“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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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!

So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation

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Slow Cooked

*Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016.

Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her.

She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time.

Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones.

As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, she had it now. Her fingers, set at the ready, danced across the keyboard with the familiar music that delighted and sped up the beating of her heart into a glorious tattoo.

Like feathers upon the wind, the story floated around her, until the scene was finished, the revisions were done, and the belly of her muse was full as if from a savory meal cooked to perfection.

THE END…BUT NOW WHAT?

Many of you fantastic creatives set out over the month of November to create a literary tome of excellence. You set up your outlines, isolated plot points, and then when the first of the month hit, so too did your fingers hit the keys on your keyboards.

The adventure was fruitful, some days were more exhilarating than others, but still, you managed to reach novel status or at least get pretty close to it.

But now what? Now that NaNoWriMo has come and gone, what are you to do now?

  1. Keep Writing: Just like with the character in the short story above, you have to keep writing your story. If you didn’t reach 50k words in the allotted time that is okay. Every story, every piece of art grows at its own pace. Honor that, but do keep writing.
  2. Acknowledge your first draft for what it is: Novel status achieved or not, there is still worthy work ahead of you. Microwaves are good in the kitchen on an emergency basis, but microwave works of fiction aren’t good anywhere. What I mean is that you still need to ‘work’ your story into perfection even after you write the final words ‘THE END’. That moment is actually the beginning of really turning your WIP into a masterpiece
  3. Give yourself a deadline to finish the first draft: My first go at NaNoWriMo took me a little less than 30 days to hit novel status and 96 days to complete the story as a whole. For me (with many of the stories I’ve written…and like you, need to polish for publication) 90 days is the sweet-spot. There is less pressure to continue with manic writing, but enough of a push to keep you focused.
  4. Give yourself breathing room and time to mentally regroup: I recommend writing until your story is actually finished BUT sometimes, some narratives are so complex that your mind and muse simply need a break. Take a few weeks off if you need to. Either remove yourself from the story completely for a spell, or give yourself distance but allow your mind to gently work through the conflicts that are still ahead.
  5. BONUS ENJOY THE ROAD AHEAD: After completing 30 days of writing, you’ve earned it! Give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far. It was no small thing, but you did it!

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Wonder of Writing Every Word: Writing Encouragment #NaNoWriMo #MondayMotivation #AmWriting

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” ~Margaret Atwood

Writing is a journey…most days it is an exhilarating adventure that never disappoints, always lending its cathartic powers to the creative soul who has taken up the mantle to bring life through the power of word, paper and pen…or computer.

But there are moments (for many those moments show themselves during NaNoWriMo) where our fountain of words and musing seem to run dry, our focus is lost, or the plot line has gone from thick with delectable tension to just being nothing short of sludgy mud.

If you are like me, you find that in these moments you are questioning your ability as a word weaving wordsmith. You wonder if you can truly hack it. If you have been writing for any length of time, especially during NaNo, the answer is yes!

What we as creatives must never cease to remember is that even though we have something good, it doesn’t mean that every moment is going to be great. That is what editing is for.

So in this final week of NaNoWriMo 2017, I would like to give you your last bottle of refreshment for this writing marathon.

  • As already stated, you will have plenty of room to edit, to build your plot, rework it, or slim it down. Keep your focus on the words ahead and be grateful for what you’ve learned from the work behind you.
  • Ignore the pull of perfection. Perfection comes with practice but in the case of writing editing and revisions.
  • Remember that sometimes your dry spell for words is really the result of an exhausted muse and mind. Allow yourself the chance to refuel. None of us are machines no matter how much we tend to believe the converse.
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for the job well done thus far.

Whether you make novel status by the end of this month or not you’ve still done a fantastic job.

Keep writing. Keep creating. Keep soaring and enjoy the wonder of writing!

~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!

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!

Doing the Groundwork: Week 6 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 6 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you begin to do what it takes in order to bring life to your creative dream and vision.

In order to do anything, we must accept the fact that change is required. Many of us balk at the very word ‘change’ because it generally means that we are going to enter into a season of discomfort and the unknown, which requires a greater level of faith on our part.

Change in life requires decision making, which means we have to be decisive. If we want to live and seize our dream we have to make the necessary changes and stick with them.

In our creative process, and dare I say life in general, vision is where you take stock and figure out what it is what you want, the voice is the sound you want to make, the impact you want to create, the identity, if you will, of how you want to present this vision that you have.

TAKE HOLD

Doing, at this level is more pragmatic and mental than it is a physical action. Your ‘doing’ is not just found in the tools or the actions that you use to implement what you want to do. This level of doing begins first with:

  • Seeing what you want to do
  • Acknowledging what you have on hand or available to you (Your current tools)
  • And then determining what you need to let go of in order to obtain what it is that you have coming in your next level of creativity

LETTING GO

You need to determine what it is that is holding you back, and there are things that hold us back like weighing anchors. Here are some things that could be blocking you from taking hold of your God-given dream:

  • Relationships: You will only be as strong and capable as what you are connected to.  Being linked with people you’ve considered ‘friends’ whose aim is only to discourage instead of encourage, will always keep you down. We do ourselves a disservice when we allow others to constantly speak death over us and our dreams. Wisdom urges us to create distance from such relationships. (Proverbs 12:26)
  • Wrong Thinking: Wrong thinking which generally is the greatest culprit, will always keep us down. Yeshua Jesus tells us be it unto us as we believe, and His word further warns us that as we think in our heart so are we. What are you allowing your heart to say? (Matthew 9:28-29, 8:13; Proverbs 23:7)
  • Old Wounds: It could be that we are holding on to old wounds that we have not allowed the Lord to redeem in us.
  • Tangile Blockades: Or it could be something as tangible as living in clutter. Cluttered environments easily stifle our movement since we have limited space to move. Decluttering is a big part of letting go.

The root cause of many of these “blocks” tend to be the words of others. Hence why we must be diligent in guarding our dream. Everyone can’t be trusted with your treasure and some ‘friendships’ or romantic relationships could really be the toxins that are preventing your growth. We need to be willing to prune even if it hurts.

NOTE: I am not speaking about marriage, here. For goodness sake, do not leave your spouse in order to become a painter, or cut your mother completely off because she thinks being a writer is a waste of time. These relationships are sacred and require a completely different level of wisdom to work through. 

Simply put, you need to take stock and decide what or who it is that you need to let go of in order to take hold of what it is that I have in mind for my vision. This is the biggest part of doing. It is not easy but it is worth it!

As Tamara Lowe put it:

If people don’t respect what you bring to the table, let them dine alone.” ~Tamara Lowe

CREATIVE FAITH IN ACTION

Whatever medium or creative path you are embarking on, determine what you currently have available to you.

  • Artist: If you have paper, paint, ink, clay, etc, take stock of it
  • Writer: If you have an idea for a story, write it down
  • Begin to make a dedicated create space for the road ahead

Also prayerfully consider what is holding you back. If you need to distance yourself from relationships, receive healing, renew your mind, or declutter, now is the time to do so.

SCRIPTURE FOCUS

ADDITIONAL READING

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • What have you found is the most difficult part about change?
  • Is making a decisive decision something that you struggle with especially when it means change will be a result. Why?
  • Out of the list of ‘blockers’ which do you think has been your greatest obstacle?
  • How can you begin to see Christ as being bigger than this obstacle, today?
  • What advice do you have for other creatives struggling with similar challenges of change and creative blockers?

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!