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!

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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!

Waiting Like Bamboo: Learning to Take Life One Step at a Time

I’ve been asked by several people I know ‘what is your plan?’ They ask because they know my dreams. They ask because they have seen my struggle, and from their vantage point and sometimes even my own, it seems like nothing fruitful is happening.

That seeming reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

I once heard Joyce Meyer talking about growth and waiting on God. She talked about how she’d learned bamboo shoots, once planted, will spend up to five years growing deep roots before actually breaking through the surface. But once they break through they can grow a foot in a matter of hours.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” ~Psalm 119:105 

That teaching was so encouraging but the reality is, nobody really wants to wait like bamboo. We want the deep roots TODAY and the foot-by-the-hour growth TODAY.

All of this makes me think about the deceiving phrase of ‘overnight success.’ Again, one sees bamboo stretching to the sky in a matter of hours and they are led to think that its always been that way.

They have no idea the long dark pressing that the roots endured digging deeper into the earth, where no one sees, where no one gives applause, just so when the day comes for their shoots to literaly shoot toward the sky, they have roots deep enough to support the seemingly sudden progress.

I know that over the years I’ve made progress. I know this because of the evidence of the dirt beneath my fingernails and the scent of soil in my hair. I know this because my mind is still set on my goals and I have the sweat stains to prove that I’ve been working, even if only me, myself, the Lord Yeshua Jesus and the dark, are the only ones who know it.

 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” ~Psalms 37:23

I can honestly say that now I feel as if my head is moving about in the upward soil now, that the heat of the sun is kissing my crown. I know that soon I will break through the surface and shoot toward what I’ve been working for all these many years.

I just don’t know when, exactly, the breaking through moment will happen. I just know it is near.

So when people ask me while ignoring the smell of the labor on my skin or the dirt on my face, what is my plan, my answer is, to simply to trust where Yeshua Jesus shines the light on the darkness and there, take the step that is set before me.

That is my plan. Take the next step toward breaking through.

~Poeima, Poetry in Motion

5 Ways to know You are on the Road to Writing Maturity: Wisdom from the Writer’s Journal

Writing. We don’t just do it because we love it. Most of us do it because we have to. The blessing of this ‘have to’ is that we actually enjoy it.

What I find most enjoyable are the moments I realize I’ve gained a greater level of freedom with my craft as I mature into my craft.

So how does one know they have achieved greater levels of maturity?

Here are 5 helpful hints:

Writing Maturity

1. You are no longer concerned with the timelines of others: So what your writer friend has successfully published 2 books within the last year and you have yet to dish out your debut novel.  A ‘good-for-them’ is not a ‘bad-for-you’. They aren’t your competition.

‘Keeping up with the Jones’ or for Millennials, the  ‘Kardashians’ is NOT an issue for you. You’ve learned to write at your own pace and respect the flow of your creativity, while celebrating the successes and milestones of others.

You realize your only competition is your own potential. Are you achieving it?

2. You no longer beat yourself up for not meeting your projected word count for the day: Sure, you enjoy hitting the nail directly on the head but you applaud yourself for giving an honest effort.

3. You rejoice and are grateful for the words you did dish out in a given day: Good viable words in a novel are NOT a dime a dozen. If you’ve been pursuing a writing career for long, you’ve already learned to NOT believe that hype.

To that end, you are grateful for every pearl that drops from your fingertips.

4. On word count, you realize that quality is always better than quantity: The less rambling you’ve done in your story means the less time it will take to revise it and make it shine.

You are all about good time management. The less clean-up required means the quicker you can move on to your next creative writing adventure.

5. (If you are a blogger) You’ve learned the customer isn’t always right, or rather the ‘troll’ leaving harsh, critical comments isn’t worth your emotional energy: You have embraced your right to monitor your comments section. You have  a ‘delete’ button and aren’t afraid to use it!

We all know that “taking out the garbage” makes the room smell better. After all, feeding the trolls does take away from your writing time and again you are all about time management.

BONUS: You are all about creative growth so you celebrate what your real Followers, Fans, and Writing Friends have to say!: These folks believe in your craft as much as you do. They want to see you shine. When they give you a ‘thumbs-up’ or a ‘not-so-thumbs-up’ you take it and learn from it. You grow.

Creativity is growth. And we all grow at a different pace. So enjoy your journey along the way! After all, making the most of each moment is what maturity is all about.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Lies We Tell Ourselves: 6 Harmful Creative Writing Untruths & 7 Truths to Keep in Mind

Writer's Table

Being creative is a gift. Whether you are a dancer, a vocalist, a painter or even a landscape architect, you will run into a wall-of-lies that will try to eat away at your creative growth and momentum.

Here are 6 lies that I find most of us writers face in regard to our manuscripts and craft, and 7 truths to keep the lies at bay.

1. My story is too long: Sure, very few people want to read a dictionary but the reality is, you aren’t even close to that large a tome.

Truth to keep in mind: Babies always lose a few ounces just after birth. First drafts will do the same with word count after you begin editing and revising.

So just allow your creative juices to flow, write what comes to mind, and do some trimming later. Build your house first, before you start tearing down walls.

2. My story is too short: Your story may be a novella or even a short story and not a full-length novel at all.

Truth to keep in mind: Respect the identity of your story, no matter how ‘short’ it may be. Quality always overrules quantity. Less sometimes is indeed more.

If your story has finished telling itself in less than 35k words, then let it be done. If you push it further you may just destroy its glory.

3. No one is going to read this:….

Truth to keep in mind: THEY WON’T IF YOU DON’T WRITE IT!

4. My writing is not as good as “fill in the blank”: One can’t argue with poor grammar, but voice and style are something unique to all of us.

Truth to keep in mind: No two snowflakes are the same but they are all lovely. Your creative voice has value and merit. Someone needs to hear. Always practice to make it its very best, but never stifle it by measuring it against someone else’s. Be your own snowflake.

5. I should just quit: If you’ve started writing, you did so because you have a story to tell. Quitting will only haunt you with a terrible song of regret.

Truth to keep in mind:  Some creative projects take longer than others to accomplish. Sometimes taking a break to regroup your creative thoughts is necessary but never give up. You’ll not only regret it, but the reality is, your characters won’t let you rest.

6. I can’t do this: We all get tired. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. It’s worth the struggle. We’ve all seen movies where mothers in labor say ‘I can’t do this!’ But what do they do? They push beyond their own self-consciousness and pain and bring that baby that they’ve been carrying for nearly a year, into the world!

Truth to keep in mind:  Writing is a struggle sometimes. But the moment you type ‘The End’ is a moment that feels far too good to even express in words! Keep pushing!

7. BONUS: Whether you write for publication, blog, or write in a private journal, your gift is worth exercising. Tell your story. Put your words to life. Never stop creating. You were made for it!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Writing Tips You’d Give to Your Younger Self: 5 Words of Wisdom from Blogger Blonde Lucy

Welcome to the Writer’s Journal, a place where creative wisdom and encouragements are shared with all at the table!

Part of developing as a wordsmith or visual artist comes with learning, not only from our own process but gleaning wisdom from those around us. This is what the Writer’s Journal is all about.

ae8f55cd-fe45-4c4a-9684-5d7f5249adbeThis week, we have the pleasure of  learning from a super blogger and brilliant wordsmith: BlondeLucy, the mind behind Blondewritemore blog.

I encourage you to not only eat of her wisdom here but follow her blog as well as these other platforms:

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/blondewritemore

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blondewritemore

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/blondeusk/

Thank you, BlondeLucy, for stopping in and sharing. The pen and pad are yours!

5 Encouragements I would give to my younger writing self on what is most important about writing. By Blonde Lucy

 
As a fresh faced and eager newbie writer, you need lots of encouragement. Writing is not easy and at times, it can reduce you to a snivelling wreck. 
This is what I would say to my younger self:
 
  • Forget the Writing Course at the local college. Expensive and a waste of time. 
  • Forget the ‘Writing’ self-help books. Expensive and a waste of time. 
 
Write! Just sit and write. 
 
Write until you have nothing left inside you and then wake early to write more the next day. 
 
Write and write until words dance in front of your eyes. 
 
Writing every day for a few years is what makes a writer grow and develop.
 
I would say:
 
  • Start your blog. Post daily and use this a form of writing training. It is your daily workout. 
  • Grow your Twitter following. Don’t be shy or afraid. Don’t think you are bothering people. Tweet. At first, no one will re-tweet or like your stuff but just keep tweeting and hash-tagging. Be consistent. 
  • Listen to your gut instinct. You know what you want to write. Don’t be led by others. Don’t be persuaded to write for others. Write what you want to write. 
  • Take part in a weekly blog battle or writing contest. This will be hard but it will sharpen your writing and enable you to forge friendships and networks with other writers. Learn from other writers through doing this. Make a point of reading all the entries and comparing them to yours. Look to see how the more advanced writers are describing objects and events. Look at their sentence structure. Soak it up like a sponge. 
  • Enjoy it! Don’t get wrapped up in ‘when will I be published?’ daydreams. They are just a distraction. Be mindful and enjoy the little things about your writing; the mad scribble which starts an idea, the burst of excitement when you think of something new, the first time you hear a character talk to you and that feeling of pride when you complete your first draft. 
 
Write my friend. Don’t stop! 
 
Learn your trade and be grateful for your creative gift. 
 
 ~BlondeWriteMore

Shifting Paradigm: A Quote

Your success or lack there of, in all things, is contingent upon your perspective and paradigm. Whether you see a vase or two faces mirroring one another, or the glass half empty or half full is up to you. But once you shift into the necessary paradigm, you will see change breaking forth.

~Candice Coates

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Success Is In Your Hands: Overcoming By Faith A Word and Music Interlude

There is a scripture that says we overcome by the word of our testimony. When it comes to being successful, when it comes to victory, one of the greatest ways to secure this is to tell it not only for the encouragement of others, but to remind yourself when you begin to face other trials.

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…”

Success and victory go hand and hand. Both are a mark of triumphing over an obstacle or challenge, or in the case of this scripture the enemy of our very lives and souls, satan.

Here is my testimony that I share as a seed of faith for you. This year, 2015 has been laden with change; change in calling, change in career path, change in vision, change in relationships. Every change has brought me to a new level of faith and deeper love for Yeshua Jesus.

He has always been sweet and perfect, kind and faithful, but it is as I overcome and begin to trust His character more that I am able to see and relate to Him in this sweetness.

One of my biggest struggles is in dealing with provision. I have never really lacked for anything BUT I had trained myself to work for everything, leaving very little room for God to show Himself faithful in providing for me. Even though I am confident of His love for me, I have struggled with the question of will He meet my daily needs.

I have grown much in this area.

Matthew 6:24-30 Yeshua Jesus Here expresses His great love for us, instructing us not to worry about our daily needs but to seek first His Kingdom and its righteousness and all our daily needs will be met. He knows we have need of them, but it takes faith in Him, faith in His character to allow Him to prove Himself here.

So in light of my changes this year, I have started a new business venture. This week I had been going around gather the necessary items and tools I needed for certain product production. Before I began I heard Him say, “You’ll have everything you need.”

Hearing is one thing, believing and putting your faith in what you have heard is another. I decided to put my faith in what I heard and did not question Him.

Psalm 37:4-5 Also delight yourself in the LORD, and HE will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD. Trust also in Him…”

Long story short, in the process of my production, I reached for my trusty bottle of varnish only to find that it had dried to a lump. This is not good being that the holidays are right around the corner and I have very limited time. Instead of accusing the Savior, I testified with MY WORDS, reminding myself through faith what HE had said, that I would have everything that I needed.

Later that day, cleaning up for the day of work and organizing some of my other tools, I came across a can of spray varnish that I had only used once!

I immediately did a happy dance, not because of the can, but because my faith had increased and I had abided in the faithfulness of His Word and received the fruit of faith!

I have learned to trust Him more. I was victorious in my trial. I gained success! And the greatest success is found in walking with Him!

This is my testimony for today.  A simple one but a GREAT one in my opinion. I hope it has blessed you!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

It takes time to be a success, but time is all it takes.

~Unknown

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WHAT WE DESIRE IN THIS LIFE, WHAT WE AIM TO ACHIEVE, IF IT IS TRULY A WORTHY AND HONEST ENDEAVOR IT IS WORTH THE TIME IT TAKES TO MAKE IT MANIFEST. DON’T ALLOW THE PROGRESS OF OTHERS TO DISCOURAGE YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY. YOU ARE IN A RACE AGAINST ONLY ONE PERSON; YOURSELF. THE PRIZE AT THE END OF THIS RACE IS HAVING ACHIEVED YOUR HIGHEST POTENTIAL. THIS CROWN ONLY FITS YOUR HEAD. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, TIME IS IN YOUR HANDS. DETERMINE TO TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME. ~CANDICE