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How To Become a Better Artist : Overcoming Fear In Your Creative Life

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Here’s the deal with me… I’m a continual process and I love to learn. 

Which is odd because I gave my mom heck through school and counted the days until I was out.  But now that I’m an adult, a wife and a mom, I realize the importance of living life through the lens of a student. Whether it’s my spiritual life, being a better wife and partner, being a better mom, sister, daughter, friend, artist, believer… whatever it is… I can always improve, right?

Last year, 2016, was a year of major learning for me.  I think quite possibly the most difficult year I’ve experienced to date, and now I can say it was also the most meaningful for me. 

Here was THE MOST important take away for me that year… 

I believed what I was feeling about myself and what I thought everyone else around me thought about me to be THE truth. 

Does that make sense? I was feeling pretty awful about life and about myself so the thoughts that were going through this hard head of mine (you just suck Melissa, your not worth having good things, you are no one special, you really suck at being a mom – you don’t even have energy for them, don’t even think of picking up that paint brush because whatever you put on that canvas will be awful and everyone will think you suck!) were in fact not true but lies I told myself and went throughout my days believing them and making choices according those lies I believed to be true.

DANG THAT’S SOME HEAVY STUFF!

I could go on and on about just the subject of believing the lies we tell ourselves and the enemy tells us, but maybe we can dive into that another day.

I want to share with you what helped me recognize what I was telling myself were lies and how I overcame, well overcoming daily to be honest, and therefore set me free to create wholly and freely!

So after learning and studying more about this in my personal life, I turned my attention to my art.  I’ve always felt a deep desire/need to create. It began in school as just doodling all over my books and papers, then grew into drawing and painting for my family and evolved into a full-fledged business I co-own still with one of my soul sisters, Jaime.

But after moving away and starting over in new places, I put aside my time to create. 

I still felt the pull and the lack of in my life from not creating something so I picked up my pencil and paper and worked on illustrations and hand lettering. This is fun don’t get me wrong, but I knew it wasn’t ALL there was! I knew there was more to what I was supposed to be creating.  But I stayed away, unwilling to admit it to myself.

Then I picked up this book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m telling you, if you at all are a creative in any way shape or form (doesn’t have to mean painting – could be writing, directing, sculpting, building…) this book will help push you and discover more of your honest potential.

Through the mere act of creating something – anything – you might inadvertently produce work that is magnificent, eternal, or important… If your calling is to make things, then you still have to make things in order to live out your highest creative potential – and also in order to remain sane. Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble.

— Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

I was also reading another book by Rebekah Lyons while reading Big Magic.  In it she referenced The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.

Y’all.

This book.  I can’t even.  It goes deep, like this..

Most of the time when we are blocked in an area of our life, it is because we feel safer that way. We may not be happy, but at least we know what we are – unhappy. Much fear of our own creativity is the fear of the unknown.

— The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

And then it will smack you with some simple truth, like this…

You will learn to enjoy the process of being a creative channel and to surrender your need to control the result. You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus.

— The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

As I’m writing this I am having to strongly resist the urge to just quote the whole dang book for you because I want you to hear the message so bad. 

Even if you don’t believe you are a creative person, but something in you has always wanted to be creative – get this book. 

She discusses in things that can cause us to be blocked as artists.  You have heard of the term “writer’s block” right? Well all creatives struggle with this.  

This book couldn’t have come to me at a better time.  I don’t believe in coincidences either.  I believe that things happen at a specific time for an exact reason.  I believe we have to also be open to receive certain messages and truths.  And at this point in my life, I was searching high and low for some truth from God. My arms were outstretched as wide as they could go with open hands. He had shown me all the junk I had buried inside me, yuck that had been sitting there for years and years that I never even realized or acknowledged was there.  Holding me back.  Effecting my choices and life-decisions.  

I was ready for the MORE that God promises but to get the MORE, I needed to believe his TRUTH!

So as we recognize the lies we tell or have told ourselves, Julia offers us some positive truths or affirmations to use as weapons against those lies.

I decided to write them out and hang them up right by my easel where I paint.  I’ve created it as a digital download for you if you would like to have one for yourself.  Enter your email below and we’ll email you your free print of The Creatives Affirmations!

Girls, thanks for letting me be real with you here.  I just don’t know how to be any other way.

Has anyone else ever struggled with any of this stuff here I’m talking about? What are some other tools you use to get past the creative block?  How do you push pass the self-doubt and fear?

If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear your thoughts too!  Let me know in the comment section below.

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