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.
Reblogged this on Teej Rants and commented:
This will be my next task
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!
Thank you, Jennifer! Great to see you here 🙂
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 🙂
How wonderful, Michelle! Please come back and let us know how it’s going!
I love this! 😀
Many thanks, FoghornUnicorn! 😀
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.
So nice to hear your perspective, boomers1earth — we look forward to hearing from you again in future!
I am neither a mother nor a sister, but I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing these helpful and realistically achievable pointers 🙂
Thank you for saying so, Sleepy Moose! We strive to offer equal-opportunity inspiration, so very glad to hear this post worked for you.
Truly helpful. I’m quite good with rules no. 1 and 4 but there’s still work to be done on the other two.
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.
Excellent advice for staying on task – thanks so much for posting!
Thank you so much for saying so, jillbware! 🙂
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!
Terrific attitude, Liz — go you! And many thanks for the lovely feedback.
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.
Oh, this is good and juicy advice. I love the first tip about turning rejection into affirmation.
Thank you, pnwauthor! 😀
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. 🙂
Thank you so much for saying so, Teresa — we’d love to hear more about your experience here at Studio Mothers!
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.”
Beautifully put, Sandra — and your wonderful feedback is much appreciated! 🙂
Ooh, that’s a great thing to realise. I feel a little better about my work already. 🙂
I’m so glad it encouraged you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
So spot on! Acknowledging the voice of my harsh inner critic and starting a conversation with my fearful creative self has been life-changing.
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?
I love your personification of fear as “Aunt Zelda!” That will definitely stick in my head 🙂 Thanks for the great post!
Thank you, OneWeekToCrazy! Good luck with Aunt Zelda — let us know how it goes!
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.
Go you, Mikalee! Your comments are much appreciated 🙂
Excellent post for artistic people. I’ve reblogged it, thank you
Thank you so much for the reblog, annabelsglassdesigns! xo
Reblogged this on Annabel's glassdesigns and commented:
Good advice here for all you artistic people.
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!
lol — we could definitely come up with a few other more “choice” names for Aunt Zelda! Best wishes for your creative work, unsouthernbelle 🙂
Reblogged this on Luis Madrid Designs and commented:
Angst shall not hold me back!
Go you, madrid16137! And many thanks for the re-blog.
omgoodnezz that was good! and how true! as an artist with deadlines, its great advice, especially at this time of the year!
Your positive feedback is much appreciated, twinravens2000!
Wonderful insight and advice. Congrats on being freshly pressed.
Thank you, Richard!
Reblogged this on Round Ten.
The re-blog is much appreciated, Dave 🙂
what is the type of your header font? thats cool
Hey Rizal — it’s Broken Ghost. You can get it here, among other places: http://www.dafont.com/broken-ghost.font
Good Information. Thanks!
Thanks for saying so, artisttoostudios 🙂
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?
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!
Thank you for posting this 🙂
And thanks for your comment, Alexis!
very informative. four ways, but a lot of inspirations. thanks.
Much appreciated, urbandud!
Great reminders! 🙂
Simple things, but we need to hear them again and again, don’t we! Thanks, cloudy 🙂
Thanks for the tips! No doubt I will be rereading this in the future!
Thank you, christinapertz1!
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!
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.
Great comment – I also am positive all art has an audience out there somewhere.
Thanks for this. I’m handing Aunt Zelda her walking papers. And her cup of tea.
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 🙂
my EYES are SPEECHLESS…..
DO VISIT MY BLOG….YOU WILL SURELY LIKE IT…
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thank you, UtahMan&Wife — and best wishes with Aunt LaVona!
Great post and blog- I’m following now. Thanks!
Much appreciate the comment and follow, Michelle!
i will try with my self
Thank you, mastermall — very best wishes.
Fabulous — and so true — thanks and congrats!
Appreciated, Paula! 🙂
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!
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…..
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!
Yes, Miss Feebs! Go get ’em!
Congrats on being freshly pressed! Very interesting article and a quality read. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Many thanks for the comment, zeynepmutlu!
Nice blog, you answer every comment too. That matters in a blog. http://therealzonezero.wordpress.com/
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 🙂
I like it too
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.
Thank *you*, Tea in a Teacup! Enjoy your tea party with Auntie Z 😉
Reblogged this on Winning Shots and commented:
For those of you who may be in a creative slump, some reading material:
Many thanks for the re-blog, Marissa!
So need this today. Like it so much, I’ve reblogged 🙂
Thank you, Jolly — very much appreciated!
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!
So glad to have helped, Robyn! Thank you for the comment 😀
Reblogged this on Kate Hall's Blog and commented:
Awesome reminder for this writer, thanks!
Thank you, Kate — the re-blog is much appreciated!
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.. 🙂
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!
Hmm.. word count quota, might as well try it too.. 🙂 Thanks again for posting!
wow, yep. rejection means I am doing my work.
what a great way to re-frame that.
YES, resonanteye. Such an important paradigm shift! Go you 🙂
This blogpost is going to make me do something awesome right about now.
Woohoo! Rooting for you, ainabamjad!
This is so inspiring!! 😀 Thank you!
Many thanks, Helen!
Hahaha! Wow this really brightened up my day! I’m printing these invaluable instructions out and pinning them to my wall this afternoon.
Thank you so much, Andy! Meriting a hard-copy wall post is a serious compliment 😀
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 🙂
Terrific, Rustic Recluse — applauding you for challenging the norm!
Reblogged this on TheMissPepperpot.
Many thanks for the re-blog, misspepperpot 🙂
I really loved this article so much.. Well done… Keep it up… and congrats on being freshly pressed. 🙂
Thank you for the comment, Siddhesh!
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!
That perspective will serve you well, Shannon — go you!
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!
Thanks so much for the comment, milkhousestudio!
I really am glad that I came across your article, as I am sort of going through this phase. I’ll definately reblog this 🙂
Your comment and re-blog are much appreciated, misguidedghost86 😀
Reblogged this on Diary of a Lost Girl.
That’s so helpful, especially about establishing practice when I have so many plans but I procrastinate 😮 .
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!
Just finished another painting with my own Aunt Zelda sitting on the living room sofa. thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Yessss! The best comment yet, Kathleen!!
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!
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!
Definitely! And the hardest thing…not taking rejection to heart. That is what leads us away from believing in ourselves.
Thanks for posting! 🙂
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
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!
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
Excellent advice, emmalouise!
It can be extremely difficult when you’re surrounded by people who don’t “get” what you’re doing — I hope you have a strong community of creative friends who do get it, and are following their own passions as well. If you don’t, consider reading this post: https://studiomothers.com/2012/06/14/universal-canvas-your-creative-community/
Thank you very much I will check it out 🙂
Well-written post. I needed to read this today. Thanks! It’s definitely worthy of Freshly Pressed.
Thank you so much for saying so, becomingcliche!
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.
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!)
Wonderfully put: “showing up is the point” — this really helps me! Thanks
Thank you so much for saying so, MindMindful!
I totally needed to see this today! It was a virtual kick in the butt and I appreciate you for it.
So glad I could be in the right place at the right time, Beard + Bonnet! Your comment is appreciated too 🙂
Great advice! Can’t wait to share with all of my friends 🙂
Thank you so much, jillkellychandler!
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!
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…..
Reblogged this on Marichris.
Thank you for the re-blog, Marichris 🙂
No problem! Very inspiring reading! 🙂
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
Thank you, Judy! Very glad that Aunt Zelda makes you smile — very best wishes!
Excellent article and very helpful to me personally. Thank you!
I’m so happy to hear that, Mary — thank you for saying so!
Muy buen artículo con buenos consejos…gracias 😀
Muchísimas gracias, Pedro!
Just what I needed. I recently posted about this. We all need to find time for art.
We do indeed, firesurvivors! Thanks for the comment 🙂
This post is really usefull! thank you for helping us to improve ourselves!
I’m so glad to hear you think so, elisabetestev! Much appreciated.
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!
Thank you, Ann — and best wishes for a satisfying vacation!
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
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!
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 🙂
You’re very welcome — please stay in touch!
Reblogged this on hemadamani and commented:
inspiring and helpful..
Thank you for the re-blog, hemadamani!
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!
Reblogged this on inkfilledsky and commented:
Awesome advice to remember when doing anything creative and doubting yourself.
Thank you, inkfilledsky! Re-blog much appreciated.
loved your post..:)
Thank you, runwaymonk!
something clicked for me in reading this. Thank you-great article!
I’m psyched to hear that, Brandi! Best wishes! xo
Fantastic advice. Abs I’m totally renaming my inner gremlin who’s assuming the worst about my writing. I love/hate your Aunt Zelda!
lol — good for you, winecountrymom! Let us know how it goes! 🙂
Reblogged this on Mashed Potato.
Thank you for the re-blog, Mashed Potato!
You’re welcome, Miranda 🙂
This blog was so helpful, thanks!
Thank you, issywrites!
Enjoyed this as well as the comments posted 🙂
Hey verbalbanter — thanks for taking the time to read and comment! 😀
Reblogged this on shamwrites and commented:
I am impressed with this very articulate and simple way of looking at creative process.
Many thanks for the comment and re-blog, shamwrites 😀
Great post. I have a teacher who always says, “There is no rejection, only selection.” Love Aunt Zelda as well.
What a great mantra. Thanks for the comment, Samantha!
This is great, thank you!
Thank you, backpackerina!
Love Love Love!!!
I appreciate your saying so, lauratonks! xo
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!
YES Lucia! Go get ’em…..
Very good suggestions. Many times, creative works requires heavy lifting and great deal of motivation. A regular schedule helps solve that.
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!
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.
I’m delighted to have helped, Sally! Many thanks for your comment, and very best wishes.
This is the bomb…#3 is the biggest hurdle for me. I so appreciate the tangible strategies. Thank you an d much love.
Thank YOU brown betty — please come back and let us know how it’s going! xo
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.
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
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.
Absolutely right, Frillazeus — thank you for the comment!
Amazing work! Such a well worded source of inspiration, that helps the world go round… Thank you!
Thank you so much for saying so, Julie! 😀
A great post… Enjoyed reading it 😄
Thank you, gratitudecoaching!
THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH for posting this!!! I needed to hear this so badly.
I’m delighted that my post resonated with you, Sum! Very best wishes, and thank you for your comment.
Reblogged this on Kultural Yakuza.
Thanks for the re-blog, kultural yakuza!
so creative love it
Thank you, kamran70b!
Reblogged this on pushpinature and commented:
creative tactics to keep in mind
Many thanks for the re-blog, pushpinature! 😀
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. 🙂
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!
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.
Thank you so much for posting, Grumpa Joe! Come back and tell us how the practices are working for you! 😀
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!
Thank you for your comment, Rabbit Heart — very best wishes on your creative journey!
Excellent Post!!! Thank You! ~Patricia
Thank you for saying so, Patricia!
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!
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 🙂
Really, really good and wise post. I am sure it hits home with all commited creatives.Thankyou for this.
I much appreciate you saying so, Anita! xo
This is awesome! I’m so glad I ‘accidentally’ found this. Wow! And congratulations on being freshy pressed.
Thank you, riverpearl! Delighted that you accidentally found this post too :–)
Love this! Check out my somewhat similar post about adventure 🙂
Would be glad to, oveyourlife247. Want to share the link?
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.
Your comment is much appreciated, silvachiqa! And good luck!
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!
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!
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!
Good for you, kiiya31! As Mark Nepo puts it so beautifully, “If not now, when?” Applause for just jumping in. xo
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.”
Fantastic advice! I am already writing every day, but it’s time to put the other three techniques into practice!
Good for you, l0ve0utl0ud! Let us know how ti goes with the other practices! 🙂
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.
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!
Love the blog! Please check out mine as well 🙂
Thanks, Christina — will do 🙂
Valuable advice… thanks for the reminder.
You’re most welcome, Benjamin! Thanks for the comment.
Love this post – very informative and very encouraging. Thanks for sharing and congrats on making this entry to freshly pressed. 🙂
Many thanks, Alyssa!
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!
Many thanks, Dan! I agree — sometimes the simplest truths are the easiest to forget (or avoid). Frequent reminders are necessary. Very best wishes!
Reblogged this on sab and commented:
1 2 3 4…
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 😀
Absolutely, firefly — and thanks for the comment!
Reblogged this on Written With Love ?.
Thanks for the re-blog, loveandrelationshipsbrooklyn 🙂
Anytime 🙂 I enjoy your blog … What can I say !
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!
Go you, meghannathanson! Come back and let us know how it goes with Auntie Z!
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!!!
Your re-blogging is much appreciated, artzent!
Reblogged this on laurara90.
Thanks for the re-blog, laurara90 🙂
Great Advice!! Thanks!
Thanks for saying so, Patricia!
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!
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!)
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!
Reblogged this on Herwin's Blog.
Thanks for the re-blog, Herwin!
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!
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? 🙂
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!
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!
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 !
Wonderful to hear that, Nanz — very best wishes with your new blog!
Thanks for sharing this, some great advise!
Thank you for saying so, Joanne!
Thank you for this!
You’re most welcome, Onleilove!
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.
Awesome, funnyphuppo — let us know how it goes!
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!
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).
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 🙂
Reblogged this on claratheginger.
Thank you for the re-blog, thegingerclara!
you’re welcome! 😉
Love this! Great advice. A positive boost of encouragement for us creative types! Thanks-a-ton! Look forward to reading more. 🙂
Your comment is much appreciated, ezrajewelrydesigns!
This post is very useful, thanks!
Thank you for saying so, Tamara!
Reblogged this on whatlolawantslolagets.
Very inspiring, useful and gave me a lot of motivation ^_^ !!..
Great post, Thank YOU* !!
Thank *you,* Myrna! 😀
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,
What a great attitude, Allan! Thank you for the comment 🙂
Very Informative and Inspiring. This speaks to me in many different areas of my life. Thank you for sharing this. Reblogging it :).
Many thanks, Laura! 😀
Reblogged this on lauraslifejourneylounge and commented:
Don’t Let Fear and Anxiety Stop You From Moving Forward in Your Life.
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.
Thanks so much for saying so, Mizz Winkens! xo
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.
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!
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.
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.)
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
Reblogged this on Love Life Infinity.
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.
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!
Thank you! 😀
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
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
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.