Category Archives: Art

Only You

only you

Remember what only you can do.

You are the only one who can feed your body healthy food.

You are the only one who can love your family the way you want them to be loved.

You are the only one who can say THANK YOU for the gifts you’ve been given.

You are the only one who can exercise your body.

You are the only one who can exercise your mind.

You are the only one who can give you enough rest.

You are the only one who can decide what you want to learn.

YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CREATE YOUR ART.

Spend your time doing what only you can do. That’s what the world needs more of.

 

Nobody Does It Alone

 

cowgirl on horse

Why is asking for help so difficult?

We have this interesting dichotomy in Western culture. We think we are a village, here to help one another. We get sad when we hear about people dying alone, unnoticed, in their apartments.

But we also value the independent, the iconoclast, the lonesome cowboy, the independent woman. We sing Power Ballads about being alone, and we brag about our bootstraps, and we praise the person who did it all-by-themselves.

We become three-year-olds: “I do it myself.”

I want to challenge that idea, that we’re all alone in this. No one does it alone, not really.

Bill Gates had Paul Allen. Lin-Manuel Miranda had Alex Lacamoire. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. F. Scott Fitgerald had Zelda. No one is a solitary, brilliant expert.

“No one-not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses-ever makes it alone.” – Gladwell

It’s true with our creativity. It’s true with our businesses.  It’s also true with our mental health.

When it comes to our mental health, we’re not all alone in this. In fact, we simply can’t be all alone in this. We all need help because we weren’t meant to go it alone.
Help can come in a variety of forms.

  • Medication
  • Talk therapy
  • Rest
  • Physical activity
  • Walking meditation
  • Actual meditation
  • Prayer
  • Friends
  • Eating well

Whether it’s your art, your hustle, or your mental well-being, don’t keep trying to make it on your own. Find smart people. Surround yourself with them. (The internet makes this easier.)

Ask for help. Help others along the way.

 

Three Ways to Make Space

make-space

A busy and cluttered mind will never have a chance to become creative. Being overly busy, overly burdened, and completely frazzled had been a near-constant state for me. I found, however, that when I had too much going on, my writing and creativity suffered. I made less money because I was too busy to plan ahead. My family suffered because I was not present with them. My heart suffered because it didn’t have enough room to breathe. I had to make a change.

Here are three ways I found to create space. Continue reading Three Ways to Make Space

10 Ways to Kick Fear in the Face

10. Sign up for something you’re not ready for. A half-marathon in six months? A conference where you’re sure to be the worst in the room? A weekend kayaking training trip? Yes. Do that.

9. Ask a stranger for a thing. Anything. Look for rejection until it stops feeling personal. Learn from Amanda Palmer and Jia Jiang.

8. Spend five minutes writing out action steps to take toward something that scares you. Take it out of the daydream. Write it down on real-life paper.

7. Hire a coach. Find someone who will hold you accountable to take action.

6. Start a conversation with the next stranger you see.

5. Read this every single day:

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

4. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Follow all your fears out to their logical conclusions. Ask if you can live with the consequences. “If I pitch to this client, and they say no… then what? Then I’ll still be alive AND will have gained some valuable pitching experience? That’s not so bad.”

3. “Share something small every day.” – Austin Kleon

Show the work in progress. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Show the steps. Inspire other people to be beginners, too.

Austin Kleon Show Your Work
via http://lisacongdon.com

2. Dance like an idiot.

1. Take a deep breath. Walk around the block. Spend a few minutes alone. Face the day. Face yourself. Face the rest of us. BE BOLD!

What Does the Dream Look Like?

The dream looks like watching, waiting.

The dream looks like staring into the water, watching ideas flow in, flow away.

(photo by Steve Carter)

The dream looks like remembering little hints along the path. The dream looks like remembering words from a  thousand years ago, nearly forgotten plans, hints and reminders from surprising sources.

The dream looks scary and unthinkable… until it doesn’t any more.

The dream looks like small actions, taken each day, over consecutive days, that begin to add up to something.

The dream looks like sacrifice, decisions, choices, intentional plans. The dream looks like  “hustle and flow.” And soon even the hustle starts to feel like fun.

The dream looks like giving up on SAFE for something better. Safe no longer feels better. Safe feels like fear and fear feels like loss.

The dream feels like courage. 

Peek Around the Corner

In the middle of creating your art, don’t forget to take a look around the edges to see what might be hiding.

After (and during) getting the draft done, look to the right. Look to the left. See what may be hiding, just out of reach.

beach
Photo by Bertrand Zuchuat

Fear stops us from GOING THERE. Routine stops us from TRYING SOMETHING NEW. Calendars tell us we’re too busy to go EXPLORE today.

Let’s not get so caught up in the same paths that we forget to look around new corners and edges. Life lies in the margins. Let’s go see.

Your Art Matters

Think of all the people who have inspired you along the way. Think about that brilliantly designed ad that you ripped out of a magazine in high school because it was the first time you understood typefaces. Think about the blog post you saved and read over and over any time you needed it. Think about the quote you copied, word for word in your journal, because you never wanted to forget it.

blog_april_2016_woman_writing

There are people out there who have moved you, inspired you, saved you. They may never know that you are their one true fan. They may never know they have any fans at all, unless you track them down and tell them one day.

But just think. You might be this to someone else. You will have written the poem that someone needed. You will write the song that saves that boy’s life. You will write the paragraph that a young girl copied over and over, word for word, in order to memorize it, make it her own, absorb it in her bones.

You. You will make the thing that changes the course of someone’s life.

Don’t think for one second that your art doesn’t matter. You are creating the thing that is out there doing the important work of saving and changing lives.

You are creating to improve the quality of your own soul.
You are creating to knit together the tiny holes in someone else’s soul.
Your work matters.
Your art matters.