What’s Holding You Back?

What’s holding you back from signing up for one of my Creativity Workshops?

This post is likely not for everyone. It might, however, be for you, if you saw my announcement about my upcoming Creativity Workshops and it sparked joy or curiosity or any other strong reaction, but for some reason you’re hesitant to actually sign up, show up, and do the thing you seem to want to do. As someone who has been creative ever since she started drawing on the walls of the castle she grew up in at the tender age of four (and got a spanking for it), but who at some point took a seven-year hiatus from making art in order to pursue a boring and most unsuitable career (that allowed me to support myself and travel the world), I totally understand how, no matter how colorful, playful, interesting, and fun one might be (and we all are!), creative endeavors can seem scary/unnecessary/expensive/too much work. Creativity is a messy monster with three eyes and mismatched horns that seems safest locked away in a closet. If you unleash it, your house might fill up with horses, you might get paint stains on your clothes, and you might occasionally be late for things because you were drawing. You might skip meal prep in favor of writing a book. You might talk to yourself on the treadmill. You might buy really weird ingredients and make very strange foods. You might take the long way to get places, get lost, discover a little house in the woods, and get eaten by a hungry witch.

We’ve all been told that curiosity killed the cat, and creativity unleashed is just curiosity running amok. That cat better have life insurance.

But seriously, when I was contemplating ways to get back to my creative pursuits (painting and writing) some 12 or so years ago, I remember struggling with buying paper and pencils. Those things were inexpensive and I was making good money. But I was serious and responsible, and it felt weird to throw away even a tiny sum of money on nonsensical stuff. The paper and pencils I eventually got (poor quality, chosen with thriftiness in mind) brought little satisfaction. It was drawing that scared me most, as drawing is hard work – a skill one has to regularly practice to be good at. I hadn’t drawn in about seven years. I sat awkwardly in a cafe that was too cold and tried to draw a vase that was in front of me. It was a fruitless exercise and I grew frustrated and regretted buying the pencils.

Then again, how would my own creative potential be nice to me if I was treating it with such stinginess? Here’s a cheap pencil, some scratchy paper, an uncomfortable chair. Make something beautiful stat!

It took some doing, but I learned to offer up nicer things. To tune into curiosity and wonder. You think that movie might inspire you? I’d ask my creative inner child. Let’s go see it. You want to try those markers? You want to try oil paints? (Note: they are expensive. They stink. They literally make me wheeze and cough. They take like a month to dry and will smear everything in their path). I’m not going to say that everything I allowed my creativity to play with was the right thing for me. But once I learned to be generous and give in to curiosity, I started having fun. My creativity and I became good friends. She’s helped me through everything: hurricanes, heartbreak, the pandemic, and even those really blah Sunday evenings when one feels bereft for absolutely no reason. She’s given me novels and yes, the painted horses that fill up my walls. She’s given me countless hours of entertainment, and she constantly comes up with new ideas for me to try. My clothes do indeed have paint stains on them. I didn’t get eaten by a witch in the woods, but I have taken risks that would undoubtedly give the young woman who was too frugal to treat herself to the good pencils a heart attack. I talk to myself often and don’t care who sees it. If they look at me, I smile and silently wish them to have imaginary friends that are as entertaining as mine.

So, what’s holding you back? Come unleash your own creativity, feed it the best of things, and watch it grow! There’s still time to sign up.

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