It is with great excitement that I'm announcing the completion of my short film Water Breath Woman. Filmed in 2013, I prodded my way through learning Adobe Premiere and editing the film myself - finally completing it this summer. Thank you to everyone who helped me pull this together including the team at Stonehaven Studios in Cleveland, Ohio.
I am so very excited to announce that my new book is now available! This has been a labor of love and I'm very excited to see it in print. You can find it on Amazon.com and Apple iTunes Bookstore. This is a self-published book and is the best price I can offer without a publisher.
I'd love to hear from individuals and couples who carved on these trees from years ago. Although I don't support the carving of trees, I would be thrilled to hear their stores and the reasons and memories behind their carvings.
Thank you so much for supporting my work!
Goal setting and organizing tasks associated with reaching your goals can be daunting at times. However, benefits of staying on track with your goals include powerful results like achievement, financial reward, public recognition and success.
I am asked often about the best ways to organize creative goals and have designed a goal system that works well for me based on the influences of Steven Covey, GTD and Danielle DeLaporte. In year's past, I used to work with a spreadsheet to keep track of my goals. I would reference it periodically throughout the year, but I never found it very influential in my daily and weekly planning.
This year, I have created an excellent way maximize my goals using a simple journal and a regular weekly routine. It is simple. Low-cost. And has been extremely effective!
Step 1: Purchase a blank journal. Nothing fancy required. Lined or not-lined. Your choice. Here's an example. And another.
Step 2: Add an intention to your journal on the first page. For example: I open my arms wide and declare with love that I deserve and accept all good (a Louise Hay classic).
Step 3: List your yearly goals on the first two pages. I use this as a reference to keep me on task throughout the year. If find this helpful to keep me on track as it is an easy reference to monitor my success. This all works assuming that you have goals already. If you don't, check out The Desire Map to get you on the right track!
Step 4: To maximize this journal, you will want to write your weekly goals down on one page for each week. You can use your yearly goals as a guide. Make your weekly goals realistic and based on your availability. If you desire, add a deadline to a goal or task to keep you on track.
Step 5: Each week, write down a new to do list. I also make notes about any challenges or successes from the previous week.
With focus and dedication, your weekly tasks will help you reach your yearly goals and you will soon be on the track to success. The key is to create a weekly or monthly routine that you can commit to consistently. Remember, action on a consistently and regular basis leads to results. I recommend a weekly review. I do know some creatives who write their tasks down daily, but I found this too overwhelming and not as effective.
Don't let this year pass you by! Create long-term goals at anytime of the year and build the life that you truly want to live.
I believe that you consciously need to make space for your creative work. If you are a full-time artist, then your art can be all consuming, both with your time and energy. If you are a part-time artist, sometimes it is hard to find time to work on your art. This can be frustrating and can lead to a lack of motivation or procrastination.
To prevent burnout or launch your ideas or projects, you need to consciously give yourself space to do nothing. This means embracing complete and total self-care on a regular basis. Get a massage. Take a vacation. Go to your favorite performance. Take the day off. Give yourself time to do nothing. Doing this will give you the downtime you need to marinate on an upcoming project or come up with an idea to start one.
Several years ago, I was eating in a diner in New Orleans and overhead a gentleman speaking to his friend who said, "I am working on several projects right now." This complete stranger sent me into a spiral of self-defeat. At the time, I wasn't working on anything artistic. I was in a void of creativity. I remember mentally beating myself up for not having any creative projects at the time. I wanted to be like this man. Full of energy about my projects and excited to have several creative things swirling about me.
Looking back at this experience, I was in a personal transition in many areas of my life when this incident occurred. It wasn't that I didn't want to create. I just didn't have time nor the energy to pursue my creative ideas at that time. My energy was consumed by other things. I had no desire to create. I was creatively dormant.
I remember being frustrated as I waited for my creativity to emerge again. Many of my creative friends were working on their projects and I was completely uninspired. I longed for moments of silence. I spent time in nature. I passively observed the creativity of others. I wondered if my creativity would ever emerge again!
Then, a few months later, something happened. I started to feel creative again. It was like a burst of light pushed out of my being. Ideas started flowing. Fingers started typing. My mind felt open and free to explore new ideas, topics and things. Out of this positive energy expression came the ideas for not only a film but a photographic study as well.
Many famous artists and philosophers say that you know you are (in the right place / doing the right thing / in a great relationship / earning money) when you feel like you are in the flow. You are in the moment. At peace. You feel enchanted, light, magical.
So, how can you get to this place? Here are a few ways to maneuver your way there.
1. Be grateful where you are right now. Instead of worrying about improving your art or your practice, focus on your success right now. Cherish your latest work. Display your work in your house or studio so you can see your success right now. Cherish your work as is! Journal about your current work with questions like: How did creating this make you feel? What inspired you to create it? Is the art just for you or will you share it publicly? Where can this art take you? And, don't forget to explore the work that didn't turn out as you planned. Sometimes, your best work can be born from your greatest mistakes.
2. Be in the moment when you are creating. Silence or quiet time can lead you to your creative space within yourself. Consider meditating for up to 30 minutes before beginning your creative practice. This will be time well-spent to center your mind, body and spirit and focus your thoughts on creativity. When ready, you can spend time on manifesting the feelings you want to express when creating instead of focusing on technique or the final outcome. If you really enjoy creating to music, then put on your favorite artist and enjoy every moment!
These are just two ways to get your creative flow on...I'd love to hear more about what you do to get in the flow. Leave a comment on this blog or Facebook!
A friend recently confided in me that she was a having a hard time finding time to create. After a full day at work, managing her family and adding in mandatory workout time, she was frustrated that she had little time - and energy - left to work on her creative projects. It can be tough carving out time to create if you have a life full of responsibilities and obligations. But, it can be done!
Rule Number One: Make Time for Your Art
You must make your creative projects a priority in your life if you want to move them forward. It is essential to create time to work on your projects - even if you can only carve out a few hours a week. If you have a life partner, let them know how important it is for you to work on your projects and ask for their support by scheduling the free time you need to work on your projects. Or, find a friend who you can share your vision with and connect with them on a weekly basis and share your progress with them. You need to celebrate your art!
Even if you can only carve out one or two hours a week, you will begin to feel accomplished as you move through the months and the years. Be sure to add these creative times to your calendar. Hold yourself accountable for meeting with yourself.
Schedule an "art" vacation! Every quarter, take a few days off to work non-stop on your creative projects. If you art is mobile, schedule time away to really focus on your work. Take photos in Paris. Watercolor at the beach. Visit your favorite museums for inspiration. Dream about your upcoming artistic plans as you attend your favorite music or art festival.
Don't let life get in the way of your creative art!
Humans have been making art for thousands of years. The innate desire to process our emotions and manifest them into the physical form began with the cave paintings. The earliest humans would draw from their daily experiences and leave record of what they saw and how they lived.
It is important to make art - whether you self-identify as an artist or not! Art allows you to escape ego and tap into the deepest part of yourself. I believe that many of the best and most revered artists of our time tapped into their inner consciousness at the time they were making the art. They didn't let the "rules" of making art limit them. They used inspiration of nature or their personal life experience to create iconic art.
Why make art?
Some artists do it for the money alone. It is a talent they were born with and they use it to its maximum benefit. But, if you look beyond money, why create art? What is the point? I believe that is the paradox that artists struggle with constantly. "If someone isn't going to buy this, then why do I even bother?" is a familiar statement for many artists. The reasons you "bother" to create art are endless.
Here is just a short list of great reasons to create art:
I'd love to hear more about why you create art! It is important to have a mission statement as an artist - any artist! Sit down at your computer or with pen and paper and think about your reasons for creating your art. Here are a few examples for you!
I create my art to share love and peace with the world.
My art pushes the limits of photography through vivid colors and unique landscapes. I create this art to show nature in a whole new way.
My art is a fun way for me to express myself and show the world who I am!
Remember, your mission statement may change overtime as your art changes and you grow. Be sure to check in on your statement once a year and see if you need to write a new one or edit it.
Are you unemployed right now? One thing I learned about today's job market is that waiting around to get picked is no longer an option. Seth Godin, my favorite business author after the amazing Peter Drucker, says that you can no longer wait to get picked. You have to go out and make something happen. You have to become a linchpin and become indispensable to someone: an employer, a tribe you create, a company you found.
Five Steps to Becoming Indispensable When Job Searching in 2015
1. Throw Your Old Mindset Out the Window
If you are approaching your job search like you always have, they you probably aren't going to get very far. You can no longer just send in a resume or fill out the online application and patiently wait for someone to call. It is time for you to tap in to your super awesome powers and make something happen!
Did you go on LinkedIn to see if you know anyone at the company where you applied? Did you tell ALL your friends and ALL your business contacts about your job hunt to have them generate leads for you? Did you add a fabulous photo on LinkedIn that screams "Hire Me!" Are you at as many networking events as possible where you can meet potential leads? Are you incorporating your creative projects into your professional portfolio? I don't recommend spending much time with current job seekers as they aren't going to have the immediate contacts you need. Spend most of your time with people who are currently in the workplace for best results.
2. Take Some Time to Really Examine Your Skillset
If you haven't updated your software skills in the last three years, then you need to update your skills. Everyone should be advanced users of Microsoft Office including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you aren't, then get to a local library or search on YouTube for training on this basic office software skillset.
Many companies are using Google Apps which includes Google Docs and Gmail. If you aren't familiar with these, then create a Gmail account and learn it! Being very skilled in these can get you in the door at most places. Another software that is very popular is Microsoft Project if you are in IT administration or project management. Social media skills are also all the rage and can be helpful on your resume.
3. Establish a Circle of Support
The recruiting professionals that I know are telling me to expect a job search for a mid-level position to last about one year in 2015. With that said, it is very important to line up several acquaintances whom you can call on when the going gets rough - because it will! I'd recommend going outside your close family circle as they can grow tired of your challenges and might not be very supportive over time.
4. Give Yourself Permission to Not Be Employed
It can be frustrating when you can't find a job. Give yourself permission to enjoy the free time that you have while you are not working. Don't just sit around all day and watch TV, eating chocolate, in your PJs, feeling sorry for yourself! It can be SO tempting to do nothing. Instead, start the workout routine you always wanted. Spend time with your children. Enroll in school. Work on your art. Hang out at the library or local art museum. Maximizing your free time will help reduce the "unemployment blues" and keep your brain stimulated. This kind of self-care will have your ready to get back into the workplace as soon as you find your new job!
5. Create Something Spectacular While You Are Unemployed
Are you an artist or have you always wanted to be one? Then, start planning your creative projects or go to an art class and let your creativity flow. I always wanted to draw, so I found an online drawing class that I loved with Jane Davenport. How can this make you indispensable on a job hunt? Along with your creative work, make a simple website featuring your work online. When you are on a job hunt, you can use this as part of the package that you present to your potential employers.
When traveling, it can be challenging to see the opportunity to create. Some of my best photo moments have happened in the most unexpected places: planes, trains, walking around new cities.
I’m a big fan of documentary photography. I like to photograph things just as they are, in the exact moment. I like to translate what I (or the person participating in my photograph)feels and experiences visually.
For example, in this photo of my tray table on a hurried flight from Cleveland to Los Angeles, my tray table represents the chaotic feeling I had due to a series of travel delays from an unexpected wintery November storm. I remember feeling overwhelmed and concerned that I wouldn’t make my scheduled business meeting the next day. I pulled out my phone and decided to spend some time taking photos to help me relax. This photo also captures the technology I was using at the time and brings the 20th century into the viewer’s mind with the magazine being gently crushed by the iPad. Eventually, that will date my photo!
I hope this reminds you that even when you are traveling, you can create anywhere!