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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ICFTS in 2018: What’s New?

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Hello fellow Creatives, and happy 2018!

As I stood on the precipice of 2017 fading into the past, while the glow of 2018 brightened into the future, one constant remained the same: the need for growth and the necessity of change.

For several months now, and dare I say for the last couple of years, I have been prayerfully considering what I can do to not only make ICFTS more relevant for you but also increasingly beneficial for me.

When I started this journey, the sole purpose was to afford myself the opportunity to tap into my creativity whilst sharing my progress with others. But over the years, although my creative mining ventures continue, how I present and would like to present content to you has evolved.

What was once “I came for the soup: nourishing the Faith, Art, & Fiction in my soul,” has transformed into “I came for the soup: nourishing the Faith, Arts, & Vision in the creative soul.”

WHAT’S NEW

My focus for this platform has grown from sole to mutual. Although many of the creative themes that I will continue to touch on will touch upon fiction and art, weekly motivations will be broadened to better reach the heart of any and all creatives striving to flourish in their creative dream.

The Menu options have also evolved with new categories that are more user-friendly.

  • Create: Here you will find writing prompts and exercises, writing tips, and soon, creative options for the visual arts. And, perhaps, artists, writers, and other creatives who I believe are gems worth knowing about.
  • Faith & Motivations: Faith in Christ and His Word is the foundation upon which ICFTS is built. I believe that since we are created in His image and Have His divine DNA, like Him, the Creator of all existence, we all have the ability to create. But to do so with confidence and purposeful direction, we must have faith. Here, we will focus on scripture and ways to better strengthen our spirit and souls as we strive to grow into the fruitful beings we are called to be.
    • Creative Motivations will continue to give encouragements as we step out in faith toward our creative visions.
  • My Journal: My journal will be the base for my writings, art, and other projects, as well as musings that I feel led to share with you.
  • I’m Candice: Is a quick way to get to know me…and icebreaker of sorts.
  • Shop-icftsENC: One of the exciting projects working on is the ICFTS shop, icfts ENC. Icfts ENC will have apparel, mugs, tote bags, and wall art with clever quotes, inspirations, and motivational reminders to help you along your creative journey. Stay tuned for its reopening this year.
  • Creative Enc.: Creative Enc. is short for ‘Creative Encouragement.’ This is the base for future creative courses that will be made available in the future.
  • Guestbook: If ICFTS has blessed and encouraged you in any way, share that with this community. Leave a message in the comments section for others to see and be encouraged. Or send me a personal message by filling out the contact form.

CONTENT SCHEDULE:

  • Monday’s Muse: Weekly or bi-weekly writing prompt
  • Monday Motivation: A Creative Motivation to get you going for the week ahead
  • Faith Friday: Words of Faith to meditate on over the weekend

In addition to these, I will drop postings in My Journal, so that you can see my creative process.

FOR THE FUTURE:

Along with creative courses, my goal is to be able to present other in-depth content in book form to help you on your way. There is also a creative planner/journal that is currently under wraps, so stay tuned!

Also, this site format will be changing in the future to further aid in easing the navigation process through content.

WAYS TO STAY CONNECTED:

Of course, you can always simply click the ‘follow’ button and get notifications emailed to you each time content is posted. But coming soon, the option to get a weekly update by subscribing to the ICFTS NEWSLETTER will be made available.

For those you subscribe to the newsletter, advanced notice on products as well as creative course will be sent to you ahead of everyone else. It’s like being a VIP.

I NOW HAVE INSTAGRAM:

If following the blog or subscribing to the newsletter isn’t your jam, no worries! You can always follow me on Instagram and click the links in the profile section to see new content.

My Instagram page will give you another peek into my creative world so be sure to link up!

Big things are ahead this year! I hope that we will be blessed to experience them together.

NEW POSTINGS WILL BEGIN MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2018

As always remember to Dream bigger than you ever have before, Imagine beyond all limitations, Believe the impossible, Do the incredible, & CONQUER your goals!

In Him always,

~Candice

 

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*

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!

Paving the Way to Success Intro to DIBDC!: Week 7 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream FREE CREATIVE COURSE #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream #CreativeMotivation

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 7 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

I am super excited about this middle ground of our creative journey as it is the place where we start sowing the seeds that we have collected over the past six weeks.

If you are just now joining this creative course, no worries! Take your time, but I urge you to start from the beginning. Each step until now is crucial to the cultivation of your creativity.

INTRO: DIBDC!

This week we are going to prepare ourselves to really dig deep into DIBDC!. For over a year now, DIBDC! has been my closing salute for most of my post. For the following final five weeks of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream, we are going to dig into each point of DIBDC!, applying the principles we’ve learned from previous weeks.

WHAT IS DIBDC!: Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

  • DREAM: Taking the ‘Vision’ we have declared, we are going to streamline it even further, making it bigger, while keeping it uniquely fashioned for who we are as creatives.
  • IMAGINE: Pragmatically see the limitations that lay ahead and learn how to grow beyond them.
  • BELIEVE: Talk yourself into it! Learn how to apply your faith to the creative calling that you have.
  • DO: (This is different from the previous ‘Do’) Learn how to get your hand’s dirty and begin to sow!
  • CONQUER!: Learn the steps to not only initiate your vision and dream but to conquer your goals through planned follow-through.

IN PREPARATION: 

Again, if you haven’t already, take the time to go back and read the previous week’s modules and answer the questions. These will help you to bring your creative vision into focus. Links to each module are below:

Intro: Gearing Up for the Journey

Week 1: Divorcing Perfectionism

Week 2: Building Memorials

Week 3: Establishing: Vision, Voice, Doing Intro

Week 4: Capturing Your Vision

Week 5: Tuning Your Creative Voice

Week 6: Do The Groundwork

MUSIC INTERLUDE:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:

  • What have you learned over the previous weeks that has helped you most in your creative growth?
  • Why do you think that is?
  • What encouragement can you give to others on the path to creative success?

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!

Tuning Your Creative Voice: Week 5 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation #CreativeMotivation

Voice: Even as I create with freedom, I want to do so with purpose. I want to discover the ‘voice’ of that purpose and speak it loud and clear. ~Candice Coates

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 5 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you fine-tune the creative voice that you want others to hear from you. The foundation of that voice is revealed in what you discovered when establishing your vision.

Whether you have the vision to be a published author, a sculptor, a cook, or even a person who has a desire to be a polyglot (someone who is multilingual), establishing your voice can be crucial to your success.

Like conditioned clay, the more you work with your creative voice the more you will discover what it can do.

I remember years ago when I was in undergrad, sharing my art portfolio for that quarter’s review with my professors. The review was a success but each of my professors had come to a consensus about my work.

They couldn’t tell ‘who’ had done it because it was all so drastically different. My ‘voice’ was singing in several different keys at once.

It took me several years to realize that my creative voice is a ‘chorus’ all it’s own. Even now I am building my author site and writing career around the theme of being a ‘Genre Jumper.’  I don’t just write science fiction, but clean-read romance, thrillers, etc.

But even with excelling within different genre’s there is still an undertone to my work that makes my style uniquely mine and distinguishable in comparison to the works of others. My voice remains clear.

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER ABOUT YOUR VOICE

  • Your voice is inherently unique: In Psalm 139 we are told that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The word fearfully denotes a level of reverence, care, and awe. Who you are as Creative is unique. You are special and have something precious to share within the symphony of creation.
  • Creativity matures within seasons and so does your Voice: What your body of work looks like today, will not be at all what it is a decade from now. Look at the works of Picasso, Matisse, and others. How they began as artists in their youth, drastically changed during their middle years of life, but the tone of their voice remained the same. Your voice will mature and change, and become more malleable with the passing of time. Like conditioned clay, the more you work with your creative voice the more you will discover what it can do.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHILE YOU TUNE YOUR VOICE

  • Give yourself the freedom to try new things: Remember, this course is about the creative journey. Just like when you take a road trip with a final destination in mind you give yourself the chance to see sites and experiences along the way, so too do the same with your creativity. Try your hand at different things. Shed the techniques that don’t interest you, but figure out how to incorporate the ones that do into your overall voice.
  • In each Creative Season, aim for consistency: Whether you are writing, creative visual art, or baking, aim for a themed body of work. Doing so will help you set your tone. Unlike my undergraduate portfolio review, allow your body of work to be unique among each piece but clearly related as a ‘family’ of work. Examples could be a ten piece study of bodies of water, or ten recipes from appetizer to dessert course all focused around swiss cheese. Consistency and cohesion is key to creating tone.
  • Consider the works and processes of those who you admire: Studying the work of others you admire can help you discover what sets your creative bells ringing, thus streamlining your tone. There are millions of painters but which ones make you look at their work with awe? There are millions of writers, but which ones move you to read their work over and over again?

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

Continuing with those you admire:

  • 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. We will visit this later on in future modules.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • Who are some creatives you’ve most admired and why?
  • What creative practices would you like to adopt in order to shape and train your creative voice?
  • What creative practices are you currently implementing that are helping you to better tune your creative voice at present?
  • What advice do you have for other creatives struggling with the ‘creative sound’ they would like to make?

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!

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 #MondayMotivation

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!

How to Achieve Your Dream Part 2: Keep it Simple #MotivationMonday #Creative #SeizetheDream

Everything in life should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.” ~Albert Einstein

When it comes to doing anything, especially taking a dream and birthing it into the tangible, keeping things simple is a very crucial admonition to keep in mind.

For most of us, our knee-jerk reaction to anything new is to overthink it. We begin to compare our ‘pearl’ with oyster farms of others with similar dreams already up and running. We begin to add extra bells and whistles to our end products and we haven’t even actually ‘made’ them yet.

We take precious ideas, born in a moment of genius, and think it from the mustard seed it began as, and transform it into craggy, dark mountains that we feel ill-equipped to climb.

Yes, most dreams, especially those that will involve creative income, do come with seeming miles of information that needs to be learned. All of it is important, but none of it is necessary at the very beginning of the dream.

What is important is to take the first step.

With whatever we aim to do, whatever we have taken the step to believe to do, we must remember to keep it simple. It is so easy to overcomplicate things and make what should have been an enjoyable task or journey something loathsome.

But at the same time, as we are keeping things simple by not overcomplicating them, we need to remember NOT to make them simpler.

To me, this means to not dumb down our dreams to the point that they have transformed into cheap counterfeits of our original visions. Don’t cut necessary corners of the process in order to catch up with the so-called competition.

Simple means, again, to be uncomplicated. Choose to Believe without all the complication.

You don’t have to have all the answers yet. Let your seed be a seed, then a sapling, and then tend it until it grows into a tree. Step by step. Worry about ‘racking the leaves’ the moment your tree is big enough to produce some shade.

Keep it simple. Allow your dream to grow in stages. Each step counts. Things only get complicated when you try to leap over more than one step at a time.

Simply write your first draft, create your preliminary sketch, sing your song until the notes come naturally, build your business by creating a starter plan, live your life…simply.

Our dreams are developed by means of a process. There are steps to climb but we do best taking one step at a time. Simple.

* Read How to Achieve your Dream Part 1: Believe you Can

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

How to Achieve Your Dream Part 1: Believe You Can #MotivationMonday #SeizetheDream #Creative

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~Theodre Roosevelt

One of the most glorious things about life is that even though it can be considered a canvas, it certainly is not a ‘paint by numbers.’ Life is not a one-size-fits-all even if certain ideas and concepts may mirror that of another’s. There still, and always, remains the glory of uniqueness in each person’s life and creation.

I believe that Yeshua Jesus has a plan for each of us, a perfect design that He wants us to be co-workers with Him upon. He gives us dreams for a reason. Some dreams we take hold of and bring to manifestation, while others, sadly we leave to float away like feathers in the wind.

Many times, the dreams that get away from us are the dreams that we can’t seem to muster the faith for or we allow our faith to be choked away.

But how do we cease to do this?

We have to make a connection with faith and hold on to it. The Lord tells us that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed and nothing will be impossible for us (Matthews 17:20) The glory of such a small seed is that it becomes very large when placed in the right soil and environment.

The blessing for us is that anything that we put in the hand of the Master has the potential to be greatly multiplied beyond what we can even hope or imagine! (Matthew 14:13-21,  Ephesians 3:14-21)

We have to see more opportunities than obstacles.  We must no longer minimize the potential of the seed of the dreams we have and stop polluting the soil of opportunity with weeds of fear and doubt.

In order to do this, we need to remind ourselves of the great love that Yeshua Jesus has for us. He is the one who has given us the dream and He loves us. Fear, however, is the opponent of love (I John 4:18), and not only are you greatly loved but you have not been given the spirit of fear, but love, power, and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7)

We also have to use our creative imagination with faith-filled courage and not fear-filled conjecture. We must focus on the potential truth of imaginative vision instead of the frailty of tangible sight.

The book of Proverbs tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so he is (Proverbs 23:7)These thoughts which soon become reality began as a seed of imagination. They can either be based out of fear as well as incomplete information or fuelled by faith.

To be ruled by conjecture is similar to looking into a pool and concluding that the waters are not deep because they ‘look’ to be shallow, only to find out you were wrong once your head is under water.

Operating in the truth of imaginitive vision is to step out in faith and we are encouraged in the Word that Faith is the substance of things not seen and the evidence of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). Evidence is not conjecture. Evidence is truth!

Faith it out!

The beauty in this is that the greatest push for us to accomplish those dreams that make our hearts flutter is to first believe. Believing, making the commitment to take the step, is the greatest part of the journey.

It is the first step toward your dream, and believing enough to step out means you are already halfway there!

*Join me next week for Part 2 of this motivating series.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!