The Beauty of Blinders: Taking Sight of Your Own Creativity #CreativeEncouragement #Creativity #Individuality

BLINDERS:

  1. something that obscures vision: something that prevents clear vision or understanding
  2. eye covers for horse: a pair of flaps attached to a horse’s bridle, one beside each eye, to keep the horse looking straight ahead.Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In terms of art and creativity, the first definition of the word for Blinders is very negative. Art, after all, is about giving vision and making the obscure more understandable.

But as an artist and as creative people, there are times where Blinders are a necessary tool that we should employ within our journeys.

Real art is not about competition it is about the newness of authenticity. Authentic creativity speaks not only for the artist, but to the artist as well as the audience, and comes from a place within.

Blinders that cover our eyes from distractions, things that keep us from our vision, and looking ahead, staying on the path, are very beautiful and worthwhile.

When you start creating, developing your motion, the thing that you do not want to do is to think, “How can I be different from the person next to me?” When you start your creative process with that mindset being your base or foundation, (and many of us have) you keep yourself from tapping into your true creativity.

What you are essentially doing is looking ‘outwardly’ at what the person next to you is doing, and you are taking what they have created, and have made that your foundation or base. You are putting icing on an already iced cake.

Your individuality begins from within it doesn’t take root from without…”

Digression. Spring-boarding off of the work of others, using their vision as a tool or muse, is one thing. It’s a means of learning. This is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about creative competition and anxiety which is the knife that cuts the throat of many of fantastically creative people.

People who run their creative race with the eyes on the competition never reach their fullest potential. They begin the race with a goal in mind and never reach the finish line because their eyes stayed on the ‘horse’ in the other lane. Ultimately, they ended up crashing and burning, trying to be like the one next to them but never becoming the best expression of themselves.

Real art is not about competition it is about the newness of authenticity. Authentic creativity speaks not only for the artist, but to the artist as well as the audience, and comes from a place within.

When you look ‘inwardly,’ which is a revelation (even if someone else’s work has led you to do so) and you get a new creative revelation that is authentic that speaks from the core of who you are, then at that point you can really  begin to glean from the creative wisdom of others.

From there you can take aspects and concepts of what others have created and from there say, “How can I use this expression and make it my own?” while still holding on to your own individuality.

You create your own lane and forge a new path of inspiration.

Your individuality begins from within, it doesn’t take root from without…if that makes sense. It requires taking an introspective glance into the dark places deep within ourselves and learning our own true voice and song.

Many do not dare dive that deep for fear of what they will find.

We as creatives shouldn’t look around and think “How can I be different?” Instead ask yourself “How can I continue to be me, learn who I am as an artist,  and continue to climb each rung of this ladder of creative enlightenment. How can I rise higher by getting a hand up by other artists and creatives by gleaning the wisdom that they have already produced?”

I hope my words were understood and have given a bit of encouragement to help you soar even higher.

Thanks for reading! And keep it Creative!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Divorcing Perfect: The First Step in Sowing Seeds for Creative Success #SeizetheDream #Goals #MotivationMondays

Welcome to Week 1 of “Sow the Seeds, Seize the Dream 12 Week Creative Course.” I have to say that more than anything I am super excited about embarking on this journey with you.

No matter what your creative goals are, I want to see you soar!

Taking the steps, harnessing the faith and courage to walk on the waters of our curious creativity, is a grand thing and certainly not one to be taken lightly.

This is a big deal. You, making the decision to find your creative voice, to try something outside of your comfort zone, but oh so impressed upon your heart with a million ‘what ifs’ is a big deal.

The reality is everything will be as good as it is meant to be in the stage of development that it is in.

Today we begin with a simple but necessary introduction to the path we are going to take. Like with any journey, it is important that one counts the cost and gets ready for the road ahead.

The biggest hurdle we as creatives must leap over (we as humans) is that of ‘Perfectionism.’

  • PERFECTIONISM: The inability to accept anything that is below the standard of perfection.

Today, I just want to talk to you about how crippling ‘perfectionism’ can be and give you a few steps to move beyond this so-called giant.

I remember for over a period of five years I had gathered a mouthwatering collection of art supply, from paints to pens, paper, canvases … you name it, I pretty much had it. All of it gathered to create glorious art, but all of it gathered little more than dust as the fear of making something less than perfect crippled my hands from moving.

For five years my creativity bottle-necked because I was afraid to mess up the cotton fibers of my papers. I was simply afraid, afraid my results would not match my original design, afraid I would fail, afraid I wouldn’t measure up to the expectations of others … simply afraid.

Can you relate to that?

Many of us have a dream but do nothing with it, not because we are careless, but because we have become overly careful. Many times this ‘care’ which is actually insecurity and worry is birthed the fear of not being good enough.

The reality is everything will be as good as it is meant to be in the stage of development that it is in.

As the book of Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 puts it: What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

A five-year-old playing a mean tune of “Chopsticks” has done a fantastic job even though that song doesn’t compare in the minds of many to “Moonlight Sonata.” But if the five-year-old continues to try his or her hand at simplistic tunes until their muscles have learned to flow into something like “Jingle-Bells,” then there is hope that they will grow into pieces composed by Mozart and Beethoven.

This truth holds the same for ALL CREATIVES. We have to make peace with the truth that growing in our creativity is a messy business and will require some keys being played out of tune, some colors being poorly mixed, even some words being used out of context.

The mistakes are all a part of the growth process and actually, some things birthed out of imperfection have actually proven to be quite perfect. Here are a few examples:

  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese was the IMPERFECT mistake made in 1872, created by American dairymen, William Lawrence of Chester, N.Y. In Mr. Lawrence’s attempt to create the French cheese called Neufchatel, he imperfectly, yet perfectly, created Cream Cheese which is a hit! I mean what is a bagel without cream cheese, and don’t get me started on cheesecake.
  • Ganache: I heard it on a Food show years ago that this chocolatey delight was created by a chef ‘accidentally’ and thusly, imperfectly knocking cream into some heated chocolate. In his attempt to create something else, this confection was invented.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: In 1938 American Chefs,  Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides imperfectly yet perfectly came up with just about every cookie lover’s dream. Now, according to some, the chef’s were attempting to create a chocolate cookie, believing that the chocolate chips would melt in the batter only to find that the did not, but no one is complaining over that!

The point of these delicious examples is that there are people the world and time over who have stepped out of their comfort zones to attempt something new to them only to be blessed by the results of their imperfection. (I used food examples to whet your creative appetites.) They had a dream and vision for something and what they ended up with, although imperfect by some standards, ended up being better than they had imagined. They didn’t just set out to be perfect they set out to take hold of their creative dreams.

Today, we have the same opportunity as the folks mentioned. We can step out, divorcing the fear of perfectionism, but raising our expectation for something good to happen in us and through us creatively over the next 12 weeks.

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION:

  • Commit to a new definition of perfection. Find perfection in the ‘completion’ of each creative step required to get you from dream to vision, not in the flawless result of what you currently view as perfect. (For each person, this will be different. What is needed for an amateur make-up artist to complete is not the same as an aspiring author. )
  • Commit to attempting your creative endeavor while embracing the glory of imperfection. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly . . . until you can learn to do it well.” 
  • Commit to acknowledging the goodness in each effort you have made toward your dream and call it ‘good.’ As in the dawn of Creation, The Lord God, at the end of His daily efforts of Creation, He blessed His work and called it GOOD! Yes, He had a bigger picture in mind (end result) but He acknowledged the goodness in the steps He’d made toward that goal. We have to do the same.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS:

ADDITIONAL READING:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • How have you defined perfection?
  • How has your definition affected your creativity?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

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

(Also, get yourself a journal and write dow your thoughts. It will be great to see how far you’ve grown in the coming weeks!)

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Let Go: How I Learned to Step into My Dreams #MotivationMonday #SiezetheDream #Creative

Perfection has a price, but I cannot afford to live that life. It always ends the same; a fight I never win. Oh control. It’s time, time to let you go.” -JJ Heller

A few years back, on my birthday, I woke up after having an incredible dream. The dream was prophetic for my personal future. It hit straight to the core of some inner struggles I had been having. It gave me a greater hope for the future that I am now living.

For several years I had felt like I had fallen into a dark well or a completely lifeless creative downward spiral. Sure, I had been making art, commissions, and though I was pleased with the outcome of each, I have to say they were indeed lifeless … to me.

I was so detached from these paintings that I didn’t even really bother archiving them for my own portfolio. That says something. It says a lot.  My writing was like swimming through mud.

I had gone on a rampage to control everything in my life that I could. My art was controlled. There could be no mistakes in it, which meant I hardly ever created anything. My writing had to be flawless. And because it wasn’t, because I couldn’t really control it, I began to grow duller.

Spiritually, I felt like I had been traversing a craggy wasteland, always walking forward in the direction of the sun (Son), waiting for this storm of torrential rains and floods to come, but I was always waiting, always walking, and there was never a drop of rain in sight nor a cloud in the sky.

I began to grow used to the desert, both the spiritual and the creative. Oddly enough, my inner spirit man never really felt like it was in a drought, just thirsty, content, but never satisfied. No matter how much I fought to be satisfied.

As years past in my reality, circumstances not changing, my hope for a better future, for the flood rains in my creative life and spiritual life to come, became like an old plane ticket in my hand. It had no expiration date, but neither did it have a date of departure, and so I ceased looking for one.

I was a desert wanderer. This was my reality. But on my 31st birthday, waking up from that hope-reviving dream, remembering other dreams that partnered with it, I began to smell the scent of rain in the air again. A change was coming and it was right on the horizon. Messiah Yeshua Jesus even led me to a verse in the Scriptures to solidify this newly revived hope and expectation.

Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing what is new, let it now spring forth. Do you not know it? I am even making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Now, for several years I had been having a connected series of dreams about living in a trash bag tent in the desert amongst many others who were fearful of a coming flood.  So when I read this verse, and the images of those old dreams of my desert lands being flooded out with enough water to fill the oceans,  I knew it was a Word of life for me from Him.

This, however, is where faith gets tricky. People of faith LOVE a word about CHANGE and BREAKTHROUGH, but they never take into consideration what CHANGE and BREAKTHROUGH really mean.

Simple analogy, think of how a child who has come to the end of his or her stay within the womb feels when they are are BREAKING THROUGH to their new place. It is not a comfortable transition.  The very fluid they had been thriving on for nine months is squeezed out of them as they pass through from one existence to the other.

Isaiah 43:19 is awesome, but there is a verse that comes before it. This verse was the training breakthrough verse from me.

Isaiah 43:18 Do not remember the former, nor consider that of old.”

STEP 1: Confront your past disappointments.

In order for me to move forward out of my desert, I had to forget the things that were behind. I had a lot of disappointments and false starts,  a lot of heartaches, a lot of wounds, and all of those things not only blocked my creativity but stifled me spiritually and emotionally.

Art doesn’t thrive in a box. Creativity is organic and grows how it grows.

I was in agreement with ‘forgetting’ all of those things. I had buried them for a reason, but I had not healed from them. I was still carrying them with me, and the load was rotting lot gangrene and affecting every creative part of me.

I began to think I was a failure because I could not make myself forget these things that Messiah Yeshua-Jesus had let out of the bag. I cried. I didn’t understand until He gently and lovingly told me a simple truth.

In order to forget what is behind, you have to confront it, heal from it, so that it never has power over you again.

You know what it is like when a clogged pipe has been treated and all that grime comes out before the clear water flows? That is what had been taking place with me ever since. I began to allow my pains to be redeemed, and I am talking about those old pains, the-school-bully-that-scared-you-when-you-were-nine kind of pains.

STEP 2: Embrace your unique path and timing.

The pains of not feeling good enough and trying to achieve those superficial plateaus that society has put in place, but failing every time. And why was I failing? Because these things are not part of His design or rather they were not part of His design for my life back then. Striving for those things (marriage, children, nest, 9 to 5 job … not really on the 9 to 5) at the WRONG time was creative suicide.

Because of my wounds, the ones that were sneaking up on me even though I had pressed them down, I had gone on a rampage to control everything in my life that I could. My art was controlled. There could be no mistakes in it, which meant I hardly ever created anything. My writing had to be flawless. And because it wasn’t, because I couldn’t really control it, I began to grow duller.

STEP 3: Divorce yourself from perfectionism.

Art doesn’t thrive in a box. Creativity is organic and grows how it grows. I was trying to control all of these things because I could not control the pain that I refused to confront. But now I know better. I was blessed with the chance to journey far way from home, away from the noise and get a glimpse of the creative woman I once was and am in the process of becoming.

I leave you to take another listen to the song that makes my heart dance. It’s one of my new anthems. It comes from the “When I’m with You.” Album by JJ Heller. The song is called “Control.” I have let go of the control now. I have ceased to clip my own wings out of fear and the need to control something, anything, just to feel secure. I gave Yeshua Jesus permission to heal my hidden hurts and to draw out the creativity that had been backed up.

BONUS: LET GO OF THE NEED TO CONTROL!

I gave up control and I am getting to know me again and you don’t need control for that. It’s actually best to let it go.

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What steps have you taken to walk into your creative dreams?
  • What were some things that were holding you back?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Achieve Your Dream: Pt 3 Team Up! #MotivationMonday #SeizetheDream #Creative

Teamwork makes the dream work.” ~John C. Maxwell

Everything God created was created to be most fruitful when it is connected with another. When a man takes a wife, children are born. When a bee meets a flower, more flowers, bees, and honey are born. When seed meets soil and is saturated by rain, new life is produced.

When we, dreamers and visionaries becoming creators, have taken the steps to …

1. Believe: Believe that we can achieve the dream that is inside of us. (See Believe You Can).

2. Simplify: Take your processes one step at a time without over-complicating each move you make. (See Keep it Simple).

… we are on the path to productively multiplying our success which is found in our ability to properly align ourselves to achieve our dreams, by teaming up with others.

3. Team up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 explains this perfectly, stating that there is a greater reward for your labor when you are partnered up with another person or persons.

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiasites 4:9-12

It is wise to have a support group, especially mentors; a system of like-minded visionaries who have been where you are headed or are walking the path along side you on your way to where you are going.

Having a ‘team’ means there is always someone to encourage you when you fall, keep you warm when the world is cold and harsh, give you guidance when you feel stuck, or to simply tell you the best path to take to avoid hidden pitfalls.

Your team can give you the outer perspective that you will lack at times. They will have the ability to give you the right amount of hard truth married with the perfect amount of grace which is exactly what we all need to get from dream to reality.

When we, people of faith, invite Yeshua Jesus, the giver of these dreams and visions, to captain the journey along with our team our efforts are blessedly not easily thwarted.

Whenever you decided to take hold of your dream, there is going to be opposition. We need someone or several someones to help us stay the course, shower us with encouragement and cheer us on when we feel as if we can go no further.

We need that person that anoints us with goodness when we need it most. Get yourself a great team, keep things simple, and never cease to believe you can!

Seize your dream. You are already halfway there!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER! 

Coffee With Character…Or Tea. How to Get to Know Your Fictional Characters: A Creative Writing Exercise #WritingTip #Writing #CreativeWriting

Writing is such a cathartic expression. Be it used to create poetry, something literary, or a piece that is completely outlandish and full of adventure, writing is indeed a breath of fresh air.

As writers, even in the face of an activity so purifying we often times find ourselves locked in a position where our creative muscles have not been trained to go, or rather have no idea how to get where we are trying to go.  This frustration is no different than Yoga.

Original art by Candice Coates
Original art by Candice Coates

Sure, you have got “Downward facing dog” in the bag, but dare your muscles to attempt “Crane pose.” or “Forearm-standing Scorpion,” and you may find yourself stuck in between the attempt and nowhere near where you had hoped to be.

And it all looked to so easy in the beginning.

Original Art by Candice Coates
Original Art by Candice Coates

This writing exercise is all about getting ‘there,’ helping you stretch past the stiffness of your imaginative muscles, especially when it comes to the characters who are the life blood of the writing you may be working on.

In order to get ‘there’ you need to know the folks you are traveling with, right?

Here are some steps to do that.

EXERCISE:

1.Write down the names of the main characters in your book (and even some important supporting characters). Write them on a piece of paper or even on your computer (your choice) in column style.

These are the names of the folks you are inviting over for an intimate meal or even just a good cup of coffee, one character at a time or if you are feeling adventures, invite them all!

2. Consider the likes and dislikes of each Character: what each character likes to eat. What they don’t like. Who prefers olive oil over butter, how do they take their coffee?

3. Write it all down.

4. Now think about how the conversation would go with them.

5. Jot these things down in each column.  Do they tell jokes? Do they like the shakshuka you prepared? Do they even know what shakshuka is?

Bonus: Have fun with it. Treat the characters as you would any guest you were entertaining.

WHAT IS THE REWARD?

The reward of this exercise is to get to know your characters more intimately. The answers that you find out about these individuals are not necessarily tid-bits you would add to beef up your plot, but they are the gems that really get you in the head and heart of the people who are acting out the story. It makes the flow so much more authentic.

It makes the flow so much more authentic. By knowing these little intimate details you will know what things they will and will not tolerate while you work and weave your plot around them.

This information will stretch you from “Downward facing dog” into “Crane pose” without locking your muscles.

Happy Writing!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

P.S if you don’t know what shakshuka is, follow this LINK! Happy writing and happy eating!

*This exercise was original created August 28, 2014, and has been revised.

Coming Soon!!!: New Features ahead on ICFTS #Change #Writer #Musing

Hello, fellow Creatives!

April is just a week away from blurring into May and with that in mind, I want to give you a few updates on what is going on here at I came for the soup….

For over a year now I have been going back and forward with shifts and changes here on this platform trying to figure out what I needed to do in order to breathe the freshness back into this creative space.

I tried on different blog themes, I renovated my menu, I removed certain weekly posts…

It wasn’t until the start of April that I finally began to feel the heartbeat of this creative space beating more strongly, and that was when I discovered and embraced what I was missing here.

What was going on, you ask?

Well, I was trying to hold on to something old while attempting to blindly take hold of something new. The thing is you can only get the clarity to grasp the new thing when you leave the old thing in the dark where it belongs.

Needless to say, I’ve let go and I have taken hold. The winds of Spring and the creative life is bubbling again!

WHAT’S NEW:

First: There has been a shift in the brand here. What used to be a platform for me to journal my growth and nourish my own creative soul has now shifted into a platform where you the reader are central and me the creator and author is now the support.

I came for the soup… was once about nourishing the faith art and fiction in MY soul, but now it is all about nourishing the faith, arts, and vision in yours.

The first three years of this creative space was about building up my creative muscles and vision and now I have the strength to help build yours.

. . . you can only get the clarity to grasp the new thing when you leave the old thing in the dark where it belongs. 

I want you to help you take hold of your creative voice like never before!

More of what that will look like will be coming soon.

Second: Some things that were discarded while I struggled through my cocoon of growth and change, will be coming back again.

One of those is Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt. Actually, it will be making it’s second debut in just an hour from now!

Nourishing the Arts in you begins with helping you find and stretch your voice. For writers, this is done through writing prompts and I have to say that I not only enjoyed creating this weekly prompt, but I also enjoyed doing it myself.

Third: The art of platform revision continues. Now that I have a clear and solid view of where this creative space and brand is headed, I need to begin implementing the necessary changes.

Bear with me.

My goal is to have this ‘machine’ running at top performance before the end of Spring. I am working on new content to help you take hold of your vision and find your authentic creative voice, while I revise older material that I feel is very relevant even for this current moment.

There are even non-fiction books under works, all geared toward drawing the light out of you and helping you to conquer!

I am super excited about this new season and the changes that are taking place and I hope you are too.

Thank you for sticking around while the dust was still flying. Great stuff is ahead and I can’t wait to share it with you.

~Candice

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER! 

3 Reasons to Keep Creating: It’s Worth the Mess. Keep At it! #MotivationMonday #Creating #Encouragement

 

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly . . . until you can learn to do it well.” ~Zig Ziglar

I have always been a believer that anything worth having is definitely worth fighting for. Having healthy relationships? Worth fighting for. Having security? Worth fighting for? Having victory in maintaining faith? Worth fighting for.

I could go on and I am sure that you could add several things to the ‘worth fighting for’ list. But one thing I have often lost the fight in (because I didn’t show up) was in learning new avenues of creating.

Why? Because more times than not I was afraid of failure. I wonder if you can relate.

The thing about being a creative person–the thing about being human–is that the beginnings of all of our successes begin in a mess. We don’t begin walking with elegant or confident gaits. We fall and we scuff our hands and knees.

The same is true for each and ever creative venture that we embark on.

Our first drafts will likely be, well, garbage in comparison to the final drafts. Our first paintings, even done as adults will show the skills of an enthusiastic three-year-old.

All of this is okay. All of this is part of the process.

We have to learn in all things that before we are able to play “Moonlight Sonata” with our eyes closed that we must first begin playing “Chopsticks” with sharp concentration.

We have to keep giving and keep practicing until our muscles are trained and our creativity flows with the same ease as breathing.

Consider your craft to be like rerouting natural water into a beautiful city situated in a dry place. The water is there. The city is there. You just have to be willing to do what it takes to bring them together.

HERE ARE 3 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. Being a ‘beginner’ is a necessary step in becoming a master or even mediocre. Both however take time.
  2. What you give you will get. If you keep at your practice you will either learn how to do it well or learn that there is no shame in learning that you aren’t meant to do everything, but that there are never any regrets in giving some things a try.
  3. Every beautiful home begins as a messy, muddy, hole in the ground. Foundations are often the least favorite part of the process but the most important. The mansion is definitely worth the mud!

So keep working on your novels. Keep slinging that paint, and scratching those ivories until they bleed into submission and your touch turns into a tickle.

What you are doing is worth it. It is worth the moments of frustration. It is worth relentlessly pounding the ‘delete’ button until the letters on the key are all but worn away.

It is all worth it because the day will come when you finally learn how to do what you are doing well. And it will be beautiful!

~Dream. Imagine. Beleive. Do. CONQUER!