How to Avoid the Holiday Overload When You are a Sensitive Creative

Creative people are sensitive people. We can enjoy the subtle differences among Yellows, a beautiful piece of music brings tears to our eyes, and a mall this time of year is the equivalent experience of throwing on all the lights at 3 a.m. when you were sound asleep. Overload to our sensitive systems can happen easily during most of the year when there is way too much stimulation and Christmas/Holiday time is all about mass stimulation, and yes, that sounded naughty.

My husband and I were brave enough to shop two stores during Black Friday. There were tremendous sales, people rubbing elbows in crowded aisles, overheated rooms and STIMULATION. After about an hour of grabbing what felt like anything shiny and half price, or even triple below the price, I felt like a kid opening up the twentieth present at Christmas. You are excited, happy, and a little fried and twitchy. I imagine this is what gamblers feel like after a big win. You want more adrenaline, more wins, more more! But being a sensitive person I felt the effect on my body as if I had a large glass of caffeine. I was wired and I had no idea how I was ever going to calm down. After several hours after shopping I started to come down and stare at what we bought. I don’t even know what we picked up. I wasn’t sure of my name. I forgot what month it was. And why was my left eyelid twitching so much?

Holidays are tough. I probably sound like a Grinch but I am just focused on the overwhelm heading my way. Unlike the kids, I have a different experience of Christmas. I remember last year spending DAYS wrapping until I never wanted to see Scotch Tape again. We spent money we didn’t have. The house was wall to wall decorations in weird places. And I am learning that for a parent there is a whole lot of the have-tos which make the experience not so much festive for an adult. 

You have to:

  • Buy presents for the mailman
  • Fill out a Christmas Letter filled with exciting details of the year and I am notoriously private
  • Send out holiday cards after you have no money for postage after you spent all the money on holiday gifts and brave the POST OFFICE LINE
  • Decorate the front yard while trying to keep the new puppy in the backyard but she sees you in the front yard and is flipping out and trying to find a way out
  • Send a gift to a relative who told you to disappear and have a good life
  • Make cookies? I am notoriously awful at cooking so this really causes major stress
  • And now the kids informed me they want to celebrate something called Advent. What is Advent? Does it involve buying more gifts or baking? Please say no.
  • There’s decorating the church with Greens and driving around the neighborhood watching flashing lights so I can have a migraine.
  • There’s holiday parties…I really hate small talk. It’s just cruel.
  • There’s also lots of talk of Jesus, of course, which is a bit awkward when you are Jewish. Conflict of interest.

That’s a lot of Have To’s.

Is there a sure sign of overwhelm? You feel way bitchy. And I mean way. I bet my list even sounded a tiny bit bitchy. Your crankiness can spill all over and those nasty thoughts can even escape if you are not careful and you can scream the F word in front of the kids when you didn’t mean it, or tell one to please stop talking because your ears are going to explode. It doesn’t mean you are the Incredible Hulk having a moment, but it does mean you took way too much on and your circuits are frying. All this stimulation and constant excitement is not meant for a sensitive system. A small tree with a few lights in the middle of the Forest to visit? Yes, that sounds more like it.

Is there a solution??? This year I am having limits. A whole new concept I am learning. It’s an interesting thing that explains and sets what I can and can’t do, and what I am willing to do. You want cookies for your class? Well, then Dad will have to go buy some. Family wants to go to a holiday party filled with noise and kids running around? I am willing to do this one other thing like buy all the presents, but I will stay home and watch Rudolph with the Dogs while you visit. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or want to participate, or not part of the family, it just means that I need to take care of myself or Christmas will be renamed The Migraine Holiday, and January will bring in a bad case of the Flu. Thank you for understanding.

Happy limit making, my friends.

Dedicated to supporting my fellow creatives survive the Holidays,

Gallery of Cupcakes

Care to join the virtual designers with your own cupcake design to the Gallery of Cupcakes?

designwithme

rejectcupcakes

Fun Activity: Help Design Some Cupcakes

Enter the Cupcake Room, and design a cupcake, but don’t be afraid of making mistakes (see reject cupcakes). Print out and download the sheet below to play. Send me your pics and I will share in the Gallery of Cupcakes! Email me.

Click on link:

Cupcake Decorating Sheet

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Gallery of Cupcakes

Here’s Some Cupcake Creations from Fellow Idea Emporium Designers:

Artist: David Wagenfeld, Adult artist, MI

“Lemon Juicyfruit” from Artist: Jacqueline Johnson, Adult artist, FL

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The Excitement Theory: when you are lost

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I hate and I like my 3d animation class. It really feels like Rocket Science and what should take a shorter time always takes forever. I am grateful most of my homework is done during the day when the kids have school because my language at the computer becomes very…colorful. The guy who wrote the manual for the class is a psychopath who wants readers to dive into the book for the first few chapters and THEN he explains simple steps on what is in this tool or that. He teaches in a way that is backwards from what I need. My teacher, God love him, understands the book full-heartedly and speaks his language. He doesn’t see the dilemma. The book skips super simple basic steps and then expects my exercises to look the same. It doesn’t. See below.

The part I like? I do like the challenge of trying to conquer the book. My brain needs to bite down into something or it tends to reel around itself causing me great angst at 3 a.m. in the morning. The conclusion of all this is I probably won’t be a 3d animator. It’s not path. That seems to be a clear direction or indicator there unless I want to fund headache research with the amount of Tylenol I buy.

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So far this looked good. We had to make a cartoon hand with very specific instructions.

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My finished cartoon hand. Yes, I am brutally aware that my cartoon hand looks like he is giving the finger. Thank you to Ben for pointing this out. Subliminally, I think I expressed what I was really feeling. But hey, the thumb looks very Micky Mouse-y, which I dig.

Which brings me to the most important lesson. By experiencing what you don’t like, you become much closer to the path meant for you. That’s direction!

excitesyouframe

I don’t like crafts but I do like to paint. Follow painting.

I love designing from a simple idea. I can see a halloween-like birdcage (today shopping in Michael’s) and think, “Omg! I can make a drawing of an unusual bird for that. And it would have a goth feeling to it. And tiny black trees everywhere. And then make it move up in down in the cage…” Note my excitement. Design that bird.

On the other hand, I don’t like crafts. I don’t want to copy the watercolor technique of Jane Davenport even though she does have a cool whimsical flair she is making boo-coo bucks on. Those styrofoam houses are cute but I’m bored with the designs. I don’t want to collect all the Halloween miniatures and make a display in my kitchen. There’s no ideas there I can jump off. I need to follow more designing.

The problem becomes when you try to convince yourself you like something. Or, that something would be good for you, like my 3d class. I think if I had one of those engineer minds and was one of those people who like to take the dishwasher apart just to see how it works, this would be for me. Wouldn’t it be great if I could do 3d designs in my work? my husband tells me. Yes, it would really cool, but to get to that place I am afraid my head will explode and that will be very messy for all involved. If I can just get a B in the class and not put an ax to my computer, I will be happy.

I will let you in on a teeny tiny secret I am learning now. Ready?

I get most off path when I think I need to follow what others want. Wow, I really like when you write about XYZ. So I write more about XYZ but meanwhile, I’m really excited lately about making an animated playhouse for the Idea Emporium. I just went off path.

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If you gave an online class about being sensitive again, I’d buy it. Crap. I’ve been thinking and wanting to make a zine lately. About being authentic. It’s tickling at me, but I am wondering if anyone would buy it. But maybe I should create what they want instead, but that’s not what is coming through me right now.

Excitement Theory

Deep down I do believe that what has your spark, your enthusiasm, your excitement right now has this cool, registering energy that people pick up. It’s you on your very specific yellow brick road. They react to it. It’s kinda like a new haircut you are excited about and now you are feeling all confident and buzzing and everyone likes your pic on the Facebooks.

And what if they don’t get excited? Ah, indeed. That’s what I am grappling with. I think that’s when you have to have a little faith, a little trust, that the theory that what gives you the most excitement and turns you on is for you. I need to stand by it. I need to at least test drive that for awhile. I could be very wrong, but at least I am enjoying the journey along the way.

What do you think? Have you tried this theory? Does this resonate with you,

Until next Blog Tuesday as I contemplate making this zine, and definitely making a dark goth playhouse for Reg…

ronnidesigningfairy

You are enough

blogenough

It’s easy to get lost.

The world is a little crazy right now. From too much water to too much hate.

As an empath or a sensitive creative person you can get lost in the waves of the collective helplessness. Feeling not enough, is the symptom. And those are the times you need to remember, you are enough, even if you can’t fix what is happening around you. Even if you can’t fix the chaos in your own little orbit at this moment.

Here at the Idea Emporium we celebrate your unique expression and ideas because no one has a voice like you, however you express it.

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I am Enough Fairy Dress coloring

I watch a lot of movies because I love good storytelling. I decided to gather up and share my favorites that bring home this message in case you need an antidote.

  1. Center Stage

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Tale of a ballerina with “bad feet” trying to make it into the world of an elite ballet company with perfect feet.

“But I’m not you. I’m not perfect. I’m just me. Bad feet and all. And I’m starting to think I like that even better.”

Turns out there is a whole series of these movies now. Since I’ve been dancing since I was a tiny fairy, dancing movies always interested me. In Center Stage: Turn it Up, an incredible dancer is rejected from the ballet company. She finds her own unique way to success in a round-about way.

In Center Stage: On Pointe, Bella, the sister of the dancer in the previous movie, accepts she’s no ballerina. She’s built like a real person, for one thing, and Modern is her jive. I’m thinking these Center Stage movies all have the same theme. Success for the circle that doesn’t fit into the square peg, which many of us can relate to.

2. Happy Feet

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In Happy Feet, penguins find their soulmates through their heart songs. This one can’t sing, but boy can he dance. The message? Using the gifts you’ve been given because there’s a purpose for them in the world. And sometimes your heart song is a heart dance.

“Miss Viola: Without our heart song, we can’t be truly penguin, can we?

Class: No.

Miss Viola: But, my dears, it’s not something I can actually teach you. Does anybody know why? Anyone? Anyone?

Baby Gloria: You can’t teach it to us, ma’am, because we have to find out heart songs all by ourselves.

Miss Viola: Well done, you.

Baby Gloria: It’s the voice you hear inside, who you truly are.”

3. The Help

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Holding self-esteem in the face of unacceptance and poor treatment in a racially f’uped time.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

4. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion

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One of my favorite movies of all time, even though it is silly. (Fashion design folks, the clothes are great!) Nothing like feeling inadequate about how far you haven’t gotten in life, only to discover you have gotten farther then you thought, just in a different way. And a healthier way, I might add.

“Lisa Luder: Actually Christie. They have nice lines. A fun, frisky use of color. All and all, I’d have to say they’re really… NOT BAD! “

regpinktieBrene Brown says,” Believing that you are enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect. When we don’t have that, we shape-shift and turn into chameleons; we hustle for worthiness we already possess.” 

Let’s embrace our crazy ideas, our designs, our projects, and our bad feet! Let’s be vulnerable enough to be fully us, and courageous enough to be vulnerable with each other.  And when we forget, these movies can remind us.

Until next Blog Tuesday,

The Fairy has spoken.

FAIRY

 

Creative Prompt: Stars in Jars

designwithme

Take out a sketchbook and draw and doodle ideas for…if you could catch Stars in Jars. In the Invention Room, they do just that. And later sell them in the mall. If you are a writer, write about it. Tell me about this invention. Tell me about stars.

Design thoughts:

Are the stars pointy? Do they light up? Do they need plenty of room to spread out in? Do they require water or lots of air to sit in?

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The Shadow in us we need to greet and Shadow Theater

I anxiously awaited the sun being blotted out while hiding out in the house away from windows with my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, hoping the eclipse would pass quickly. Crouching down on the couch and pretending nothing was happening, while facing my fears of going blind, I thought about the Shadow. Not the old-time radio drama my mom used to play for me on cassettes, but the emotional shadow. Perhaps how we faced this eclipse is how we face that shadow. Some folks were out there with special glasses, with a ton of faith, staring directly at the sun. Since I was not one of them, I must have a hard time facing mine.

The last few weekends at church we covered the seven deadly sins. Now let me explain this. We belong to a really cool church that was test-drove after many different churches that would fit our bi-religion family. Pastor Jessica is super sweet, forward-thinking, deep and a fellow introvert who does enjoy being at the podium for two hours a week. She approached the deadly sins like we should approach our shadow. There was no judgement or shaming, just awareness. We looked at Gluttony and were honest with ourselves where we were holding back and not trusting. We looked at things like Sloth and where we needed to show up. I digged this view of the shadow. Reveal it with a little light, let it out on paper, and then reframe it.

The other day I felt some serious shadow emotions. I was very upset and angry when my stepkids got into an accident. I felt ugly things that probably didn’t make sense or were “wrong” but what I learned was I needed to express those feelings because they needed to come out, otherwise I was guaranteed a whopping headache later. I had to expose them to the light to get to the other side of it regardless how they looked. If I jumped immediately into “being positive,” it was going to go somewhere in my body or hang on for awhile. And you know what? I expressed them. I felt them. I wrote them down. I drew them. I allowed myself to think evil, mean thoughts, and nothing happened. Thoughts did not become things. I didn’t destroy a village. Nothing was burned on the front lawn. And once I did, I got to the other side of it, and thought clearly and calmly, and had more empathy for everyone involved. I judged my shadow, and it was trying to help me.

So this week through my art and through design I want to play with shadows. Light and dark. And shadow puppets.

I’ve been putting together my introduction video for my Playhouse. Want a peek at my sketchbook?

 

Oooh. Pretties. Just begun. Still more to come.

regshadowpuppet

Will you join me? How can you express through being creative and greet and meet your Shadow? How is it trying to help you? Some things to play with, experiment with. Planting a seed.

Until next Blog Tuesday, embrace the Sun and the Moon.

 

 

When the World Goes Crazy, Lighten the Load & Find What Fits

blogwhatfitsI have such the habit of piling it on. What is mine, what isn’t mine, what is the collective mine, what is out there, what is not my responsibility…And I found myself overloading, again. My stomach goes on vacation without me and I get an headache as a big wakeup call that I’ve been carrying the world around on my shoulders. I’m not really sure why I don’t just have shoulder issues, which literally and symbolically makes a lot more sense. I’m guessing because the classic feeling center is the stomach. And sometimes we can’t avoid the overload, like the shakeup that is happening in the world in Charlottesville, or kids going back to school and having big emotions expressed. But one thing I know for sure is that my creativity is deeply affected.

Looking at this overload and the relationship to creativity my mind searches for a solution to bring balance back. In my email today, the fabulously real Danielle Laporte asks, What will you let go of? Letting go translates to lightening the load. Because if I am taking on the world and a whole lot of stuff that isn’t my stuff to work on, I need to drop that suitcase down on the ground, so I can create and express. I need a moment of honesty with myself.

  • I can’t do much about what is happening in rallies of hate, but I can support those who are doing something about it. I can hand it to them.
  • I can’t do much about my stepkids’ world before me, but I can say a prayer that they figure things out themselves and find their voices. I can hand it to them.
  • I can’t do much about the inbalance between what I give out and what I receive…whoa…what’s this…but can I? I can drop things that don’t perform. That feels like I am giving so much out and not getting back? That would really be lightening the load.

Now we are hitting paydirt and some deep honesty…

Last week I mentioned again on Facebook that I was asking for donors at Patreon for my new book. For only $1 or $5 a month folks would be supporting my project, the Idea Emporium Book, as I created it. That’s $1.00. When I started the Patreon page, a few of my dear friends who have seen me through thick and thin, lent their support. I was deeply grateful. With their support I was hopeful, excited, and filled with ideas. I could share bits and pieces of the book. I could share lessons, ideas. And I have. Support feeds your creativity. And I wanted to share with even more people and create even more.

Now I’m an extremely creative person. Sometimes the ideas, whether good or not, flow through too much and I can’t shut off the flow. If I didn’t create I would crumble. It would be like shutting off a raging river and I’d either flood over or dry up. And when I asked and shared, and got crickets, I felt unsupported, invisible. And then I felt resentful. And most healthy people just pull back and don’t share as much. Not me. I give more! With suggestions from a coach for the book she suggested I increase my social media presence and that would eventually sell the book. I added a facebook biz page for my book. I now have two pages to take care of. I started writing again, which I needed to do, because without writing I was cutting off the flow. I got ideas for doing classes again and I wanted to offer a zine. More ideas. More flow. But again, I looked at that Patreon page and the result and I pulled myself way back. This is a business after all, and without financial support coming in, it is hard to feel rewarded for what I do and feel that balance of giving what I have and sustaining that business. Whether folks don’t trust or understand Patreon (which I think might be some of the issue), or whether they don’t see the value, it wasn’t helping.

I felt all this today as I cleaned the house with my stomach healing, and as I avoided the news and social media angst over the world and focused on scrubbing. I’m not sure I will keep my Patreon page as I don’t want to burden my besties, and that is how I am feeling. But I don’t want to let of my idealism either or enthusiasm for what I am creating, or that hopeful feeling when I create something new. And I like to give, I like to help others. That’s my mission.

Creatives, can we be more honest what fits and doesn’t fit us? Instead of doing more work for less reward?

  • The exhaustion of Facebook ads to maintain a page when I am not a social media marketer
  • Having paintings in gallery shows; I am not a fine artist
  • The follow/unfollow technique on Instagram. Can I have a great big Ewwww?
  • Free seminars or classes to get folks to look at your work
  • Wholesale
  • Big venues when I’m a one on one kind of person

I just think the formula to get there we are told and taught is not working for me and I need to find new avenues, new areas of support, to seek out so I can keep creating for those who value and need it. I need to find my formula.

Can you lighten your load and carry less of the world on your shoulders? And what isn’t fitting and what needs to be a better fit for you regardless of “how it’s being done?” Feel free to share what DOES work for you.

Freeing your thinking and my own. Until next Tuesday,

ronnidesigningfairy

 

The Goal is to be as Authentic as Possible, Part One

regtipstrengths

As I was writing in my Brain the other day (what I call my sketchbook notebook), I noticed that the underlying theme I was writing was about staying authentic, having that true voice in my creative work. The artists I admire so greatly all have such a unique style. (Think the late Dr. Seuss). They are true to themselves. I’m sure they weren’t overnight successes and somewhere along the way someone might have told them they were “doing it wrong,” or “too different,” or even told, “Why are you drawing in crayons, when the “in” thing right now is pen and ink?” And yet, they persisted, staying true to whatever was streaming out of them.

Finding that creative style all your own can take years. I know when I started out, my pen and ink drawings were wobbly at best. After lots of training at college, my drawings got more rigid or detailed. My illustration teacher, Dennis Corrigan, taught me how to fine-tune my pen and ink skills and include background places in the drawing for the eyes to rest. I would consider these drawings more realistic in style. This is one of my favorites of Lilibeth and Emily, my first beagles.

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Where I am now in what I create is more of who I am, many years later, with a looser feel. My style is more clear and true to my voice, with a mix of precision from before, with whimsical loose. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how in the world I ever drew that many detailed lines. I lack the patience now and, ahem, cough, the eyesight. I know when I started I lamented I couldn’t be loose and free like some artists. Today, I embrace what I got.

Finding that authentic voice is a lot about being trueest to yourself, and folks can feel it. I’ve seen a lot of Potions out there lately on how to have a successful business. It looks like Fancy Seminars online to sign up for free this or that. It looks like pop in your photo here and take pics of your breakfast. It’s like the girl in high school who loses her identity so THAT boy will like her. All of a sudden, she loves basketball and hiking and wears tight jeans, when everyone knows she prefers soap operas, the mall, and the preppy urban look. If there is no PASSION underneath it, there’s no voice. It’s an empty voice. It should look like this:

The Lab

These kids have a strong, clear voice with their own sense of style. This is fierce passion in action. (SOURCE: NBC World of Dance on Youtube).

Creative folks out there that have such a distinct voice take us into their worlds. We can feel that energy bubbling all over. We feel that expression is coming from a deep source. I rummage through folks on Instagram that copy the mixed media crayon style like Teesha Moore or Jane Davenport. They are just starting in their quest. I am thinking down the line they will find that voice too after putting on someone else’s. Check out artist Claudia Six, who I found yesterday. Her distinctive imaginary friends and dark yet spooky style has a voice all its own. Check out her Alice in Wonderland series while you are there; theatrical yet whimsical. Would love to visit her studio.

Claudia Six

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SOURCE: Claudiasix.com

More scouting around Instagram I look for the voices that can’t be duplicated. I found this artist from California.

Lissa Herschleb

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SOURCE: Instagram, copyright Lissa Herschleb

Her style is funky yet distorted with a bit of whimsy thrown in. Her site. She credits “indigenous peoples and the spirit world” as her influence, and that voice is clear, raw and dramatic. You rock, Lissa.

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A Fanciful Twist – Vanessa Valencia

SOURCE: http://afancifultwist.typepad.com; copyright Vanessa Valencia

And on the other side of the spectrum, Vanessa takes you into her world of glitter and colors and golden retrievers with hats, and you want to get lost there in her imagination. This is a world I bet unicorns live. Each year she sponsors Madhatter and Halloween blog parties that have been fun and entertaining. Her positive and uplifting style bursts through photos on her blog. And through her parties, many try to replicate her, capturing that magic, but that’s impossible. Which brings me to…

The problem with all this admiring is you can envy their style and end up taking on a little of it and muddy up your own. Glitter on my photos? Yes, let’s add that. Black somber seems to work, I will recreate that for my Instagram photos. You are now so far south of who you are and meant to be. Be inspired by their work. Use that inspiration to propel you forward to your authentic path. If they can do it, so can you. As I create my Idea Emporium book, I am constantly reminded of this. With my research I see in other books, my book develops, but I am probably best creating far from the computer or the bookstore so the book can talk how it wants to be. After all, the point of my design activity book is finding YOUR style and voice, not drawing the same cupcake I draw. I want to see your style, your design. 

Grappling and pushing for your style doesn’t work either. You have to get there with experimentation, discovery, and even a few accidents. It can take years or a month. It all depends on how far you can deep-sea dive into yourself, and how much you can bypass the quicksand — all those “not enough” voices in your head.

The advice I keep getting is to STAY AUTHENTIC, whenever I am thrown off course. Be true to what I do best, stick by it, don’t judge it, and that applies to you also. From the examples I shared, the most successful creative people seem to do just that.

pandatrain
from IDEA EMPORIUM book

Until next Blog Tuesday, find what floats your boat and calls to you the most… hey, that has a catchy feel to it. Could be a song. With lots of hugs,

ronnidesigningfairy

ASKING FOR WHAT YOU NEED: If you liked this post, do consider, for only $1 a month even, becoming a patron to support the Idea Emporium Book project. The link is here. And be sure to follow this blog!

What Blocks Your Creativity & What Flows It

I’m excited to get things rolling here at the Idea Emporium. I just started a Facebook page for the world/book, I’m growing my Instagram page to share video clips and drawings, and the book proposal and first chapter are nearing completion. Yay! I’m excited also to have you on this journey and be a part of the Idea Emporium world. This is good stuff, but then why am I having soul-crushing dreams like being naked while driving a car? Or having headaches and this overwhelming urge to live under the bed most the day like my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, Cobi Ann, and I don’t want to create? Making things takes a lot of vulnerability — you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. And creating those things takes up a lot of energy. You need to refill and renew, but creativity can be shut off for a little while. There are THINGS that can block that flow of creating, and THINGS that can keep that river flowing. So here’s my tips if you are feeling hopelessly blocked, numb, pissed off at everyone and everything because all that creative juice ain’t going anywhere. Believe me, I have been there. Like the other day…Drum roll please.

Three Things that are like Toxic Mud to Your Creative Juices & What Will Fix It: 

Too much Social Media Not Enough Creating Take heed my friends! The other day I created a nasty migraine. I was staring at the phone counting my Instagram Followers. I was cursing the Unfollowers/Followers and getting caught in the nonsense game. I looked down at myself, and thought, Dear Goodness, This is my Life now? I hadn’t drawn a thing. Not one. In fact, I probably didn’t look away from that phone in two straight hours. It was my driven personality taking myself hostage. I was close to needing some kind of weekly meetings. Yes, build your audience (I’m talking to you and to myself here), but please go do what you do first! That’s the whole purpose of sharing, right? To have stuff to share? This social media thing of who gets the most followers first reminds me so much of Middle School. Let’s see who has the most friends and is popular, but God forbid, you pull out a tendon and are on crutches one day and no one is there to help you up the stairs when you need it (true story, tenth grade). 

 

You aren’t having fun This is a biggie. Yes, work can be hard and there’s irritating things you have to do like fill out taxes and business forms, and actually leave the house and talk to other people. But there needs to be PLEASURE in what you do. It should be fun. I have a teaching philosophy called the Rubber Ducky Theory. Even the mundane like taking a bath can be fun by adding a squeaky rubber duck to the bath water. In fact, learning should be fun. We integrate more when we are enjoying ourselves. Once you aren’t having fun, it’s a big indication you are heading in the wrong direction. I’ve been reading a fabulous book on Design Thinking called Designing Your Life. There’s this exercise on Engagement and keeping a Good Time Journal (not what you are thinking, you dirty mind.) In your journal, you write about all your activities of your day rating them with how much energy that activity gave you and how engaged you were. The more engaged, the better. What a mind blower! This is your map. Letting you know what you are meant to do, where you thrive and your strengths are, and what gives you true pleasure. That’s fun, people, that’s joy. Go there, says the map. Because years from now on your death bed you are going to resent what you didn’t do (Well, that’s a downer, but you get what I mean.)

 

You are comparing your thighs with someone else’s thighs When I was a teenager I was perfectly happy hanging out with friends and thinking I was way more than enough. Thank goodness for women’s magazines to remind me I was not! What a service. Today’s magazines are replaced by Instagram images of perfect homes and people laughing in mid air. They are photoshopped even on their phones with editing software, and they are posed with all the right things around them. Ugh. Never mind that behind the scenes their marriage is a mess and they are addicted to sniffing glue. A form of torture for artists is to have them scroll the feeds and look at how one artist has a zillion followers even though they draw cartoons with their feet for fun. “Omg!” I cry. I don’t even draw with my feet and my drawings are good. Am I not special enough? I just compared my thighs with someone else’s thighs, symbolically of course, and decided I didn’t measure up. This exercise then cuts off my creative flow and I have zero ideas, and all I want to do is sit and watch an iZombie marathon and be grateful at least I’m not undead. You are your own kind of special, remember that. The whole snowflake analogy thing. Don’t get caught up in that nonsense that is trying to sell you perfume. 

Symptoms Your Creativity is Shut Down:

Antidotes:

  1. Vacation. When my hubby and I went on vacation to California a few weeks back, I filled up my notebooks with creative inspiration. It was glorious. Even day trips can help change the scenery. You need in-person inspiration to experience to fill up that well of ideas. 
  2. Talk to good friends. They are your fans for the creative stuff you make. They love your dress design you made from socks and won’t rip it apart why it doesn’t make sense. You need to fill up with the right voices.
  3. Make what is important to you, important. Quickest way to creative blockdown is to try and please everyone else while creating. Everyone wants you to paint mountains, but you feel pulled to paint old tricycles caked in rust. Please paint those tricycles! In the long run, you will have the bigger success.
  4. Fill up with Goodness. I love looking at Pinterest or hanging out at the library. Barnes and Noble magazines also fill the well. Images love to feed the creative juices. But fair warning: don’t fall into the Comparing sandlot. Watch Spirited Away.
  5.  Dance! Listen to music that gets you hopping. Kick up your feet and move. That gets the juices flowing the quickest and easisest. 
  6. Let things grow in the time it needs to grow.
  7. Be authentic as possible. Get back to yourself. What did you used to love to do as a kid? What is your favorite interests? When’s the last time you perused the graphic novels in the bookstore or checked out the journals in the stationery store? What is most YOU?
  8. Read The Artist’s Way and the whole section of “the odds.”
  9. Go watch Embrace: The Documentary. It will snap you back into place.
  10. What works for you?

So, what do you think? Been blocked? Stuck in the evil muddy waters? Step away from the phone and go put on some music. Better yet, have some coffee at a funky coffee shop with murals painted on the wall. How do you know that creativity is coming right back? You will feel the flutter of ENERGY bubbling up. Until next time,

ps. Do take a look around here and have fun unleashing your creative juices. The Bakery needs cupcakes designed. Episode 1 is ready to be viewed. And join the growing book Patrons over on Patreon and shop the store with upcoming classes to support the project.