Entries Tagged as: writing

Dialoguing with Your Inner Critic

April 30th, 2009, Comments (20)

A few weeks ago, I had a Couching session (sort of like coaching) with Sark (completely awesome by the way.) One of the things we discussed was talking with your inner critic. She recommended the book, Embracing Your Inner Critic by Hal and Sidra Stone, which I've just started reading. The idea of dialoguing with a part of yourself reminds me of the work that Havi talks about on her blog quite a bit. It's new to me and I admit, it feels a bit strange to try, but it can be incredibly effective.

It's amazing how much wisdom we hold, if we just give ourselves the chance to answer.

Within the same week, I took an art journal class with the lovely, Lisa Sonora Beam, and dialoguing with your inner critic came up again. I told Lisa about the discussion I'd had and she gave me a few questions to start with.

Later on, I drew my inner critic in my art journal, which intuitively came to me as a bird/human with winged/clawed hands, I wrote the questions next to my inner critic creature, and then drew speech bubbles to allow it to answer. This is the page:

inner critic dialogue

What kind of surprised me about the process was the realization that my inner critic is not out to get me. Yes, it causes a lot damage. Yes, it can create a lot of self-inflicted pain. But I felt some tenderness for my inner critic when I saw some of the reasons behind its behavior.

I asked my inner critic, "What are you here to teach me?" and it answered, "I am here to teach you how to dig deep and let go. If you persevere past the initial fear, you'll get there."

Hmm, apparently my inner critic likes to rhyme! Ha!

I then asked, "What are the next steps?" and the answer came, "Be still. Listen to your intuition. Write."

Next, I asked, "What would support me?" and my inner critic responded, "Less clutter. Walks. Journaling. joy - laughter - silliness - light-heartedness - play."

Lastly I asked, "What do you need me to know?" And it replied, "I am your inner critic, yes, but I love you and want you to succeed."

Wow. O.k. Good to know.

Give this a try: Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine what your inner critic looks like. Without thinking too much about it, draw your inner critic on a piece of paper or in your art journal (you don't need to be an artist to do this. Stick figures can do the job. Or you could pull magazine images that represent what your inner critic looks like and glue them to the page.)

Write the questions you want to ask your inner critic and then draw speech bubbles. Let your pen move across the page and answer in the voice of your inner critic. Don't worry too much about whether this is silly or not what your inner critic would say. Just write down the first thing that comes to mind. What comes up for you? What does your inner critic need you to know?

Colorful Poems

April 3rd, 2009, Comments (17)

Our way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.



April is National Poetry month. I love the idea of playing with the Creative Every Day Challenge's theme of color and poetry. How could you mesh the two?


You could:

*Write about yourself as a color, as in "I am blue. I am soft, ethereal, just-woken."

*Write about how a color feels, how it smells, and tastes.

*Paint a wash of your favorite color in a journal and write the lines of your favorite poems over it.

*Play with writing a poem in color, mixing the words with what colors you imagine them to be.

*Turn your head to the right, what's the first color you see? Right a poem about it.

*Use a colorful photograph as the jumping off point for a piece of poetry.

*What is your least favorite color? What is it about that color that you dislike? Write free-form style about it.

*Read a favorite poem. Does it seem to reflect a certain color for you?

*What childhood memories does the color red bring up for you? Let that be a starting point. Red makes me think of my sister's stained t-shirts, popsicles in summer that turned our tongues red, the choke berries in the woods that made me wonder if they really did make a person choke, the red jumpsuit I was wearing the day I got my first period.

Color can hold so many associations, so many memories. Where do those color memories take you?

For more poetry goodness, check out:

*National Poetry Month

*Resources for writing poetry with kids

*Favorite Poem Project

*NaPoWriMo at Read Write Poem

Red bird came all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else could.
~Mary Oliver

And I couldn't resist sharing...more Mary Oliver below...


A Month of Living Curiously

March 1st, 2009, Comments (1)

Heidi Fishbach has created a wonderful guide to living a curious life that she calls A Month of Living Curiously (AMOLC). Through almost-daily emails she offers tips and inspiration for increasing your awareness, looking at your underlying beliefs, and getting curious about them in a gentle way that encourages change. And the fabulous thing is that, this month there will be a theme of "dreams" running through it which fits so perfectly with the Creative Every Day Challenge theme of dreams this month! If this sounds interesting to you, go here to learn more about the project and sign up.

AMOLC starts today, but you can join in up until March 5th. (I'm not getting any kick-back for this, I'm recommending it to you because it's something I've enjoyed!) This post is an example of the missives you would receive from Heidi. It was sent towards the end of the month in February and I just loved the GPS analogy!

Weekend Update and Some Final Word Links

February 28th, 2009, Comments (2)

I've had such a fun weekend! The hubster and I went to the MGM Casino, where we had a complementary room. The hubster played in a poker tournament while I went to their fancy, shmancy gym to do a workout. They asked for my shoe size in the locker room and gave me a locker with a spa sandals in my size and a soft bathrobe (the gym is connected to a spa) and the shower had a heated towel rack. I had the hot tub entirely to myself (and I was totally giggling in there because it all felt so luxurious.) After the gym, I headed back to our room where I ordered room service and watched a movie (Vicky Christina Barcelona.) I felt totally pampered and exhausted by the end of the night. The hubster won big that night too (I'm not a gambler, but he enjoys poker and blackjack.) In the morning we got breakfast, took a long walk, played a little roulette, and did some window shopping before having a lovely drive home.

Today is the last day of February. I know it's only a couple days shorter, but this month is has just flown by. Swoosh!

Theme Transition:

I enjoyed the words theme and I know a lot of CED participants had fun with it as well. As we move into the Creative Every Day Challenge's (totally optional) dreams theme for March, you certainly don't need to abandon the themes of the previous months. Play can be incoporated into everything (in my humble opinion.) And there are endless ways to play with words.

Here are some more ways to have fun with and get inspired by words:

* Write for your life: Productivity tips for writers.

* Amano Books: Bridgette Guerzon Mills makes gorgeous journals and she now has a blog focusing on art journaling tips too.

* Beautiful book sculptures from artist, Georgia Russell.

* Awesome typographical assemblage from Lou Dorfsman.

* Listen to classic poetry out loud.

* Journal writing prompts.

* Read Write Poem: for those who love poetry

* Tomorrow, Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio Blogtalk Radio program will be interviewing Elena Rego at 12 pm EST. Elena creates absolutely stunning journey manuscripts.

Thank you for playing along with me this month, I look forward to all the wonderful creativity we'll share in March!

Writing on the Wall

February 24th, 2009, Comments (9)


CED participant, Tammy Vitale, took a picture of the graffiti above and shared it on her blog earlier in the month. It totally cracked me up, the way it joins the first two themes for the Creative Every Day Challenge this year, play and words. Perfection!

If you've ever been to Manhattan or any big city, you've surely seen some gorgeous graffiti art on walls, doors, trains, and dumpsters. I saw the image below in Montreal a few years ago.


Explore graffiti art:

*Lots of inspiring graffiti art can be seen here.
*You can create your own graffiti online at this awesome site.
*Do you look for words while you're out and about in the world? Kelly Rae Roberts has a great post about seeing words in the world and the way they inspire her.
*I love the idea of writing words in chalk on sidewalks for people to find.
*Here's a great article from Keri Smith about how to be a guerilla artist.

Write on your own walls:

I also love the idea of words on interior walls. Bohemian Single Mom, posted a picture of her wall all painted up with a quote, which I thought was just fabulous.

*Make your own chalkboard paint to paint on your wall.
*I love these Typography Walls, painted and/or assemblage-style typography displays, from Whip Up.
*Another great way to decorate your walls with words is through using letter decals or one of these fabulous chalkboard decals from Velocity (the alligator ones crack me up!)

So many ways to play with words. I sometimes want to write quotes and poems that have inspired me on the walls in tall letters or scribble them on my clothes. Do you ever feel that way?

I've never been tempted to write on bathroom stalls, but that's another place you often see words scratched and scribbled.  Usually fairly dull statements, but sometimes filled with humor. Quick look into the wild world of google led me to The Writing on the Stall, a website dedicated to these stall scribblings. Too funny. Ever seen anything funny or inspirational written in a bathroom stall?

Well, I'd say that's enough writing on this wall for one day.

Art From Writing

February 22nd, 2009, Comments (14)


This month, I participated in Amy Souza's Art from Writing: Writing from Art project, where artists and writers were paired up to share a piece of writing or art, with the theme of "hope," as the jumping point to inspire a new creation. I was paired up with a writer, Melian, who sent me a poem to work from, and I sent her a picture of my painting, Lighthouse which speaks to the idea of hope to me. 

I often get inspiration from the written word, so I was excited to dive in. I did get a bit frustrated when I got stuck about mid-way through the process. I was fighting the direction the piece was going and things never go well when I push against the flow. But after letting it sit overnight, I was able to come back to it with new perspective. I made some adjustments, cut some parts away, went with the flow, and found the finished piece. I'm calling it "Albatross" and it's about 12"x12" with collage, ink, and acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

I think the word "often" that showed up in the bird's belly has to do with seeing signs, little winks from the Universe, and the feeling I get that I'm headed in the right direction when I start to see a lot of them in a short span of time.

Tomorrow I'll be posting about the Creative Every Day Challenge's (totally optional) theme for March and I'm so excited to share this one with you! It's one of my favorite sources of inspiration.

I hope your weekend was a wonderfully creative one!

Hello, Little Albatross

February 19th, 2009, Comments (7)

albatross detail
albatross detail

This little guy is a detail from a painting I'm working on as part of a project where artists and writers are teaming up to create a piece inspired by the work of their partner. I was given a lovely poem to work on and the poem mentions an albatross which I really wanted to include. I collaged the backround, and serendipitously, the word "often" showed up in it's belly, so I kept it there. There is some literary symbolism attached to the albatross (from a Coleridge poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner) which has associated the bird with a heavy burden. But before that, the bird was known to be a symbol of good luck, so I'm going to go with that. Birds always seem like good omens to me.

p.s. I shared my "You Are So Loved" painting over at Pecannoot today. Thank you so much to Jess for sharing my work!!

p.p.s. I'm going to be a bit quiet this weekend because my little brother is staying with me and I need to come up with some creative ways to keep him entertained. I hope you all have a wonderfully creative few days!

Cup of Cocoa with the Blahs

February 17th, 2009, Comments (30)

you are so loved
you are so loved, mixed media on watercolor paper

I created this piece intuitively, just let it flow out of me. The trees and roots, houses and circles, continue to appear. I was inspired by Jessica's Pecannoot project to add this message to it, "you are so loved." It seemed to fit. I think the art came from the place of the blahs I've been feeling the past few days, while I've also been ruminating on self-love and self-care.

So, yes, the blahs have been making me feel a bit heavy, slow, and sleepy, but I know it will pass. Well, as much as I know that the blahs come and go, sometimes it's harder to know they're going to pass when you're in the middle of them, so it's been a draggy few days.

In the meantime, I've been trying, with varied success, to treat myself kindly and do what usually helps me resurface. I exercised, snuggled my cats, took a nap, and made some art. The grays still linger, and even though they seem to be detaching their tendrils from around my ankles, I have decided that instead of getting impatient and fighting them (and beating myself up for not getting over them quicker), I'm going to invite my grays for a cup of cocoa and just slow down a bit.

Slow Down and Baby-Step It

Things do not need to get done all at once (in fact, that's the quickest train to make-yourself-crazy-town.) If you're feeling a bit slow (which is quite common in the month of February), let it be o.k. to slow down. You can still make progress, while being gentle and taking baby steps.

Perhaps you want to make more art. So, today, you could just take out your supplies and get them ready or you could make one big scribble across the page. You could try doing 5 seconds of art (hee! That could be interesting!), 5 minutes of writing, or 30 seconds of doodling. Great satisfaction can come from taking a step forward, no matter how tiny.

SARK calls baby steps "micromovements" and she claims to have written all her books this way, in just 5 minute increments! That totally blows my mind considering how prolific she has been. You can download a Micromovements worksheet from SARK here. And you can listen to SARK talk about her writing practice on this wonderful Craftcast podcast. Good stuff. Truly.

Wordy Links

February 17th, 2009, Comments (7)

More ways to get playful with words!

* I just got an email from Clive of Pixton.com, a site where you can make your own comics without having to draw! It looks like fun! Check out the site here and there's a trailer here that shows some of the features. I like how you can easily translate the comics into different languages.

* I absolutely love the theme of the new blog, Pecannoot, from the ever-so-talented, Jessica Gonacha. The idea behind the blog is to turn our focus on abundance through art! And this site fits so perfectly with the word theme for CED because the art on this blog combines messages of abundance with beautiful imagery. Jess is looking for creative people to submit their own abundant artwork, so check out her description of the project here, the new blog here, and send in your work!

* I enjoyed this post from Felicia Day about how she started writing. It's chock-full of delicious links to help get your writing cap spinning.

* Patti Digh has a video about the literary and artist barnraising of her incredible book, "Life is a Verb" on her blog here. (the "Bust Your Toast Rules" art in the video is from me!)

 I've been painting away this weekend and will have some art to share soon. Hope your weekend was a wonderfully creative one!

Creative Muses, Magic, and Synchronicities

February 12th, 2009, Comments (23)

I absolutely loved the TED talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, in which she discusses where creative inspiration comes from. I heard Gilbert speak at a small Boston bookstore a couple years ago and she's super funny and personable.

During the bookstore talk, Gilbert talked about her experiences with synchronicity and asking for signs. I could relate to her stories as I refer to my own experiences with synchronicity as "winks from the Universe." Walking back to my car after the talk, my mind was all abuzz with thoughts about synchronicity and the meaning of signs. Just then I looked up and saw a huge fabric sign pinned the building across the street that said,

It's a sign!

Ha! Well, the Universe seems to have a sense of humor. Or I'm totally bonkers. Or both.

In the TED talk, Gilbert talked about how in ancient Greece, people believed that creative genius came from a source outside the artist, something like a daemon or Muse that would provide the artist or writer with their material. She was playing with the idea of returning to this ideal as a way of taking the pressure off of artists (as in, "It's not my fault this book sucks. My daemon is lame-o!") and also lessens the artist's ego (as in, "I can't take full credit for this piece, my Muse gave me the idea.) Now, this may sound far-fetched or odd, but I can understand it to a degree.

I often don't know the meaning behind my artwork and its symbology until much later. I say that it comes from my intuition, my higher self, or my subconscious. So, why not call it a Muse? Would that help take any of the pressure off? I'm not sure, but it's an interesting idea. It reminded me of parts of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, which talks about being a conduit or a channel.

Yesterday, I was musing on Twitter about whether or not these ways of getting ourselves creating are just trickery, but then I came back to this: Does it matter? Whatever works! As skeptical, cynical, or cautious as I may be, when it comes down to it, I'm also open to the possibility of all the things in the world that I can't explain or understand. I'm open to the possibility of signs, intuition, and synchronicity. It certainly makes life more interesting. And who couldn't use a little more magic in their life?

What would happen if you were open to the possibility of synchronicity, signs, and intuition in your creativity? What if you just played with the concept of it? What sort of expression might that lead you to?

No matter what your feelings about where creative inspiration comes from, it is helpful to take the pressure off ourselves (which is why I love to give myself permission to make "bad" art. It helps!) In her TED talk, Gilbert encourages us to forge ahead:

"Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it. If your job is to dance, then do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed for just one moment for your efforts, then Ole. And if not, do your dance anyhow. Ole to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up."