Today I would like to remind you that you do not need experience to create beautiful, fabulous, valuable creative work.
Didn't go to art school? Don't understand all the fancy art terms? Me either! It doesn't matter. I know that the world (hello, internet!) places expectations upon us.. Other people tell us and judge how we should look, how we should feel, how we should parent, how we should be as a friend, a partner, and how our beautiful Instagram perfect homes should look.
But I am here to tell you creative work does not subscribe to those expectations. Creative work, the kind of work that I value and the kind that I teach and advocate for has nothing to do with any of those things. You don't need to go to art school. You don't need formal training. What you need is courage, a little bit of time and some very, very simple art supplies.
Guess what? Inexperienced is fricking awesome for this kind of work because when you're inexperienced, you don't censor yourself. You don't place expectations upon yourself. You don't compete with others in the world. You go deep, you learn. You can focus on getting started and enjoying the process. IMPORTANT NOTE: this mindset isn't just for beginners - it's where I strive to be every single moment that I'm creating at my studio table.
So, my friend, if you are inexperienced, if you're a little bit nervous about starting a creative practice or doing creative work, you are precisely and exactly in the right place! If you feel kind of silly and you think you're not qualified, or you're not any good at it, please believe me when I say you are in the perfect spot for this.
You, my friend, are the bomb. Let's do this.
All you need to do after this video is get out some paper, get out a pen. If you have art supplies already (paints, chalk, markers, anything you've got) just sit down and create something with no judgment. Don't worry about it what it looks like. Don't worry about what you'll do with it later.
Don't worry about anything.
Just assure yourself that you are indeed an artist. You are an artist right now, already.
Oh, hello there!
I've got a guarantee for you. Even if you've never been creative before, even if you think you don't know where to start, even if you absolutely 100% don't have time for that nonsense - friend, a creative practice can help you in so many ways.
It's like a muscle. When you first start out, it's a little weak; you're not sure how to do that particular exercise at the gym. You can't lift all of that weight, but the more you practice, you begin to feel strong and powerful. You begin to feel like a badass. YOU ARE A BADASS. And that is what a creative practice can do for you as well. Creativity is less about what you make or what project you're working on. It's ALL about who you're becoming and what you're learning about yourself as you're going through the process.
A regular practice, is a form of meditation, but it's much more active than most forms of meditation. It's a way to really look deep within and understand who you want to be at this very moment in the world and who you'd like to be in the future. What we understand about ourselves affects the decisions that we make and our experience through life.
All of us, myself included, are sometimes on autopilot and we're making decisions based on goals, criteria, needs, or wants that we. do not fully understanding within ourselves. The more you understand these drivers and get deeper clarity regarding your voice, the better you can make decisions to align with those, which will ultimately put you on a trajectory toward where you want to go.
Creativity is a way of rooting down deep, but it's also a way of branching out. If you've been a little isolated in your own mind (and we all do this), it's a bit of an echo chamber in there. You will rationalize and nod in agreement at the things that you think - it's human nature. Creativity offers us a way to take a more intentional, deeper look at that.
It's a way to think more broadly and choose to think differently and make different decisions. Creativity is about connection with yourself, with others in the world, and with the universe itself. Awareness of those connections changes the way that you walk through your days.
I want to encourage you, if you don't have a creative practice, start today. It's easy to start one. It doesn't need to be intimidating and I can help you. Check out this free download, Begin to Create, which will give you a quick start.
Thank you so much for being here. I hope you have a beautiful and creative week.
Today, I'd like to offer five easy ways to get started with your creative practice.
The first one is the most important, and if you only remember one thing today, this is it:
You have to start.
Don't overthink it. Don't worry about it. Don't wonder what you need, just immediately start. Look around your house right now. You don't need extra special supplies. In fact, at its simplest, you only need a notebook and a piece of paper.
Start writing anything at all - poem, essay, brainstorm, random stream of consciousness. All of these things can later become seeds for something else.
Number two: don't overcomplicate it. You don't need the fanciest supplies. You don't need a rock solid, iron-clad plan, you just need to start thinking differently. When I talk about a regular creative practice, this can definitely include really cool creative projects but MORE IMPORTANTLY -
I'm talking about different ways that you can live your life and interact in the world. The term creative means making something new that wasn't there before. You could be creating new habits, new relationships, new boundaries, new ways of operating in the world, or new thought patterns.
Don't make it hard. Just pick one thing and do it.
Tip number three: find a partner. Sometimes when you're trying to start something or maintain something all by yourself, it's hard to keep the momentum going. If you can find someone - a friend, an acquaintance or a family member, or someone online that is of the same mind and that you feel you would enjoy spending some time with, you can reach out and explain what you're doing.
I'm starting a new creative practice. It's new for me, or maybe I've created before, but I'm doing it in a new way. I want someone to partner with, and I want some accountability in that process. Would you be interested in doing that with me?
I have partners and accountability friends in many areas of my life. People love to do this because it's a reciprocal relationship. They're not just doing it for you; they're getting the same thing in return. So partner up, it's an excellent way to get started and keep going.
#4: get inspired. If you're not sure exactly what you want to do, or you feel kind of stuck - you know you want to do something, but your idea is sort of vague and not concrete, seeking external inspiration can get you moving forward. There are so many places that you can find inspiration online that I won't even list them. If you need a good starting place, visit my Instagram then click through the accounts that I'm following. You're bound to find a good jumping off point there!
Walk outdoors. Look up museum exhibits and make a plan to attend.
I find a ton of inspiration just by going outside and walking around my neighborhood or nearby neighborhoods that I don't see as often. You get yourself out of your comfort zone.
Reminder: everything you make doesn't have to be 100% original. A lot of art is inspired by other people. That's perfectly fine as long as you don't try to sell art that you blatantly and wholesale copied off of someone else. Be sure to thank and give credit to the original artist, especially if you're posting on social media.
Tip #4: join a group. There are so many groups out there that are organized around creative activities nd a lot of them have events. In fact, I have a writing workshop tomorrow morning. It's every Saturday for eight weeks and I love that because it pushes me a little bit during the week to create more work and to do some of the assignments that have been given to us. I get the opportunity to collaborate with a bunch of other people who are working on similar projects.
Bonus tip: aim for consistency with your practice. That doesn't mean you have to do it every day, but do it on some regular cadence because if not time will slip away. It's tricky like that!
I know that you can do it, and I cannot wait to hear back to see how this goes.
How can we use our creative practices to feel strong, happy, satisfied and just feel good in the world?
I make a lot of big claims about that and you know what? I stand by it. Establishing a regular creative practice or just existing in the world in a more engaged, creative, curious way, truly can add joy and passion into your everyday life.
The experience can be different for everyone, but the concepts and foundations stand true for each of us. When you really embrace a creative practice in your life, there are so many fantastic and unexpected things that come along with that. One of them is a creative community. Don't underestimate the power of like-minded people who are seeking similar things -
- more curiosity
- deep learning
- connection with others and with themselves
For me, community has been an incredible an unexpected result of really embracing and leaning into my creativity. Then there's also a deeply personal, internal piece. This is the part that you alone can experience and it has to do with becoming more grounded in yourself, knowing who you are, what you want, and what you don't want.
It's really important.
Just realizing that you have so many resources within yourself to regulate your emotions, to make better decisions, and plan your life. You'll also get better at winging it sometimes, knowing that you are capable of navigating all of that.
Language can be defined as a means of expressing thoughts or ideas. There are written and spoken languages - the one I'm using right now, and there are other types of languages. There's a narrative happening within yourself, within all of us - some of it can be articulated in words, but I think there's a huge piece of our internal lives and landscapes that don't immediately translate into our native language.
They are really hard to express that way and lose nuance. Creativity, whatever form it takes, can be used as a channel to take that forward. As you're creating, you are also learning and establishing an internal language of your own, a way for you to take the things that are inside of your head and inside of your heart, acknowledge them, become aware of them, and then translate them. These translations can be into a common, spoken, easily understood and articulated language, or in some cases, we may wish to handle them differently. You can begin to learn how your internal language and the language of creative work interact together for you. How that looks and sounds for you person. in whatever your chosen medium is.
I use various mediums - spoken and written word, art journaling, collage, painting, and mixed media artwork are all a part of my creative practice. When I first started, it was really hard and even a little awkward. That's exactly what happens when you learn ANY new language. I'm actually brushing up my Spanish right now. Sometimes I wonder if I'm cut out for it and think I'm not that good and then there are days when it just starts to flow. I think accessing your creative internal language is the very same. It's like a muscle. The more you use it, the more you strengthen it, the more familiar and comfortable you become with it.
It will begin to seem like just a part of you - an extension of you and your existence in this world. You'll realize that is was there the entire time, just below the surface. We all possess different types of knowledge and wisdom, and much of that gets lost because we experience stress, pressure hurrying, and the world's constant seeking to accomplish things. These lead to a dampening and quieting of our internal voice.
Creativity is an avenue toward joy, happiness, strength, and stability in the world. This isn't just an ethereal concept that I'm talking about. It's a real thing. This is huge and it's powerful. I invite you today to consider how you can begin a regular practice or deepen an existing creative practice.
Just dive in. Don't overthink it. Forget about what the art looks or sounds like and really focus on how you can attain some of those good things that we've been talking about.
Hello, friend. More times than I can count, I’ve heard people say – I can’t do art and almost 100% of the time, it’s because they are intimidated by it. I speak from my own experience when I tell you that just the thought of creating something can trigger big fear and resistance. It’s perfectly normal and it makes complete sense.
Why is that? Because it’s way more complicated than just the physical actions needed to slap some paint on paper or write a song. The act of creating based on what is in your own mind and heart is incredibly personal. If I could tell you that being a creative is always easy and fun, I would but I’m committed to honesty and so I want to tell you how it really is.
Bringing something new into the world that didn’t exist before, is inherently a teeny tiny bit risky, especially in a culture in which appearance matters and it sometimes seems that critical judgement and finger pointing is the order of the day. But I want to tell you that the result of being creative is 100% worth it. And guess what? For me, the risks associated with being creative hardly ever come to fruition. Let’s talk about those risks a little. What are they?
• That someone won’t like your work
• That someone will say something critical or mean about you or your work
• That YOU won’t like what you made
These things alone aren’t necessarily bad, they just ARE – it only starts to feel bad when your emotions get involved. It's the possibility of one of these things occurring makes us feel something negative and uncomfortable. Worried, anxious, fearful, embarrassed. These are all just feelings and take my word for it, they will pass. QUICKLY! This is how emotions are meant to work – they are signals to your internal landscape but they aren’t meant to stay forever. Creative work will help you process them and allow them to move along.
Did you notice that I said the possibility of these things occurring? This means that in many cases, we're investing a lot of strong emotion is a scenario that hasn't even happened. It's a story we're telling to ourselves and we can choose to give those stories less attention and weight.
You’ll find that pushing past the barrier is easier than you think and that it gets easier each time you do it. Plus, you don’t have to share your creative work unless you want to. It can just be between you and your own self if that feels best. The whole point of doing the kind of creative work that I teach is the PROCESS of it. The reaching and diving deep. When you learn to do that, you’ll also, by default, be practicing and strengthening some the critical skills of managing your fear along with risk (real or perceived), and becoming more comfortable with who you are inside. This is the super sweet hidden gem. This is the jackpot of a prize. This alone is worth any risk, real or imagined.
You don’t need to be intimidated by creative work because there are no rules unless you create them yourself. The process or the finished product don’t need to look or be any certain way. You don’t need to share your work unless you want to. Fancy supplies are not required. You can do it for 5 minutes at a time or spend an entire afternoon. YOU MAKE THE RULES and success is only defined by your criteria. If you find yourself a little intimidated, you’ve likely assimilated someone else’s expectations. I encourage you now, today, to drop those. Write them down if you need to then crumple up that sheet of paper. Then re-write the rules and make them easy and simple. Or maybe have no rules at all!
I’m heading into the studio, which might just be under a shady tree in the backyard today. I hope you find a peaceful place to explore today. Let’s commit together that we won’t let the expectations of the world push us around this week. xoxoxoxox
Who am I?
I’m a systems engineer and creative coach living in ABQ, NM. I believe that we can intentionally design our lives to align with our deepest dreams and desires.