.

Then I send them off to get a pedicure and I get back to work.

Desire Is the Only Requirement

Here’s the thing: when you’re entitled, your desire is the only requirement.

And guess what? When you have entitlement and a strong desire, you’ll do your art. Which, of course, will make you better at it.

Even when you’re convinced your work is total crap, when you have entitlement and a strong desire, that doesn’t stop you. You can simply remind yourself that some days are always going to be better than others, and besides, we need the crap, because remember:

It’s the crap that fertilizes the good stuff.

Regenerating Entitlement

So how do you regenerate the entitlement that you had as a child? This is really the focus of my work as a creativity instigator, speaker, writer, teacher, blogger, and podcaster.

For me, it’s been a matter of setting that as my intention, and then practicing.

I also had to forgive myself for being human, let myself make crappy art (remember, we need the crap to fertilize the good stuff!), and learn to dismiss the gremlins and spring the Comparison Trap over and over and over again.

This is what artists do. This is what allows me the freedom to play, to explore, to make messes, to follow my curiosity.

And that is what being an artist means to me.


Quotes In this Episode

Click to tweet:

“The only real difference between artists and everyone else is entitlement.” 

“When you’re entitled, you make space in your life to create.”

“When you’re entitled, you don’t let your gremlins drive the bus.”

“When you’re entitled, your desire is the only requirement.”

“When you have entitlement and a strong desire, you’ll do your art.”

“We need to allow ourselves to create crap, because it’s the crap that fertilizes the good stuff!”

Resources In this Episode

Eli Trier’s Demystifying the Artist project info & sign-up page

Brené Brown and her wildly viral YouTube video on shame

LCN 008: Do You Suffer from Envy & Compare & Despair Syndrome? How to Spring the Comparison Trap! (Podcast)

The Comparison Trap: Wrestling with Envy (Blog post)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 056: Demystifying the Artist appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 055: How NOT to Tell If You’re a Real Artist
23:29
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 23:29
LCN 055: How NOT to Tell If You’re a Real Artist

LCN 055: How NOT to Tell If You're a Real ArtistI want to talk about something that has made a lot of creators feel pretty badly about themselves including me!

I wrote about this on the blog last year (click here to read the original article), and I thought it was a good time to revisit this topic, because I know somebody out there needs to hear this.

If you’ve been wondering whether you’re a real artist, because you can’t honestly say, “I can’t NOT make my art,” or “I can’t NOT write,” or “I can’t NOT do my creative thing,” then this one is for you!

Quotes In this Episode

The truth is, the more important something is to you, the more resistance you re likely to feel. (Click to tweet!)

Melissa’s Golden Formula: Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good. (Click to tweet!)

Instead of beating yourself up, love yourself up. (Click to tweet!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 055: How NOT to Tell If You’re a Real Artist appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 054: Tackling the “Why Do I Even Bother?” Gremlin
19:21
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 19:21
LCN 054: Tackling the “Why Do I Even Bother?” Gremlin

LCN 054: Tackling the "Why Do I Even Bother?" GremlinOne of the biggest reasons that I hear for why creative play doesn’t have a bigger place in people’s lives can be boiled down to three words:

“What’s the point?”

In other words:

“I’ll never be a master.”

“I’ll never be as good as So-and-So.”

“I’ll never make a living from it.”

Etcetera, ad nauseum.

And the conclusion drawn from all of these truisms is, “so why even bother?”

I wrote a blog post about this back in 2012, which I republished last year, but it’s an issue that can never get too much attention, as far as I’m concerned, so that’s what we’re talking about today the gremlin that I refer to as the “Why Do I Even Bother” Gremlin.

My answer to “what’s the point?” involves a trip to the San Francisco Library, Baryshnikov, spinner dolphins, and even a little bit of evolutionary theory.

Have a listen.

And to read the original post that inspired this episode, click here.

Quotes In this Episode

“Why bother? Because you love it. I know I ll never dance like Baryshnikov, but it s still fun to wiggle around on a dance floor! -paraphrased from Annie Cicale

What’s the point of creative play? Because it’s fun! Why should there have to be any other point? (Click to tweet.)

Why shouldn t because they can, and it s fun be a good enough reason to do something? (Click to tweet.)

Resources In this Episode

The original post that this episode is inspired by: The Why Do I Even Bother? Gremlin, Spinner Dolphins, and the Point

The Richard Harrison Collection at the San Francisco Public Library (ask for Andrea Grimes!)

Annie Cicale

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 054: Tackling the “Why Do I Even Bother?” Gremlin appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 053: How Do You Keep Enthusiasm to Finish When You’re Constantly Interrupted?
19:52
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 19:52
LCN 053: How Do You Keep Enthusiasm to Finish When You’re Constantly Interrupted?

LCN 053: How Do You Keep Enthusiasm to Finish When You're Constantly Interrupted?Every so often I send an “ask me anything” tweet. Sometimes the responses lead to gems, as this one did yesterday:

Ah, now that is a big question!

And as a non-parent, my first thought was from my gremlins. “Who are you to presume to give advice to a parent?” they growled.

My next thought was that when I’m enthusiastic about a project, no interruption has a prayer of dampening my enthusiasm.

Heck, yesterday all I wanted to do was work on the new dashboard I’m creating for the Creative Sandbox, and update my signature week-long ecourse, Creative Sandbox 101, to get it ready to open up again.

And though I have no kids tugging at my apron strings (or, more accurately, tugging at my yoga pants), my day was filled with interruptions (Great ClutterBust calls, previous commitments that had to be attended to, lunch…).

But the interruptions didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. They only made me more eager to get back to work!

When I’m enthusiastic about a project, it’s pretty much all I think about. No interruption stops that.

That wasn’t going to be a helpful response to @LisaWritingWild, though. I mean, my goal is to help people, not make them feel bad!

So I tentatively started thumbing in my reply…

 

…and in the middle of those 140 characters it occurred to me that @LisaWritingWild’s interrupting kids might not actually be killing her enthusiasm for the project itself.

No, I suspected that her little interruptions were killing her enthusiasm for starting, when she knows her efforts will be halted as soon as she starts.

So I tweeted back:

@LisaWritingWild replied:

 

Ah, yes. Here’s where it comes in handy to have a background as a nursery school teacher, and a mom who is an expert in social problem-solving with young kids, complete with a Masters Degree in Human Development.

This kind of stuff is dinner conversation with my mom (though, alas, she didn’t know all she does now when I was a young child…)

I kind of absorbed a lot of stuff through osmosis, growing up with my mom. And though I do not claim to be an expert in parenting or dealing with kids by any means, I did have some ideas to share.

So I tweeted back:

I’m not saying this will be easy (it’s always much easier to give advice than to implement an idea in real life!)

The Importance of Setting Limits

What I am saying is that setting limits is essential.

And whether you’re dealing with a 5-year-old child, or a 55-year-old spouse, or anyone else, for that matter, YOU are the only one who is going to set limits on your time and availability. (Click to tweet!)

Nobody else is going to do it for you. It’s not in their immediate self-interest to leave you alone, so you can’t expect them to!

It is in their long-term self-interest, because without your create time you are likely to turn into a cranky, resentful, Demon Mother From Hell. But they are not going to make this connection themselves.

Left to their own devides, kids (and let’s face it, most spouses too!) are only going to go after immediate gratification!

So it’s your job to train them. And until you do, you are going to be intimately acquainted with resentment.

What You Need to Know About Resentment

Here’s the important thing to know about resentment: it’s not actually about the other person.

Resentment is anger at yourself, misdirected at someone else through the lens of victimhood. (Click to tweet!)

In other words, resentment is a clear signal that you didn’t draw a line somewhere. Or you drew it, but you didn’t hold it. (Click to tweet!)

People are always going to go after what they want, and if what they want is your attention, they will keep going after it until you make it very clear what you will and won’t allow.

If you don’t make it clear? You may as well get comfortable on the ground, because there will be nothing to distinguish you from a doormat.

And by the way, it’s not just people who will draw your line for you, if you don’t draw it yourself.

Lessons Learned from My Cat

Back during my ill-fated marriage to my first husband the practice husband we had a cat who had that poor man wrapped around her little white-booted paw.

Koosh, of blessed memory, my sweet tuxedo kitty. Ah, how I miss her.

<em>Koosh, of blessed memory.</em>

She would curl up in my arms every night, but at 4:00am she’d make her way over to the dresser and take a flying leap onto the practice husband’s belly.

Needless to say, it was quite effective at waking him up. And, as Koosh quickly learned, when she woke him up he would feed her.

Every day he would complain that the blasted cat was ruining his sleep, because once he got out of bed and put food in her bowl, he was too wide awake to fall back to sleep!

But the fault wasn’t really Koosh’s. She was just being a cat, doing what cats do.

He was the one who was teacher her that leaping onto his belly at 4:00am was an effective strategy to get an early morning snack.

I should mention that Koosh never leaped onto my belly, because the few times she tried, I ignored her, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Take a Look Inside

If you’re constantly interrupted when you’re trying to create, whether you’re dealing with cats, kids, or anyone else, instead of just blaming them, look at your role here. What are you teaching them about the value of your creative work (and hence the value of creative work in general)?

What do you want to teach them?

What needs to change to teach them that?

This is where you get to use your creative brilliance to figure out how to make it work.

If you don’t feel like you can draw a line, then there’s likely a deeper issue going on: maybe you don’t feel a sense of permission to take time for yourself, or maybe you have some more work to do (many of us do) on limit-setting in general.

You are the one who has to draw the line.

You got this.

Quotes In this Episode

Whether you’re dealing with a 5-year-old child, or a 55-year-old spouse, YOU are the only one who is going to set limits on your time and availability. (Click to tweet!)

Resentment is anger at yourself, misdirected at someone else through the lens of victimhood. (Click to tweet!)

Resentment is a clear signal that you didn’t draw a line somewhere. Or you drew it, but you didn’t hold it. (Click to tweet!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 053: How Do You Keep Enthusiasm to Finish When You’re Constantly Interrupted? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 052: The Only Difference Between You and a Real Artist
21:35
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 21:35
LCN 052: The Only Difference Between You and a Real Artist

LCN 052: The Only Difference Between You and a Real ArtistI remember, back in 1994, the first time I went to an art store as an adult.

I’d recently gotten married (to the practice husband), and at our wedding we gave glass votives as wedding favors. We had a bunch of them left over, so it occurred to me to wrap some pretty papers around them and give them to my friends as holiday presents in December.

Except that I didn’t have any pretty papers, so I drove to the nearest art store.

And you know what? When I walked in that door I felt like I was trespassing.

I wasn’t an artist! I didn’t belong there! What the heck did I think I was doing?

I think I actually started sweating.

I think part of me was half afraid someone was going to call me out, even kick me out of the store.

Luckily I did manage to buy some papers, and I did glue them around some of the votives…

But then it occurred to me that if I were to cut some shapes out of the paper before gluing it to the glass, it could create a really neat effect: like a mini luminaria.

And this part cracks me up: I didn’t want to “ruin” any of the pretty papers that I bought, so I used the brown kraft paper that the papers were rolled up in when I bought them.

Votive candle holder with papercuttingI still have that votive the piece that sparked it all!

And because I didn’t have an X-acto knife at the time (because, I wasn’t an artist!), I actually used a paring knife to cut the shapes out of the paper.

Yeah, that kinda hurt…

But I really liked this papercutting thing. In fact, I really wanted to do more of it.

So maybe a day or two later, I drove back to the art store, and bought an X-acto knife.

Still feeling like I was trespassing, by the way, but if something is compelling enough, it helps you get past Imposter Complex, at least enough to spend $4.95 on a new tool.

Though I confess I felt horrendously guilty about spending $4.95 for something so frivolous, when I wasn’t earning any money at the time.

Anyway, that’s how it all started. That is the origin story of how I ultimately became an artist.

And what I want to share with you is that I could not call myself an artist for about two years.

Even though the exploring and creating I was doing was expanding my life. Bringing me joy. Feeding me.

I wasn’t an Artist. Or even an artist. I just liked making things.

And when I finally did start calling myself an artist, what was the real difference?

Was it that I had buyers? What that what made me an artist?

It’s validating, for sure, when someone pays you for what you’ve made. But I think what was really going on was something even deeper than money.

The One Real Difference

I’ve spent the past six years of writing, blogging, podcasting, teaching, and consulting, all with the goal of helping people live full-color lives. And it wasn’t until sometime last year that I realized that the only real difference between artists and everyone else or, more specifically, between those who self-identify as artists, musicians, writers, etc., and everyone else is one simple thing.

And it’s not talent. It has nothing to do with talent.

And it’s not whether or not you get paid for what you do.

It’s entitlement.

Those of us who don’t identify as artists (or musicians, writers, etc.) simply do not feel entitled.

And I say “those of us,” instead of “those of you,” because I’ve been there. And some days I’m still there, when my Imposter Complex gremlins are rearing their ugly heads, telling me things like,

“You’re not a real artist. When’s the last time you sold a painting?”

“You’re not a real musician. If you were you’d be making music several hours a day, and performing regularly.”

“You’re not a real writer. Where’s your book?”

And on, and on, and on.

Entitlement.

Permission. This is the only thing separating “non-creatives” and non-artists from everyone else.

“I don’t have permission to create, because it’s frivolous and self-indulgent.”

Or, “I don’t have permission to create, because I don’t make money from it.”

Or, “I don’t have permission to create, because I’m not as good as everybody else.”

It may come out as “I don’t have have time to create,” but who’s policing that time? I’d wager that person has the same name as you.

So how do we create entitlement?

I think you create entitlement the same way you do anything important: you set your mind to it. (Click to tweet.)

You set the intention. You practice.

And you fake it til you make it.

I remember the most godawful, humiliating conversation that I had with a couple at some event for my synagogue, right around the time when I was diving into art and calligraphy after fifteen years of truly believing that I was not a creative person.

The woman asked me what I did, and my response was something like, “I, um, well, I make things with calligraphy and I, um… style myself as sort of an artist.”

I style myself as sort of an artist? What does that even mean? It was a freaking apology!

And it was horribly embarrassing. I’m sure I turned beet red, and I wanted to disappear into the wallpaper.

It was this painful moment that made me realize that I had to stop apologizing.

For not being more advanced than I was in that moment.

For trying something new and wanting to be really good at it, and not being that good yet.

For being human.

And this is what I want you to practice in your own life. 

Stop apologizing for being human.

Watch for those moments when you’re not feeling entitled. Take note of them, and lean into them. Push back.

Who’s telling you you’re not entitled? Who’s telling you that you don’t have permission?

Quite possibly, at one time in your life, somebody did tell you.

A teacher or a parent, or even another kid, might have really wounded you, shamed you around a creative act. According to Brené Brown’s research, over 42% of people can remember a specific incident from childhood in which they were so shamed around an act of creativity that it forever changed how they feel about themselves.

“Just mouth the words, honey,” a choir director once told my mom.

“You can’t draw!”

“Horses aren’t blue!”

“Who do you think you are?”

It’s not only in childhood, either.

During my first year in college, I was walking down the street one night with a group of new friends from my dorm, and one of the guys (whom I realized, years later, was probably trying to flirt with me) said, “Who told you you could sing?”

And I didn’t sing in public for over a year.

Those shaming incidents stick with us.

But the good thing is that we can overcome them.

Humans are resilient.

It takes work. It takes intention. It takes practice.

But I am telling you, right now, that you are entitled. 

You have permission to play and create in whatever medium or genre or format you want. You get to do it.

Now, I know that my saying that is not enough. But ultimately, you are the only one who can write your permission slip. (Click to tweet.)

So start writing it. Now.

(If it helps, download my Creative Permission Slip for free by filling in the form below.)

You got this.

Fields marked with a * are required.

Creative Permission SlipGet Your FREE Creative Permission Slip!

Give yourself permission to play TODAY! Download the Permission Slip, and you ll also get practical inspiration about once a week for living a full-color creative life NOW, plus first dibs on new stuff to help get you and keep you creating.

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Quotes In this Episode

I think you create entitlement the same way you do anything important: you set your mind to it. (Click to tweet.)

The only difference between artists and everyone else isn’t talent – it’s entitlement. (Click to tweet.)

No time to create? Who’s policing that time? I’d wager that person has the same name as you. (Click to tweet.)

Ultimately, you are the only one who can write your permission slip. (Click to tweet.)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 052: The Only Difference Between You and a Real Artist appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 051: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 2)
31:17
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 31:17
LCN 051: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 2)

LCN 051: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 2)Next Tuesday is the start of my month-long Spring cleaning party on steroids, the Great ClutterBust. (Want a little taste? Join me on Thursday or next Monday for a LIVE Mini ClutterBust webinar!)

To mentally prepare for the Great ClutterBust, last week, in Part 1 of this two-part series, I shared four excuses that get in the way of releasing clutter.

As I said:

There are deep-rooted emotions tied to our stuff, and unless and until we deal with the emotions, there s no way we can get rid of the stuff!

So today I share Part 2 four more reasons we hold onto clutter.

Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 2)

Read/listen to Part 1 here.

5. “I spent a lot of money on it!”

Last week, I mentioned in Part 1 how hard it was for me to let go of the ketubah print samples I’d made up to exhibit at my booth at wedding fairs.

The main reason letting these go was because to do so meant burning a bridge it meant cutting all ties to that particular career direction.

But even after I knew I never wanted to do another wedding fair as long as I live, it still felt hard to let go.

Why?

Well, partly because geez, I’d spent a lot of money on the darn things!

Eventually, the prospect of freed-up space (along with not being reminded on a daily basis of my failure at turning wedding fairs into the magic bullet that would 10x my business), overcame my resistance to let go. But I will not lie to you it was hard!

Imagine, then, how much harder it’s been to even consider letting go of the hundreds of ketubah lithographs stacked in boxes under my bed.

A little background: Most of my ketubah designs are digital “giclée” prints, which are printed to order, one at a time. But two of my early designs were printed the old-fashioned way, using offset lithography. Which means the entire edition was printed at once, and now I’m stuck with having to store all those prints.

All 2,000 of them… (And let me tell you, 2,000 19″ x 25″ prints take up a lot of space!)

Each of the two lithograph designs has a variety of pre-printed texts (so couples can pick the text that works for their needs), all with blank spaces that are intended to be filled in by hand, with the couple’s names, wedding date, and wedding location. And for several years that was a big part of my job as a ketubah artist: filling in prints with special calligraphy pens, to match the pre-printed text.

But I stopped doing that back in 2005, when I had fonts digitized from my calligraphy.

(Can I hear a “hallelujah!”?)

And now almost nobody fills in prints by hand anymore, so I’ve got thousands of units of stock that rarely sell.

My Arts & Crafts Roses design has always been a good seller, but I have a version of that design without any pre-printed text, and a stack of those “border-only” ketubot live at my printer’s warehouse. So when someone orders that ketubah, I create a file of the text, which my printer prints onto the blank ketubah.

The rest, though, are taking up space, weighing me down. And oh, how I’d love to liberate that space!

But these are assets! I still have my ketubah business, and how could I possibly dump assets that could bring in revenue?

But are they really assets?

I’ve sold a lot of these prints since they were created back in 2002. Many tens of thousands of dollars worth, in fact. But sales have slowed down, and honestly, I’m just not interested in investing more time and energy into selling them, because my passions lie elsewhere (in building up my business as a Speaker and Creativity Instigator!)

So these “assets” are, in fact, just taking up space.

It finally occurred to me to add up how much I am actually earning each year from selling these particular prints. The truth is, at the rate they’re currently selling, it could take several lifetimes to sell out the editions!

So then I asked myself, if I had to rent even the smallest storage locker to store these puppies, would it make financial sense?

That sure put things into perspective!

All of a sudden, instead of seeing the prints as assets, I saw them as liabilities that I am essentially paying (in space and irritation) to store (and do you know what space costs in Silicon Valley?)

Suddenly my willingness to let them go rose dramatically.

But there was still another hurdle to leap over…

6. “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.”

Once you’ve earmarked stuff for releasing, the next question is: what the heck do I do with it?

This is where perfectionist gremlins love to creep in!

To continue with the example of my ketubah prints, for a few years the only viable solution to clearing those boxes out from under my bed seemed to be to try to sell them.

But guess what: nobody else wanted to take on this particular storage problem, either!

So they sat there, gathering dust (no doubt contributing to our stuffy noses in the morning).

And when I finally dealt with #5 above, and felt ready to let them go without trying to recoup (more) revenue out of them, I found myself stuck with what to do next.

There are pounds and pounds of really good quality paper in those boxes! The prospect of shredding the prints or hiring a hauling company to cart them to landfill felt like a horrible waste…

And while I could donate them to a local school or the local Resource Area For Teachers (or RAFT, a warehouse that accepts material donations and sells them for pennies to teachers to use in their classrooms), I didn’t feel comfortable doing so without first rendering them unusable as ketubot, because I don’t like the idea of my art being used or re-sold without my permission.

Of course, it would be easy enough render them unusable by making a big X across the front with a permanent marker, but the thought of having to do this to hundreds of prints, one at a time, just made me want to gag.

(My solution, by the way, was a brilliant idea from my husband: drill holes through a stack at a time. Which is precisely what I plan to do, before carting them to RAFT.)

This is a particularly dramatic example, but I could give you dozens more.

I don’t want to just dump my clutter. I want to dispose of it in the most earth-friendly and useful way possible!

And too often there’s not an easy way to do this… so the stuff just stays.

What’s the solution?

Well, often other people have great ideas. In last year’s Great ClutterBust, members shared all kinds of resources and suggestions for how and where to get rid of clutter.

But I also submit that a healthy dose of imperfectionism is super helpful. 

At a certain point, you just have to accept that done is better than perfect. (Click to tweet.)

7. “I’ll have no more excuse to keep my space off-limits to guests.”

This particular reason is not really an issue for me, personally. In fact, turn this one on its head and you have one of my most effective motivations for clutterbusting!

Nothing gets me clearing stuff out of my space (not to mention cleaning!) like knowing I have guests coming over on a certain date.

It’s a built-in deadline.

If, however, you find yourself resistant to clearing your clutter because you don’t want people in your space, this is a wonderful opportunity to use my Golden Formula (self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good).

Is it hard for you to set limits without the excuse of your clutter? (That’s the self-awareness piece.)

First, acknowledge that you’re human, that you’re not the only person on the planet with this issue. Then perhaps it’s time to practice setting limits as a form of loving self-care. (That’s the self-compassion piece.)

Perhaps it’s time to build up your sense of self-worth, so that you feel you are entitled to set limits!

If you’re keeping your environment cluttered as a way to avoid setting boundaries, you’re not treating yourself with love and kindness.

This is not an excuse to beat yourself up! It’s an opportunity to love yourself up, and to figure out how to love yourself better.

Imagine how wonderful it will feel to be surrounded by beauty and order instead of clutter.

You deserve that wonderful feeling. Whether or not you want to keep your space for yourself.

8. “I don’t know where to start!”

Oh. My. God. This is exactly how I felt for years whenever I walked into my Studio of Doom.

But of course using this as an excuse meant I never started at all!

For me, what worked best to get past this hump was to:

  • Dedicate a month to really make time to declutter, with the Great ClutterBust.
  • Surround myself with a supportive community  other clutterbugs with a deep desire to change, who could inspire each other with “before” and “after” pictures and cheer each other on.
  • Create external accountability and deadlines, via the Great ClutterBust community Facebook group, and our regular live calls.

The group, and especially the regular calls, made all the difference. Throughout the month of the Great ClutterBust, members have literally dozens of opportunities to dial or log into a video conference platform, share what we’re going to work on for the next X hours, and then get to work, knowing that others are working right alongside them… from sometimes thousands of miles away!

Once you’ve made the commitment and set up the right structures to help keep you on track, I always find it motivating to start with low-hanging fruit. Clearing the clutter that is the most irritating to your eyes will make you feel successful, and give you a big hit of motivation right off the bat.

And, just as it says in my Creative Sandbox Manifesto (guidepost #5): If you are stuck, just start. Anywhere!

If you can start, and get the support you need to keep going, it is amazing the space and energy you can liberate, and the magic you can create.

Said Lucy, one of last year’s Great ClutterBust members:

I can move in our garage! Things are in order… paper piles are diminishing… we have a new look and feel in our livingroom. Dramatically changed the Feng Shui. Now I truly enjoy the next experience of being in this room.

Denice wrote:

Is it possible to over-rate calm and serenity? I’m beginning to think not! <smile>

Being in this group has been an incredible motivator for me–it’s the only reason so much has been done these past weeks. It’s not like I didn’t KNOW what I needed to do. I just couldn’t/wouldn’t get started… or would get started and couldn’t/wouldn’t sustain the effort for as long as it would take to FINISH.

Stephanie said:

Every time I throw something out, I feel like a pound of weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel connected and supported as I declutter, which has turned out to be much harder and more emotional than I realized. Knowing I’m not alone in this had been gold. The activity in the group is also a gentle reminder to keep decluttering a priority, so I don’t give up or put it off YET AGAIN. I’m getting clarity on how I want to transform my space to better support me, both in how I want to live and what I want to accomplish. I am literally clearing out the space to live my dreams.

That’s the magic of clutterbusting. I hope you’ll join me for one of my upcoming live Mini ClutterBust webinars, and jump on in the Great ClutterBust, which starts on Tuesday.

Read more and sign up at http://greatclutterbust.com.

Quotes In this Episode

There are deep-rooted emotions tied to our stuff, and unless and until we deal with the emotions, there s no way we can get rid of the stuff!

At a certain point, you just have to accept that done is better than perfect. (Click to tweet.)

Creative Sandbox Manifesto rule #5: Just start. Anywhere!

Don’t beat yourself up – LOVE yourself up! (Click to tweet.)

Resources In this Episode

FREE LIVE Mini ClutterBust webinar – choose from two times: Thursday, April 7 or Monday, April 11.

My ketubah website, Ketubahworks.com

The two ketubah lithographs I mentioned: Arts & Crafts Roses Ketubah and Illuminated Letters Ketubah.

The Great ClutterBustThe Great ClutterBust

It’s a month-long clutter-clearing party! Join me and create the calm, serenity, and space you’ve been longing for. Walk into your dream space before summer rolls around!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 051: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 2) appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 050: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 1)
31:05
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 31:05
LCN 050: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 1)

LCN 050: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 1)What gets in the way of releasing clutter? A lot, it turns out! (Shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, since so many people have clutter problems. Me included!)

Today I’m sharing Part 1 of a two-part series on the seemingly sensible reasons why we hold onto clutter, and how to get past them, so you can let go of stuff that isn’t serving you.

In Part 1, I look at four common excuses for keeping our crap, and how to reframe them to help you let go.

Enjoy!

The Great ClutterBust!In a couple of weeks I’m running another session of my Great ClutterBust a community Spring cleaning party on steroids.

The Great ClutterBust was responsible for clearing metric tons of clutter from the homes (and yards and cars) of dozens of members.

It is what enabled me to finally declutter over twenty years of accumulated clutter and transform my Studio of Doom into a studio I love.

In fact, I created the Great ClutterBust out of a sense of desperation.

I spend most of my time in my studio if I’m not at my treadmill desk working on my iMac, I’m at my art table. And until the Great ClutterBust, I would cringe every time I walked in the door.

The sight of all that stuff weighed on me so heavily. It made me feel disorganized. Out of control. Incompetent. And depressed.

For years I’d wanted to clear it out, but the task seemed monstrous. Impossible.

Finally, last Spring, I leveraged what I knew about making big projects happen (including the six keys I teach in my free webinar, 6 Keys to Eliminate Procrastination and Unlock Kickass Productivity), in order to create the optimal conditions for success.

I very intentionally designed the Great ClutterBust to include:

  • A supportive community (to encourage each other, provide inspiration, and help each other stay on track).
  • Scheduled times to do the work (including live calls where we got to check in about what we were going to focus on during this particular block of time).
  • Deadlines (built into the live calls, because we would report back on the other end!)
  • External accountability (i.e., people to report back to, to make sure we actually did the work as scheduled!)

It worked like magic. Little by little (and in some cases, big chunks by big chunks) I cleared stuff out, carted it away, liberated floor- and airspace, and ultimately overhauled my entire studio (including hacking a new treadmill desk from Ikea parts)!

Here are my favorite before and after pictures:

Studio of Doom - beforeStudio of Doom – BEFORE the Great ClutterBust AFTER the Great ClutterBust - no more Studio of Doom!AFTER the Great ClutterBust – no more Studio of Doom! The "Wall of Doom" in my studio, BEFORE the Great ClutterBust.The “Wall of Doom” – BEFORE the Great ClutterBust. My new Ikea hack standing desk / treadmill desk (still in process.. not done yet!)AFTER the Great ClutterBust – no more “Wall of Doom”!

I won’t kid you: it took a ton of work to get from “before” to “after.” I could not have done it without the Great ClutterBust, and the awesome support and encouragement from everyone in the group.

For one thing, a huge project like this doesn’t happen overnight, and thanks to the Great ClutterBust, I finally made the time.

Even more important, though, was the emotional support.

See, clearing clutter isn’t just a matter of putting in time. There are deep-rooted emotions tied to our stuff, and unless and until we deal with the emotions, there’s no way we can get rid of the stuff!

The emotions get permanently bonded to stories false narratives that make shedding what’s no longer serving us feel not just impossible, but even harmful.

But the truth is, when you clear your space of stuff that’s not truly serving you, not only does it transform your environment, it changes your life!

Releasing physical objects that contain within them emotions, beliefs, and identities, frees us up to allow new storylines to come in.

It’s powerful juju. But it’s not always easy to see the stories, let alone dredge up the courage to do something about them. So let’s shine a light on them, shall we?

In Part 1 of this two-part series, here are four common excuses, and the stories that come with them, which may be preventing you from shedding your own clutter, along with some possible responses.

1. “I might need it someday.”

OMG! How much stuff have I held onto because of these five innocuous-sounding words?

Ask yourself, though, if you’ll really, truly need it. Then ask if your “maybe someday” need is more important to you than the glorious space you’ll be liberating.

Believe me, I love stuff. But unless it’s something that brings me joy or delight, or is useful to me on a regular basis, I have come to value space more highly than stuff. 

Plus, remember, whatever it is you’re hesitant to let go if, it’s likely that you can borrow or rent something similar, if you really do have a need for it someday.

Or you can sit with the idea of (gasp!) just making do without it. (This might even lead you to new creative heights! After all, necessity is the mother of invention, right?)

If you’re still reluctant to let go, you might find the perspective of one of the members last year’s Spring Great ClutterBust useful.

She had just cleared out several houses of deceased relatives and friends, which gave her a new perspective on stuff and its value in our lives.

“Everything is borrowed,” she said, “even our bodies. Everything we own is like a book checked out of the library, and you can’t check out ALL the books, after all!”

With that in mind, I found it easier to let go of things.

Though I will confess that yes, I let go of two things last year that I really did need later: a brayer and a hot gun, neither of which I had used, and both of which ended up being on the supply list for a class I signed up for a mere week or two after selling them at a yard sale.

Doh!

Sigh… I’ll admit I was peeved for a moment, until some Facebook friends pointed out that the $25 I spent to replace them was a small price to pay for a cleared-out studio!

Besides, that brayer and hot gun went to people who would give them a lot more love and use than I had. When I release things “back to the wild” where they will do more than just take up space, it helps relieve the anxiety I feel from their loss.

2. “My mom/sister/brother/aunt/friend gave it to me.”

Ooh… This one is tough, isn’t it? How many well-intended gifts have occupied dead space in my house? Aiaiai!

Marie Kondo’s philosophy on this helped me enormously. She writes in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:

“…let’s consider this more carefully. Most of these gifts remain unopened or have been used only once. Admit it. They simply don’t suit your taste. The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not “things” but a means for conveying someone’s feelings. When viewed from this perspective, you don’t need to feel guilty for parting with a gift. Just thank it for the joy it gave you when you first received it. Of course it would be ideal if you could use it with joy. But surely the person who gave it to you doesn’t want you to use it out of a sense of obligation, or to put it away without using it, only to feel guilty every time you see it. [And if they do, I’d argue they may not be a healthy person to have in your life!] When you discard or donate it, you do so for the sake of the giver, too.”

Discarding something that is just taking up space, and not giving you joy, and making you feel guilty, is good not just for you, but for the giver, too.

Let it go.

3. “Letting it go would acknowledge my failure/defeat.”

Those “skinny” jeans you hate to believe you’ll never fit into again. The baby furniture for the baby that never arrived.

You may have stuff hanging around that continually reminds you of failure… yet letting it go would force you to acknowledge that failure in a more permanent way.

With me, in last year’s Great ClutterBust, it was dozens of ketubah print samples. I’d spent scads of money printing them out and having the bagged with archival foam core, to display in my booth when I exhibited at wedding fairs.

The wedding fairs that ended up being a total bust, and helped drive me deeply into debt!

What kind of energy do you think those print samples carried for me? They certainly didn’t fill me with joy!

Still, letting go of them felt impossible for years. I had to come to terms with the fact that no, I really did not want to pour my energies back into that old business.

Keeping the unused print samples in my space (where they took up about ten cubic feet in my studio closet!) was only holding me back. There was literally no room for my new life.

When I finally donated all of them to a local charity that supplies material goods to teachers to use in their classrooms, it was a hard, but necessary move, and hugely liberating.

It opened space for new successes.

In a similar vein is the next story:

4. “I can’t get rid of it; it represents a dream/goal/identity that I’m not ready to let go of.”

Just the other day I found a box in the far corner of the top shelf of my closet, labeled “dance shoes.”

I pulled it out, and sure enough, inside were five pairs of shoes a pair of ballet slippers, and four pairs of jazz shoes in white and black, with rubber soles and suede soles.

I have not worn any of these shoes in probably more than twenty years. They date back to when I was a serious dancer, intent on a professional dance career.

At age 20 I was sidelined with a vicious case of tendinitis, while studying in the Dance Division of the Juilliard School, and for several years I held onto all of my dance clothes and shoes, in the hopes that I’d soon be wearing them again.

I gave away all my dance warmups years ago, but for some reason I still had the shoes. Some part of me was not quite ready to let go of that “dancer” identity, even after I’d moved on. And then I forgot all about that box.

It was a lot easier to let them go now, but I still felt a little twinge of sadness for a life path that represented a huge, lost dream for many years.

If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. But remember, when you are ready to let go of the stuff, it will no longer be there to remind you of your lost dream.

And holding onto stuff that represents your old identity leaves no room for your new life.

So those are the four excuses that I’m sharing this week. I will be back next week with Part 2 of this series!

The Great ClutterBust!Has this inspired to start clearing your clutter? Join me in the Great ClutterBust!  

Transform your space in just one month, and change your life forever. And have some serious fun (really!) while you’re at it.

Click here to read all about it and join now.

Resources from this Episode

The Great ClutterBust – next session starts Tuesday, April 12!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link), by Marie Kondo

My ketubah website, Ketubahworks.com.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 050: Why We Hold Onto Clutter (Part 1) appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 049: The Antidote to Boredom, and My Secret Weapon Against Gremlins
22:01
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 22:01
LCN 049: The Antidote to Boredom, and My Secret Weapon Against Gremlins

LCN 049: The Antidote to Boredom, and My Secret Weapon Against GremlinsI’m going to talk today about my antidote to boredom, and my secret weapon against gremlins. But first, I’m going to talk about my art.

Trust me, it will all make sense eventually.

A lot of the art I’ve been creating in the past year or so tends toward the minimal.

Despite an earlier tendency towards intricate maximalism, it turns out I love lots of white space, and since the start of 2016 I’ve been enjoying making black and white (coloring-book-bound!*) doodles like this (one of my favorites):

TreeFoil doodle by Melissa Dinwiddie

And this one:

Snow Rose doodle by Melissa Dinwiddie

And this one:

Imaginary tree doodle by Melissa Dinwiddie

(Yes, I seem to be drawn to tree- and plant-like forms.)

But I’m not always a minimalist. In fact, I have a few different abstract black-and-whites that are of the “fill the entire page” variety.

Such as this work in progress:

Topographic doodle by Melissa Dinwiddie (work in progress)

The problem is, these larger doodles take me several days to complete, and once I move from, “Hmm… I wonder where this is going?” to knowing pretty much what comes next, I get bored.

This is where it becomes useful to have more than one work in progress!

Tired of drawing topographic maps? No problem   turn back a few pages and add some new critters to a critter explosion!

Today’s #20minutesinthemorning addition:

Critterfest! detail from larger doodle-in-progress by Melissa Dinwiddie

And the full work in progress as it appears today:

Critterfest! doodle by Melissa Dinwiddie

As long as I can somehow get myself into a “What would happen if..?” mindset, I’m happy.

This girl loves improvisation!

Execution on an existing idea? Not so much…

I did more than enough of that for my lifetime in my career as a hired pen. I’d rather be on edge a little, in a state of constant discovery.

Once the curiosity and sense of discovery dissipate, it starts to feel more like work, less like play.

And for me, play is essential.

Otherwise the perfectionist gremlins start to sneak in and take over. And that leads to paralysis and misery.

Gremlins cannot deal with play, though! It confuses them, so they head off to grab a latte and get a pedicure.

And that is exactly where I want them: otherwise occupied, so I can get down to creating!

But playing seems to be so hard for so many of us.

More on that in a moment   including a paradigm shift that changed my life… and might just change yours.

First, let’s talk about this problem of boredom. I know I’m not the only one with this problem.

“As soon as something seems routine,” someone emailed me recently, “I seem to get stuck.”

If you’re wired the same way, it makes practicing your art a b*tch.

The 2 Phases of the Creative Process

Not everyone is wired like me, though. Some people love the routine and predictable.

I guess they find it relaxing and meditative, but I wouldn’t actually know, because that is absolutely not how I’m wired!

See, whether you’re creating a painting, an online course, a podcast episode, or a new business, the creative process can be broken down into two phases, both of which are required to bring anything into existence.

As Jonathan Fields writes in his book, Uncertainty (aff link), there’s the Insight phase, where we’re connecting dots and making discoveries, followed by the REP phase, which stands for Refinement, Expansion, and Production.

Here’s the thing: you need both of these phases to bring an idea to fruition, but creators tend to be fueled by one, and drained by the other.

Clearly I’m an insight gal. 

I love following my curiosity, asking, “What would happen if..?” and being in a state of constant discovery.

Ask me to execute an idea that’s already fully fleshed out in my head, though, and it can quickly turn into a slog.

Not surprisingly, this can be highly problematic.

It’s why I call on every tool in my toolkit to keep me moving forward when I’m in the REP phase. I need all the help I can get to keep me on task, because I’m bored out of my skull!

Ugh, ugh, ugh!

(This is where my 6 Keys to Eliminate Procrastination and Unlock Kickass Productivity come into play. I’m offering this FREE webinar again tomorrow, if you missed it last time! Click here to sign up for both LIVE access AND the replay.)

It’s also why I’m so drawn to improvisational art forms.

Big surprise (not!) that I fell in love with:

Melissa-Sylvano-tango-JCW2013Yes, that’s me! Photo by Rosaura Sandoval.

Social dances like salsa and Argentine tango (which are fully improvised dance forms, each with its own vocabulary of movement)…

And singing jazz (a musical genre which includes a vast array of sub-genres that range all over the map, stylistically, but all include improvisation)…

And performing improv

The fact that I’m strongly wired to get nourishment from the Insight phase of the creative process is also why I usually draw and paint improvisationally as well.

The more I can incorporate improvisation into my work, the more I can conflate the two phases of the creative process, so that I’m executing and producing at the exact same time that I’m in the moment of discovery.

For me, this is play.

It might be really different for you. If you’re wired to be nourished by REP, it’s likely that the Insight phase gives you the heebie-jeebies. So I would guess that improv would feel like work, whereas the idea of executing a fully-fleshed idea probably sounds delicious.

The important thing is to figure out what works for YOU.

Then the next step is to give yourself permission to play.

Permission to Play: There’s the Rub

I hear from people all the time (All. The. Time.) who tell me that their art is important to them… but whose actions seem to say the opposite. In other words, they never do their art that they claim to love so much.

It’s so confusing! 

You feel that your art / writing / music / whatever is important, so why aren’t you doing it? Don’t actions speak louder than words?

Does the fact that you’re not creating mean that you really don’t want it as much as you think you do?

Friends and relatives, who are trying to be helpful, may have even asked you, “Wouldn’t you be happier just letting it go and getting on with your life, without constantly torturing and berating yourself for not doing the thing you say you want?”

Um, no. This misses the point by a mile.

The reason you’re not doing your art is not because you don’t really want it, but precisely because you want it so very badly.

Yes, it’s counter-intuitive, but the truth is, the more important something is to you, the more resistance you are likely to feel. (Click to tweet!)

And resistance always comes down to one thing: fear.

And fear is powerful gremlin food.

And remember what I wrote above about gremlins?

Gremlins cannot deal with play! It confuses them, so they head off to grab a latte and get a pedicure.

Leaving you free to create to your heart’s content.

The Power of the Sandbox

This is the secret power of my Creative Sandbox metaphor and manifesto: when you really embody the mindspace of a 4-year-old and allow yourself to play unconcerned with the outcome, purely for the joy of the process your gremlins don’t have a chance.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

Like so many worthy practices, it’s a practice.

It’s a practice of noticing (self-awareness), and of allowing yourself to be human and treating yourself kindly, lovingly and gently when you stumble (self-compassion).

Add those two practices together, and you get my Golden Formula:

Self-Awareness + Self-Compassion = the Key to Everything Good. (Click to tweet!)

I developed the 10 rules of my Creative Sandbox Manifesto as a way to get myself to let go of perfectionism, and finally get back to the creative play that I longed for.

And play (when I really let myself inhabit that 4-year-old Creative Sandbox mindspace) is my secret weapon against gremlins.

I practice my Golden Formula (self-awareness + self-compassion) as a way to keep refining and tweaking the practices that work for me.

And that leads to a greater amount of my time spent playing, and that is my antidote to boredom.

Stir well, season to taste.

Let me know how it goes!

Quotes from this Episode

The more important something is to you, the more resistance you are likely to feel. (Click to tweet!)

Self-Awareness + Self-Compassion = the Key to Everything Good. (Click to tweet!)

Resources from this Episode

A ketubah from my intricate maximalism days, a decade ago

Uncertainty, by Jonathan Fields (that’s an Amazon affiliate link, btw)

Listen to my entire Creative Sandbox Manifesto explained in Episode 005, My Top 10 Tips to Get Past Any Creative Block: Creative Sandbox Rules, and performed LIVE (with ukulele!) in Episode 041.

Adult Coloring Book Treasury* Did I mention that two of my black-and-white doodles are included in this Adult Coloring Book Treasury? It’s a collaborative effort from 55 coloring book artists from around the globe, which we’re selling at cost (about $6) right here on Amazon. (And yes, those are Amazon Associate affiliate links, so if you make a purchase I may actually make a couple of quarters!)

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 049: The Antidote to Boredom, and My Secret Weapon Against Gremlins appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 048: Are You Harboring this Stealth Killer of Creativity & Productivity?
19:13
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 19:13
LCN 048: Are You Harboring this Stealth Killer of Creativity & Productivity?

LCN 048: Are You Harboring this Stealth Killer of Creativity & Productivity?I got an email the other day from one of my students that made me really sad.

She was talking about how challenging it’s been for her to stay creative while dealing with a scary illness in the family, and other really serious life issues.

She knows that when she creates, everything goes better. But too often she still can’t seem to make it happen.

She joined an online class on sketchbooking, in the hopes that it would get her to keep a sketchbook of her daily life…

…but her sketchbook lies unattended most days.

She did one of my courses, in the hopes that it would help her stay creative in the midst of everything…

…but she couldn’t keep up.

She was able to take a class at her local college several months ago, and she produced several finished pieces, which was so fulfilling…

…but when left to her own devices, she just feels lost.

I replied to her email with what I think is the most important thing in these circumstances (which I’ll get to in a moment), and she said something in her reply (which I’ll also get to in a moment) that reminded me of the first time I went to music camp.

Flashback

2002. Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. A week of music classes in the woods.

It cracked my heart wide open.

I was still a beginner maybe an “advanced beginner,” since I knew how to hold the guitar and strum a few chords and until PSGW, I had kind of felt like I was trespassing.

Like I was somehow not really allowed to be part of this music thing.

And camp was so welcoming and encouraging that, by the end of the week, something had really shifted inside.

It feels very clunky to try and put it into words, but the way I talked about back then (and how I still talk about it today), is this:

Music camp made me realize that I get to have music. I get to have it.

Now, that may sound kind of obvious. I mean, what the heck does that mean, anyway?

Well, before music camp, I had this belief, this mindset, this self-installed glass ceiling, that said that music playing guitar, singing, etc. was something that you either had to do as your full-time gig, or you didn’t get it at all.

Ridiculous, right?

Obviously I didn’t completely believe that I didn’t get to have music, because I did own a guitar, and I was taking music lessons. But I still felt like a trespasser.

But that story was very entrenched in my mind. So much so, that I didn’t even know it was there.

Until I went to music camp.

Transformation

PSGW blew the lid off that story. Shattered that self-installed glass ceiling.

It made me realize that I didn’t have to be a full-time, professional musician in order to have music in a really big way. I could dive into music as deeply as I wanted.

I got to set the terms of the relationship.

If I wanted to perform, I could make that happen. And that wouldn’t mean that I would have to drop everything else in my life and devote myself exclusively to music.

I got to set the terms.

This shift from all-or-nothing thinking changed everything for me.

It’s what gave me permission, three years later, to start taking jazz vocal solo classes at a community college…

…which led to me sitting in practically every week (usually two to three times a week!) at a regular jam session at a bar nearby…

…which led to me the opportunity to “open” for another singer at one of her regular gigs about a year later…

…which led to me starting to play gigs of my own, learning to assemble bands and be a bandleader…

…which, over the past couple of years, led to me playing around with looping (with the Loopy HD app), and assembling enough original material to play house concerts solo! with just me and my ukulele!

As in, filling two hours of entertainment all by myself!

Tiny steps, born of permission to create my own relationship with music, took me down a path that I never would have gone down if I’d been stuck in that all-or-nothing mindset!

The Stealth Killer: All-or-Nothing Thinking

So back to that email I got from my student. My reply included this:

FYI, I think the most important thing is to keep setting and re-setting the intention, and taking tiny actions even if it feels like one tiny baby step forward and two steps back. (The most important practice is just getting back on the wagon, remember.  )

(Yeah, I know, that’s a lot of “most importants.” But I stand by it.)

And her reply to me really nailed the issue:

All my excuses and all-or-nothing thinking topple with the practice of pushing the reset button as many times as needed. Tiny actions are something I can hold on to.

Amen.

See, all-or-nothing thinking invariably leads us nowhere. 

If I was going to have to be a full-time, professional musician in order to dig my teeth into making music, honey, that was just never going to happen!

If I had to be a full-time, professional artist in order to paint or draw, no way.

And actually, I did become a full-time, professional ketubah artist, and it burned me the heck out… Because I wasn’t creating to please myself. I wasn’t creating for the joy of it.

I was creating to please my clients and to make money.

Nothing wrong with that arrangement, but it’s no longer a deal that I’m interested in striking. (And if it’s a deal that works for you, just make sure you still get dedicated time to play and explore, just for fun!)

And the important thing to remember is that it is not the only deal in town!

Getting back to my student, who signed up for one of my online courses, but “couldn’t keep up”…

When I sign up for a new class, I’m always afraid I won’t be able to keep up. But if I can get really clear on my intention, and see the class not as “I’ve got to do everything, or I’m a failure,” but as “I know I won’t manage to participate in everything, but I want to get X out of this class, and will focus on that”…

…then I can focus my energies on enjoying and appreciating what I’m getting, rather than lamenting about what I’m not getting.

My whole music “career,” I could have spent the past fifteen years lamenting that I wasn’t touring the world as a signed-with-a-label-world-class musician. But instead, I focused on what I do get to do:

I get to stand up on stage and perform for people!

I get to play in somebody’s living room!

I sometimes even get paid!

I get to have the thing that I was really hungry for as a singer, as a songwriter, as a musician even if it didn’t come with the kind of “package” that I thought it had to come with.

Creative Sandbox Thinking

There are infinite possibilities for the relationship between you and your chosen creative expression (or expressions, if you’re a passion pluralite, like me).

You get to set the terms.

And if you are feeling stuck, not making the time, avoiding that creative thing that you most want to do, I suggest it’s time to take a hard look at the stories you’re telling yourself.

Is there a voice that tells you it’s not worth it if you can’t spend hours every day?

Or if you can’t be “World-Class”?

Or [insert your own expectation]?

Is there an all-or-nothing self-installed glass ceiling above your head?

What is your real intention? 

What are you really hungry for?

If it’s to be famous, or make a million dollars, I don’t have much advice for you, but hey, more power to you!

If your intention is to experience the joy and fulfillment you feel when you do the things you love…

…and maybe to always be pursuing a greater level of mastery (as long as it doesn’t lead to perfectionist paralysis)…

Well, just keep hitting the re-set button on that intention. And keep moving forward, tiny baby-step at a time.

You may be surprised at how far you get.

And even more importantly, you’ll enjoy the journey a whole lot more.

Quotes from this Episode

Stuck? The most important thing is to keep setting and re-setting the intention, and taking tiny actions. (Click to tweet!)

Fell off track? Remember: the most important practice is just getting back on the wagon. (Click to tweet!)

Resources from this Episode

Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (my first music camp, ever!)

I also highly recommend:

California Coast Music Camp (modeled after PSGW)

Jazz Camp West (where I go the last week of June, every year)

Loopy HD looping app for iPhone/iPad

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 048: Are You Harboring this Stealth Killer of Creativity & Productivity? appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 047: Transformations, Revelations, & Lessons Learned on Retreat
32:49
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 32:49
LCN 047: Transformations, Revelations, & Lessons Learned on Retreat

LCN 047: Transformations, Revelations, & Lessons Learned on RetreatEvery year there are four getaway gatherings that I attend purely for the way they make me feel:

All four events have business benefits, but I go for me, first and foremost. In fact, these events have become sacred on my calendar. Nothing gets between me and these four gatherings.

They are like islands of time during the year that feed me and fuel me for the months in between.

Last week was the first of the bunch for 2016: the Friends of Calligraphy Spring Retreat. It’s five days (and actually six, because I always pay extra to come a night early) of unstructured time, where I get to do whatever I want.

The setting is beautiful and serene: Santa Sabina Center in San Rafael, a Tudor-inspired building constructed in 1939 as a convent for novice nuns.

Santa Sabina Center Inner Courtyard

There is a lush a central courtyard (above), and beautiful gardens surrounding the building, fresh flowers grace the common rooms downstairs, and the doors and common areas sport signs hand-lettered in calligraphy, thanks to a 30+-year relationship with the Friends of Calligraphy.

(In fact, I did a few signs one year at the retreat, including the one in this picture, taken from the opposite side of the courtyard:)

Sign and courtyard at Santa Sabina retreat center

The biggest common room is transformed for the week into the Scriptorium, with dedicated table space for each of our 30+ retreatants.

(Here’s a view from the back of the room:)

The view from the back of the Scriptorium at the Friends of Calligraphy Spring Retreat at Santa Sabina Center

Oh, and Santa Sabina also has absolutely delicious food! Better than any other institutional setting I’ve been in. They actually produced a cookbook in 2014, because the kitchen staff was swamped with so many recipe requests from guests.

Last week was my fourteenth year going to the FOC Retreat. I’ve missed only one year since 2002, and I’m not unusual. People are so devoted to this retreat that of the 33 people at our opening circle on Wednesday night, only one was a newbie.

Once people experience this retreat, they come back, over and over again. 

The first year I went to the retreat, 2002, my original plan was to take the five days as a much-needed vacation. The spousal support that filled in the gaps after my divorce had ended in 2001, and I was working like a dog to grow my ketubah business enough to make up the difference. I needed a break, bigtime.

But I didn’t get one…

Not long before the retreat, I had agreed to produce print versions of two ketubah designs (this one and this one) for couples getting married a few months down the road. The designs were based on ketubot I had previously created as one-of-a-kind originals, but those artworks now lived in the new owners’ homes, which meant that I had to not only create new original art (a time-consuming process on its own), but I also had to letter out several different texts for each design (ketubah wording varies depending on who is officiating the ceremony), then I had to have the artwork and calligraphy scanned, proof the files, and have everything printed, laser cut, and foil stamped.

In short, I had a ton of work to do, and because the final prints had to be done in time for me to personalize them for use in my clients’ weddings, I had a hard deadline.

It was insane. And because a lot of the production was out of my control, my stress level was through the roof.

So my original plan was to take the FOC Retreat as playtime away from the stress, but instead I ended up having to work on the ketubah print jobs, because of the time crunch to get them done.

What a disaster.

While everyone else was lingering over meals and relaxed conversation, I was running around with my shoulders up to my ears and my blood pressure through the roof. It was miserable!

I wanted to be like my fellow retreatants, laughing and sighing contentedly about how lovely and relaxing this week was. But instead, I was trapped in a prison of my own making.

That year at the retreat taught me an invaluable lesson, and I vowed never to work on client projects at the retreat again! Playtime only!

In fact, for the next eight years, until I had my big awakening in 2010 that launched me on my journey to a full-color life (and started this blog!), the Friends of Calligraphy retreat was the only place I made art purely for the joy of it.

Sometimes I’ve made art at the retreaet that directly benefited my business one year I painted four new ketubah designs (including this one, this one, and this one), another year I made 27 paintings one for each letter of the alphabet, plus an ampersand (which became this ketubah, and this one), and one year I wrote 3,500 words each day on a book project but the rule is that I only do things that I want to do, because it nourishes me to do so.

Some years I arrive with an idea of what I want to work on, and other years I just load the car with supplies and figure out what I want to create while I’m there.

And sometimes, like this year, I have a very clear plan of what I want to do… and the week turns out completely differently.

Often it’s years like this that have the most gifts.

On Tuesday, when I loaded up my car to drive the 90 minutes to Santa Sabina, I had great plans for the week:

  1. Make an animation every day.
  2. Draw every day (continuing my daily black-and-white doodle drawings, which I’d like to eventually turn into a coloring book when I have 20 or 30 of them).
  3. Map out the content for my next keynote presentation.

This didn’t seem too much to ask. In fact, it seemed quite reasonable to me. But, as is so often the case, my eyes were bigger than my plate.

I did make an animation the very first night, after setting up my work table (raised with bed risers, so I could stand, like I’m used to doing at home).

I took a table at the very back of the room, so my photo light wouldn't be glaring in anybody's eyes but my own! I took a table at the very back of the room, so my photo light wouldn’t be glaring in anybody’s eyes but my own!

 

Things seemed to be off to a great start, despite the migraine that had started sinking its claws in before making the drive up…

And the next day, plagued with headaches on and off throughout the day, I mostly napped and read. Fiction, no less! So indulgent!

While I did have some wonderful art-making time (below are a couple of snapshots of works in progress on my table at the retreat), for the most part it ended up being entirely different from what I had planned.

 

 Altered book and watercolor-in-progress at the 2016 FOC Retreat

Watercolor paintings-in-progress at the 2016 FOC Retreat      

 

The daily animations?

Well, I did eventually make a second one… on the last night!      

 

When I arrived at Santa Sabina on Tuesday, my plan was to make an animation every day. Plus draw. Plus write. Plus, plus, plus… This was my *plan*, but it was not what happened. Instead, I made ONE animation (on my first night here!), and although I did do some drawing (and painting!), and a tiny bit of writing, I allowed myself to enjoy long conversations, naps, reading (for pleasure!), and just BEING rather than my usual m.o. of “Do! Do! Produce! Produce!” I allowed myself permission to BE, which, it turns out, was exactly what I needed. (This retreat has a way of doing that showing me exactly what I need, regardless of what my plans are!) Even the daily migraines have been, in a painful way, a gift a reminder to slow down and take care of my needs, allow myself to rest and breathe and be. And here it is, the last night, and I’m finally making another animation. Yay! Simple and fun. It’s good to play. ? #stopmotion #animation #claytoon #claymation #focretreat #fullcolorlife #creativesandbox #livingacreativelife A video posted by Melissa Dinwiddie (@a_creative_life) on Mar 5, 2016 at 9:16pm PST


The black and white coloring book drawings? I spent maybe a half hour. But after looking longingly at the paints and pastels and colored pencils and pens other people were playing with, I realized that what I really wanted to do was play with color.

So I did.

And the keynote content mapping? Ha! I spent about ten minutes jotting down some notes, then accepted that I wasn’t in the right headspace, and let it go.

Let. It. Go.

As I wrote in the Instagram post with my second animation (above), the retreat has a way of showing me exactly what I need, regardless of what my plans are.

And remember that migraine I had on the first day? The whole week was like that: migraines on and off every single day.

Turns out my body was going through withdrawals from weaning off the Amitriptyline I’ve been taking every night. It hasn’t worked to prevent my migraines, but boy, oh, boy, weaning off of it has sure created a lot of them!

Funnily enough, the headaches were a sort of gift, albeit a painful and unwanted one.

I couldn’t power through the way I tend to do. Instead I had to take time out to read and press acupressure points. And while this slowing down gave the driven side of me fits, I’ve reached a point where perhaps the self-compassionate side is starting to tip the scales…

As I indulged in long conversations that lasted well beyond mealtimes, and just generally went with the flow, I couldn’t help but compare Retreat 2016 with Retreat 2002.

What a difference!

In 2002, I was stressed out, migraining (from stress), unhappy, unpleasant-to-be-around.

In 2016, I was relaxed, albeit migraining (from withdrawal!), happy, much-more-pleasant-to-be-around.

Of course this transformation didn’t happen overnight. And it’s not limited to my experience at the FOC Retreats. Over the last fourteen years I’ve changed a lot.

I’m not the only one aware of it, either.

Three different people, over the course of last week, specifically mentioned how different I am now from how I was even just five or six years ago.

I’m calmer. More grounded. More comfortable with who I am.

I can feel it. I’m aware of it, so I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that other people are, too.

And because the FOC Retreat is something I go to once a year, every year, I can really gauge how I’ve changed.

It’s really gratifying, because I’ve been working very diligently for the past several years on letting go of the perfectionism and the workaholism, springing the Comparison Trap, accepting and loving myself, truly practicing self-compassion.

It all started with giving myself permission to create again that is the seed that spawned everything. 

The change has often felt tiny and incremental, but as I always say, baby steps add up, and if you’re persistent, they’ll take you anywhere.

Upshot

When I started this post/episode, I wasn’t really sure where it was going. I knew there was something really important in my experience and my noticings at the retreat this year, but I needed to get it out of my head and into words in order to figure out what it was.

I guess the upshot of this ramble is the importance of positioning where you are now relative to where you used to be. And to remember that change takes time.

Set the intention, chart your course, and just keep aiming in that direction. One of these days you might just realize that you’re there. You might even discover you’re at an even better place than the one you were aiming for.

And then it’s time to chart the course toward the next intention.

Onward, ho!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for Live Creative Now on Tunes! If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

The post LCN 047: Transformations, Revelations, & Lessons Learned on Retreat appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 046: Brodie Welch on Chinese Medicine and Your Full-Color Life
51:24
2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 51:24
LCN 046: Brodie Welch on Chinese Medicine and Your Full-Color Life

LCN 046: Brodie Welch on Chinese Medicine and Your Full-Color LifeThis week I’m sharing with you a conversation with Brodie Welch, a Chinese Medicine practitioner.

On the surface, this may seem rather odd, giving that my focus is creative expression and play. What the heck does Chinese Medicine have to do with living a full-color life?

Quite a lot, as it happens!

Brodie Welch writes on her About page:

“I practice and teach Chinese Medicine so you can experience vibrant health.

Health isn t just the absence of symptoms, though that s certainly nice. It s feeling present for your life and the people in it. It s feeling like you re living in alignment with your deepest values, giving your gifts to the world, and doing this in a sustainable way.”

That sounds a lot like a full-color life to me!

Listen to my conversation with Brodie to learn about the intersection of Chinese Medicine and living a full-color, creative life, tips on freeing your creative energy from the perspective of Chinese Medicine, and more.

Quotes from this Episode

Quotes from Brodie:

“Take that radical act of doing less seriously.” (Click to tweet!)

“Rather than seeing the body as a machine to be fixed, it is a garden to be tended.” (Click to tweet!)

“What we’re up against now is a culture that over-emphasizes doing, speed, work… Yin is what enables yang to happen.”

“Self-care is not selfish.” (Click to tweet!)

“Nobody is going to cheer when you stop overworking or over-serving.” (Click to tweet!)

“I know that I can’t show up with the people in my life when I want to if I’m running on fumes.”

“I’d really love to change [our culture’s tendency to wear] busy-ness as a badge of honor.”

“[Stealing time to surf the internet, instead of feeding your true hungers] is the empty calories of self-care.”

“We are voting anytime we choose to do anything.”

“Showing up over and over again reinforces that you are someone who does this.”

“It’s the little changes over time that are the ones that matter.” (Click to tweet!)

“We inspire each other through our lives. That’s part of how culture changes: when we change ourselves and make it known.”

Quotes from Melissa:

“The most important practice is simply getting back on the wagon.” (Click to tweet!)

Resources from this Episode

Brodie Welch’s website

LCN 010: Power Your Productivity with a Morning Ritual

Brodie’s band, The Hunks & the Hottie, on Facebook

Thanks for Listening!

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The post LCN 046: Brodie Welch on Chinese Medicine and Your Full-Color Life appeared first on Living A Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie.

LCN 045: Why Even Creative Pros Need Sandbox Time
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2017-12-02 05:18:21 UTC 20:05
LCN 045: Why Even Creative Pros Need Sandbox Time

LCN 045: Why Even Creative Pros Need Sandbox TimeSomeone in my Creative Sandbox community mentioned the other day that she’s working on a professional certification in her field as a creative pro, and it’s eating up a lot of her time. The work is fun, and it’s certainly creative, so does it count as sandbox time as well as homework for her certification? I mean, there are no rules in the Creative Sandbox, right?

Well, yes and no. There is no wrong that’s rule number one of my Creative Sandbox Manifesto   but creative practices are not all equal.

See, creative work feeds us differently depending on where the constraints come from.

When you’re completely free of external constraints, and you have nobody to please but yourself, it’s qualitatively different than creating to please someone else, whether that’s a teacher, a client, or an audience.

When I decided, way back in the mid-90s, to turn my creative passion into a business, I thought I’d hit the creative life jackpot. The thing that put food on the table (at least metaphorically), also fed my soul!

That’s every creative person’s dream, right? How lucky was I!

Except that it didn’t quite work that way.

Beware the Professional Trap

Making art on assignment is fundamentally different from sandbox time.

In my case, as an artist who created on commission for private clients, my number one requirement was to please my customer. And even if you don’t take art direction from someone else, even if you have full creative control, whenever an end customer is involved, or whenever you’re required to please a teacher, you just don’t feel as free to muck around and make messes as when you’re intentionally diving into the sandbox.

If you need to please a teacher to get an A or pass a course, you’ve got to do work to their specifications, whether you like it or not. That’s the deal: please the teacher, get the A.

If you’re making something on commission, it’s pretty likely that the person who hired you did so because they liked your previous work, and they want something similar. They’re probably not looking for you to do something wildly new and different, so your job is to stay in familiar, safe territory.

Even if you’re making something not on commission, but to sell to a particular audience, the audience that likes your work likes your previous work, and they want more of the same. If you veer off in a new direction, they may not like it at all.

So in other words, making art in the mindspace of “this is to get me an A,” or “this is to please my client,” or “this is to sell to my existing audie