“Anything You Can Do I Can Do”…But Why Should I?: Creating My Way

First, the title of this article is not necessarily true in and of its self, but I am trying to paint a picture with words here, so follow along, will you?

I am not sure if you are familiar with the old musical “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. In the movie, there is a song that they sing to each other. It’s more two people shooting arrogant verse at each other as if they are bullets. “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.

As creatives, we are all looking for our own place in the world, our own voice. Even when and while we are inspired by and appreciate the expressions of others, we can sometimes find ourselves looking at fellow creatives with competitive eyes. “I can do that and I can do it better. Maybe I should try.

Being human, no matter what we are aiming to do, we can all go ahead and admit we’ve  done that once or twice. 

In an older post, I quoted Octavia E. Butler on how she became a science fiction writer. (Did I mention she is the winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Awards?) Anyhow, she said that when she was twelve years old she watched a dreadful science fiction flick. It was so bad that she was determined to write “good” science fiction. And she did, obviously.

…I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make. ~Candice Coates

But her attitude was “I can do better than that.” And that attitude paid off. (If you have not read any of her work, check out Wild Seed.) The thing is, not only did she set out to write ‘better’ science fiction, but she did it her way, in her own voice, without competing with the voices that were already out there.

Since ICFTS began, I have been on a constant journey to identify my voice as an artist. Truth be told, I have been on this search since I have been an artist. I have always been very eclectic. But one thing that has come to mind with all of this is that I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make.

As I have said for years, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. That is when you get stuck in ruts of hollow, soulless work, be it writing, visual art, whatever it is. Always create what you care about.

I am on a hunt to find what it is that I care about. I love doing oil paintings, I love writing (writing will ALWAYS be my thing. I love to tell a story.) but with visual art, it just all depends.

I find that even with oil painting, though I have a talent for it,  I am exploring more pencil work, with ink and colored pencils. And there is always the option of mixed media illustration.  There are so many options.

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.” ~Candice Coates

I remember, years ago, in undergrad during a departmental review, my professors telling me “All your work is amazing, Ms. Coates, but it looks like the work of twenty different artists.”

On one hand, this is not a bad thing at all. It’s like being multilingual. I speak twenty different artistic languages. On the other hand, it begs the question, are you perfectly fluent in any of them? Jack or rather Jacqueline of all trades and master of…only a few.

 

 

 

We need to create on purpose, with purpose.”

CREATING WITH CONSIDERATION

There are 3 verses that come to mind in this regard. I will pluck at each. One is Philippians 4:13,I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

It is comforting to know that if I set myself to do things that He, Christ Jesus, has placed in my heart to do, that no matter what, if I trust Him, He has given me the strength to do them.

I want to make art. He has given me the gift to do so and also the strength for it.

I Corinthians 10:23,You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” but not everything is beneficial.

With the creative strength and gift given unto me, I need to operate in wisdom. So what I can, sculpt. I don’t feel ANYTHING when I am sculpting apart from a loss of time. Dash the great reviews of my audience. (Just using sculpting as an example.)

Where is the benefit of doing something just because you can? You won’t benefit from my efforts and in the long run, no one else will either. The work is void of any life because your heart was not in it. This is arbitrary actions at its best.

Both of these verses bring me to Isaiah 30:21,and your ears hear a word behind you, saying “This is the Way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or whenever you turn to the left.

BE CREATIVE, NOT COMPETITIVE

What is the point? The point is not to be arbitrary, not to be competitive. Art, to me, creation and creativity, is sacred. It needs to be treated with respect and care. We need to create on purpose with purpose. Not in a way to “out do” the person next to us. There has to be meaning involved. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

In conjunction with this, we should not only create what we care about, but we should create on subjects or themes that we care about.  If you are not interested in what you are doing your work “on” you are still going to get the same empty results, a pretty picture with no life to it, even if you are doing it in a medium that you love.

My creative path is still winding forward. I am discovering more about me and what I want out of my career as a visual artist. I am ever on the hunt to uncover my “niche” and voice.

But even where I stand now,  I can be confident in creating what I am curious about and care about, and leave all the competitive  “I can do better than you” mess behind me. And best of all, so can you!

*This article was originally published on February 12th, 2014 & Updated February 19th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Do you ever feel like you could be making better use of your creative time, or that you’ve lost yourself in a creative competitive race? Talk about it in the comments below.

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Can I Be Me?: The Conflict of Creative Authenticity

Authenticity. According to Wikipedia, Authenticity-Authentic-Authentication is ‘the act of confirming the truth of an attribute.

Truth, unlike ‘fact,’ is an unchangeable and consistent reality. While an attribute, in its noun form according to Merriam-Webster, is ‘a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

As a creative, a being made in the image of the Master Creator, Yeshua-Jesus, you have the inherent DNA to create. (More on that in The Call to Create.) There are specific, unchangeable attributes about what you have been given to offer to the world, things that are waiting for you to discover and share, that are unique to you and unrivaled by others.

The struggle that we all face in our creative journies is summed up in one phrase; the urge to be a people-pleaser.

It could be in the way you paint, throw a football, run a boardroom, or even how you nurture children in your home or in an educational environment. Whatever it is, it is unique to you.

But, more often than not, the noise of the world around us, the shifting trends of what is acceptable versus what is shunned, tends to not only stifle our creative voices to near silence, but they also whittle away at, and shape our uniqueness into something that can seem like a carbon-copy of things already done or voices already heard.

Although we may find ourselves drowning in a sea of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ with our contributions flooding the shores of social media when we follow the creative-status-quo, something within us tends to groan with frustration, knowing that the high number of followers isn’t enough. The ‘likes’ no longer give us the buzz we craved.

Maybe you are a person who isn’t even abreast of the ebbs and flows of the social-media world or algorithms, but still, you find yourself inundated with the pressures to ‘be’ what others expect you to do and be, to cook that pasta sauce like Nanna always did it, to give of yourself in a way that is…expected.

The struggle that we all face in our creative journies is summed up in one phrase; the urge to be a people-pleaser.

People pleasing in all arenas, is a venom that destroys the true voice of authenticity. It robs creatives of their God-given seed to flourish as they were meant to, to create in a way that brings Him glory, and them fulfillment.

Pastor Craig Groeschel put it this way,

Living for the approval of people will keep you from living for the purpose of God.”

The book of Proverbs says it like this, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25).

When we allow our hearts to be moved by our fear of what people around us will accept or the thought they will shout ‘That can’t be done,’ or ‘That is impossible,’ we lose our divine authenticity. We lose the power to be who we were created to be. We fall into the snare of inauthenticity.

If you grew up in a Christian environment, I am sure you’ve heard the adage, “Less of me and more of You, God.” As ‘humble’ as that may sound, it goes against what God wants for you and from you.

Yes, He delights for us to do all things unto Him and for His glory (Colossians 3:23-24), but He wants us to do things in the image that He created us in. He wants more of unique you.

Just as He doesn’t want a rose to shed its thorns in order to be like a daisy, neither does He delight to see Rose attempting to do things like her friend, Daisy, just because that is what has gotten man’s stamp of approval. Nor does He want any of us to stop being who He has uniquely imagined and created us to be.

We are, all of us, fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together by His hands with divine, and awesomely unique creativity (Psalm 139:13-14).

Can you be you? Absolutely! That is what you were created to be.

Whatever is burning inside of you may require you to not walk a path created, but to be a trailblazer and create a new path altogether. In order to do this you have to be you … and no one else.

You are going to face opposition when you take the courage to be the creative you that you are called to be. You are going to face mountains and even have to walk through many sung ballets of how you can’t do what you are doing with your authentic voice. But the beauty is, you can win if you step out in faith.

So I encourage you to be your authentic self, confirming the truth of the unique attributes that define you and the characteristics of your creative voice. You will win if you determine to be you!

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do CONQUER!

What are your thoughts about being an authentic creative? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

The Call to Create: Taking the Steps to Walk in Your Vision

I had the pleasure last month of seeing a meme on social media that said something like, “My 2018 begins in February. January was just the free-trial month.” I, like you, I am sure, smiled at the sentiment.

No, we don’t really get to have free-trial periods for our civil new years, but we do get to take some time to plan out what we want to see in the months to come.

For many around me, January came with a punch that was comparable to galeforce winds. Many had continuous battles with sicknesses passed from family member to family member as if they were sharing trading cards. Some felt defeated by the reminder of failed goals that seemed to follow behind them like cans tied to their legs with strings. Many felt overwhelmed and disappointed that the ringing of the midnight bell did not wipe away the heavy demands that were still weighing on them from the year past.

Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

But one thing remained the same through the smoke, and that was the desire for change.

I believe that all of us are aching to create, to do something that makes our soul sing and shine like the sun with a glow and warmth all its own. I believe every person reading this, has a dream that is worth pursuing, no matter how big or small.

We are all created in the image of the Master Creator, Jesus (Genesis 1:27). Our need to see something born from our imaginations is embedded deep within our spiritual DNA and roles and kicks inside of us like a baby eager to break forth from their mother’s womb.

Many of us have dared, in the past, to take steps to bring life to our dreams, only to lose momentum along the way, direction, or focus. Life’s demands have acted as roadblocks diverting our creative flow into the drudgery of the mundane. We stop creating. We stop dreaming. We stop living our identities.

But the glory is, we can begin again.

My prayer for this 2018 year is for each and every one of us to dig our toes in the soil of purpose and let them take root. I pray that this year is the start of a not another 365-day calendar of empty plans and vague goals, but that it will be the catalyst to bring real creative and life change for you.

YOUR CREATIVE TOOLKIT 

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“Get yourself a journal!” I know. I know. It almost seems like a ‘fad’ similar to the unicorn trend that is overtaking just about every industry out there. But I promise this is a powerful tool.

Why do you need a journal? For several reasons:

  1. Keep track of your ideas: There is nothing like capturing a creative moment as it comes and there is nothing like paper… but an electronic journal like EVERNOTE works well too. The point is, our brains can only hold so much content without things becoming a tangled mess. If you want to see progress, you need to make sense of your creative chaos and a journal will help with that.
  2. Keep track of your progress and take note of changes that need to be made: Vision is indeed 20/20 in hindsight. Being able to look back on your progress and see what works for you and what doesn’t will help you build the creative momentum you need to keep pursuing your dream.
  3. Put into word and prayer how you are feeling as you go: I get it. This feels personal. Well, it is. Being a creative is personal. It is more than just writing a story or composing a song or even baking cookies that are so good they cause riots! What drives you to do these things is born of something personal to you. In order to wield that power to its fullest, you’ve got to get to know it. Pray on it. Meditate on it. Put it into words.

“Get yourself a planner!” 

Organization is paramount to successfully executing a goal.  No one goes on vacation without having a plan of action first. Even being creative requires that.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER AS YOU CREATE

Over the next few weeks, I want to dig deep and tackle some questions that I’ve faced in my creative journey. I invite you to consider them and dare I say, journal about them.

  • Can I be me? Can I be original and authentically me as a creative?
  • Can I do ‘it’ my way?
  • Can I make mistakes and still be confident as I create?
  • Can I learn as I go/Am I teachable?

No matter how your 2018 began, there is still so much, not only left to the year, but left to our lives. Every day, every step is an adventure waiting to happen. Let’s step out together!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 3 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

Tip 3. SET A DAILY WORD COUNT GOAL!

Setting a daily word count goal is such a helpful thing because it gives you a window or a destination for creative breaks.  If you start NaNoWriMo with the goal of 50,000 words, you run the risk of seeing a never-ending tunnel that just keeps getting longer no matter how fast, hard or far you run. tunnel

Do the math and add on from there. It requires a minimum of 1,666 words typed each day in order to reach 50,000 words by close of November 30th.

I suggest aiming for a higher word count goal for each day but with a cushion for a minimum. If you are already a writer you know that even with set goals, life happens and you may not get to write a single word at all.

WHAT DID I DO?

I scheduled my writing into two sessions a day. In the morning I would write for about 2 to 3 hours with a goal of 2,000 to 3,000 words in that session. And then in the evening, I would write again with a word count goal of 1,500 to 2,000 words.

With roughly 5,000 words written each day, this left me wiggle room for the days where “life” interrupted my flow and meant that I had managed enough words to be closer to 50,000.

Perfect example. The first year I attempted to write a novel in 30 days, I used this model of word count. Things went very well for most of the month but then my neighborhood lost power (as did most of the city due to bad storms. The electricity was out FOR A WEEK!

I had to literally write by candlelight and by hand.

Glad to say that I did make well over novel statues by the end of 30 days and even finished the entire manuscript by close of day 96. But because I had managed to work in 5,000 words a day I had afforded myself that cushion for when life took over.

So if you are keeping up, here are the refreshers with my advice:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 3. Set a daily word count goal that you can manage.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 2 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

 

FRIENDS ARE THE BEST! INVITE A READER ON YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOU.

Making the big decision to commit to writing a 50,000-word tome in 30 days is a PRETTY BIG decision to make.

togetherNow that you have done that, and have decided to take my advice on just writing whatever comes from your imagination, and flies out of your fingertips like magic sparks, allow me to offer you token number 2 that I learned in my experiences.

TIP 2. Have an honest friend (One who will be straight with you if your plot is not great) support you by reading your daily progress. (This person is not writing, ONLY reading.)

One of the biggest attractions of  NaNoWriMo is the worldwide support system that a writer becomes apart of for 30 days.  I read an article, a few years back, out of Writer’s Digest. That entire edition was dedicated to, you guessed it, NaNoWriMo, and it likened this experience to running a marathon, and how being surrounded by strangers with the same goal helps each runner keep pressing forward.Mag Cover

I believe that is sage, to have that kind of support, HOWEVER, that is not what I mean by having a friend come along with you…obviously, because I said that already, twice.

In the first 2 years (This year I flew solo and paid for it, yikes! I know right?! How selfish of my reader friend to get married and be on her honeymoon and stuff…I digress.) that I participated, I had a friend who I sent my daily progress to.

This helped in several different ways:

  1.  I had an audience who kept an eye on plot points and pointed out mistakes for me if I got off track.  By them pointing out my mistakes, it saved me time in the future with revisions AND it enabled me a quicker movement back on track with the progression of the story.  She also tended to print out the pages and make copy edits all on her own. PRICELESS!
  2. Because they were invested in the story (They kept reading because they liked the plot) they acted as a dog on my heels, nipping when I wasn’t writing fast enough. This is encouraging because their desire to read more was a sign that they were enjoying the story, which meant I wasn’t writing a bunch of crap.  (If they didn’t like it, they said so. Again get an honest friend for the journey, not one who likes everything you do just because.)
  3. Having to send my daily progress gave me a sense of a more immediate goal to work toward. When there is a feeling of expectation, you are more willing to perform without coming up with a ton of excuses and reasons to not follow through.

So if you have time (and you do) find a friend who loves to read, is honest about what they read, and who will give it to you straight as they read.  As Ecclesiastes 4:9 says:

 Two are better than the one, for they enjoy a better reward for their toil.

Enjoy your journey, and as always, happy writing! And if you somehow missed my Token number 1:

TIP 1. Write anything. Let your imagination take control. (Click HERE for full article)

TIP 2. Have a reader who will look over your daily progress with an honest readers eye, and give you feedback. 

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Tackle NaNoWriMo: My Advice To You (Day 1 of Countdown) #NaNoWriMo #Writing

In less than a week, November 1st will be here, and a mass of heroes and heroines will be born from the typing fingers of those who have bravely taken up the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

First, let me say congratulations for being brave enough to challenge yourself with this. I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for three years running, and each year I have come away with a fantastic body of work (that yes, needs editing and revision) that I can be proud of.

Now, let me clarify, I have not officially done the NaNoWriMo with the whole registration thing (which I totally recommend because they have some great rewards for those who complete the 30 days with 50,000 words or more.) Why? Well, because I tend to use any 30 day month, June being the month of choice, to tackle my writing adventure.

November, June, September, April, any of these months will do. They all have 30 days, and they all afford you the chance to learn something new about yourself and your writing craft, and most awesomely, to walk away with the foundation of a novel or a completed novel before you enter the next calendar month. And thus far, I have walked away with several novels and series ready for revision, 3 novels, 1 series, as well as a blog novel, Ascension Graveyard,  that I will be gearing up to share again in a few months…

I’ve reached well beyond 50k word novels status with AG but have rewritten it several times.

Q. SO WITH ALL OF THAT SAID, WHAT DID I LEARN AND WHAT CAN I SAY AS A WORD OF ADVICE FOR DAY ONE OF THE COUNTDOWN TO NANOWRIMO?

A. I learned that, for me, there is NO SUCH THING AS WRITER’S BLOCK.

There are several reasons why we “think” we are blocked, but the truth is we always have something to say, we just have to allow ourselves to say it. Check out my  post “Are You Listening.” It highlights one of the reasons that keep us from achieving written awesomeness. 😉

My advice…

TIP 1: Sit down and write something. Close your eyes and let your fingers do the talking. If you are relaxed and just let your imagination do what it does, the words will come, and something magical and fulfilling will happen. Don’t psych yourself out with all the overthinking. Breathe, type, breathe, type, breathe.

BONUS: Need a creative Springboard? Try this Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt to help get your NaNoWriMo Story going. Click HERE for the opening line! *REMEMBER TO OMIT THE OPENING LINE WORD COUNT FROM YOUR TOTAL WORDCOUNT*

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Do to Conquer: Weeks 11 & 12 Final Seed #SeizetheDream #Creative #Goals #MondayMotivation

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” ~Fred Hammond

Hello Creatives and welcome to the final Week, a combination of weeks 11 & 12, of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

Do to Conquer!

Let me start out with touching our practices of doing. This doing is the physical application married to the mental preparation of doing. This doing is where we take what we have learned over the previous weeks and begin to harvest the seeds sown by putting our faith into creative action.

I admit that the first doing, which is ‘mental initiation’ is easier for me than this doing, which is the ‘follow’ through.

One of my past struggles when it came to doing, involved fear, my fear of failure. This failure is equal to how indecision is still a decision made, it’s a decision to do nothing.

I also found myself getting overwhelmed by having too many options. This is why I recommend taking stock of our creative tools in Week 6. Knowing what you have on hand is one thing, deciding what to use is another.

Having come this far with you all, I’d like to give glory and honor to God for blessing us all to overcome the fears, confusion, and overwhelm, that had kept us from conquering our creative goals in the past.

Praise Yeshua Jesus we are not given a spirit of fear, but love, power, and sound minds. We are Creatives. To create is our identity.

I believe that many of us come to a place in our lives, and not just our creativity, where we face immobile fear. But we have come too far, Creatives, to stop now. Now we take the steps to CONQUER!

TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR CREATIVE MAP

If you have been consistent with your journaling and keeping up with the Creative Faith in Action, then you have been diligently creating your map for CONQUERING. You should have:

  • The vision for where you want to go in your creativity
  • The understanding of why you want to go where you are headed in your creativity
  • List of supplies that you have on hand
  • List of artist/Creatives that have inspired you
  • Your personalized Creative Statement
  • Piece that speaks most to you (if there was one)
  • Dare I say it, CONFIDENCE to go forth and CONQUER!

Now is the time that we put all of our mental and spiritual preparation to good work. It is time for us to sow our creative seed and reap our conquering success!

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

  • If you have a piece of art that speaks most to you, use that as a springboard to tune your own voice and upcoming creative piece.
  • Give yourself a timeframe to begin to create, to produce your art piece, writing, etc. I suggest no more than 3 months (giving yourself time is paramount if you are going to be successful. Drafts, sketches, trial runs in the kitchen, all take time.)
  • Let someone know what you are DOING (not aiming to do, but DOING) and then ask them to help keep you accountable as you create. (I think sharing via a platform like a blog is an excellent way to gain accountability partners and feedback for your efforts.)
  • Come back in 2018 and share your success in my Guestbook!

Note: All of our actions will be different. Here are mine

  • Writing: Get Indie Published in 2018
  • Art: Get my Voice (Paint with purpose)
  • Live: Get my rhythm

I know all of that sounds vague at the moment, BUT I will be sharing more in detail in the coming weeks. I will be sharing the artist that have inspired me lately as well as talking about gaining a creative rhythm, in addition to finally publishing my debut novel.

Most of the information regarding my novel and publication will be found on my AUTHOR SITE.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. ~Pele

Thank you for taking this journey with me. Thank you for being willing to grow. The world needs your creative voice. The world needs to hear your story. My prayer is that you have been fueled with the faith to go forth and truly conquer in ways you hadn’t been able to do before.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • In what ways have you grown the most with this creative course?
  • Are there any creative resourses that you would recommend with others to help them grow?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Believing IS Seeing: Week 10 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their ability to act according to their beliefs. ~Henry Miller

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 10 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

In this Module, we will focus our hearts and minds on the importance of belief. Before I dive into the meat of this topic, I would like to preface it with scripture.

Genesis 11:1-6

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.

I am sure that many, if not all of you, are familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel. Those of us who know the story, know the end result of the people of Babel’s quest.

What I want you to focus upon is how God noticed that because these people believed in what they had envisioned and determined to do, that nothing that they set out to do would be withheld from them. 

In short, their unwavering belief in this moment and their tenacity to follow through proved as a potential catalyst for future success in anything they set out to do.

THE POWER OF BELIEF

All throughout this creative journey, one scripture that I have frequently referenced is Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” The people of Babel saw themselves as successful. They did not give their minds over to conjecture or potential failure. Instead, they said, “We need a place to live so we will find one. We need bricks so we will make one. We will be famous and so it shall be done.”

If you know you can do a thing, but don’t believe you ever will then guess what? You won’t!

Granted, for matters that had to deal with their hearts, God saw fit to crash their building party. Nevertheless, they did achieve many of their initial goals because of the power of belief.

We as Creatives can learn much from the people of Babel. We can learn to:

  • See opportunity and not obstacle
  • Magnify our abilities and not our inabilities
  • Focus our minds on our goals instead of yielding to distraction
  • Take the reins to not only plan but to follow through with initiative

To do these things, we have to allow our minds to be renewed. This can be very difficult thing to do when our mental actions are so conditioned to predict failure. But letting our minds function in a new way can be done.

THE SIMPLE REALITY OF BELIEF…OR THE LACK THERE OF

The simple reality of belief is that we will gain in this life what we believe we will have. If you are still allowing your thoughts to be overrun by fear of failure or weighed down by obstacles that are preventing you from pressing into your creative success, then none of the things you’ve set out to do from Module 1 until now will even matter.

If you know you can do a thing, but don’t believe you ever will then guess what? You won’t!

Belief, even just a little bit of belief, has the power to go a mighty long way.

You have to believe in your vision. You have to believe in your dream. You have to believe that what you’ve imagined yourself doing is indeed your reality.

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. ~Gail Devers

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

  • Revise your CREATIVE AFFIRMATION created in Module 4, by aligning it with what you imagined of your creative self in Module 9
  • Begin to say out loud, especially in times of doubt, “I am a successful _______________.” “I am successful!” 

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • What has been your definition of imagining?
  • Is imagining a practice that you have carried in from your childhood? If so, how has it helped you create?
  • Is the act of imagining something that makes you uncomfortable? Why?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Imagine That!: Week 9 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~Albert Einstein

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 9 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is going to be short and sweet, but it is going to require a bit of self-challenge for you.

Hey, I get it. For some of us, taking this creative journey at all has been a leap out of our comfort zones, but in order to see any real change in our creativity as well as our lives, we need to keep going deeper and further.

In last week’s Module 8, we talked about seeing our dreams in order to seize it. This week we are going to go further with our imaginations.

Dreaming, like vision, have great similarities to that of imagining. For some, the three words are synonymous. But just as we define ‘vision’ differently from ‘dream’ in this course, so too do we give the act of imagining a different meaning.

In Module 8 we defined Dreaming and Vision as follows:

Dream: A dream is compiled of images, a state of mind, and a cherished ideal or aspiration… vision is the lens and to dream is the beginning action.

Vision gives you clarity for where you want to go, dreaming streamlines the desired actions and to imagine…well that becomes even more tailored to you.

IMAGINE THAT:

To imagine is to take the compiled images of your dream and place yourself in the heart of them.

For example, you’ve decided that you would like to be a pilot. You’ve taken the time to research pilots that inspire you. You’ve created your Creative Statement based on what you have learned and gleaned from what most inspires you.

But have you truly seen yourself flying? Have you imagined it?

Dreaming of going to Paris one day is one thing, but when you begin to picture yourself at the Eifel tower, that is another. That imagery evokes a different drive and creative power.

Seeing yourself selling your homemade soy candles from your own store front gives you a familiarity with what you seek to accomplish. It gets you to a place whereas you are no longer seeing things as elusive but very much achievable.

We have to IMAGINE OURSELVES IN THE CREATIVE ROLES WE DESIRE.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

  • Taking your vision board and Creative Affirmation and Statment, allow yourself 5 to 10 minutes a day to imagine yourself achieving what it is that you have set your heart to do. Truly focus and create positive images of you walking out what you have been dreaming.
  • Take a step toward what you have been imagining. If it is to be a better artist, using your compiled tools, begin to sketch. If it is to be a better cook, buy a cookbook from one of your most admired chefs and give one of the recipes a try. If you truly want to be a pilot, talk to an instructor about classes. Imagine yourself doing it and then take a step!

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • What has been your definition of imagining?
  • Is imagining a practice that you have carried in from your childhood? If so, how has it helped you create?
  • Is the act of imagining something that makes you uncomfortable? Why?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

See the Dream to Seize it: Week 8 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

Your vision is your ability to see clearly . . . while your dream is what you are focusing your clarity upon.

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 8 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you see the Dream that you are on the journey to make a reality.

You might be thinking, ‘hey, what is the difference between seeing my dream and capturing my vision?’. Here is the simple answer.

Your vision is your ability to see clearly the direction you want to go while your dream is what you are focusing your clarity upon.

In Module 4, we asked ourselves the questions that led us to clearer vision; why are we on this creative journey aiming for this creative goal. We created our “Vision Affirmations.”

In Module 5, we took things a step further by bringing focus to the direction we are headed. We looked up artists or writers, designers or athletes (whatever your creative goal dictated) and we made our “Creative Statement,” which is the voice or sound we what to share with others through our creativity.  (Stay tuned for my Creative Statment and the Artist that inspire me in a later article.)

Continuing with those you admire: “CREATIVE STATEMENT GUIDE”

  • Select 3 to 7 artist, writers, or people within the creative field you admire.
  • Describe the feeling that their work evokes in you.
  • Taking the list of descriptions, compile one, solid, creative statement.
  • Using this “Creative Statement,” Select one piece (be it a recipe, architectural rendering, short story, painting) that you think best embodies the statement you’ve created.

In Module 6, we took stock of what we had on hand and compiled our creative arsenal.

Now, if you haven’t created your “Creative Statement,” or found the piece that best embodies that, no worries. There is still time. Remember, to work this journey at the pace that is best suited for you. But do hold yourself accountable so you don’t lose momentum.

Also, if you find that there isn’t one piece of work that captures the statement you’ve complied, no worries there either. You can always create your own!

WHAT IS IT TO DREAM?

Dream: A dream is compiled of images, a state of mind, and a cherished ideal or aspiration.

In this creative course, vision is the lens and to dream is the beginning action.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO DREAM

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. ~Habakkuk 2:2-3

Dreaming requires concentrated thought. It requires you to take the time and allow your ‘vision’ to be seen in a way that is specific, so much so that you can repeat the dream over and over again.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous speech, said: “I have a dream.” What I believe about that statement is that he took the time to be specific about his dream, and then he took the time to meditate upon it over and over again. By so doing, he was able to bring that dream to pass.

The Prophet Habakkuk had been given a dream and with that dream, he was instructed to write it down.

We, too, have to take the ideal image that we have for our goal, meditate on it often, and by all means, write it down!

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

  • Look at your Creative Statement from Module 4. Begin to see in your mind (Dream) the ideal expression of what that would. Example: Are you seeing a series of romantic novellas? Are you seeing a series of paintings? Whatever it is, allow that dream to grow and do not hinder it.
  • Now, whatever you are seeing, WRITE IT DOWN! (Especially if you are feeling timid about what you are dreaming up, you must write it down so that you don’t psych yourself out about it.)
  • Create a Vision Board if writing is not what you need to do, or do both.
  • Continue to study the Creatives that inspired your “Creative Statement”. Refine things as the need arrives. The more you dream that more clarity you will have.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • What does it mean to dream to you?
  • Are there any dreams that you’ve had in the past that you’ve given up on? Why?
  • What do you think God has to say about your dream(s)? Why do you feel that way?
  • What advice about taking hold of your dream would you give to a friend or your younger self?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!