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Four Simple Ways to Create More and Worry Less

Sometimes creative angst gets the better of us. How often do you find yourself thinking “I don’t have enough time,” or “My work’s not good enough,” or “I’ll never reach my creative goals”? Here are four simple ways to avoid those minefields and stay focused on what really matters: your creative work.

1. Turn rejection into affirmation. With practice, you can reframe rejection so that it actually affirms your creativity, rather than causes injury. Here’s how. Simply put, you can’t get rejected if you haven’t had the courage to send your work out into the world. And you can’t send your work out into the world if you haven’t reached a level of completion and polish that makes you believe your work has legs. And your work can’t have legs if you haven’t put yourself at your desk or easel or studio bench and actually done the work, for however many hours it took. So at its most basic level, each rejection is evidence that you have done your work and sent it out into the world. This is something to celebrate. Rejections simply mean: Yes! I’m doing my work. I was brave enough to send it out into the world, and this “rejection” is simply an affirmation that I am a working artist. I celebrate that fact, and now I turn back to my work in progress.

If this sounds like a tall order, just try it. Over time, you’ll be amazed by how easy it becomes — to the point that you accept rejection as simply part of the process.

2. Move the goalpost into your sphere of influence. Shift your focus away from things you can’t control and onto the things you can. You might decide that you’re going to get your novel published next year. But instead of putting your focus entirely on something that you can’t ultimately control, move the goalposts into a domain that is solidly within your circle of influence. For example: Instead of deciding that you will get your novel accepted for publication next year (which may or may not happen, regardless of your best work, killer query letter, and an introduction to your cousin’s agent), decide that your goal will be to query 50 agents and 30 publishers from the pool of publishers who accept unagented manuscripts. You might start with those who accept simultaneous submissions so that it doesn’t take five years to hit your quota. Keep careful track of your submissions — via your own spreadsheet system or an online submission tracking tool — and when you hit your quotas, celebrate. The only two things you can really control are:

a)   Creating your best work.

b)   Playing the numbers game to get your work in front of as many sets of eyes as it takes.

If you feel discouraged by this process, go back and read #1 above.

3. Establish a regular creative practice. If you’re not already doing your creative work every day, or nearly every day, now’s the time to start. Think it’s impossible to find at least 30 minutes for your creative work on a regular basis? If that’s true—unless you’ve just had a baby or are dealing with a major illness or life event—consider keeping a time log for a few days in order to see where your time is really going. It’s more than likely that there’s something you can pare down on (TV, Facebook, sleep) in order to fit in a regular practice window. If your schedule is so hairy that you can’t commit to a set time every day (which would be ideal, as schedule creates habit and habit breeds productivity) at least commit to a set amount of time every day. When “life happens” and you have to skip practice, don’t beat yourself up about it—just show up tomorrow.

Working regularly may be the most beneficial thing you can do for your creative bandwidth. When you work every day, you learn to show up for creative practice even when you don’t feel like it—even when the muse is off in Bermuda, the house is a mess, the bills need to be paid, and your best friend wants to take you out to lunch. Just show up at your appointed time and do the work. Creative practice is a sacred commitment for those who make meaning through art. If something brilliant comes out along the way, so much the better. But brilliance isn’t the point; showing up is the point. Making meaning through your creative practice is the point. A regular creative practice helps you stay focused on process, rather than outcome.

4. Get comfy with crotchety Aunt Zelda. Our anxiety about creative fear is often more paralyzing than the fear itself. If you can accept that fear and self-doubt are inevitable parts of the process—and are things that even wildly successful writers, artists, and performers grapple with—you will diminish the negative power of insecurity. Try to develop a mantra to use when doubts arise. “Oh, it’s you again, Aunt Zelda. I see you’ve come back for another visit. Sit down and have a cup of tea over here while I carry on with my creative practice.” By acknowledging the fearsome inner critic of Aunt Zelda, and not resisting her arrival, you are free to move ahead. You might even be able to summon up a bit of empathy for Aunt Zelda, who has nothing better to do than drive all over town in her ancient Oldsmobile, just looking for the next person she can inject with fear, doubt, and perhaps even a wholesale existential crisis. Just say, “Thanks, but no,” to Aunt Zelda and stay focused on your creative process. Remember: Just because Aunt Zelda shows up doesn’t mean you have to get into her aging Oldsmobile and go for a ride.

The piece above originally appeared as a guest post at the fabulous Bliss Habits.

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320 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Teej Rants and commented:
    This will be my next task

    June 8, 2012
  2. Well done! I especially like the bit about Aunt Zelda–funny, but 100% true. Moving away from all negativity is so important in the creative process. Time to move on!

    June 21, 2012
    • Thank you, Jennifer! Great to see you here 🙂

      June 21, 2012
  3. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been in a creative rut lately and this article has inspired me to get back into the habit of creating regularly!

    Thanks so much again 🙂

    June 21, 2012
    • How wonderful, Michelle! Please come back and let us know how it’s going!

      June 21, 2012
  4. I love this! 😀

    June 21, 2012
    • Many thanks, FoghornUnicorn! 😀

      June 21, 2012
  5. Thank you so much! We (those endeavoring to create) need to be reminded once in awhile to stay on task – carve out a specific time that is sacred. As long as I get the hours/minutes in per day, or almost, I feel as though I have succeeded. The practice of Buddhism has also helped my endeavor to be disciplined.

    June 21, 2012
    • So nice to hear your perspective, boomers1earth — we look forward to hearing from you again in future!

      June 21, 2012
  6. I am neither a mother nor a sister, but I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing these helpful and realistically achievable pointers 🙂

    June 21, 2012
    • Thank you for saying so, Sleepy Moose! We strive to offer equal-opportunity inspiration, so very glad to hear this post worked for you.

      June 21, 2012
  7. Truly helpful. I’m quite good with rules no. 1 and 4 but there’s still work to be done on the other two.

    June 21, 2012
    • So glad you found this post helpful, Joela! We know this stuff isn’t rocket science, but somehow we need to connect with these truths over and over again.

      June 21, 2012
  8. Excellent advice for staying on task – thanks so much for posting!

    June 21, 2012
    • Thank you so much for saying so, jillbware! 🙂

      June 21, 2012
  9. Wonderful x

    June 21, 2012
  10. I really loved this post so much! I am trying to get to the 30 day mark and am almost there. Some days it\’s so hard, but this is the perfect encouragement I needed to hear. I know this for sure; writing everyday gives me a sense of true joy. It has made me a happier person. So until my professional goals are met, I can rejoice in the personal one of just writing everyday, or close to it. I choose to forgive myself when \”life happens\” but not allow everything to fall into that category. Discipline is key AND self-encouragement. Great article!

    June 21, 2012
    • Terrific attitude, Liz — go you! And many thanks for the lovely feedback.

      June 21, 2012
    • Inese Poga Art Gallery #

      If you have a moment, you can a have a look how well my students are doing at my studio-gallery: http://inesepogagallery.com/
      I didn’t know people had hard times with getting started or getting back to creative work, seems so natural to me, however, I don’t even have any free minute, full time artist, teacher and translator, as well, so I’m working 18 hours a day most often.

      June 26, 2012
  11. Oh, this is good and juicy advice. I love the first tip about turning rejection into affirmation.

    June 21, 2012
  12. Hi Miranda, thank you so much, very useful, and I love the idea of creative mothers, I think there’s so much talent out there, we definitely need to help each other share it. Your suggestions are a really good start. 🙂

    June 21, 2012
    • Thank you so much for saying so, Teresa — we’d love to hear more about your experience here at Studio Mothers!

      June 21, 2012
  13. So very true! Your site is delightful, and this post is an extremely valuable gift to creative people of all kinds. I am not a mother, but I am a writer (columnist, reporter, novelist, author of inspirational teaching books) and a writing teacher. Everything you say here is so vital to successful creativity, and none of it grow old. It applies year after year after year.

    One of the most empowering things I ever learned in my life was to recognize that if I wrote a poem, a story, a book, or a song, I had personally created an entity that never before existed in the entire universe. The same is true for everyone who paints a picture, knits an afghan, sculpts a figure, combines crude pieces of metal and gems into delightful pieces of jewelry, or invests himself in any one of countless creative endeavors. And that fact is true totally apart from what anyone else in the world thinks about what’s been created. When an individual recognizes that he has actually created something that never before existed, that realization is powerful — and empowering — to a degree that goes beyond description.

    So glad you have this site to encourage others — especially moms who have so much on their plates to deal with aside from the rigors of creative projects. And congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed.”

    June 21, 2012
    • Beautifully put, Sandra — and your wonderful feedback is much appreciated! 🙂

      June 21, 2012
    • Ooh, that’s a great thing to realise. I feel a little better about my work already. 🙂

      June 22, 2012
      • I’m so glad it encouraged you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

        June 22, 2012
  14. So spot on! Acknowledging the voice of my harsh inner critic and starting a conversation with my fearful creative self has been life-changing.

    June 21, 2012
    • So glad to hear that’s been your experience too, Valerie. The fear doesn’t ever go away completely, but it does get easier with practice, doesn’t it?

      June 21, 2012
  15. I love your personification of fear as “Aunt Zelda!” That will definitely stick in my head 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

    Cheers!

    June 21, 2012
    • Thank you, OneWeekToCrazy! Good luck with Aunt Zelda — let us know how it goes!

      June 21, 2012
  16. This is SUCH a timely post, as I’m replete with insecurities about my work these days! As a full-time freelance writer, this doesn’t bode well…

    Thanks for the reminders. Great advice.

    Now I’m off to write something brilliant. Fingers crossed.

    😉

    June 21, 2012
    • Go you, Mikalee! Your comments are much appreciated 🙂

      June 21, 2012
  17. Excellent post for artistic people. I’ve reblogged it, thank you

    June 21, 2012
    • Thank you so much for the reblog, annabelsglassdesigns! xo

      June 21, 2012
  18. Reblogged this on Annabel's glassdesigns and commented:
    Good advice here for all you artistic people.

    June 21, 2012
  19. So that’s her name – Zelda! I thought it might be something else. Thanks for putting this so easily.Now to put it to work!

    June 21, 2012
    • lol — we could definitely come up with a few other more “choice” names for Aunt Zelda! Best wishes for your creative work, unsouthernbelle 🙂

      June 21, 2012
  20. Reblogged this on Luis Madrid Designs and commented:
    Angst shall not hold me back!

    June 21, 2012
    • Go you, madrid16137! And many thanks for the re-blog.

      June 21, 2012
  21. omgoodnezz that was good! and how true! as an artist with deadlines, its great advice, especially at this time of the year!

    June 21, 2012
    • Your positive feedback is much appreciated, twinravens2000!

      June 21, 2012
  22. Wonderful insight and advice. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    June 21, 2012
  23. Reblogged this on Round Ten.

    June 21, 2012
    • The re-blog is much appreciated, Dave 🙂

      June 21, 2012
  24. what is the type of your header font? thats cool

    June 21, 2012
  25. Good Information. Thanks!

    June 21, 2012
    • Thanks for saying so, artisttoostudios 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  26. rjacksonb #

    I need to print and save this. Excellent advice. Sometimes I feel inspired to create, making a project a priority, and I finish something, That’s usually as far as I get. Too often other things distract me when I need to carve out “me” time. Any other STUDIO GRANDMOTHER’S out there?

    June 21, 2012
    • So glad you liked the post, rjacksonb. And yes, we have several grandmothers who are regulars at Studio Mothers. The experience of those who have been there before is invaluable!

      June 22, 2012
  27. Thank you for posting this 🙂

    June 21, 2012
    • And thanks for your comment, Alexis!

      June 22, 2012
  28. very informative. four ways, but a lot of inspirations. thanks.

    June 21, 2012
  29. Great reminders! 🙂

    June 21, 2012
    • Simple things, but we need to hear them again and again, don’t we! Thanks, cloudy 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  30. Thanks for the tips! No doubt I will be rereading this in the future!
    http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

    June 22, 2012
  31. Bek #

    Reblogged this on Accidental Thong and commented:
    Some good advice for creative folks… Though my problem isn’t angst as much as this energy and time deficit I keep adding too. So my big hurdles are numbers two and three… My recipe for reject is remembering that every art (even the most random wall hanging made of tampon applicators… see http://www.regretsy.com for some fantastic examples!) has an audience, and sometimes the problem isn’t your art, but it’s that you are presenting it to the wrong audience… Anyway, I’m exhausted and overwhelmed and underwhelmed (unfortunately, when they occur together they don’t negate each other. I wish they did.) as you could probably guess by my infrequent postings… I’m working on the “making it a habit” part of blogging and creating. I am, even though progress can be hard to gauge in such fascinatingly teensy scale.
    Hope everyone is well!
    Cheers,
    Bek

    June 22, 2012
    • Many thanks for the re-blog, Bek. We’re big fans of regretsy.com here — always a shot in the arm, lol. One strategy with exhaustion and overwhelm is to simply embrace it (as with Aunt Zelda). Sometimes we’re just spent, and that’s OK. It’s how things are. If there are little things you can do to improve your energy level (sleep, diet, exercise), then try to make some tweaks there. But sometimes a period of “underwhelm” means that you’re percolating and preparing for a period of higher energy and output. So fear not. Just try to relax into it, if that’s at all possible.

      June 22, 2012
    • Great comment – I also am positive all art has an audience out there somewhere.

      June 22, 2012
  32. Thanks for this. I’m handing Aunt Zelda her walking papers. And her cup of tea.

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, Julia! You may find that by serving Aunt Zelda a cup of tea (with just the right amount of sugar and milk, the way she likes it) she may walk away on her own 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  33. my EYES are SPEECHLESS…..

    DO VISIT MY BLOG….YOU WILL SURELY LIKE IT…

    June 22, 2012
  34. So totally inspiring! Thank you.
    Do you have any idea how to get your work “out there”? as for art? I’d love to know where to start so I can at least start getting rejected and fell like an actual artist at work.

    June 22, 2012
    • Great question, twistnpout. One good strategy is to research the artist consortia in your local area. Many local art groups have “calls for art” for art shows, contests, and grants. Joining these groups is a good way to connect with your local art community and stay in the loop on opportunities for shows. You could also approach a local independent coffee shop and ask if they’d be interested in displaying your work — a common practice. Local libraries also often have art shows — see if any libraries in your area do that kind of thing. Then of course there are many online contests and forums for getting your art out there. Meanwhile, keep building your portfolio so that you prepare yourself to approach galleries directly.

      I also recommend getting your hands on a copy of the latest Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market — a vital resource.

      June 22, 2012
      • thank you so much for the detailed reply. I guess i knew these things, I just feel i already need to be an established artist to do any of them. Guess I will need to take #2 more seriously.

        June 22, 2012
  35. UtahMan&Wife #

    Love it! Great words of wisdom and advice.
    There’s definitely an Aunt Zelda lurking over all of us. (Well, in our case, her name is Aunt LaVona) 🙂 Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, UtahMan&Wife — and best wishes with Aunt LaVona!

      June 22, 2012
  36. Great post and blog- I’m following now. Thanks!

    June 22, 2012
    • Much appreciate the comment and follow, Michelle!

      June 22, 2012
  37. very nice
    i will try with my self

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, mastermall — very best wishes.

      June 22, 2012
  38. good post

    June 22, 2012
  39. Paula's Paradise #

    Fabulous — and so true — thanks and congrats!

    June 22, 2012
  40. this is one post and one blog that has made my day this morning!
    i tend to get into ruts myself sometimes, just like anybody else….believe me, aunt zelda vists me very often…and after every visit…i usually end up in 2 minds…shall i…shant i….which is what aunt zelda wants!
    but your unique way of letting aunt zelda in without putting up a fight, is so simple and effective, its unbelieveable…!! well done and may whatever is up there, bless you!

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments, filmcamera999! I hope you’ll come back and let us know how things are going with Auntie Z…..

      June 22, 2012
  41. such helpful tips, thanks for sharing! my blog is my work at the moment and I’ve been struggling to write lately. i can’t say it’s all about the rejection but at least i would be putting it out there. small steps, more focus!

    MissFeebs

    June 22, 2012
  42. Congrats on being freshly pressed! Very interesting article and a quality read. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Many thanks for the comment, zeynepmutlu!

      June 22, 2012
  43. Nice blog, you answer every comment too. That matters in a blog. http://therealzonezero.wordpress.com/

    June 22, 2012
    • Thanks, therealzonezero! I do think that anyone who takes the time to make a comment deserves a thank you in return — an important blog practice, as you point out. I gotta say, the WordPress community is awesome 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  44. I found this so inspiring! Especially giving that fear a name (and Aunt Zelda works well for me!).

    I needed some reminding about that regular creative practice too. Thank you.

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank *you*, Tea in a Teacup! Enjoy your tea party with Auntie Z 😉

      June 22, 2012
  45. Reblogged this on Winning Shots and commented:
    For those of you who may be in a creative slump, some reading material:

    June 22, 2012
    • Many thanks for the re-blog, Marissa!

      June 22, 2012
  46. Jolly #

    So need this today. Like it so much, I’ve reblogged 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, Jolly — very much appreciated!

      June 22, 2012
  47. That was a really helpful wee article, especially as I’ve just left uni and have to find my own workshop now – motivation was definitely appreciated.
    ‘Aunt Zelda’ sounds like one of the nice aunts from Sabrina, I prefer to call mine Aaaargh!

    June 22, 2012
    • So glad to have helped, Robyn! Thank you for the comment 😀

      June 22, 2012
  48. Reblogged this on Kate Hall's Blog and commented:
    Awesome reminder for this writer, thanks!

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, Kate — the re-blog is much appreciated!

      June 22, 2012
  49. Thanks for this! This is very helpful… I love writing but there are times I get discouraged because I feel like my work isn’t good enough. I also tend to edit WHILE writing, which I think is a big no-no.. Anyway, I’ll keep all of these in mind.. 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Cheryl, I think you’re spot-on. As a professional editor, for many years I didn’t separate the writing from the editing — with unsatisfying results. Once I finally realized that the two things are entirely different processes, and that one actually diminishes the other when combined, things got a lot better. For me, having a word count quota really works. If I have a time quota, I can spend three hours on two paragraphs — but if I tell myself I can’t stop until I’ve hit 1,200 words, then I just churn them out. Editorial comes later. Bravo!

      June 22, 2012
      • Hmm.. word count quota, might as well try it too.. 🙂 Thanks again for posting!

        June 22, 2012
  50. wow, yep. rejection means I am doing my work.
    what a great way to re-frame that.

    June 22, 2012
    • YES, resonanteye. Such an important paradigm shift! Go you 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  51. This blogpost is going to make me do something awesome right about now.

    June 22, 2012
    • Woohoo! Rooting for you, ainabamjad!

      June 22, 2012
  52. Helen Campbell #

    This is so inspiring!! 😀 Thank you!

    June 22, 2012
  53. Hahaha! Wow this really brightened up my day! I’m printing these invaluable instructions out and pinning them to my wall this afternoon.

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you so much, Andy! Meriting a hard-copy wall post is a serious compliment 😀

      June 22, 2012
  54. Great! And there you have it, I love “Turn rejection into affirmation” – I like to call my situation “constructive pessimism” – upset/rejected because you challenged the norm with concerted effort 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Terrific, Rustic Recluse — applauding you for challenging the norm!

      June 22, 2012
  55. Reblogged this on TheMissPepperpot.

    June 22, 2012
    • Many thanks for the re-blog, misspepperpot 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  56. I really loved this article so much.. Well done… Keep it up… and congrats on being freshly pressed. 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you for the comment, Siddhesh!

      June 22, 2012
  57. Thanks! Number 1 is a great one to keep in mind. I remember a colleague saying “you win a few and you lose a few” after an audition once; it really turned my view of rejection on its head. Like you said, you can’t even *get* rejected unless you get into the pool.

    This is getting reblogged – thank you!

    June 22, 2012
    • That perspective will serve you well, Shannon — go you!

      June 22, 2012
  58. This is a good list to always keep in mind, especially the regular creative practice…I’ll have to check in on this blog more often, thanks for a timely post!

    June 22, 2012
    • Thanks so much for the comment, milkhousestudio!

      June 22, 2012
  59. I really am glad that I came across your article, as I am sort of going through this phase. I’ll definately reblog this 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Your comment and re-blog are much appreciated, misguidedghost86 😀

      June 22, 2012
  60. Reblogged this on Diary of a Lost Girl.

    June 22, 2012
  61. That’s so helpful, especially about establishing practice when I have so many plans but I procrastinate 😮 .

    June 22, 2012
    • Sometimes procrastination means that something fabulous is percolating — but you do need to “get butt in chair” as it were, in order to let that great stuff make its appearance. Best wishes!

      June 22, 2012
  62. Just finished another painting with my own Aunt Zelda sitting on the living room sofa. thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    June 22, 2012
    • Yessss! The best comment yet, Kathleen!!

      June 22, 2012
  63. Xenoia #

    Great post. Exactly the sort of things we need to remind ourselves of more often! I like point #1 the most. I really think that getting to the point of showing work is the hardest part for some people!

    June 22, 2012
    • So true, Xenoia! Awareness is at least half the battle, don’t you think? That, along with continual reminders of the things we already know but somehow drift away from. Thanks for commenting!

      June 22, 2012
      • Xenoia #

        Definitely! And the hardest thing…not taking rejection to heart. That is what leads us away from believing in ourselves.

        Thanks for posting! 🙂

        June 22, 2012
  64. Dear Miranda. I love your text!!! My passion is sewing and clothing design but because I am not making money with it yet I have to waist my time making money with something completely different. When I come home I feel so tired of working that I sometimes dont have the energy, passion and inspiration to sit down and draw or sew. Next week I will try to make time and instead of pitying myself I will work on my designs 🙂
    Thanks for that!!! KAT

    June 22, 2012
    • Good for you, KAT! This is a very common experience for creative people. If you can, have faith that by taking baby steps and committing to your creative practice, eventually you’ll be able to spend more time doing what you love and less time with the “day job.” It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Rooting for you!

      June 22, 2012
  65. Enjoyed this ! I will endeavour to work on my baking and writing at least three times a week, and not listen to the negativity (my parents asking me why on earth I’m baking AGAIN..) Oh and to anyone reading this that struggles with blocks or bumps in their creativity a long walk/bike ride on your own generally helps. x0x0

    June 22, 2012
  66. Well-written post. I needed to read this today. Thanks! It’s definitely worthy of Freshly Pressed.

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you so much for saying so, becomingcliche!

      June 22, 2012
  67. I found my artistic voice after nearly two years of exploration. Whether anyone likes what I do is of no concern to me anymore (rejection stings but it’s the devil I know right now. I’m afraid of success). I grant myself permission to explore for better or worse, to succeed or fail. I limit my time for creating and making. No reason to force that which isn’t there. I have artistic breakthroughs – an exhilarating sensation. Every day is a challenge to do or not to do. When I don’t do, I feel some guilt but I feel a greater sense of longing. “Aunt Zelda” stayed for a spell. She didn’t push her bad vibe on me. She did get me to stop briefly which forced me to rest and recharge. For that I’m grateful. Now that I’m back to it my work brings me personal satisfaction finally! The supreme reason to do. Thanks for affirming my process.

    June 22, 2012
    • So great to hear about your experience, Handlettering Cite! It sounds like you’re in a great place right now — all best wishes for your continued creative satisfaction! (You have a terrific blog, BTW!)

      June 22, 2012
  68. MindMindful #

    Wonderfully put: “showing up is the point” — this really helps me! Thanks

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you so much for saying so, MindMindful!

      June 22, 2012
  69. I totally needed to see this today! It was a virtual kick in the butt and I appreciate you for it.

    June 22, 2012
    • So glad I could be in the right place at the right time, Beard + Bonnet! Your comment is appreciated too 🙂

      June 22, 2012
  70. Great advice! Can’t wait to share with all of my friends 🙂

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you so much, jillkellychandler!

      June 22, 2012
  71. Awesome advice! I’m trying to complete the second draft of my NaNoWriMo 2009 novel (yeah, I know it’s 2012 now…I procrastinate that much :)) and I really need to just set a chunk of time aside everyday to just write.

    Thanks for the tips and motivation!

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you for your comment, Claudia! And congrats for sticking with your NaNoWriMo novel — you already have a first draft in hand, and are somewhere along the spectrum in finishing the second pass — that’s terrific! A regular practice time will serve you well…..

      June 22, 2012
  72. Marichris #

    Reblogged this on Marichris.

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you for the re-blog, Marichris 🙂

      June 22, 2012
      • Marichris #

        No problem! Very inspiring reading! 🙂

        June 22, 2012
  73. Congrats on being freshly pressed- that’s how I found you!! Thanks SO much for this re-post- The Aunt Zelda visual makes me smile… who would think she gets around to so many in that clunky car of hers!!! Keep at it and I will too- Have a great day- Judy

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, Judy! Very glad that Aunt Zelda makes you smile — very best wishes!

      June 23, 2012
  74. Excellent article and very helpful to me personally. Thank you!

    June 22, 2012
    • I’m so happy to hear that, Mary — thank you for saying so!

      June 23, 2012
  75. Muy buen artículo con buenos consejos…gracias 😀

    June 22, 2012
  76. Just what I needed. I recently posted about this. We all need to find time for art.

    June 22, 2012
    • We do indeed, firesurvivors! Thanks for the comment 🙂

      June 23, 2012
  77. This post is really usefull! thank you for helping us to improve ourselves!

    June 22, 2012
    • I’m so glad to hear you think so, elisabetestev! Much appreciated.

      June 23, 2012
  78. Ann #

    A very informative post, i’d say… It will help me a lot during my vacation. Thank you very much! And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    June 22, 2012
    • Thank you, Ann — and best wishes for a satisfying vacation!

      June 23, 2012
  79. This is spot on and thank you for the advice about how to go about getting published. I am a rookie writer with content i have yet to release but its difficult to figure out how to make being seriously published a possibility. I mean anyone can just go on amazon and do it but there is no guarantee that you will be able to make money off your work. I hear you have to build a library of content in order to make a good amount of profit back but that’s neither here or there. The work ethic can be a long process though and does require discipline if one is expected to flourish as a writer so thank you for this article it is insightful -,o

    http://wp.me/2aAA8

    June 23, 2012
    • Thanks, thefuture2020! Having spent years in an independent literary publishing house, I firmly believe that the cream does rise to the top. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to pay your dues. In my experience, that means starting by writing for the local newspapers, entering contests, doing plenty of guest blog posts, consistently submitting your work — while reading everything you can get your hands on. Subscribe to Poets & Writers. Read 50 books a year. Live it, breathe it. Write, write, write while you train your ear. If you are willing to do all of these things, you will be taken seriously. But as you probably know, it really only works if you’re in it because writing is how you make meaning — as opposed to how you want to make money. These things can overlap, of course, and that might be the ideal — but I strongly suggest keeping your focus on process rather than outcome. Good luck!

      June 23, 2012
      • Wow, i couldn’t have asked for better advice, you are sweet for sharing that insight with me. I see there is alot more to the writing world then i thought and maybe i have to get my feet wet to really know what its like. I always wondered and now i know, thank you for everything Miranda 🙂

        June 23, 2012
      • You’re very welcome — please stay in touch!

        June 23, 2012
  80. Reblogged this on hemadamani and commented:
    inspiring and helpful..

    June 23, 2012
    • Thank you for the re-blog, hemadamani!

      June 23, 2012
  81. Hello – just started blogging and found this really helpful in thinking about what to write. I am blogging about running but #2, 3,and 4 totally apply! Controlling what I can, practicing daily and getting over the anxiety of failure – this great advice for training. I am off to do suggestion #1 and put out a post. Any response I get, or no response, would still be an affirmation of my work in progress. So glad I found your post. Thank you!

    June 23, 2012
  82. inkfilledsky #

    Reblogged this on inkfilledsky and commented:
    Awesome advice to remember when doing anything creative and doubting yourself.

    June 23, 2012
    • Thank you, inkfilledsky! Re-blog much appreciated.

      June 23, 2012
  83. loved your post..:)

    June 23, 2012
  84. something clicked for me in reading this. Thank you-great article!

    June 23, 2012
    • I’m psyched to hear that, Brandi! Best wishes! xo

      June 23, 2012
  85. Fantastic advice. Abs I’m totally renaming my inner gremlin who’s assuming the worst about my writing. I love/hate your Aunt Zelda!

    June 23, 2012
    • lol — good for you, winecountrymom! Let us know how it goes! 🙂

      June 23, 2012
  86. Reblogged this on Mashed Potato.

    June 23, 2012
  87. issywrites #

    This blog was so helpful, thanks!

    June 23, 2012
  88. Enjoyed this as well as the comments posted 🙂

    June 23, 2012
    • Hey verbalbanter — thanks for taking the time to read and comment! 😀

      June 24, 2012
  89. Reblogged this on shamwrites and commented:
    I am impressed with this very articulate and simple way of looking at creative process.

    June 23, 2012
    • Many thanks for the comment and re-blog, shamwrites 😀

      June 24, 2012
  90. Great post. I have a teacher who always says, “There is no rejection, only selection.” Love Aunt Zelda as well.

    June 23, 2012
    • What a great mantra. Thanks for the comment, Samantha!

      June 24, 2012
  91. This is great, thank you!

    June 23, 2012
  92. Love Love Love!!!

    June 23, 2012
    • I appreciate your saying so, lauratonks! xo

      June 24, 2012
  93. Lucia Supova #

    Nice nice nice!!! I like the Aunty Zelda image. It can be applied to all kind of situations. And not only to my own fears but also to other persons. To say: “No, thanks” is so empowering!

    June 23, 2012
  94. merganzerman #

    Very good suggestions. Many times, creative works requires heavy lifting and great deal of motivation. A regular schedule helps solve that.

    June 23, 2012
    • Exactly so, merganzerman — when you commit to the schedule, the heavy lifting is not so heavy, and the motivation (or lack of it) is no longer a potential dealbreaker. Good luck, and thanks for the comment!

      June 24, 2012
  95. Thanks for this elegant reminder that creativity isn’t so much magic as sustained practice. As a writer who fears rejection, I particularly appreciated the perspective you share on this potential obstacle.

    June 23, 2012
    • I’m delighted to have helped, Sally! Many thanks for your comment, and very best wishes.

      June 24, 2012
  96. This is the bomb…#3 is the biggest hurdle for me. I so appreciate the tangible strategies. Thank you an d much love.

    June 23, 2012
    • Thank YOU brown betty — please come back and let us know how it’s going! xo

      June 24, 2012
  97. Gasp, give up Facebook to do something worthwhile?! Blasphemy! Totally kidding…lol! I recently cut back an hour of sleep everyday to blog more! I couldn’t agree more. Great post.

    June 23, 2012
    • I know, right?? lol… So glad to hear that the sleep “sacrifice” is working for you. So long as we don’t go into a real sleep deficit, sometimes a little less sleep actually feels better — with creative practice time to boot! Thanks for the comment, Stephanie xo

      June 24, 2012
  98. Just focus on what you can, and not what you cannot do.

    Be persistent, even when you seem don’t have time, show up, meet your commitment. (I used to think that when my friends ask me to lunch and I reject it, I am gonna lose them. Poor old me, I should have known that when it happens, they simply are not a friend).

    Acknowledge that fear is part of the process, but you don’t need to get enticed by it.

    Well done. I learn a lot, thanks.
    🙂

    June 24, 2012
    • Absolutely right, Frillazeus — thank you for the comment!

      June 24, 2012
  99. Amazing work! Such a well worded source of inspiration, that helps the world go round… Thank you!

    June 24, 2012
    • Thank you so much for saying so, Julie! 😀

      June 24, 2012
  100. gratitudecoaching #

    A great post… Enjoyed reading it 😄

    June 24, 2012
  101. Sum #

    THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH for posting this!!! I needed to hear this so badly.

    June 24, 2012
    • I’m delighted that my post resonated with you, Sum! Very best wishes, and thank you for your comment.

      June 24, 2012
  102. Reblogged this on Kultural Yakuza.

    June 24, 2012
    • Thanks for the re-blog, kultural yakuza!

      June 24, 2012
  103. so creative love it

    June 24, 2012
  104. Reblogged this on pushpinature and commented:
    creative tactics to keep in mind

    June 24, 2012
    • Many thanks for the re-blog, pushpinature! 😀

      June 24, 2012
  105. Very inspiring, considering that it is very common for creative people to have a lot of issues with themeselves. I guess what’s important is for us to always have the drive, that passion to be as creative as we can be. 🙂

    June 24, 2012
    • We do seem to have more than our share of issues, don’t we?? lol… I do think that by connecting the passion to what feels important — to how we make meaning — we can sidestep some of those “shoulds” and fears about motivation (which kill creativity so quickly). The more we are able to be who we really are, the stronger we become. It’s a beautiful, upward spiral. Thanks for the comment some.drama, and best wishes!

      June 24, 2012
  106. One of my favorite mantras is “you gotto love rejection.” The problem is that I’vee never mastered rejection in my own pursuits. Your take is a great one, and one I will begin to practice. The last three are also worth pursuing. Thanks for some great advice, and it was free too.

    June 24, 2012
    • Thank you so much for posting, Grumpa Joe! Come back and tell us how the practices are working for you! 😀

      June 24, 2012
  107. It’s so good to hear from professionals too that creativity setbacks are normal! You never hear it enough when you’re a beginner.. 🙂
    Thank you so much for this inspirational post!

    June 24, 2012
    • Thank you for your comment, Rabbit Heart — very best wishes on your creative journey!

      June 24, 2012
  108. deCamville Design #

    Excellent Post!!! Thank You! ~Patricia

    June 24, 2012
    • Thank you for saying so, Patricia!

      June 24, 2012
  109. I LOVE the Aunt Zelda post. What a way to deal with negative thoughts! I will definitely have to try it! I’ve been trying to put myself on a schedule to work on my various creative projects, even my blog. I have already fallen off the bandwagon. I am going to try your journal idea and see where I can come up with extra time…hopefully without cutting into my sleep! Thanks for sharing!

    June 24, 2012
    • Good for you, Valerie! I’d love to hear how things are going for you — come back and let us know! And thanks for the comment 🙂

      June 24, 2012
  110. Really, really good and wise post. I am sure it hits home with all commited creatives.Thankyou for this.

    June 24, 2012
    • I much appreciate you saying so, Anita! xo

      June 24, 2012
  111. This is awesome! I’m so glad I ‘accidentally’ found this. Wow! And congratulations on being freshy pressed.

    June 24, 2012
    • Thank you, riverpearl! Delighted that you accidentally found this post too :–)

      June 24, 2012
  112. loveyourlife247 #

    Love this! Check out my somewhat similar post about adventure 🙂

    June 24, 2012
    • Would be glad to, oveyourlife247. Want to share the link?

      June 24, 2012
  113. Thank you very much, just what the doctor ordered. I will get on my little red trike and get going, until I catch with the 10 speeds:) Great post and spot on advice.

    June 24, 2012
    • Your comment is much appreciated, silvachiqa! And good luck!

      June 24, 2012
  114. Great post. I’m actually in the (long and sometimes extremely frustrating) process of getting my fiction writing going after 3 years of no production. For some reason, I’m really struggling with it! You’ve got some great tips here.

    My inner critic is named Kate instead of Aunt Zelda. She’s young, gorgeous, fit and pretty much perfect in every way. Makes it a lot easier to tell her to F off and go away when I think of her as such a bitch, haha. Looking forward to seeing more posts from you lovely ladies!

    June 24, 2012
    • Thank you, Kiya! It may sound counter-intuitive, but in my experience, treating your inner Kate with compassion is actually more effective than telling her to eff off. There’s something in the power of kindness that dissolves conflict more effectively than anything else. This is why I invite you to serve Aunt Zelda (or Kate) a cup of tea, rather than shoving her out the door. You might give it a try!

      June 24, 2012
      • Thank you so much, this came at the perfect time for me. I decided to start my blog, today.. I have so much to say and share, it seemed overwhelming. So I put it off.
        Today, I said ” that is it, even if I don’t write everything I have to say, I am going to start!” The moment I finished, I searched and found this.
        Thank you for the inspiration to keep going!

        June 24, 2012
      • Good for you, kiiya31! As Mark Nepo puts it so beautifully, “If not now, when?” Applause for just jumping in. xo

        June 24, 2012
      • Interesting… I will have to think about the idea of compassion towards my inner critic… She is just so mean to me (haha), and I am not always good at “killing with kindess.”

        June 25, 2012
  115. Fantastic advice! I am already writing every day, but it’s time to put the other three techniques into practice!

    June 24, 2012
    • Good for you, l0ve0utl0ud! Let us know how ti goes with the other practices! 🙂

      June 24, 2012
  116. Thank you, thank you, thank you for for this, especially for Aunt Zelda. I once read from someone that we who create should do everything to minimize doubt. As much as I shove those doubts to the back of my mind, they creep back in. Now that I can call them/her Aunt Zelda and offer the cup of tea, perhaps those thoughts can be tamed.
    I also had a writing instructor tell our class to “just get over yourself”. Put it out there. Take some risk.
    Yours was a great reminder.
    Peace,
    Alexandria

    June 24, 2012
    • Good for you, Alexandria! As I mentioned in a comment above, I do believe that compassion is an extremely powerful antidote to fear/doubt/Aunt Zelda. Kindness dissolves conflict more effectively than anything else. This is why I invite you to serve Aunt Zelda a cup of tea, rather than trying to shove her out the door.

      I think the advice to “just get over yourself” is also excellent. There will always be 53,468 reasons NOT to write. So what? Write anyway.

      Very best wishes!

      June 24, 2012
  117. Love the blog! Please check out mine as well 🙂

    June 24, 2012
    • Thanks, Christina — will do 🙂

      June 24, 2012
  118. Valuable advice… thanks for the reminder.

    June 24, 2012
    • You’re most welcome, Benjamin! Thanks for the comment.

      June 25, 2012
  119. Alyssa #

    Love this post – very informative and very encouraging. Thanks for sharing and congrats on making this entry to freshly pressed. 🙂

    June 25, 2012
  120. I found this enlightening. It told me a lot of things that I know I should do but like to avoid thinking about. And the fact that you have responded to every comment on this piece is heartening and impressive. I will tweet this directly!
    Thanks
    DAN

    June 25, 2012
    • Many thanks, Dan! I agree — sometimes the simplest truths are the easiest to forget (or avoid). Frequent reminders are necessary. Very best wishes!

      June 25, 2012
  121. su #

    Reblogged this on sab and commented:
    1 2 3 4…

    June 25, 2012
  122. Congrats on the FP. Loved the mantra part – I’ll give it a try! I’m not an artist (I’m a scientist), but with a little tweaking these advices can be universally applied 😀

    June 25, 2012
    • Absolutely, firefly — and thanks for the comment!

      June 25, 2012
  123. Reblogged this on Written With Love ?.

    June 25, 2012
  124. meghannathanson #

    It has been amazing to see what only 2 hours of committed writing time (no matter what is going on!!) each week has meant for my creative process. Thank you for the confirmation of that practice. Now I plan to take on Aunt Zelda! She LOVES to come to my house for a visit!

    June 25, 2012
    • Go you, meghannathanson! Come back and let us know how it goes with Auntie Z!

      June 25, 2012
  125. Great post! I re blogged on Facebook and Twitter. As an artist and a teacher I preach these concepts especially to new students. You are spot on here!!!

    June 25, 2012
    • Your re-blogging is much appreciated, artzent!

      June 25, 2012
  126. laurara90 #

    Reblogged this on laurara90.

    June 25, 2012
    • Thanks for the re-blog, laurara90 🙂

      June 25, 2012
  127. Great Advice!! Thanks!

    June 25, 2012
  128. Thanks so much for this. It’s always nice when someone with experience shares it with the newbies. You’ve developed the methods and mechanisms to cope through constant practice and dealing with the “real”scenarios that occur in your creative routine. Now we can benefit and find a way to fit them in to our times of freaking out and insecurity.
    I really appreciated this!

    http://dyefeltsool.com/

    June 25, 2012
    • Your comment is much appreciated, dyefeltsool! Glad to help. And for what it’s worth, we all experience the creative freak out from time to time — but we learn to anticipate those freak-outs and accept them as part of the process, which diminishes their power to derail us. Yes? (And your work is absolutely dreamy, btw!)

      June 25, 2012
      • Thanks so much for that Miranda. It’s always nice to hear that someone enjoys what you’re doing. I think that’s one of the loveliest things about creating – being able to make someone smile by what you’ve made, brighten their day, enhance their own loveliness to help them believe it’s true!
        Have a super terrific day!

        June 26, 2012
  129. Reblogged this on Herwin's Blog.

    June 25, 2012
  130. I couldn’t agree more! When I first started creating my jewelry or taking (photos both of which I have a passion for) I was afraid to put it out there for fear of no one liking it. After a while the more I made the more I became confident in my art and eventually I shared it with the world, which in itself is liberating! I no longer cared whether people liked it or not, but to my surprise they did like it! Now I run a small yet successful company, it’s not enough to live off of but it gives me great satisfaction!

    June 25, 2012
    • Bravo, Elizabeth! So great to hear about your success. It is SO not worth agonizing over what other people think. You’ll never please *everyone* anyway, so why bother trying? 🙂

      June 25, 2012
  131. theblumenartgallery #

    I SO needed to read this today! After much encouragement from family and friends I finally listed some of my paintings for sale today. I am nervous that I won’t sell anything. Thank you!

    June 25, 2012
    • Wow, good for you, theblumenartgallery! Don’t feel disheartened if it takes a while — engage in shameless self-promotion, stage a media blitz, have faith, and keep painting!

      June 25, 2012
  132. loved your post ! all of these speak to me 🙂 have just started out on my blogging journey…picking up writing after years, I needed this ! thank you !

    June 25, 2012
    • Wonderful to hear that, Nanz — very best wishes with your new blog!

      June 25, 2012
  133. Thanks for sharing this, some great advise!

    June 25, 2012
  134. Onleilove #

    Thank you for this!

    June 25, 2012
    • You’re most welcome, Onleilove!

      June 26, 2012
  135. Good article. Especially found points 2 and 3 useful. I usually fluctuate between putting too much time into the creative part, or not at all. Regularly scheduling time would really help.

    June 26, 2012
    • Awesome, funnyphuppo — let us know how it goes!

      June 26, 2012
  136. Reblogged this on dyefeltsool and commented:
    I found this and fell in love with Miranda’s brilliant succinct concepts. Be sure to check out the 12 Ways to Watch Less TV and Be More Creative on the righthand side. Also very good information!
    Enjoy!

    June 26, 2012
  137. Insightful, helpful, and (I believe) 100% true.
    I am excused from practice for a few more weeks, I have a baby girl, and a 3 y.o. girl, and a traveling significant other, I play overwhelmed-single-mom half the time. DESPITE all the above, your post gave me hope & inspiration! Come September the plan is day-care (or die) and practice.
    A heartfelt thanks from the land of nappies and temper tantrums (mine).

    June 26, 2012
    • You are indeed excused from practice, projectundefined! And you have a great attitude. At risk of sounding like an infomercial, I hope you’ll check out the e-book I’ll be releasing later this week — it’s specifically for mothers in your situation!

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      July 2, 2012
  138. Reblogged this on claratheginger.

    June 27, 2012
  139. Love this! Great advice. A positive boost of encouragement for us creative types! Thanks-a-ton! Look forward to reading more. 🙂

    June 27, 2012
    • Your comment is much appreciated, ezrajewelrydesigns!

      July 2, 2012
  140. Tamara Gonzalez #

    This post is very useful, thanks!

    June 27, 2012
  141. Reblogged this on whatlolawantslolagets.

    June 27, 2012
  142. Very inspiring, useful and gave me a lot of motivation ^_^ !!..
    Great post, Thank YOU* !!

    June 28, 2012
  143. 1. Turn rejection into affirmation.

    Thirty years ago I started doing Stock Photography on a part-time basis and I remember how thrilled I was when I got my first handwritten letter of rejection. I no longer felt nameless/faceless in a sea of form letters rejecting my work. It took another year to get a photo published, but by then I was very motivated.

    Thanks for the great advice,
    Allan

    June 29, 2012
    • What a great attitude, Allan! Thank you for the comment 🙂

      July 2, 2012
  144. lauraslifejourneylounge #

    Very Informative and Inspiring. This speaks to me in many different areas of my life. Thank you for sharing this. Reblogging it :).

    July 1, 2012
  145. lauraslifejourneylounge #

    Reblogged this on lauraslifejourneylounge and commented:
    Don’t Let Fear and Anxiety Stop You From Moving Forward in Your Life.

    ~Laura

    July 1, 2012
  146. Everyone gets stuck in a non-productive rut every once and a while. These 4 tips are definitely a helping hand out. Thanks for the great post.

    July 1, 2012
    • Thanks so much for saying so, Mizz Winkens! xo

      July 2, 2012
  147. Great Post! I work with fabric and have dabbled in design. Constant doubt! Several months ago I had an idea, built the quilt and then ALMOST didn’t even publish the pattern. Silly! It turned out to be one of my most popular designs. That naughty Aunt Zelda nearly won that round.

    Thanks for the reminders as she will probably stop by again someday.

    I am reblogging.

    July 3, 2012
    • Wow — good for you, weddingdressblue! How interesting that the design that almost got scrapped turned out to be a winner. Soooo affirming. Many thanks for the re-blog!

      July 3, 2012
      • Something else: Don’t compare yourself to others. I nearly scrapped that design because it wasn’t as “good,” meaning exotic or complicated, as the work I saw other people doing.

        Silly me! Some people like simple and classic. So, be yourself. If you don’t know who “yourself” is, keep walking. You are likely to meet you somewhere along the way.

        July 3, 2012
  148. Reblogged this on Wedding Dress Blue and commented:
    Because we all sometimes have our doubts. Whether you are in design or just picking fabric for a purchased pattern, it can get to you. Several months ago I had an idea, built the quilt and then ALMOST didn’t even publish the pattern. Silly! Fading Charms turned out to be one of my most popular designs. That naughty Aunt Zelda nearly won that round. (Read below to learn about Aunt Zelda.)

    July 3, 2012
  149. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    July 8, 2012
  150. Reblogged this on Love Life Infinity.

    July 24, 2012
  151. Nikki #

    I am so glad I found this blog on pinterest! I have done the artists way so many times that my book came apart at the seam. I am adding this blog to my google reader! I need to return to my artist. She has been scratching at the door. 30 minutes a day for my work… There is no excuse! I hope to put this to work soon.

    February 5, 2013
  152. Thank you so much for putting on paper everything that goes through my mind. I shall read this post whenever I am attempting to self-sabotage my creativitity!

    October 24, 2013
  153. 4 strong points to help keep us focused though the most important add on I would suggest is: never give up and have fun while creating

    January 10, 2015
  154. Thanks for the advice and reminder. With three kids and life taking up most of my time, thoughts and energy it gets tough sometimes to stay on the right path and continue, especially being a new blogger. Thanks

    August 9, 2015
  155. Awesome; thanks for the tips. I love the part about reframing each rejection as evidence of bravery to produce and send our art out into the world.

    September 2, 2015

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