how to invest in your creativity

When I worked full-time as a high-school administrator, one of the most difficult things for me to learn was that investing in my creativity was just as important as creating a daily rhythm. It just wasn't a priority. Maybe a huge piece of this was because I was exhausted the moment i walked in the door, but also it was because I couldn't see myself as a true artist yet. 

But once I started to take my art seriously, things fell into place. It's more of an equation than a magic pill. More investment = more production. Little investment = little production. 

The Investment of Cash

I'm going to go ahead and get this one out of the way because it's pretty much where our minds run to when we hear the word investment. Someone once told me that we hold more value over something we purchase. Especially with the online market, I find this to be true. 

This past fall, I knew my creative side needed some help with branding. There was a well-known eCourse going viral on Facebook that was completely free. I signed up fast for that opportunity, and then never made it to a call. However, around the same time, I found Hey, Sweet Pea and fell in love with their message and signed up for My Own Irresistible Brand, their online branding school.  This was instrumental in me owning my voice as a creative entrepreneur. It took a calculated investment on my part to carve space large enough for this to take priority. (No really. The day I signed up was the day my husband lost his full time job). But I did it. For half of October and all of November I hunkered down, watched the videos, and completed the worksheets. What you're reading is a result of those moments of investment. 

What this could look like: buy books on topics you're wanting to research. Some of my favorites on creativity are When Women Were Birds, Manage Your Day-to-Day, Bird by Bird, and Walking on Water. Purchase the necessary supplies to paint that canvas collecting dust in the corner. Sign up for story-coaching.

The Investment of Time

Creativity means nothing if we're not willing to spend time on it. This goes for whatever stage of life you find yourself. I've known people who write books in ten minute increments, between soccer practice and dirty diapers. I've also known people who write books in one fell swoop, digging deep for a period of a few weeks in order to knock out the words. 

But this is more than just producing a product. For me, the investment of time looks a lot like whether or not I'm art journaling. Am I creating just for me? Am I taking the time I need to remember why I love paint on my fingers or words on the page? If I'm not, the heavy-chested feeling is close behind and threatening to take over my busy schedule. 

What this could look like: take a serious look at what information you're consuming on a day-to-day basis. THIS TAKES TIME. How much time is spent on Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Netflix? What would happen if you flipped that time and used it to jot a few notes down in your journal or fling some paint? Maybe you could read some of the books you purchased in an attempt to invest cash into your art?

The Investment of Emotional Attachment 

This is a big one for me. Without an emotional attachment, I can't get anywhere with my creativity. I have to want to write. And in order to achieve that want? I have to believe it's worth it. That I'm worth it.

Spoiler: you're worth the investment in your creativity. 

One of the biggest reasons it took me so long to begin to consistently invest in my creativity is because I couldn't make the mental shift from my creativity is a habit to my creativity is essential in how I live. Once I made this shift, investment was easy. I recognized the inherent need to tell stories and work my thoughts out through paint. Even if I'm focusing on cleaning the apartment, I'm still investing in the aesthetics of my living space. 

What this could look like: in writing, it's simple. Do you want to write what you're writing right now? If not, why? Write what you want. For everything else — consider your motivation. Are you painting so you can post it on Instagram and get lots of likes? Are you writing so you can pay rent? (Ha!) Are you starting a business so you can be rich? 

Or can you not help but write? Do stories find you? Do you spend time daydreaming about white space? Is the texture of paint on your fingers one of your core desired feelings? 

Most of all, believe that you are worth the effort. Let the words I am an artist or I am a writer or I am an author roll around your tongue. Do it until it's second nature. 

And then create. 

Posted on October 1, 2015 and filed under Soul Care.

A Definition.

This is a post about flipping the script.

There are a lot of thoughts out there about what makes a writer.

A daily discipline. 
A published something.
A prestigious degree. 
A list of accolades. 

And it's so easy for us to buy into them. It's so easy for conversations to naturally bend toward oh well, I'm not really a writer or yeah it's just a hobby or oh you're a writer? But like...what do you really do? 

This is a post for writers on the run.

You don't have a daily discipline, but when the words come they fall pointed. They sizzle with heat and purpose. You haven't published anything, but you dream of people seeing your words — recognizing them and knowing they belong to you. You don't have a prestigious degree, but you know what makes a sentence sing. You don't have a list of accolades, either. 

In fact, you may have your fair share of moments where people shake their head and whisper, "yeah but writing? You're not a writer...." 

If you've ever felt the weight of words sitting on your chest, if you've ever felt your throat grow tight because you're swallowing a story you're meant to tell, if you've ever been moved to the page because you just have something you need to're a writer.

You don't have to have dreams of publishing a book in order to claim the name writer. You don't have to spend your time creating characters and working on blog posts to fit the bill, either.

All you need is a love of words and the desire to tell a story well. 

You don't need to hide the shadows anymore. This is your permission to take the stage and speak into the mic — I am a writer.

And spoiler: you don't need my permission at all. What you have — what you need — is already inside you. But I think you already know this.

It may be a whisper at first, I understand. It may even take a few tries for you to really let the truth sink into your bones. But I want to flip the script on what it means to write, because there are no gatekeepers for the story in your bones.

Whether you're an entrepreneur aching to find a way to tell your story to your clients, 
or you're a budding novelist just waiting for the right publisher to find your words, 
or you're a tired soul weary for just 30 minutes of time spent journaling, 

You are a writer.

Go ahead....say it. 

I'll wait. 

Posted on September 11, 2015 and filed under Building Your Craft.

When the Words are Full but Tangled

The last time I blogged, I forced myself to sit in this chair and write. 

"I need to just do it," I told Russ. He agreed, and then kissed me before shooing me into another room so I could focus. It was my birthday, and I had so many thoughts and stories and words floating in my head that I wanted to share, but when I tried to write, it came out forced. And while I'm all for getting out the mess so you can find the gold, I also understand that just because you have the words doesn't mean you're ready to write them.

I finally managed to write a post about my 32nd year, and hit publish resolutely because at least I wrote something. But I knew even though it was something, it wasn't the one thing. 

The words are not the issue this summer. I have them. I have plenty. What's blocking me is the how. 

You see, in June, my life took a characteristic sharp left into full time employment. Even though I was looking for this, I never expected it to quite turn out the way it did. For the past three years, I've worked my ass off as an entrepreneur. I've written thousands of words and published countless blog posts and pushed hundreds of emails into the ether. By the time I stepped foot into the training room, thoughts were already starting to twist themselves into formation. 

Thoughts like, why does going corporate mean you're selling out? and how in the world did I get so burnt out? 

Here's a spoiler: I don't think I've sold out in any way. In fact, so much of these past two months have felt Right and True in ways I struggled to find working for myself. But that doesn't change the fact that there's this inherent perception that unless you're chasing after the sun and living life solely on your terms, you're not living right.

And this is where my words have gotten tangled. 

Because what I feel when I'm at work is not my soul banging against my insides because I'm selling her out. What I feel is happiness and connection and gratitude.

Every day, I walk into work and build relationships with businesses across the US and Canada. Every day, I have countless conversations with people just like myself, people who are hustling to make it in their industry. I hear it in their voices and I recognize it in the way the words fall fast and hot from their lips. In another moment, on another day, these people could be me.

But what slows me down are the stories. How they found themselves making a living doing what they love. How anxious they are to get settled so they can start creating. If there's one thing I've learned with this job it's this: creative entrepreneurs are my people. The risks, the beauty, the hustle, the freedom — all of it lights me up like nothing else. And working with them daily? It's moments like this that have me whispering words like thank you and wow because out of seasons where I felt completely misaligned, I'm right in the middle of one that feels purposed. 

And slowly, a tangled piece of syntax comes undone.

Posted on September 1, 2015 and filed under The Memoirs.