Day 16 of the July #creativesandboxchallenge inside the #creativesandboxcommunity: door knocker. I used to agonize over getting everything so precise, so perfect. For a self-assignment like this, I would have pulled out straight edges and rulers, driven myself crazy to get it just-so. 🖍
In fact, I spent more time NOT making art, because nothing I created could ever live up to my impossible standards! THAT is what I call “perfectionist paralysis.” It’s excruciatingly painful, because NOT creating when you have the hunger to express yourself through making stuff, causes psychic distress. First it makes us feel lousy. Cranky. Angry. Annoyed. Sad. Then it leads to an unexplained depression. And worse. You start spending money on stupid things, trying to fill the void. Or eating. Or otherwise self-medicating.
Really, what you need is simply permission to play again! To create like you did when you were 4. When it wasn’t about impressing anyone, but simply about following your curiosity.
THAT is why I developed my Creative Sandbox Way™ Guideposts: out of desperation to dump the perfectionist paralysis so I could get back to creating again! I knew PLAY was the answer. PLAY was the doorway to the kind of creating I needed—NOT the stultifying meticulous creating I’d been doing, with straight edges and rulers. I needed to MAKE MESSES, like a little kid playing in a sandbox!
That’s why I practice INTENTIONAL IMPERFECTIONISM today. I embrace the charm of the wobbly line. It has life that the perfectly straight line will never have! And it will NEVER squeeze the life out of me by taunting me that it isn’t perfect enough, because it’s not *trying* to be perfect!! 🖍
When I practice intentional imperfectionism, it confuses my gremlins. And when my gremlins get confused, they bump into each other and wander off, instead of snarling their nastiness at me. Woot! Win!
It takes practice, but it’s worth it. It helps to have a community who is also practicing with you, like my Creative Sandbox Community for women. We support and encourage each other, cheering each other on. 🖍
I’m opening the doors next Tuesday to new members. Check the link in my profile. #originalart
Playing with color in my sketchbook. Knot doodles and Neocolor II. .
#doodle #doodleart #doodlesofinstagram #creativesandboxway #creativesandboxcommunity #sketchbook #imperfectionism #originalart
Today is day 15 of the July #creativesandboxchallenge inside the #creativesandboxcommunity, and today’s prompt is “monastery.” I did a Google search on “monastery icons,” and here are four attempts in doodle form. Symmetry is clearly not a strength of mine! 😂
I love thee monthly challenges, because they help me expand my visual vocabulary. Other members use them as writing prompts, or to practice drawing skills, or for photography, or poetry… it’s up to you. But it’s always so fun and inspiring to see what other members come up with!
And the Sandbox is a safe place to share. Not everyone feels comfortable putting their creative efforts out for the world to see, but in the Sandbox they know they’ll get a gentle, loving reception. It’s like getting your bearings in the shallow end of the pool before diving head-first into the depths of the ocean! The water’s fine, and the life guards have your back. 😊
We inspire each other in so many ways in the Sandbox. In just over a week we’re starting the Great ClutterBust—3 weeks of clearing out the stuff that’s taking up space and weighing us down, so we can make space for what’s important! 🖍
When you see other people share “before” and “after” pics, and hear their successes, it motivates YOU to take action and finally tackle that Closet of Doom you’ve been putting off dealing with forever. I’ve got piles of junk from last year’s kitchen renovation that I still haven’t gotten around to that I’m targeting for clutterbusting. 😊
Wanna join us? Get on the waitlist here: http://bit.ly/2pPbRDZ I’ll be sending more info this week!
#visualnotes #visualthinking #visualcommunication #monastery #vizthink #neulandmarkers #doodle #originalart #dailydoodle #doodlenotes #creativesandboxway
Refuge. Day 13 from the #creativesandboxchallenge inside the #creativesandboxcommunity. I modeled this after the sketch that member (and challenge host) @carla.la.la.olson made (which you can find on her Instagram feed). I was so inspired by it! 🖍
That’s one of the things I love about the Creative Sandbox Community: we inspire each other! Seeing the art, photos, writing, clutter-clearing “before” and “after” pics that people share… and hearing/reading the stories of their insights… it inspires ACTION!
We see, read, hear what someone else is doing or has done, and it jazzes us up to try something new ourselves, or to make a change, or to take that step we’ve been wanting to take but have been afraid to.
That is the power of a community of kind, generous, open-hearted souls. All gathered together with the intention to care about and support one another. It’s the closest thing to magical I know of. I love these women so much! 🖍
I am doing things I never would have done, thanks to the support of the Creative Sandbox Community. And I am far from alone in saying that.
It’s been a long time since I’ve opened the doors to the public. We’ve moved off Facebook and into our own private space on Mighty Networks, and I’m getting ready to start welcoming new women in as early as next week. 🖍
We’ll kick off with three weeks of clutter-clearing, to make space to create. Stay tuned! This will be fun! 😁
#visualnotes #visualthinking #vizthink #visualcommunication #sketchnotes #originalart #doodle #dailydoodle #dailycreative #graphicfacilitation #creativesandboxway
Abandoned. Day 14 of the July #creativesandboxchallenge inside the #creativesandboxcommunity, my lab for women’s leadership through creative expression. Did you know the doors are opening to new members soon? We’ll kick off the re-opening with a Great ClutterBust on July 24th — 3 weeks of clearing out the clutter to make space to create! All members, new and current, get to join in. Turning an onerous task into something fun and playful, and actually getting it DONE, together. 😄 🖍
It’s a great way to start off your membership in the community: a fresh start, with a freshened-up space, that you’re excited to be in because it makes you feel good, makes you WANT to create! Not like this drawing of an abandoned house! 😂
#visualnotes #visualthinking #neulandmarkers #doodle #dailydoodle #dailyart #dailycreative #creativesandboxway #imperfectionism #originalart
Sketchbook page. Practicing hands from @evalottchen. She does the coolest illustrations!
#visualnotes #visualthinking #neulandmarkers #originalart #imperfectionism #doodlesofinstagram #tinyanddaily #creativesandboxway
Day 11 of the Creative Sandbox Challenge inside the Creative Sandbox Community: graveyard. 🖍
Yes, it appears some of the residents of this graveyard are quite short. Ahem. I’ll have to work on that. Still, it gets the point across, I think, which is the goal, after all. 😊
#creativesandboxchallenge #visualthinking #visualnotes #visualcommunication #doodle #doodlesofinstagram #doodlewithdinwiddie #sketchnotes #imperfectionism #originalart #neulandmarkers #graphicfacilitation #dailycreative
Note: For the fullest experience, I recommend listening to the podcast, as the audio version always contains additional comments and tangents not found in the blog post version.
On Sunday, a young woman named Ania mentioned me in her Story on Instagram.
She was inspired by a video I made on my IGTV channel, which had a huge impact on her and how she approached her art.
I was so touched that she mentioned me that I not only thanked her in a direct message, but I shared her Story on MY Instagram Story (Instagram makes this one-click easy to do from the private message thread!)
This led to a lengthy private chat conversation, culminating in my inviting her to be on the podcast.
It’s a purely selfish move on my part, because she has a story about how I have totally transformed her relationship to her art. So of course I want to share that, right?
But it’s also a huge thing for her, because she’s really scared to guest podcasts, yet it’s something she’s been wanting to do, so it’s a big growth move, pushing outside her comfort zone. That’s something I’m able to give her, while getting something that I really want, too.
Which is, of course, the definition of a win-win!
Anyway, ALL of this came about because Ania had the courage to share, and to tag me.
If she had never shared, had never tagged me, I would never have known that my work had any impact on her whatsoever, and I certainly would not have invited her on the podcast.
For me, inviting her on my podcast is not that big of a deal — I mean, it seemed like the logical next step. But for her, it was pretty huge. She certainly did not see that coming, out of the blue!
And it ALL happened because she took a risk. She shared her work. She had the courage to put herself out there.
The Two Essential Steps of the Creative Process
The first step is to CREATE. This is obviously essential.
But if we stop there, it’s almost as bad as if we’d never created at all.
Don’t forget, creating is really a TWO-STEP process. Creating without sharing is missing something essential.
Share your work. Even if it scares you. Perhaps especially if it scares you. You never know where it might lead.
It won’t lead anywhere if you never share it. But it might lead somewhere really amazing if you do.
But then again…
My big fear is that I’ll throw a party and nobody will come.
This has happened to me.
Not necessarily with parties, but certainly with business-related things.
I’ve put an offer out into the world, and gotten the virtual equivalent of crickets in response. More than once.
It really sucks.
But what are you gonna do, just stop putting offers out into the world?
Every time, there is a moment I do think, yeah, I’m not doing THIS again. But then I take a breath. And I realize that actually, I will.
Because when I’ve had some time to get over the sting, I realize that the problem is not that I suck, or that the thing that I created sucks. There’s something that clearly didn’t work, and my job is to figure that out, and solve the problem.
It’s a creative challenge, and if there’s one thing I like, it’s a creative challenge.
So I always get back up, dust myself off, and start all over again.
But that’s not to say I do it without trepidation.
Oh, no. I have a lot of trepidation.
Pretty soon I’m going to open the doors to my Creative Sandbox Community again, with the “relaunch” (for lack of a better term) of a program I ran a few years ago called the Great ClutterBust.
Clear your clutter, change your life, make space to create, and get a full year of feminine support, friendship, and creative rejuvenation in the Creative Sandbox Community, my lab for women’s leadership through creative expression.
The women already inside the Creative Sandbox are amazing.
Just the other day, Angi said on a call, “I’m gaining so much just sharing with such wonderful women, and I can’t imagine not being in this group.”
Carla, one of the members who hosts our monthly creative challenges, recently wrote:
I’ve struggled with depression for over 30 years, and this daily practice has been the most effective “treatment”…26 days and counting. Hooray for the power of TINY and DAILY!
Leslie, another one of our creative challenge hosts, wrote:
The Creative Sandbox Community has helped me tremendously with accountability to help me get moving and keep going on my chosen work, with sharing daily (or at least frequent) creativity prompts to get the ideas moving, and with emotional support during a difficult time. I am immensely enjoying getting to know women from all over the world who share my love of art, writing, and all things creative. The resources, both human and informative, are priceless.
And yet, I don’t know if I’ll be able to effectively communicate the wonderfulness of the Sandbox to women who aren’t already experiencing it. I’m scared that when I open the doors it will be the equivalent of throwing a party and nobody showing up.
Meanwhile, I decided not long ago to hold my very first Creative Sandbox Playday — an in-person co-working retreat, where people come together to work on creative stuff (art, writing, crafts) in community.
It’s basically like the “day camp version” of my Creative Sandbox Retreat, which I’ve been running for coming up on 6 years now. Where the retreat is 5 days and 4 nights, the playday is a half day.
And it’s only $25!
But again, I’m really afraid nobody’s going to show up.
And how sad and depressing it would be to rent a big room and sit in it from 10am to 2:30pm all by myself…
But I definitely won’t get anybody to show up if I don’t put myself out there. If I don’t make the offer.
If I don’t share my work.
So that’s what I’m doing. Making the offer. Sharing my work.
Because this is what creatives do. We make the offer. We create, and we share.
And sometimes, people invite us on their podcasts out of the blue.
And if it doesn’t turn out the way we want, we learn from that experience, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.
Where are you stuck sharing? What are you going to share next? What could you use some help with?
Creativity with page folding! This satisfies my paper, lettering, and animation passions all at once. (If nothing appears below, click here to watch a 42-second video in a new window.)
Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!
What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!
- Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
- 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
- Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
- How to turn creative blocks into friends.
AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself.
“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup
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Frozen time. Day 10 from the July creative challenge inside the Creative Sandbox Community. 🖍
It’s supposed to be a stopwatch in an ice cube, though the blue streaks at the bottom make it look a bit like a gigantic stopwatch on a pillow on a bed with blue sheets! 🤣
Context is everything. If I drew this image in a sketchnote, to illustrate the concept of frozen time, you probably wouldn’t see a pillow and sheets. But now that I mentioned it, it’s probably all you *can* see! If I added the label, “frozen time,” however, my lack of drawing skills would be forgiven, and you’d get what I was trying to communicate.
Visuals don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be placeholders. Stand-ins. Something for our eyes to grab onto and say, “Ah, yes, I get it.” 🖍
Having that visual allows our minds to relax—the information is retained by the visual, so we don’t have to remember it. We can focus our attention elsewhere, knowing the information will be there for us when we need it.
The visual holds the information for us, so much more powerfully than just words! Even if it’s wonkily drawn. 😉
#powerofvisuals #visualnotes #visualthinking #visualcommunication #graphicfacilitation #sketchnotes #time #neulandmarkers #originalart #creativesandboxway #creativesandboxcommunity #imperfectionism #dailyart #dailycreative #creativesandboxchallenge #tinyanddaily
I made a how-to video for my IGTV channel just now, on knot doodles. This is the result. Of course Doodlebot showed up to play at the end. 😊 You can see the whole thing and learn to make your own knot doodles. They’re super fun, and very meditative.
#knots #doodles #doodleart #doodlesofinstagram #doodlebot #originalart #abstractart #blackandwhite #creativesandboxway #tinyanddaily #doodlewithdinwiddie
Ugh. Being a beginner is so frustrating! But this is how we learn. I set a goal to practice some visual note-taking this weekend, on my 4’x4’ board. This is what I’ve got so far, from a tiny piece of a @creativelive class on body language with the always amazing @vvanedwards. There’s no organization, no useful structure going on here—no subhead for the “mistakes” section (gee, that would have been useful!) or any clarity around what is a fix vs a mistake.
Sigh… doing this on the fly is HARD! I could come up with a much better layout after the fact, but as a facilitator, my goal is to support the process as it happens. 🖍
Lesson from today’s practice: LEAVE MORE SPACE! If I’d left space above my first mark, I could have created a subhead there. Now it’s kinda challenging to squeeze it in! Live and learn. 😁
#visualnotes #visualthinking #learning #beginner #graphicfacilitation #neulandmarkers #visualnotetaking #originalart #thisishard #imperfectionism #creativesandboxway
Today’s prompt from the #creativesandboxchallenge inside the Creative Sandbox Community is “bicycle,” so I thought I’d make a little infodoodle on how to draw a bike! Anyone can do it! 🖍
2 triangles 🔺
2 circles 🔵
And a few lines
As you can see, it doesn’t even matter if your circles and triangles are wonky—it still reads as a bicycle! 😊
Give it a try!
#creativesandboxcommunity #creativesandboxway #doodlesofinstagram #visualcommunication #originalart #neulandmarkers #bicycle #howtodraw #howtodrawabike