Category Archives: Work

Tears, Joys + Swear Words: On Seeking Work/Life Balance

Tears, Joys + Swear Words: On Seeking Work/Life Balance

What does your family’s mix of work, child care, and personal projects look like? (Many of us believe that work/life balance is a myth; so, let’s call it a mix, okay?)

I write about creativity here. Honestly, cobbling together solutions for a family’s needs is its own creative project—perhaps the greatest of all.

The barriers to balance are real. Unresolved socioeconomic and cultural problems impact our ability to meet our needs, let alone our desires. American culture still bases work hours and benefits on a 9-to-5, full-time, in-person institutional model. Yet, school hours require someone to pick up our children mid-afternoon. Day care remains unaffordable for many families.

Our culture never truly found communal solutions to work/life balance. Where is that village? (Insert a wistful look in my eyes.)

I’m going to get political: this is the dark side of an individualist, capitalist culture. Our families and communities are fodder for the machine. Plus, many of our most vulnerable citizens are left in the dust—people of color, people who are low-income, and people with disabilities. If I could sum up our country’s greatest challenges in one word it would be: inequality

In essence, we can’t talk about work/life balance and creativity without talking about inequality.

The personal remains political:

  • If you never quite get to your creative pursuits.
  • If your thoughts are always about “should”‘s and your to-do lists.
  • If you have to divert money from your creative pursuits toward your family’s basic needs instead.
  • If you can’t keep up with all of your responsibilities, let alone your dreams.
  • If you think “damn it, why does it have to be so hard?”


  • You are not a personal failure; your challenges have a cultural context.
  • Please, friend, lighten up on your negative self-talk.
  • Be reassured by the fact that you’re not alone.
  • Find a little self-compassion for yourself and your challenges. You deserve that, just as much as anyone.

This topic is on my mind today because, after seven years of working part-time, I resume full-time work next week. While I’ve long planned to do this when my daughters reached school age, it’s simultaneously exciting, scary, and sad as it happens. So, I feel re-inspired to create space for this work/life/creativity conversation.

I don’t know about you, but I love to hear how families find their creative mix. Continue reading

It’s human nature to turn away from suffering. These times call for a different response. A response also rooted in human nature, but one that arises intermittently across American history—standing in our discomfort as we sustainably continue the struggle for social justice.

As You Struggle to Swim This Current of Suffering, Seek Sustainable Social Justice

It’s human nature to turn away from suffering.

These times call for a different response.

A response also rooted in human nature, but one that arises intermittently across American history—standing in our discomfort as we sustainably continue the struggle for social justice.

I say “sustainably” because:

  • Momentum can be lost quickly.

  • Activists and helping professionals burn out easily.

  • American culture quickly steers potential allies back to consumerism and a model of perfectionistic parenting, rather than a life of giving and social activism.

For the most part, if you’re white, middle-class, able-bodied, heterosexual, and/or Christian, you have privileges—reserves of time, money, energy, and support. You can use these privileges as you educate and act in the name of equality and justice.

You have power and privilege to bolster you and amplify your voice; put them to good use and be ready to give them up. Now is the time to be a true and active ally for the long haul. Don’t lose this momentum in a week, a month, a year, ten years…

Sometimes, you may need to tend to your personal wellbeing and to take breaks from the stories of suffering you hear and read.

Please return soon, though. We need you.

Learn to hold the suffering of others and act to alleviate it.

If you’re a person of color, LGBTQI2-S, Muslim, with disabilities, without documents, or of any other oppressed group, I wish you justice, respect, safe spaces, and wellbeing. You deserve to have people fight for justice beside you, as well as on your behalf when you need to restore yourself after facing hate crimes and microaggressions.  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - Set Boundaries + Use Your Strengths -

Must-Reads for Creatives: Set Boundaries + Use Your Strengths

In June, Must-Reads for Creatives becomes a monthly—rather than weekly—feature.

Why? This allows me to share the most meaningful reads with busy creative parents. Let’s encourage one another to get out and enjoy our creativity (in all its forms) this summer!  

I look forward to delving into more writing projects and to freeing up space in my creativity coaching practice. If you’ve got a creative dream or project that’s just not gelling, let’s have a chat. I’m available via email + Skype (no sales pitches, I just love building creative community). In creativity coaching, we talk about meaning-making, the creative process, emotional and psychological blocks, and collaborative and marketplace issues. Be vulnerable, ask for support, and you’ll be surprised by the shifts it creates for you.

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives help us clear out the revolving mental clutter. Hint: it helps to set boundaries and make use of your strengths…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

You Don’t Owe Anything to Anyone >>>

A Self-Improvement Secret: Work on Strengths >>>

The 4 Differences Between Introversion and Social Anxiety >>>

The Truth About Inspiration + 5 Ways to Cultivate Your Creativity >>>

How to Make Time for Your Passion Projects >>>

Minimalist Photographs That Pick Out the Colour, Symmetry and Patterns of Cities >>>

Borders & Boundaries: Embroidery Art That Highlights the World’s Humanitarian Crisis >>>  Continue reading

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

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

Why and How to Do Creative Work On Your Own Timeline -

Why + How to Do Creative Work on Your Own Timeline

Parents, you don’t need productivity hacks in order to pursue your creative dreams.

Perhaps you could stand to spend less time on Facebook. Or to shed the busy-work of cleaning and errand-running. But, let’s not start by attacking your little diversions. It’s okay to have a few; you’re human. I don’t think you want to work to a metronome, or to become an automaton for that matter.

You do enough good and true work. Already.

And you probably consume media that fails to affirm that. In fact, it likely encourages you to add more to your day.

Consider the Source of Advice

So much self-help advice fails to consider creative parents’ unique phase in life.

Well-meaning self-help and business resources spur a sense of not-enoughness. This takes many forms. It helps to call out the resources that don’t speak to us.  Continue reading

How to Approach Your Creative Dream with Healthy Passion -

How to Approach Your Creative Dream with Healthy Passion

Do you ever discover a concept that just blows your mind? One that explains your own behavior, and why and how your struggle is real? I found one that I just had to share!

Why is the Creative Process So Painful?

Let me start here: no creative person experiences smooth sailing all the time. But some (seemingly magical!) people manage to create prolifically. Their lives are filled with enough motivation and passion to avoid vast amounts of perfectionism and creative anxiety, and to follow through on their dreams. We’re talking about a good enough creative process that keeps the happy results coming. Most of us aspire to this level of creative wellbeing!

What’s the distinction? Do they just know how to tap into their own willpower? Did they learn the right productivity tips? Do they have an amazing support system, or lead a privileged life? Is it luck? Fortunately, I think it’s something much less of a bummer than all of the above!  Continue reading

2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct -

2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct

“What is the meaning of life? I don’t know. But I do know that if you think that your life has meaning, you are much more likely to be happy, healthy, and enjoy your life.” —Michael F. Steger, Ph.D.   

“You can create the psychological experience of meaning by seizing meaning opportunities and if you do so that will improve your overall sense of wellbeing.” —Eric Maisel, Ph.D.

2 Powerful Benefits of the Creative Instinct:

Your creative instinct serves a valuable two-part purpose: it helps you make meaning in and of your life, and that clarity adds to your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

When you or I are immersed in enjoying someone else’s creative work, we know that it represents the vision of that creator. It shares her or his life, ideas, viewpoints, and culture. But, as a viewer or listener, it’s easy to forget that creativity is about more than just representation.

When you’re the creator, it’s easy to be focused on the end result—the accomplishment. Usually, when you do that, you start to dislike the struggle and messiness that can be the creative process. In those moments, I believe that it helps to remember the value in meaning-making for wellbeing.

The psychologist Michael F. Steger studies how meaning-making contributes to wellbeing. His research shows that people “who have a sense of meaning in life, also report feeling more happy, more satisfied with their lives, less depressed and anxious, and more satisfied with their jobs.”

Now, creativity isn’t the only way to create meaning in life. As Dr. Eric Maisel writes, you can create meaning opportunities through love, good works, (the pursuit of) excellence, relationships, stewardship, experimentation, pleasure, self-actualization, and so much more. You already make meaning of your life in a variety of ways. But, if you have the persistent urge to create—and you’re not, or you’re doing so in a fitful way— you may be ready to give creativity the weight it deserves in your life.  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives 1.8.15 - On Creative Obstacles -

Must-Reads for Creatives 1.8.16

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives express the messiness of our creative obstacles. (If I could insert a few scribbly lines and grumpy cartoon faces here, I would!) The good news is: you’re not alone. Let’s chat after you read these, okay? Let’s bypass the shame and share our common creative obstacles in the comments below!

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Let’s Talk About Work Ethic, Rest, & Guilt >>>

It’s Never Too Late… >>>

It’s Not About Doing the Work, It’s About Clearing the Next Obstacle >>>

4 Damaging Lies Creative Business Owners Tell Themselves >>>

Your Success Doesn’t Just Depend On You: How to Embrace Collaboration and Uplift Your Life & Business >>>

The Truth Behind Being a Professional Artist >>>

The Breaking and Blessing of Motherhood >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives 1.1.16

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives cover the tricky business of creating change. We seek balance between stability and freedom, roots and wings—it’s its own creative process!

Now, you may love New Year’s resolutions, or avoid the whole shebang and lament fleeting attempts at habit change. But, in reality, we seek purpose and meaning throughout the year, and throughout our lives. So, I don’t take a strong stance that you have to seek change according to the calendar. Nonetheless, if you want to use the creative energy afoot to craft a fresh start, read on…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Acceptance + Commitment >>>

Women, Work, Creativity, Leisure and Time. Because Time is a Feminist Issue. >>>

How to Create Anything (Even When You’re Scared, Inexperienced and Don’t Believe in Yourself) >>>

How to Establish Roots to Find Your Purpose >>>

New Year’s Resolutions: Proven Ways to Keep Them >>>

Continue reading