To Live a Creative Life

To live a creative life we must lose the fear of being wrong
It's so true, isn't it? "To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong." After a couple of posts last week on the topic of perfectionism and fear of failure, stumbling upon this image last night on Pinterest seemed quite serendipitous.

Okay, I get it. Being wrong or failing isn't the worst thing that can happen - not getting back up after a failure is. 

PS. I'm certain that the typo in the word "loose" is intentional, and by being spelled wrong it helps get the point across that it's not the end of the world to be wrong...but the grammar nerd in me is cringing! Ack!

PPS. I just updated my Press page - take a peek!

Happy Monday!

Indie Business: The Secret to Getting Started

How to get started on a project- Indie Business Tips
[Images via Pinterest; original sources unknown]

With freelance design and indie business projects, the hardest part for me is simply getting started. While I do have faith in myself and in the creative talents that God has (oh so generously) blessed me with, the perfectionist in me is constantly fearful. Fearful that the ideas won't come. Fearful that what I create won't meet up to my clients' desires and expectations. Fearful that I'm inadequate as an artist. Fearful that when push comes to shove, I won't be able to create anything worthwhile. Fearful that I will try - and fail.

Growing up, I was very fortunate to be on the receiving end of a lot of praise from my supportive parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) about my art and my singing. And while it delights me to no end that my family and friends have always been genuinely supportive of my life, my work, and my art, it has ironically caused crippling perfectionism and fear of failure in me. What should have empowered me has actually paralyzed me - they believe in me so much that I don't want to do anything to let them down! So, instead of trying and failing (failure feels like just about the worst option possible for me), my default setting is just not to try. And as someone who leans towards introversion, I'm also "in my head" so much thinking about all the possibilities of what might happen, which is absolutely exhausting because before I've lifted a finger, I've gone through the process several times in my mind! And by that time, just starting a project feels near impossible. (Sidenote: I struggled with severe stage fright for years, and I swear that it's only by facing my fears and with God's grace that I can actually get on stage and perform today. For most of my life, I was so terrified of putting myself out there that I didn't sing. Ever. And it's something that I truly love.)

So, if you struggle with a similar fear of failure, what's the secret to getting started?

It's simple - just open the box.
Open box of art supplies - the secret to getting started
Here's what I mean. My art supplies are all kept in a closet in our hallway. Everything I need is right there, brimming with potential. And yet, the hardest part of any creative project for me is getting over my fears and simply opening those boxes. I'm overwhelmed  by the potential options inside, so it feels safer to keep them closed. But when I finally get the courage to open the boxes and start a project (usually because of a close deadline!), something powerful happens. Taking them down from the shelves and exploring the papers, stickers, paints, and ephemera that I've collected over time somehow releases my fears, because suddenly I can see an actual solution to my design conundrum. I open those boxes for each collage art project, and ideas come. Art flows. EVERY TIME. The fear of the unknown, the fear of not being able to create seems to fade. Sure, there might be moments of struggle and resistance while working it all out, but there's something magical that happens when you put yourself in a posture of openness to the creative process, instead of remaining closed off in your mind. Even if you don't feel ready, just opening the boxes with the intent to start can often be the springboard to creative success. 

And while it is a simple tip, I fully acknowledge that taking action on it is not that simple. It takes courage to push aside fears of failure, self-doubt, and the myriad of other excuses that make it easier and safer to not try, rather than trying and failing.

So what does "opening the box" look like for you? Is it physically opening a box of supplies? Is it sitting down at the computer and opening Photoshop? Is it grabbing your guitar and a pad of paper? Is it heading to the library to browse reference books? 

Even as I'm writing these  words, it's still tough for me to actually take them to heart and take action. I'm the first to admit that I read all kinds of design advice, but have a hard time putting it in to practice. However, knowledge is nothing without action. I hope that this knowledge will empower you to take that action, even if you're afraid. After all, courage doesn't mean you're not afraid. Courage means that you feel the fear, and do it anyway. Go open the box, baby.

Galatians 6:4-5 quote
Do you struggle with a similar fear of failure or creative block when a new creative project is on the table? What's your secret to getting started?

Happy Wednesday! Go kick some creative ass.

I Heart It, You Heart It, We Heart It

We Heart It Inspiration Photos from Lesley Myrick
Before there was Pinterest, there was We Heart It. I was completely enthralled with this photo bookmarking site a few years ago! It's fun to look back at the images I was "hearting"- I haven't seen them in nearly three or four years, and while I'm definitely still attracted to some of them (hello tattoos and Polaroid cameras!), I can definitely see how my style and aesthetic has evolved.
We Heart It Inspiration Photos from Lesley Myrick We Heart It Inspiration Photos from Lesley Myrick
While We Heart It is a place to find beautiful, inspiring imagery, its main downfall (which, unfortunately, is happening with Pinterest too) is that many of the images are bookmarked from sites like Tumblr where it's near impossible to track down the original image source. So, sorry artists and photographers who took these lovely photos. You did great, but you're probably not getting credit for it. Sad trombone.

Happy Tuesday!

Thoughts from a Procrastinating Perfectionist

Jaime Beitler Art
When we moved to Los Angeles, I remember being so surprised (and slightly annoyed) that everyone had such packed schedules. Nate and I had to "book" dates with friends a month or more in advance. And now? WE'RE THOSE PEOPLE. I'm trying to find time this week for a few freelance projects among mentoring friends through Mosaic; performing at a welcome event at Fuller Seminary; having friends over for dinner; attending interior design events downtown - oh, and a full-time job too. I'm thankful and so blessed that my life is bursting with satisfying things, but it's sure an easy excuse for me to procrastinate! I've heard the saying "If you want something to get done, give it to a busy person" - and I think it's time to become that busy person who's kicking ass and taking names, instead of that busy person who's avoiding starting projects and blaming it on her schedule even though it's really about her perfectionism and fears of inadequacy (more on that on Wednesday). 

PS. How rad is this collage by Jaime Beitler? It's made of cut-up pieces of her old art prints. Brilliant.

Happy Monday!

Interior Styling Inspiration

Interior styling inspiration from Pinterest
I'm a sucker for great styling (I'm that girl who's constantly re-arranging little vignettes in my own home) and I've been collecting some beautiful interior styling inspiration images on Pinterest. I think these little displays are just so pretty, don't you? Love that vintage camera photo!

Follow me on Pinterest for more design and art inspiration. xo

Happy Monday!

Blogger Tips: Design Your Own Blog

Tips to design your own blog with iMac on desk If you want to design your own blog, but don't know where to start, trust me when I say it's possible! I know nothing about web design or coding except for what I've learned via Google, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite Blogger tips to help you personalize and customize your blog. Here are a few links to get your started on your own blog design adventure:

Blue laptop and blue desk chair
+ First things first: back up your blog and your template.

+ BlogMilk has some of the loveliest premade blog templates out there at very reasonable prices (and Ana is an absolute gem to work with!). Only 15 of each design are sold, so you can be assured your blog won't look like everyone else's. 

+ Another great place to find premade blog templates is Etsy

+ Don't have the budget to purchase a template? Try a site like OurBlogTemplates - it's where I found my previous template. Puglypixel has a couple of cute freebies too!

+ Here's how to install your new template without losing your widgets.

+ To create an image slider for your blog's header (like the one I have at the top with three images that fade in and out), this is the best and simplest tutorial I could find. And trust me, I spent about a bazillion hours searching and unsuccessfully installing other ones! There are still a couple minor tweaks I'd like to make to it, but until I can afford custom coding this is a pretty solid option.

+ PuglyPixel has a fab tutorial on creating a custom navbar, like mine above. I had no idea how simple this was!

+ There are loads of free social media icons available, but this set comes in a myriad of colors, and includes icons like Instagram and Pinterest, which can be hard to find. (I will confess that I created the Bloglovin' one myself, so feel free to grab it if you need it!)

+ Here's how to add clickable images to your sidebars. My social media icons, all the post categories under the "Read" heading, and my Etsy shop link were all created this way.

+ Snapwidget is a free and customizable widget for adding photos from your Instagram feed to your sidebar.

+ Some HTML basics for creating uniform image widths on your blog. To me, this is absolutely essential for creating a strong visual look and professional presence for your blog.

+ Want a simple form for your readers to contact you? Here's a great free one (it's what I use on my Contact page).

I'm all about sharing knowledge and resources, and I'd love to hear if you have any great Blogger tips or links that you found to help design your own blog. Please share your fave links in the comments and let's help each other out! And if you found this post useful, please tweet it!

Happy Wednesday!

On Beauty Sleep

Betty White quote on beauty sleep
"Get at least eight hours of beauty sleep. Nine if you're ugly." - Betty White

Happy Monday!

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