Must-Reads for Creatives - On Self-Doubt + Emotional Health -

Must-Reads for Creatives: On Self-Doubt + Emotional Health

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives help us work through self-doubt and sustain our emotional health—throughout the creative process.

Suffering emerges from our constantly second-guessing ourselves. We wonder:

  • Am I actually a creative person, or am I kidding myself?
  • Am I capable of follow-through, or am I just lazy?
  • Am I ready to move forward, or am I an imposter?
  • Are my kids suffering because I’m always on the computer?
  • How do I stop procrastinating and promote my work, as an introvert?
  • Is all of this time and energy even worth it?

Yes, it’s worth it, and you’re capable of bringing your creative ideas into form. Self-doubt is simply part of the creative process.

Most creatives struggle with the same behind-the-scenes worries. I like how creativity coach Eric Maisel frames the common creative challenges: “issues related to the creative process, issues of personality, relationship issues, and marketplace issues.” These issues are part and parcel of the creative process. With support, you can move forward with your creative dreams. Read on…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Am I Creative “Enough”? >>>

Navigating the Creative Industry as a New Creative >>>

Pete Mosley on the Art of Shouting Quietly and How Introvert Creatives Can Thrive >>>

Working to Feed My Soul >>>

Worrying About Being a Perfect Mother Makes It Harder to Be a Good Parent >>>

Peace Over Perfection >>>

3 Daily Practices of Emotionally Healthy Entrepreneurs >>>  Continue reading

1 Simple + Helpful Mindfulness Practice for Creative Clarity -

1 Simple + Helpful Mindfulness Practice for Creative Clarity

Fear of overwhelm feels like a summer haze that leaves you spacey and immobile.

What fuels the oh-so-common fear of overwhelm? You know, the one that prevents you from even considering a new creative project, or following through on that long-held dream?

  • Is it emotional wounds from past experiences?
  • Is it avoidance of anxiety’s physical discomforts?
  • Is it fear of appearing vulnerable and incapable?

The good news is: we don’t need to decipher that in order to feel relief! Let’s start there. Breathe. Shift out of your head and into your body before we move on!

We’re in good company here. I know overwhelm well, and you likely do too. Overwhelm quickly spirals into inaction. Often, we stop our creative projects before they’ve truly begun (though, often, we’ve researched them into oblivion, so we falsely “feel” like we’ve begun).

Recently, two concepts have helped me to take action on my creative dreams (Wondering what mine are? Frequent stream-of-conscious writing to release thoughts and emotions, and developing my creativity coaching practice with bravery).

Concept #1: Become Aware of Your Decision-Making Style.

Psychology researchers have identified two decision-making styles: the maximizer and the satisficer. Maximizers “take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing” (as Elizabeth Bernstein writes). Satisficers “would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).” (Note: If you’re unsure of your style, try this quiz.)

You can be a maximizer in certain spheres of your life, and a satisficer in others. Historically, I’m a maximizer when it comes to work/career and creative projects; I research, ruminate, and end up stuck in analysis paralysis. What’s your style? I ask you to reflect because it matters.

Research demonstrates greater wellbeing for satisficers. I take that to heart in my work here, supporting others in taking creative action with wellbeing.

In our modern culture filled with choices, satisficing might prove satisfying (as Barry Schwartz emphasizes in The Paradox of Choice). Aiming for satisficing just may help us launch and follow through on our creative pursuits (with a spirit of experimentation and play!).

There’s no hard science on how to shift from maximizing to satisficing, but I love these suggestions from “Field Guide to the Maximizer: Set deadlines, simplify the low-priority decisions, commit to being “all in,” and express gratitude.  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - On Visibility + Vulnerability -

Must-Reads for Creatives: On Visibility + Vulnerability

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives encourage us to take the beautiful risk of becoming visible and connecting with one another through our common vulnerabilities. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how exhilarating and rewarding the results turn out to be. 

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

How to Overcome Isolation (And Why You’re Doing It) >>>

Should You Start a Business? 51 Female Entrepreneurs Weigh In >>>

What Becoming Visible Has Taught Me >>>

Raising the Mindful Family >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - Constraint vs. Freedom -

Must-Reads for Creatives: Constraint vs. Freedom

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives shatter persistent myths about the creative process, work/life balance, constraint vs. freedom, and personal development. What’s helped you shatter the myths you’ve held: becoming a parent? Immersing yourself in a new creative medium? Love and loss? Travel and adventure? A good book? I love this batch; bookmark it for when you need a kickstart during the week!

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Creativity Is Much More Than 10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice >>>

The Three Questions You Must Ask Before Taking on a Project for Free >>>

Pursuing Work-Life Balance Preserves the Status Quo >>>

Finding Joy in Constraint: 3 Tips for Flourishing Creatively Amidst a Busy Life >>>

FOMO: Fear of Missing Out >>>

How to Avoid the Trap of Self-Improvement >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives: Spring Clean Your Creative Process -

Must-Reads for Creatives: Spring Clean Your Creative Process

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives bring the energy of spring cleaning to your creative process. What mental clutter can you clear out (because your thoughts feel like a broken record)? Say “no, thanks” to the unnecessary, and make space for creative pursuits + adventures with the people you love. Do what gives you a burst of energy. We can approach our creative work with a lighter touch, and tap into the spirit of creative play.

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Clear Away the Excess >>>

Five Strategies to “Spring Clean” Your Creativity >>>

If You’re Waiting for Clarity >>>

The Importance of Mentally Disengaging from Work and Practice >>>

What I Really Want to Say About Creativity >>>

Continue reading

How to Live a Creative + Resilient Life -

How to Live a Creative + Resilient Life

Last night, I heard creative voices speaking their truths—survivors of sexual abuse, and a powerful spoken word poet. It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. People around the world gather at community events to spread education and awareness, and to show solidarity with survivors. I work for a nonprofit organization as a Survivor Advocate, providing counseling and support groups to survivors. The month of April is always a busy one for me, in attending these amazing community events. It’s truly a privilege to hear voices of resiliency.

Creativity + Trauma = Creative Living

I’ve wanted to write a post about the intersections of creativity and trauma for a long time. These are the realms in which I work, at my job, and in my writing and creativity coaching. But, it’s felt like a massive topic to address. (Honestly, I could write a whole thesis on it. In fact, I did, years ago; my Masters thesis was on narratives of personal and cultural healing.)

I’ve also wanted to write more about creative living. I love the phrase and how it expands our definition of creativity. My manifesta is: everyone is creative, and within all endeavors—in work, parenting, volunteering, home life, community connections, social justice efforts, and more. Creativity appears not only in art and crafts, though those are some of each culture’s most important forms of self-expression. Creative living is speaking our truths, walking our talk, and shaping a world where people can safely share their authentic selves and ideas.

The transformational process of empowering yourself is creative living. That’s true after the “big ‘T’” Trauma of losses, disasters, abuse, and/or mental illness, and after the “little ‘t’” trauma of everyday life challenges. If you’re kind, thoughtful, and doing your best, you’re already living creatively each day. Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - Fresh Perspective for Creative Living -

Must-Reads for Creatives: Fresh Perspective for Creative Living

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives draw us toward something greater than ourselves—through awe at the world, and connection with others.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae (or our to-do list, for that matter). When it comes to cultivating a fresh creative mindset, a little perspective goes a long way. Soak it in. Then, head off and create something with the time you have—a sketch, a soufflé, an art journal page, a play fort…Dream big, and take small actions steps forward. You’re on your way. Creative living is all about the joy in jumping scope, in shifting from wide lens to zoom lens. That’s the space where fresh insights happen.

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Mindfulness Goes Beyond the Meditation Cushion—It’s a Way of Life >>>

Try Something Hard >>>

Pema Chödrön & bell hooks Discuss Cultivating Openness When Life Falls Apart >>>

Photographer Alex Strohl Journeys to Remote Locations Most of Us Can Only Dream About >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives: Improvisation for Your Work and Wellbeing -

Must-Reads for Creatives: Improvisation for Work + Wellbeing

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives encourage improvisation—within your work, and for your health and wellbeing. Improvisation isn’t just for jazz musicians, dancers, and comedians (or procrastinators!). Most creatives desire to bring an element of improvisation to their work.

What if we allow a dabbler’s spirit into the areas of our work that feel like they need the most structure? What if we stop thinking of ourselves as self-improvement projects, loosen the mind/body health rules, and experiment with different kinds of exercise, food, or mindsets? What do you need this time? Which formulaic approaches can you shed? What’s changing for you? You’re freer than you think you are…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Is Dabbling a Form of Procrastination? >>>

Creation Without Burnout >>>

Meera Lee Patel on Mindfulness, Following Your Dreams and Running a Creative Business >>>

Mapping Creativity in the Brain >>>

21 Reminders Every Creative Needs to Hear Right Now >>>

Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives: Women Artists Bursting with Spring Energy -

Must-Reads for Creatives: Women Artists Bursting with Spring Energy

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives burst with spring energy: stunning visuals and words from women artists and activists. Let’s get right to it…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

“discipline … and a bit of chance”: Art for Your Ear Episode No. 43 with Andrea D’Aquino (amazing visuals!) >>>

Women Crush(ing the Patriarchy) Wednesday: Evelyn Alvarez (love this series!) >>>

10 Female Artists of Color on the Rise >>>

We Need Diverse Influences: Artist Shahzia Sikander on her multicultural past and our future >>>

Artist Cao Fei >>>

Artist Gunjan Aylawadi >>>

Artist Laura Domrose I Istanbul >>>

The Sixty Second Photograph (photographers making videos!) >>>
Continue reading

Jettison Comparison + Share Your Own Unique Creative Vision -

Jettison Comparison + Share Your Own Unique Creative Vision

Recently, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Digiscrap Geek Podcast. We chatted about getting past creative comparison. Listen here! Read on to hear my thoughts and tips on the topic…

Jettison Comparison + Share Your Own Unique Creative Vision -

We compare ourselves to one another in a thousand small ways each day. It’s automatic behavior. Often, it’s encouraged by others—our friends, co-workers, peers, and partners. (Teens, especially, busy themselves by egging each other on!). It’s a cultural phenomenon with personal implications (like everything!). Certainly, comparison affects our self-perceptions. And it has the potential to complicate our relationships with others. For example, it can construct a wall of difference where, instead, we could unify through our shared experiences and vulnerabilities. Comparison alters our filter of the world and colors our self-talk, often in unproductive ways.

Now, I believe that it’s possible to use comparison as a way of articulating fresh dreams and goals for ourselves and, sometimes, as a playful way to connect with others. However, I know many creatives want to shed the toxic forms of comparison—the ugly forms of competition that fly in the face of feminism, the I-don’t-accomplish-enough blues, the self-hatred, and the struggles with articulating your own voice as distinct from the chorus of others.

So, this piece is about shedding the toxic forms of comparison, and growing clearer and more confident in your own creative vision.  Continue reading