Adding Doodlebot to today’s doodle, live-streamed on Facebook. .
#doodlebot #artvideo #originalart #doodlesofinstagram #dailycreative #dailydoodle #improv #imperfectionism #pigmamicron #artistsofinstagram #doodlesofinstagram #howtodraw
Wednesday morning doodle. Live-streamed on Facebook as “How to Deal with Fear of the Blank Page.” Whether it’s drawing, painting, writing, or anything else, I handle it the same way: Just start. Anywhere. Creative Sandbox Way™ Guidepost #5. Works wonders. Seriously. Try it.
Of course, it helps to have the other 9 Guideposts at the same time. 😊 Check out my book for more info. Get the first 50 pages free at http://bit.ly/2dnWyeJ
#creativesandboxway #doodlebot #imperfectionism #improv #abstractart #originalart #dailycreativepractice #artistsofinstagram #pigmamicron #dailyart #doodlesofinstagram #artistsofinstagram
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.
Last week I was up in Whistler, British Columbia, at a training in Advanced Strategic Storytelling with LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Methods, learning how to weave together LSP methods with the Hero’s Journey.
Humans are wired for story — when any information is conveyed in the form of a story, it’s stickier in our brains. So helping leaders, salespeople, advertisers, project managers, coaches, and others, to tell the best stories possible helps them communicate better, create engagement and alignment, bring multiple stakeholders together, be better speakers, and on and on.
So I’m there in Whistler, where it’s impossibly gorgeous, surrounded by tree-covered mountains at the Nita Lake Lodge, in this stunning two-level, two-bedroom suite where the training is being held, with sweeping views and a fire in the fireplace, and there are five of us sitting around the table, and we’ve just done an exercise building models out of LEGO® (because, of course, we do a lot of that in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshops!), and I don’t even remember what I’m talking about, but it has something to do with my online community, the Creative Sandbox Community. And I just off-handedly mention that my community isn’t very big.
Well. One of the other participants, Cheryl, a skilled coach, calls me out.
“You know,” she says, “I’ve heard you say several times this weekend that your community isn’t very big. And I’m kinda tired of it. I’m going to challenge you to say it differently.”
Huh. I realized she was right.
I hadn’t noticed until that very moment, but I had mentioned my Creative Sandbox Community a few times before, and I had said my community isn’t very big.
And I kind of had to wrack my brain a bit to think about how to say that differently. Because, I mean, everything’s relative, but all things considered, it isn’t very big.
So I said, “Um.. my Creative Sandbox Community isn’t very big… yet!”
I was pretty pleased with myself!
And how meta — here I was was at a storytelling workshop, rewriting a story about myself! Woohoo, victory, right?
But Cheryl didn’t let it go at that.
She just looked at me, with that look that only a coach can give you.
That that’s not good enough look.
“I’m going to challenge you to do better than that,” she said.
I was stumped.
And then Jacquie, our master trainer, chimed in with, “How about this: I have a huge online community, they’re out there just waiting to find me!”
Aha! Paradigm shift!
That is called rewriting a story.
I had this story in my head about my community: it’s not very big. Which is really limited, and limiting.
But rewriting that story to “I have a huge online community, they’re out there just waiting to find me!” is so much more empowering.
It’s almost like “My online community is not very big” is a self-installed glass ceiling over my head, keeping me small. And simply rewriting that story to”I have a huge online community, they’re out there just waiting to find me!” helps me shatter that glass ceiling so I can stand up to my full height and be open to more possibilities.
The Biggest Little Lie
Here’s another one, which I hear all the time. A lie I told myself for a good decade:
“I don’t have time.”
Maybe it’s familiar to you.
I still tell myself that lie. Even though I know it’s a lie.
Because I’ve learned the phenomenal value of small daily acts. Think tiny and daily — Creative Sandbox Way™ Guidepost #4.
And I’m not kidding that I told myself this lie for a good decade. While I was making my living as a calligrapher and ketubah artist, from about 2000 to 2010, I convinced myself that I didn’t have time to make art for me, for the joy of it, to feed my soul.
But really, that was just an excuse. That was just perfectionist paralysis. That was just fear that whatever I might create wouldn’t be good enough.
So I didn’t create anything.
I made up this excuse — which I believed was true (though part of me knew it was denial) — that I needed big chunks of time, which I absolutely did not have.
Years later I finally figured out that I don’t need big chunks of time.
God knows I love big chunks of time (that’s why I go to Jenni Heffernan Brown’s Creative Sunday Lab, and my own Creative Sandbox Playdays (coming soon!), and my 5-day Creative Sandbox Retreat (coming up September 12-16!)), but I don’t need them in order to get creating.
Think tiny and daily.
I figured out a long time ago that even ten or fifteen minutes a day can put me into a state of flow, and dramatically changes my mood for the better. And when I found myself not getting to my art table back at the end of 2015, I figured out that I could integrate a teeny-tiny creative practice into my morning ritual by doodling for a few minutes in bed in the morning.
Each individual doodle seems like nothing on its own, but added up over the course of a week, a month, a year, they create a body of work, and make a huge difference to my quality of life.
But in order to get there, I had to rewrite my story, from “I don’t have time” to “I make a little time every day.”
I had to rewrite my story, from “I need great, big chunks of time,” to “Small daily acts make a huge difference.”
I had to rewrite my story, from “I’m someone who never does art, a victim of circumstance who envies those who do,” to “I’m someone who DOES.”
On the surface, rewriting stories and shattering self-installed glass ceilings is simple. A tilt of a few degrees is all it takes, and everything changes — the entire paradigm shifts.
But of course, just because something is simple does not mean it’s easy. Because rewriting stories requires you to change your entire identity, and that’s hard.
If you’ve thought of yourself as the kind of person who can only ever earn a moderate income, for example, rewriting that story to think about yourself as the kind of person who can not only earn a huge income, but lead a fast-growing company, is a massive identity shift. That may not be something that happens overnight.
It starts by identifying the old story, the self-installed glass ceiling, and deciding you want to change the story, shatter that glass ceiling.
Once you decide you want to write the new story, the hard work begins.
And here is where my Golden Formula comes in, as it always does:
Self-awareness + self-compassion = the key to everything good.
Guess what? That self-awareness is going to help you identify those old stories, and notice when they creep back in.
And that self-compassion is going to help you get back on track, because beating yourself up? Never useful. Not ever.
But mindfulness, an awareness of common humanity — remembering that you’re not alone, you’re not the only person who has ever struggled in this particular way — and self-kindness (these being the three components of self-compassion — for a deep dive on this, see Dr. Kristin Neff’s book, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (affiliate link; or click here for a non-affiliate link)) will always steer you right.
So back to where I started. At a storytelling workshop. Where I discovered a story I had about myself, that needed to be rewritten.
And of course, the truth is we all have tons of stories about ourselves!
Some are useful, some not so much. Maybe they’re out of date, holding you back, glass ceilings keeping you small.
They can be hard to see on our own, those old stories and self-installed glass ceilings.
But this is the challenge — if you want to grow. If you want to live a full-color life, you’ve got to write your own story.
Which means rewriting the stories that don’t serve you.
It might mean working with a coach, someone like Cheryl, who can see your outdated, unhelpful stories that you can’t see so easily yourself.
Or it might mean working with a group of friends, or a mastermind group, or an online community, like my Creative Sandbox Community — getting some outsider perspective is critical.
And it certainly means paying attention. Always.
(Hello, Golden Formula!)
So that’s for my challenge for you this week.
What is a story that needs to be rewritten in your life?
Talking about rewriting stories, check out the Accessible Icon Project, an ongoing work of design activism. It starts with a graphic icon, free for use in the public domain, and continues its work as a collaboration among people with disabilities and their allies toward a more accessible world.
Sara Hendren and Brian Glenney were asking this question when they started altering public signs marking wheelchair-accessible parking—the blue and white icons designating the so-called “handicapped” spots.
They started collecting icons with more design integrity back in 2010. They were rare, but they were present—in high design places like museums, and at ordinary businesses.
Inspired by those icons, they re-imagined the “handicapped” icon as less static and passive, more independent and in motion. What began as guerilla activism (stickers they would apply over existing signs) grew into a social design project.
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
Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
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Now go get creating!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
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Aaaand, the finished postcard of doodlebots. With thanks, again, to @cathyjlawson for the request to make a video tutorial of how to draw them, which would honestly have never occurred to me if she hadn’t asked. #weneedeachother .
#artistsofinstagram #doodlebot #doodles #doodle #originalart #pigmamicron #imperfectionism #improv #dailyart #dailydoodle #dailycreative #blackandwhite
How to Draw a Doodlebot. I did a Facebook Live, showing me drawing 10 doodlebots on a postcard. This clip show me drawing one at actual speed. Thanks to @cathyjlawson for the request! 😊
#doodlebot #doodles #dailydoodle #dailyart #dailycreative #tinyanddaily #creativesandboxway #pigmamicron #artistsofinstagram #doodlesofinstagram #imperfectionism #improv #originalart #artvideo
#fathersday #watercolor #originalart #abstractart #doodlesofinstagram #artistsofinstagram
Today I learned that Doodlebot has prehensile antennae! Who knew?! So talented, that Doodlebot!
#doodlebot #doodlesofinstagram #dailydoodle #dailycreative #tinyanddaily #artistsofinstagram #pigmamicron #imperfectionism #improv #abstractart #originalart #blackandwhite
Late night crazy critter doodles. Doodlebot made a whole bunch of new friends! 😊
#doodlebot #doodlesofinstagram #abstractart #intuitiveart #blackandwhite #improv #critters #knotdoodles #artistsofinstagram #pigmamicron #imperfectionism #originalart
Julia Linsteadt started cutting paper as a young mom, which morphed into doing silhouettes, and the “traditional craft route” with craft booths and an Etsy shop — the whole shebang.
Then she started doing classes, teaching craft techniques that parents could do with their kids.
Now she’s come to terms with the fact that papercutting is hers, and creative development and youth development of creativity is her business.
It was after she met her business partner, Megan Lingo, that the idea for her current business, KidArtLit — art kit meets storytime subscription box — emerged.
But KidArtLit didn’t spring fully-formed, like [Read more…]
Doodlebot says hello this fine Monday morning from Whistler, BC! .
#doodlebot #doodlesofinstagram #doodle #artistsofinstagram #abstractart #imperfectionism #improv #dailycreative #originalart #pigmamicron #blackandwhite #intuitiveart
The real power of the Creative Sandbox Community, my lab for women’s leadership through creative expression, is in our members, who are leading full-color lives in all sorts of ways, and using their art to step into bigger visions for themselves in all areas of life and work.
I’m excited to shine a spotlight on our members here, with this feature series, “Walking the Creative Sandbox Way™.”
I was blessed to get to spend 5 days with Rebekah Nemethy at my Create & Incubate Retreat (which I’m renaming the Creative Sandbox Retreat, to be consistent with my branding), both in 2016 and 2017, and I can’t wait to do it again this September! She’s an inspiration — a true Renaissance woman, who creates in a multitude of disciplines: she’s an amazing photographer, a voiceover artist, and a powerful storyteller.
I’m thrilled to introduce Rebekah to you in this Member Spotlight!
Who: Rebekah Nemethy
Where can we learn more about Rebekah: http://rebekahnemethy.com/
How did you find the Creative Sandbox Community?
I’ve been following Melissa for years, back when she and Cory Huff started their Art Empowers Me program. When they split up, Melissa got full custody of my attention. Her messages about mindset and creative practice really resonated with me. I read her blog and listened to her podcast for a long time before I finally jumped into the Creative Sandbox Community.
What do you most love to create?
I’m a storytelling artist who shares stories through writing, photography, podcasts, and audio books. I dabble in many other mediums, though, because I have shiny object syndrome and love trying new things.
What’s your biggest gremlin?
My biggest gremlin tells me I’m not a real artist unless I make 100% of my income from art. So, he’s basically calling me a failure 24/7.
[Editor’s note: Oh, Rebekah, you are SO not alone!]
How do you spend your day?
Every day is different. My ideal day starts with a green smoothie. I write in my gratitude journal, I write in my journal journal, I check my bullet journal (yes I’m aware I have a few too many journals!) for what my monthly and daily goals are and get to work on a project. Currently I’m working on turning 100 of my blog posts into an audio book. I take a break in the middle of the day to go for a walk or throw a ball for my dog, then I get back to work. Ideally, I X off some items in my bullet journal and feel accomplished. This kind of day happens about once or twice per week.
What’s the relationship between art + commerce in your life?
The relationship between art and commerce in my life is practically nonexistent, except in my dreams.
Who most inspires you in your creative life?
Any artist who has overcome the starving artist mindset. Any artist who faces their fears. Any artist who values authenticity over appeasement. Any artist who shows up to do the work.
I have so many inspirations. Some people that come to mind are: Jenika from psychologyforphotographers.com (her writing is so amazing, I even love reading her sales emails! Her Irresisitible Words course upleveled my writing), Dean Russo (pop artist who paints dogs – paricularly love his pit bull paintings), Ashley Longshore (I don’t love her work as much as I love her personality and fearlessness), and Joe McNally (who fearlessly shares all his photography secrets and infuses his writing with personality).
What are you most excited about right now?
Launching my new podcast! It will be an extension of my storytelling skills and a way to share the work of other artists I love.
What else would you like us to know about you?
I’m an animal lover and a proud member of HeARTs Speak, a nonprofit that supports artists helping animals all over the world.
I’m the proud parent of a pit bull, 2 cats, and a talkative bird.
What do you want to get from a community of peers?
I want to be in a safe space to share art and ideas. I’d like to find friends to collaborate with. Having people who can relate to the challenges of living creatively is important, too, because we all need to vent.
I’m a storyteller, an artist, and most importantly, a creative collaborator. I’ve been a writer my entire life, a photographer almost as long, and I’ve recently added audio production to my storytelling playground.
Thank you, Rebekah, for sharing your story and experiences walking the Creative Sandbox Way™!
What parts of Rebekah’s story resonate with you most? Share in the comments below!
Find more amazing women like Rebekah inside the Creative Sandbox Community. We are women from a variety of backgrounds, linked by our desire for something more, our compassionate hearts, and a creative urge. We channel our collective energies into rocket fuel to propel us forward.
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Thursday morning doodle-as-a-spiritual-practice, streamed live in Instagram Stories today. In which I share how to deal with fear of the blank page, how to deal with the gremlins who invariably pop up to say you have no business even having a pen in your hand, etc. etc. etc.
I’ve found my tiny-and-daily doodle practice to have a profound impact on my life. Surprising but true. Like meditation, even a few minutes on a consistent basis can change how you walk through the world.
Check it out, and try it for yourself for a month. See what shifts for you.
#doodlingasaspiritualpractice #doodle #doodlesofinstagram #imperfectionism #artistsofinstagram #pigmamicron #improv #originalart #blackandwhite #abstractart #selfcompassion #intuitiveart #creativesandboxway #tinyanddaily