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!

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5 Ways to Maintain Creative Joy: Wisdom for Creatives #Creative #Writing #Art

 

Being a creative person is a gift, one that is inherent to us all. Whether you are a writer or an artist, an educator or a parent imagining a new way to get your kids to eat their broccoli, you are operating in your creative nature.

For those us who want to take our creative passion to the next level and turn our hobbies into lucrative business ventures, we run the risk of facing burn out.

This burnout isn’t just from creating nonstop on something awesome. This burnout comes from being unprepared for the reality in the shift that we are making.

When our passion becomes a businesses there is another level of accountability that we have to step into, a level that is not as ‘fun’ as creating itself but just as necessary if we are to be successful.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you on ways to keep the glow of joy in your creating even as you stretch beyond your comfort zone and begin to make your passion available to your audience.

5 Ways to Enjoy Creating

  1. Make a plan: Realize that having an idea is just the beginning. You have to take the necessary steps that will take your plan and make it a reality and this requires time, dedication, and hard work. As Thomas Edison put it, “There is no substitute for hard work.” But the fruits are certainly worth the labor.
  2. Take your plan and break it up into daily, weekly, or monthly achievable goals: How do you eat an elephant? Whether with a knife and fork or simply your bare hands, it’s going to take one bite at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks, and neither will your next novel or great sculpture reach completion the very day you begin. Take things a step at a time. The Book of Genesis outlines how the world was created, one day at a time, one plan at a time, and with the completion of each day, God said IT IS GOOD!
  3. Don’t overdo it: Aim for a number of tasks you can do daily and have maybe one or two smaller tasks you can do in addition should you accomplish your big three in a shorter time, but no more. Time with family and friends is just as important and actually more so than work.
  4. Set work boundaries: Give yourself a dedicated time limit to work and then honor those boundaries. Boundaries create discipline. When discipline is developed our productivity is more effective. We can focus more on quality than quantity which saves us time in the end. Boundaries also create balance and enable us to enjoy our work and appreciate the freedom in our lives. I heard Pastor Ron Carpenter say, “The difference between a swamp and a river is boundaries. “ Because a river has boundaries it has a greater sense of order and bears fruit, whereas a swamp…well it’s a swamp. Both have water and trees but which do you most prefer to visit?
  5. Celebrate each victory: Even if you don’t reach your daily or weekly goal in totality, give thanks for what you were able to accomplish and give yourself a reward for a job well done. Whether it is in a specialty cup of tea or coffee, or just fifteen extra minutes of leisure time, be sure to celebrate. Celebration makes the worth just as worthwhile as the goal itself. Life is not just about the destination but each mile that makes up the journey. Again, if the God of Creation can see His daily tasks as good on the way to the greater destination, so can and so should we!
  6. BONUS: Remember that your value is not rooted in the work you do, that you are not measured by your victories and failures. Rather remember that because you have value you are able to do the work you do and do it well even through the ebbs and flows of victories and the unavoidable fails.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Handful of Hope: Microfiction #Blogbattle Week 58

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Handful of Hope: Microfiction

She wanted to see if they could float so with faith she tossed them across the sackcloth that would be the sky and watched as her handful of hope like diamonds suspended themselves and twinkled as stars.

She wasn’t the King Creator, nor His Glorious Son, but she was born of His Spirit, and thusly imbued with the authority and call to create. She was learning how to do so with a voice and song uniquely her own, a song she longed to sing to please only His ears.

So she tossed up another handful of hope and watched it twinkle and grow in light until the inky darkness bled away yielding to the brilliance of life.

The cold uncertainty that had once made her limbs stiff with immobility began to retreat as her being grew warm with the fire of expectation and joy.

Handful after handful of hope and dreams and faith jettisoned from her vibrant fingertips and ate away at the dreadful nothing that sought to blanket her with fear.

Laughter erupted from her being like thunder and rain of her tears spilled forth from her eyes. No longer was she throwing her hope against the darkness but she was dancing in the key of joy and the tempo of redemption and with each movement of her soul did light dispel the darkness.

THE BEGINNING…

*Week 58 of #Blogbattle is here! This week’s Keyword: FLOAT. My Genre: INSPIRATIONAL.  Word Count: 225 Words. To read more stories by other battlers or to participate yourself, you can do so by following this LINK to Rachael Ritchey’s amazing blog!  

*NOTE ABOUT THE ABOVE STORY

Sometimes, many times, what is written is as a prayer in the face of struggle. Using hope and working one’s faith is a choice. It takes great courage to decide that despite it all, you will choose to dance even in the darkness, that you will be the spark and ember that brings light and a wildfire where there is not warmth.

I praise Yeshua Jesus for His love and His gentle urging to learn to dance when there is no music, to be the music. Yes, it takes courage even in our greatest weakness, but in our weakness He is made strong!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Looking Up: A Drawing

Original Drawing by Candice Coates done in Prismacolor Colored Pencil
Original Drawing by Candice Coates done in Prismacolor Colored Pencil

Looking Up: A Drawing

Back at the dawn of this blog in December of 2013 I had made it a point to draw or sketch at least 5 days a week for at least 15 minutes a day. I am beginning that trend again and I feel incredible about it. This drawing “Looking Up” was done just shy of an hour.

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Taking Hold: A Sketch Part 1

Original art by Candice Coates done in Prisma Color Colored Pencil
Original art by Candice Coates done in Prisma Color Colored Pencil

Taking Hold: A Sketch

It’s been far too long since I allowed myself the time to sketch and breath. I took somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes to hash this out and although I feel like a knot has been worked out of my creative muscles, I still have the itch that says ‘you could have done better.’ For this reason I’ve decided to give this image a few more tries. Stay tuned…

Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Purple She: A watercolor

Before I went to school and studied art (Advertising & Graphic Design) I was an artist who created solely from imagination. But having the learn the “rules” of “proper” art, I became some what rigid.

I somewhat lost my freedom to create on a whim. That freshness returned with a vengance in November 2013 when I went to Europe for 10 days. That freshness is what gave life to this blog and everything you find on it.

Purple She is my recent watercolor piece.

Original art done by Candice Coates in watercolor.
Original art done by Candice Coates in watercolor.

ART Palette