Creativity Series – Just Do It! {1}

January 14, 2009

On Thursdays I’ve been known to host a mini column called Real Talk where I address some ‘issue’ I’ve noticed relating to creativity, blogging and small business. This year I’d like to turn Real Talk into a regular Thursday column so you can depend on it. I think we all need certain things in life that we can depend on and I’m hoping that you’ll help me keep the column alive by contributing your thoughts through a comment because what I write is mostly a springboard meant to spark ideas and that’s where you come in.

I’ve been thinking of a way to sort of kick off this column again since it hasn’t been that regular so I decided to launch a 10 week series (starting today) on the topic of Creativity and getting those creative wheels turning. Each week on Thursday I’ll post a tip and then you can chime in with your thoughts and ideas. I’ll also invite some guests to join in on the topic with their thoughts to inspire you. You can comment with complaints, worries, encouragement, fears, additional tips, whatever you want because the goal is for us to open up and get real. I’ll try to include a creative exercise each week for those interested in jumping in…

A mind map that I did for myself in March ’08. I tend to do one once a year around March. I map things a little differently than others as I don’t start in the middle of the page and work outwards. When it comes to self exploration I am not a big believer in following rules and staying within the lines all of the time (wink).

So let us begin!

I believe that anyone can be creative, it’s an inherent human trait and not reserved for a gifted few. Think back to your childhood when creativity was unstoppable. You spent hours playing, building, laughing, and daydreaming. Somewhere along the road to adulthood, creativity was substituted with practical, rational thinking in order to adapt and be productive at school or work. As years rolled by, many consider the direction of their lives and notice that something vital is missing. Some report that life has become nothing more than a monotonous hamster wheel of work, bills, and rushing to meet the needs of everyone else before (or instead of) of their own. Can you relate?

I was once a hamster in a wheel but I found my way out by discovering that the missing link was there all along. I needed to be more creative, even it if meant a complete overhaul in lifestyle. While I’m not a Psychologist or Counselor, I do have experience to share and I’m living proof that taking control of one’s life to live better and with more passion is entirely possible. Aside from personal struggles in my life, I resigned from a lucrative, but hardly creative, career only three short years ago and today I’m very happy, successful in my eyes, and proud of myself for pursuing my passions because I sat on my dreams for many years. How did I do it? How do so many other creative types do it? Starting today I’ll reveal a tip a week (10 weeks total) to reveal the various ways that I tapped into my creative voice. I’ll also invite some of my friends who I feel can give you some awesome ideas.

The goal here is to share, build a conversation, motivate, and show you that if you’re currently feeling zero creativity in your life then there is hope. I hope those of you who are listening to your creative voice will also chime in with tips on how you became more joyful, successful, and emotionally more tuned in too.

Here’s Tip #1:

Look backward in order to move forward. Let’s explore the topic of childhood creativity as mentioned briefly above. What did you love to do? One way to recall memories is a centuries old technique that I enjoy called mind mapping. Wikipedia describes it accurately, “Mind mapping is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea.” For this particular exercise write, “What I loved to do as a kid” in the middle of a blank sheet of paper and jot down memories, ideas, and associations from there to form branches resembling a tree. This creative exercise is an effective way to organize information. Try to avoid pausing or editing because that encourages linear thinking and mind mapping is a freeform exercise to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking. In fact, once you complete this exercise, you may find mind mapping an effective, and creative way, to solve problems and form new ideas in the future, boosting creative thinking. Connecting with your childhood hobbies and dreams will help you connect to things you once enjoyed before convention set in.

Your thoughts? Any questions that you have for me or others? Any issues or ideas you have encountered lately in your own life around this topic? What did you love to do as a child? What would you love to do now? If fear and money were no issue, what would you change? Are you feeling inspired and creative or are you feeling a bit tapped?

Creative Exercise: Try to carve out some time and research mind mapping. Sit down in a quiet space and create your own mind map.

P.S. This weekly series will only be a few paragraphs long. Most of the ‘meat’ will be in the comments section. :)

Look for the next creativity post on Thursday, January 22nd! We’ll be talking about something lots of us need help with…

(image from holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply Ashley Rose January 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I think this series is going to be so inspiring! It’s great hearing bits of your story and being able to relate :) and i love the childhood exercise immediatly i started remembering all the things i loved to do as a child ;) awesome!

    Ashley Roses last blog post: Welcome

  • Reply Linda Plaisted January 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Just what I was looking for to make a fresh start for the year. I will be working on my Mind Map this afternoon and will post results on my blog.

    Thanks again.

    Linda Plaisted
    Manymuses Studio

  • Reply Cicada Studio January 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    This sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic series and I think it’s wonderful that you’ve brought us an outlet for discussion. I will check out the mind mapping- I’m a little nervous because my memory is so sketchy… sometimes I forget things altogether until someone reminds me. Still, I know what I liked to do as a child (even continue today), so I have some hope! I remember a lot of time alone being busy and creativity, even though I had a close sibling I could’ve been playing with. Being in my head, trying to figure out how things worked, were made or how I could do things was a big part of my youth. This is still a key element to my creativity today. Deep rooted things like this don’t really change all that much I find, but learning and experience can help mold and focus.

    Cicada Studios last blog post: New Item In Shop | Nature Baby Collection Yardage

  • Reply Heather January 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I love this post. I feel creatively trapped right now. I find myself with great ideas and then when it comes to sitting down and acting on those ideas, I never get around to it. For example, I have tons of amazing craft/art supplies organized in boxes that I get giddy just thinking about. Even if I have a specific item I want to make in mind (which I do right now) I can’t force myself to do it. When I think about starting a project my mind goes blank and I have zero inspiration. I feel the same way about writing right now – tons of ideas and then a blank mind when it comes to getting them on paper. Perhaps I should try mind mapping. However, I fear this is just another project or task I will want to do, but my mind will go blank when I get ready to do it. Suggestions?

  • Reply Meg January 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    check out this animation i made for my thesis – http://www

    – i think it fits in with this subject perfectly!!!

    Megs last blog post: Vintage Cheeseboard

  • Reply Bethany January 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I’m so interested to see the rest of this series! I’m trying to go back to school for graphic and interior design, and I am so intimidated by the “real” creatives out there…the people who have been artists since birth and nothing else and who are able to take criticism and defend their work. gah. It just scares me to the point of inertia to think of coming under their scrutiny!

  • Reply Hazel January 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Great idea Holly!

    Once when I was feeling particularly blocked, I got a book called “Something More – Excavating Your Authentic Self”.

    I was hesitant because I find self-help books completely corny and tho’ I don’t remember much of the book, one key point was keeping clippings or a collage of things that appealed to you or souvenirs etc. that meant something to you. Self-editing was discouraged – just clip and save pictures of what you instinctively felt represented:

    – true success,
    – what you wished accomplish someday,
    – a return to yourself {kind of like the “what you liked to do as a kid” exercise}
    – your kind of fashion
    -your kind of home decor
    -your brand of spirituality
    -happy relationships
    -what you like to do for entertainment
    and one category was just for mystery.

    Although this method does not focus 100% on creativity, after time it crystallizes who you are and what you should be doing with your life. And although I am not a cookbook author living in Europe, saving the planet with my dogs, I know who I am.

    Hazels last blog post: The Luncheon of the Boating Party

  • Reply michelle January 14, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I love that this series will be a regular weekly column. The timing is perfect for me as I’ve recently begun to investigate the possibilities of turning my career path to the direction of one that is more creative than what i am currently doing. I hope to have some time to devote to this exercise this evening. I’m interested to see the results.

    michelles last blog post: Say it with Love

  • Reply Frida January 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I’m looking forward to more in this series! Right now I’m actually feeling quite creative, that’s often the case this time of year. But there’s nothing wrong with getting tips for when things are not like this.

    Fridas last blog post: Theme drawing – part 2

  • Reply B January 14, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    This is exactly what I need at the moment. After a year spent traveling, I’m back at home and at my old job and I want to use this year to decide what I REALLY want to do and how. Looking forward to it! Off to do my mind map!

    Bs last blog post: New Year´s resolution: Sewing and knitting

  • Reply Rita Vindedzis January 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    This is going to be a great series!! Like so many, I’m feeling a little “uninspired” these days. I think for me it’s the after holiday blues, combined with a bad case of the winter blahs. This mind mapping sounds like a great way to stat thinking “out of the box”. I’m going to do this right away.

    I’d like to respond to Heather if I may, I know how you feel about wanting to start something but your mind just goes blank. When this happens to me I (if I can borrow a term from Nike) “Just do it” Whatever it is, even just going through your art supplies. Get them out of the boxes and play with them. If it’s paint, get a brush and get some on paper or canvas. Just doodles or swirls or something. Just doing something will get the creative juices flowing.

    Rita Vindedziss last blog post: Inner Works

  • Reply wendy January 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I am an art teacher and have to deal with this everyday (not to mention in my own art).

    Here are some of my mental “jumper cables:”
    Caffeine for the Creative Mind – HOW books
    Thomas Forsyth – play and art – http://www.thomasforsyth.com
    playing with my food
    100 Days of Monsters by Stefan Bucher – he can work that India ink…

    wendys last blog post: Write me a Love Letter

  • Reply Lisa January 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    One thing that inspires me most about you, and people like you who have taken risks to live an authentic life is your ability to turn the energy behind the dreams, thoughts, ability and creativity into a productive venture of your liking. Perhaps the first step to do this is to let go of what you have that doesn’t satisfy you in pursuit of what you want, the dreams you are sitting on. But once you do wholly take that step, creating what you want out of those dreams is a totally different ballgame, and in a way it’s tougher. You could have a brilliant idea behind a business, you could be creative, but you aren’t quite able to make it operational enough to bring it out, it becomes a struggle. You could have a voice, talent, ability but if you don’t know how to use it, the process of making things happen become so, so hard and so many wither in the process. There is an element of luck of course, but the rest of it is about the persons ability, right? What is it about you, and others like you, that were able to channel what they wanted and the talent they had to achieve this sort of success? Is there something it can attributed too?

    We talk so much about letting go of what we have in pursue of our dreams amongst the blogs, and people struggle with that. But there is a big element in this process that comes between the dream and the realization of the dream after taking the step that I don’t read a lot about, but am curious about and feel it to be important.

    • Reply decor8 January 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      Lisa – Interesting comment. Thank you for your insightful thoughts. I’ll make sure to include your questions in this column in the future in fact, I’m printing out your comment for my files now. I can try to answer it briefly here so you don’t have to wait. I hope others reading will chime in.

      You asked, “What is it about you, and others like you, that were able to channel what they wanted and the talent they had to achieve this sort of success? Is there something it can attributed too?”

      I’ll try to tackle that…

      I think a lot of it is timing, being fearless, not over thinking things, talking less about the dream and instead, just getting started and then take baby steps and keep walking forward.

      One thing I constantly see as a ‘problem’ out there is everyone wants insta-success. Just add water and viola! You are #1!

      Success in a bottle. It’s the American dream to just be the next big start up! It’s RARELY that way. Look at the story of JK Rowlings, Oprah, Tony Bourdain, I could go on and on. It’s really about all the steps you take along the way BEFORE the dream that needs to be paid close attention to.

      I worked my tail off in corporate from Jan 1996 until mid 2005 using that environment to learn everything I could about the business world and how the world works so to speak. I have always been keenly interested in the success of others and so on job interviews I never cared about what questions my future colleagues and managers asked me because I was sitting there totally checking them out — from the things they said to how they dressed, treated others, and how successful they were. If I thought I could learn and grow from them I’d accept the job and if I thought they were a bunch of BS’ers I’d keep interviewing. I was very particular but of course they didn’t know it. It helped me though. I worked for Harvard alum for most of my career because of it – very driven, passionate, intelligent people who had unbelievably high expectations of my performance. Being in a pressure cooker was good for my personality type because my parents are both very laid back growing up and just wanted me to do what made me happy and they didn’t believe in placing high bars in front of me and then beating me until I jumped over them. My manager’s, most of them anyway, were brutal. Kind at times, but mostly brutal. But not in a dysfunctional abusive way, but they expected me to consistently exceed their expectations and if I did not I personally felt disappointed because I let them down. This responsibility drove me harder and it was great for a southern girl like me. I guess you can say the Yankees beat me into shape!

      I also read the Harvard Business Report and Wired magazine on the train when other girls read romance novels. I knew I did not want to work in corporate forever so I had the mindset that I’d learn as much as I possibly could, see where it took me, and then eventually I’d leave. I vowed not to be miserable during my time there. I didn’t become this ultra rich business owner with millions in the bank but I was groomed a bit and learned a lot about business and technology and how things work in the “real world”. I was in quite a formal, structured environment but part of me really thrived there because of the demands and how driven everyone around me was. The healthy competition and social-ness of it was exciting, too.

      The fact is things take TIME. I think it’s important to always give yourself time and take baby steps each day towards your goal. Let’s say you want to be an artist someday… And you are currently painting in your apartment at night and working a day job as a secretary. You may not be able to paint on the job but you can learn business, how to write a press release, learn a little about marketing, how to handle customer complaints, etc. All of these skills will help you once you become that working artist someday. I think it’s important to always be aware of all the little things that equal the whole.


  • Reply CLOUD9DESIGN January 14, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Great post, Holly! I have a book called: “Creativity Workbook: Helping You Connect With Your Creative Self” by Lifescapes. It’s got amazing ideas to use your SIGHT, SMELL, TOUCH, TASTE & HEARING to get in tune with your creativity. It’s a must-read. Check it out & do stop by my blog to say hello sometime! ;)


    CLOUD9DESIGNs last blog post: FRONT PAGE OF ETSY!! :) 01-08-09_3-21pmEDT

  • Reply Desiree Fawn January 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I’m definitely looking forward to checking out this column every week! (Not that I don’t read you everyday already ^_^) I love doing mind map type writing — I often like to clear everything out of my head in order to stay focused — it’s so nice to see it all out in one place like that.
    I find this can help you sleep too!

    Desiree Fawns last blog post: into the woods.

  • Reply Laura Aiken January 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Gee Holly

    Perfect timing. My problem is zeroing in on all my inspiration. Too much going on in my head and really don’t know how to put it all together. Seems everyone else is so organized, has all their little ducks in a row and then me….just all over the place. Blogs, website, marketing, branding, becoming centered in their work and career. Oh hum I love doing everything. OOOMMMMMM!


  • Reply rowena January 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    This is great Holly. I am totally invested in Creative Process right now, as I am taking my steps to making a creative career happen. But, ever since I became a teacher, I find I am fascinated by HOW it all works, not just the product that comes out of it. So that’s what I’m doing. I paint and/or write, and then the next day I talk about how it came about or the struggles I faced or the re-evaluation.

    And I agree with what you said. The meat of creativity comes in the process, the journey… not the product or the destination.

    rowenas last blog post: Just Breathe

  • Reply Aprill January 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve only just added this blog to my RSS feed. I discovered you via apartmenttherapy.com.

    This will be a great series. I’m really having trouble finding my “authentic self” and whilst I yearn to be more creative I have real trouble zeroing in on my specific talents and inspiration. If I’m in a class working to a guided goal I have no trouble at all and end up with a wonderful outcome. If only I could achieve that on my own.
    I will be reading regularly!

  • Reply Devi January 14, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    What a coincidence! I just started to scribble again after thinking about my habits in the past. I used to scribble everything everywhere at any time – ideas, people, silly things,… Somehow it stopped a while ago. Somehow it has became a burden, as I expected from myself, that it should end to something every time I start. Last week I decided to start again with some very simple exercise, as if I was at school again. No goals, no exact directions for now. Just scribble and scribble whenever I have time and muse. Like you said, it’s the small steps that counts.
    Looking forward to your next posts!

    Devis last blog post: 2009

  • Reply Denise Smith January 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Seriously, and not trite, for me being creative has everything to do with the time of day. Come evening, I am fried, but the next morning the solution to what I was working on is crystal clear!

    Also, I find water very enhancing to my creativity. When I am near a body of water, I just sing inside. It is no surprise that my design business took off after I moved to a neighborhood with on a bay. Sometimes if I am really stuck, I take a shower. I know this must sound strange, but it really works for me! I usually am on to something by the time I get out!

    Denise Smiths last blog post: The Rear Endcap 1/14/09

  • Reply i.d. January 14, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Holly, THANK YOU – I am super excited about this becoming a regular column!

    I have been working off Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way”, to help me transition from a corporate job to a completely creative field. I highly recommend it to all of you who want to rediscover your creativity – either as a hobby or as a potential career. I am almost finished with the book (it takes you through exercises over the course of several months) so your column will help me keep up my momentum.

    There were many things I loved to do as a child – dance, role play, dress up, sing, draw, write… And I’m sad to say that I abandoned almost all of that.

    One thing I have tried to do in recent times is take myself on a “play date” each week. Last week I went to the park and wrote a poem for the first time in 10 years. The weekend before that I went to a flea market and just browsed and people-watched. Other times I have baked a new recipe, worked on a sewing project, made a piece of artwork or hand-written letters to old friends. These things do not take a lot of time (maybe 1 hour a week) but make a world of difference to my state of mind. You just need to be really disciplined about making time for yourself!

    Finally, the best thing I’ve learned which you alluded to as well, Holly, is to just do it, even if you do it badly. Practice will make perfect in the long run.


    i.d.s last blog post: Tomboy Glam

  • Reply Malinda January 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    thanks for this column. After years of not making anything, I started looking at design and craft sites on the web about 6 years ago. It inspired me to make more things and work in a more creative fashion, choosing jobs that had at least some small amount of creativity in them. This year – I have to learn how to better fit my bigger dreams into my personal schedule (I can’t quit my day job yet ;) ).

    Malindas last blog post: Valentines

  • Reply Taylor January 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I’m glad you started this up. I’m hoping this will get my creative juices flowing as well as a direction to take my life into as I am stuck in a rut.
    I will make sure that I take time for myself on Thursday’s, now, to do whatever creative challenge you give to me. It will be interesting to explore my mind in a way that I haven’t in a long time.

    Thank you.

    Taylors last blog post: Daisies are a Girl’s Best Friend

  • Reply Ana January 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks a lot Holly!!

    This is really what I needed as I’ve come to a point where going to work everyday is painful, specially when I think about the hundreds of things I leave at home waiting to be finished.
    Also, congratulations on your blog. It is truly inspiring. Keep up the good work and I promise I’ll be keeping an eye on you from this side of the pond!

    Anas last blog post: Tia Anica e o bichinho dos crafts / Tia Anica and the crafts’ bug

  • Reply se7en January 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this. Just what I need to get my creative juices out of the kids craft rut and doing something adult for a moment in my week!

    se7ens last blog post: Giant Sidewalk Chalk in Se7en Steps…

  • Reply Alison January 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    This is so great. I really believe everyone is creative. I actually just wrote an article about this for a local magazine taking some cool parts from Gordon McKenzie’s book Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Here’s a link:


    But to sum it up…we cannot let others define our creativity! We have to be brave and find it in ourselves! I love your blog I think you are a talented writer and a deep thinker! Thanks for all you contribute!

    Alisons last blog post: She Waits She Wonders

  • Reply Nancy January 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I went to college for a degree in Art. Now I paint what I was taught not to paint, which is “cutesy” stuff. I even opened an Etsy store with them, but even if they don’t sell, I will continue making them because it just makes me happy :)

    Nancys last blog post: I’ve been tagged!

  • Reply Hayley Lau January 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series.

    I think I’ve been relatively lucky in that I’ve usually felt able to try to follow my dreams. I’m not studying a course that will make for a lucrative career, I’m studying writing (professional and creative) because I enjoy it. My problem is, rather, deciding which creative path to take and then feeling confident enough to see it through.

    The idea to start a clothing line has been brewing in my head for years, but I put it on hold because I didn’t think I had what it took, and then my pregnancy (and then daughter) took most of my energy. I’d accumulated lots of fabric since I began sewing, and after my partner picked it up from my mother’s house while we were moving house last year, he sat me down and said that he thought I should give the fashion design a try because I’m talented. I did, and I feel like I’m onto something good.

    I’m constantly struggling with self-motivation. I often feel overwhelmed and my way of dealing with that is procrastination (or eating, but that’s a whole other issue). At the moment I feel quite motivated, but I think this is because soon we might need to rely more on my income. I don’t know if that motivation will last and that scares me. I can’t seem to find the motivation I want from within myself. I know I could do so much better if I constantly put my head down.

    Are you a good self-starter or do you struggle with this too? What motivates you? How do you keep up the momentum?


    Hayley Laus last blog post: New press. And meet Tabitha!

  • Reply lindsey clare January 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    i have the feeling that this series is going to be a great success :) i love your thought-provoking posts like this, and the comments too.

    i love how things often happen in synchronicity. about a week ago i read a post by http://thischicken.blogspot.com/ on creativity and how thinking back to childhood activities can often be a springboard for discovering where your passions and skills lie. so fascinating!

    i am going to get my mind mapping started tonight!

    lindsey clares last blog post: ferry trip to Watson’s Bay

  • Reply molly January 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I’m so excited for this series of posts, Holly! I’m looking forward to revisiting the things I loved to do as a child, and creating my mind map as a first step in this renewed creative journey. What a great way to start 2009.

    mollys last blog post: Snow…

  • Reply Loreen January 14, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Wow! I’m in awe…this posting & response is beautiful! Holly if you haven’t written a best seller i’m positive this is it!!!
    Please, many creative minds seek this kind of energy to keep motivated, to be inspired, to push through creative set backs…It’s all about the “how?” Your blog is absolutely inspiring!

  • Reply Jill January 14, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I am loving this series so far… thanks so much for facilitating it and for getting all of our creative juices going! It is so easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel… I was a working mom for several years and just decided this past summer to stay home with the kids – they aren’t school age yet, so it is a great time to spend with them. Along the way I have realized it is a great time to step back from the working world, and to take some time to myself as well to incubate on what my deepest desires professionally are. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and love that I can take some time to focus on my wants and needs personally while fulfilling “mom” duties as well. I know not all have the time or resources too, so I have been careful to not take it for granted. There was a point that I didn’t have time to be creative and all of the inspiration gets crushed. It’s a shame, but now I have to practice bringing it back out. That is why focusing on our childhood is perfect – creativity and imagination came freely then!

    Jills last blog post: hopefully I am not boring you…

  • Reply hoganfe handmade handbag originals January 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Oh I cannot wait to try this Holly – I have never done a mind map!

  • Reply DesignRLife January 14, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Great post and great column idea! I recently left my corporate job to pursue a creative one and I’ve never been happier. That doesn’t mean I have everything figured out yet (because I don’t). But every day I just put one foot in front of the other and move forward. I take a chance, do things that scare me, and most of all allow myself the space to think and to let the creative juices flow. After almost 20 years in the business world, it’s taken me some time to get to this place, but now that I’m here, I’m not turning back! :)

  • Reply JENNIFER RAMOS January 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Looking forward to it…You’re such a SMARTY PANTS..I swear. :)

    Jen Ramos
    ‘Cards & Prints You’ll Love…’

  • Reply Mary Kate January 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm


    This is fantastic. This is perfect timing for me.

    As a wedding photojournalist, I sometimes feel trapped with my creativity- my couples see my work and that is why they hire me- but sometimes I want to take it further.

    My biggest creativity issue right now is that I barely have time to get the things I *need* to get done with, and no time to do new things I *want* to do. Between e-mailing past couples, meeting with new couples, making albums, filling out paperwork, editing, etc., I don’t have TIME to be creative anymore… and I need to learn how to carve that out.

  • Reply Aimee Elizabeth January 14, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I read your blog daily and I am looking forward to Thursdays Tips.
    I posted recently about my struggle with creative block and how I have begun to overcome it. Lisa Sonora Beam and Kellie Rae Roberts’ books were a great help. (I found both of those books while reading one of your posts!)
    I feel like me again, for the first time in a long while. I do find that I need to work on my organizational skills, especially time management. I hope that those topics will be covered in this series. Turning my brain off at the end of the day is a challenge. I am wondering how people do all that they do…etsy, blog, contribute to other artist’s site and publication, eat sleep, family…pay bills, clean house, wash the dog…all while creating their own art and finding happiness…(sigh)

    Aimee Elizabeths last blog post: hello me!

  • Reply ah Teo January 14, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I remember in late 2006 when i was doodling and the name “faeries retreat” came up and i told my 2 gal pals. they think it was a great idea and 2mths later, i quit my job and set up this shop. i acted on it but the truth is, i didn’t know what to expect and i didn’t know if this was something I am interested in. The shop started in 2007 and is still going on now. There were a lot of objections and negative thoughts but we still went on. There were 4 of us and now only 3 but we still went on with a different name (Faeries Loft) now. {www.faeriesloft.com} I am still not very sure if this direction is for me. My creativity is zapped and only when i cook, the creativity flows but still, I am not very sure if cooking is the right direction for me. I like fashion too. Always thinking up of new designs and alterations in my head but I never got to sew anything. I like interior designing and love your blog a lot. Very inspiring and yet, still didn’t get to do it in real person. I feel trapped by a lot of financial things and i m not sure if any of the things that i do is of use to me.
    Now, i just keep to myself and start from taking care of myself, hopefully, the creative side of me can emerge and i can start a new direction in my life. sorry if i m so long winded. So many woes that i didn’t get to voice out. I hope someone could just guide me at least so that i wont feel trapped all the time and want to escape. thanks for reading this Holly.

    ah Teos last blog post: Eggs & Tomatoes

  • Reply cherilyn January 14, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I am looking forward to this series, what a great topic! And, I think this is a great place to start. I love mind mapping and find I gain even more insight when I go back to a mind map. Also, it is so true, there are secrets inherent in what we enjoyed during a simpler, less complicated point in our lives. This exercise makes me think of my grandmother, who passed away at 96, after a very full and very creative life. In her mid-80’s she wrote a sort of biography of her life to share at a women’s group she was a part of. And, basically she started with what her interests had been as a young girl, progressed through her life and it became quite clear, that her initial passions and interests carried through her entire adult life. She stayed very true to them and they continued to bring her joy throughout her life. This was a very powerful example to me of this principle and after spending time in the corporate world, I myself am working towards reconnecting with the interests and joys of my youth. Looking forward to this series unfolding – thanks!

    cherilyns last blog post: Just arrived – Beautiful Holiday Mineral Makeup Sets

  • Reply Becki January 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I can’t wait for more of this, I’m constantly looking for more things to inspire me! I tend to go through extended creative lulls every now and then (like months at a time!). I’ll try different things to get the creative juices flowing, like browsing art magazines and books at a bookstore, searching for new art blogs along with the ones I read on a daily basis, etc. I’ll find pieces and techniques that intrigue me, but I sometimes find it hard to try anything because I get worn out from day to day living. But things like this, prompts to get you REALLY thinking sounds like something fun to try. I can relate to the logical thinking part of this post, I lost my artistic side early in high school due to a poor art teacher, and my life after that was spent more on focusing on jobs, school, the “important stuff,” (aside from friends and family and all that). A couple years ago, something sparked a fire in me to start picking up the art supplies again, and I feel happier, in a way. Letting my creativity out helps me appreciate things more, and eases some stress. I sometimes still wrestle with logical vs. creative, but I’m glad I got the artist in me back!

    Beckis last blog post: Winter

  • Reply Terriaw January 14, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    As many other commenters have stated, your timing for this Creativity Series is perfect for me. I put out there on my blog that my New Year’s resolution is to quit procrastinating and focus more on the artistic and creative side of my personality. I have been working my butt off in the corporate world for 15 years, but yet I have been realizing more each year that I am an artistic person who doesn’t thrive in that setting. It pays good, but I can’t procrastinate anymore. So I enrolled in the graphic design program at our local technical college. I just came home from my second design class, and while I am still intimidated, I am excited and invigorated that I am finally doing something!

    I have been narrowing my creative ideas lately, but similar to Lisa above, I just don’t know how to execute them into an entrepreneurial endeavor. I appreciate your response very much about soaking up whatever I can while I’m in the corporate world, while working on my creativity outside of work. Thank you for your intuitiveness, timing and push! I am so excited about this series!!!

  • Reply Chookooloonks January 14, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Oh, FANTASTIC. Tomorrow is exactly 3 months to the day that I quit my job as a lawyer to pursue a more creative life. I’m so much happier, but I feel like I don’t have enough direction … yet. I suspect your wise words will help immensely.

    Thanks for doing this!


    Chookooloonkss last blog post: start a thousand candles

  • Reply MissWorld January 15, 2009 at 1:51 am

    This series is coming at the perfect time! I’ve been working in an oil company’s IT department as a Systems Engineer for the past 6 years and although the experience has been good so far, I don’t believe I’ve found myself.. I’m a girl who is all about creativity and life stuck in a place where its all about technicality and revenue.. most, if not all of the time, I feel stuck. I lost a major part of my creativity, like I don’t write anymore, I don’t design, I don’t paint and I don’t make things.. I try to, but I find that I lack the inspiration. I even tried to be a designer here at the company, but there were too many rules, it was no longer being creative, it was all about drawing that line the boss wants, and creating things that I had no touch in.. couldn’t do it, went back to being an Engineer and now feeling terribly stuck!

    Thank you so much Holly for this series.. I’m doing to read and follow :)

    MissWorlds last blog post: I’m going crazy :| + birthday

  • Reply moline January 15, 2009 at 2:31 am

    What an inspiring idea Holly! I am doing mindmaps all the time. They helped me through university and working and now I use them for organizing. But I NEVER had the idea of exploring childhood although it is a recurrent theme between Markus and me. So here we go and I will ask him to make one, too. Thanks for the idea! Looking forward to what comes next!

    molines last blog post: Jakob and me and 16 things

  • Reply Catherine Bain January 15, 2009 at 2:41 am

    How do you do it Holly? You somehow you have the uncanny ability to write just what we needed, at the precise time when we needed it most.
    Thank you.

  • Reply sourkenzie January 15, 2009 at 2:45 am

    This really was exactly what I needed to read right now. I am in a little bit of a different boat because I have a creative career (as an actress) but I’m finding it to be the wrong creative career. I feel stunted and feel like I am wasting my creative juices. I have so many passions and creative ideas for other things that I want to pursue, but I am scared stiff to make the first move and desert what I have been working towards thus far.
    I am 25 years old and my question is, what do you think if someone hasn’t had that corporate/work force experience to draw upon to fuel their creative endeavors. Are there tips you have for the purely creative people that need guidance and structure to really see a creative idea to a business level, without having to go get a day job?

    sourkenzies last blog post: Nuts 4 U – silver

  • Reply ROOM design studio January 15, 2009 at 3:58 am

    cant wait for this !! I was so inspired after reading “what to when you dont know what to do”..and now its kinda slipping away.. another source of inspiration is very very much needed! thanks for spending your time on us ! this will pay off someday I promise!

  • Reply Lisa January 15, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Thanks for your answer Holly. I look forward to reading the upcoming series. To me, this part is so important because many do somewhat expect, or perhaps hope, that once they let go of what they have in pursuit of what they want, it’s going to magically appear. But really, that point is truly only the beginning, yet many are unaware of how to navigate that terrain. This is where the true tests of your person, ability, and output come into play and the time to roll up the sleeves, flex the muscle, and be able to roll with the punches. I have my ideas on what it takes to manifest your desires but I guess I am looking for some of the attributes among people who have worked the process and made it to the other side:)

    It’s interesting that you mention JK Rowlings. Last night I watched a commencement address she made at Harvard last summer a few times over because it was that good (http://www

    . One of her messages was about failure and she said, “Had I succeeded at anything else I might never have succeeded at the one thing that mattered to me.” Embracing the adversity we encounter as our greatest teachers in this process is certainly part of the puzzle.

    Anyway, thanks again.

  • Reply Hilary January 15, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Thanks for starting this. I have felt so creatively trapped for so long. I never studied art in school or college but always loved playing around with different things and especially love home decorating. I never felt good enough to try and study or gain employment in the creative field because as Bethany mentioned above it seemed so intimidating with those in the field been so knowledgeable about art history and designers etc, I’d somehow feel like a fraud trying to join in. But recently through all these amazing design blogs I’ve decided to ‘Just Do it’ put the fears aside and get stuck in. I started embroidery and finished my first project which was so satisfying and last week I started a blog to track how my house is coming along and all my design/décor loves. Its great, I am so happy doing it, I work in an office job which is just not me at all but its where am and I get on with it and in todays environment I count my lucky stars to be working at all. All these design blogs are just so inspiring and enable me to finally explore my creative streak and at last I am so excited about where it might take me….

  • Reply juliette January 15, 2009 at 4:38 am

    I like knowing Thursdays will be centered around this topic, something to look forward to and to arrange my thoughts for!

    I’m in a spot where I don’t have to work, but it would be really helpful if I could earn some cash, even a little. This could be an ideal set up for some, but it’s turned into major frustration b/c I feel stuck. First b/c my work experience/degrees don’t seem to translate to any sort of job here in Germany. I’m looking into some volunteer work, and know it’s a good thing, but I’d like to put my paid or unpaid energy into something I feel good at, someplace I feel challenged, and someplace I use my brains and creativity. — incidentally I’ve always done ‘mind mapping’ but never knew other people did, ha. Maybe the questions you throw out will help give me some structure to my thoughts.

    There’s another thing – I always feel as though there’s a book growing inside me that one day needs to be birthed – except I don’t have a great idea on how to do that. I really should use some of my time to research that now….wheels are turning…

  • Reply elizabeth January 15, 2009 at 6:20 am

    gosh – i cant believe you posted about this! i started off the new year thinking that exact thought – what did i love to do as a kid? it started a ball rolling and just this week i submitted my notice to take a pretty risky step towards going for my dream job.

    thanks for your timely post holly

    elizabeths last blog post: ridin dirty

  • Reply Brandie January 15, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for this column….I’m definitely looking forward to reading more on this topic. While I don’t work in corporate, I still work for THE MAN and I have wanted to tap into my creative side to first see if it even exists, and where it could take me. On Wednesday, I took my very first teeny tiny baby step by signing up for a pottery class at a local art center! Just the mere act of signing up has gotten me excited and I can’t wait to get started! So thanks for the inspiration.

    Brandies last blog post: Deola

  • Reply steven January 15, 2009 at 7:57 am

    And again holly you hit the nail on the head, and just as my heart is booming with beats at the prospect of new projects and new adventures i want to get started.
    BUT, recently my creative flow has become more of a dribble and i seem to find excuses not to get messy and dirty with my crafts… and i think its because i have lost the urgency and the passion that i once had to create.
    so from now on i intend on making things i want to make, rather than things i think i should, just to get a sale…and if a sale comes, then that will be a nice bonus.
    holly you rock my world..xx

    stevens last blog post: change is in the air

  • Reply Carla Cavellucci Landi January 15, 2009 at 8:42 am

    So funny reading this today… yesterday I saw d*s “design by the book” series and I was so touched by everything it brought tears to my eyes. I feel creative 100% of the time, but not doing anything as a career. If time and money and fears were not issues, I’ll love to learn more about photography, about letterpress, I think I’d love to work as a graphic designer with wonderful challenges everyday. I’l follow and link you!!

  • Reply Elsa January 15, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Great topic and thanks this is what exactly what I’ve been wanting to hear for some time. As a young child I was very artistic, loved to draw and paint. Although everyone thought I was gifted I really never received the type of encouragement or push to pursue my talent. Money was one issue as well as having four other siblings. I somehow pushed my dream to the side and pursued another career which I really hated. While in grad school I realized my choice was someone else’s not mine so I left. It was the hardest thing for me to do having invested so much money and time but now I realize it was worth it. Problem I’m dealing with is not being to express my artistic style since my family, although they know I have talent, doesn’t think this is worth investing in. I don’t have a lot of money, have in the past few years worked on and off, and whenever there is available money seems to go on other things. I need guidance and need to start believing in myself. I want to be happy at what I’m doing. I can have a zillion wonderful ideas in my mind and often go to sleep wondering how will I begin to pursue this. This little of burst of inspiration is quickly gone when I awake.
    I’m looking forward to hearing others and tips on how to start living my dream without feeling discouraged. I of all people ‘ought know that I’m the only one who can make this happen. I’m so looking forward to hearing what you and others have to say! I’m so glad your introducing this series and will check in every week!

  • Reply Ellen Crimi-Trent January 15, 2009 at 9:04 am

    HI Holly,

    great idea for a series, I am sure you will get lots of great feedback from it. I guess for me I feel like one of the lucky ones who early on left the corporate world of fashion to persue my dreams. I think so many people get caught up in working in jobs they do not like because of many factors, health insurance was a big one in my case, fear and laziness. Its not an easy road to take to follow your path as one might think, in fact you constantly have to challenge yourself to keep up with it. I am finding after several years that I too have to redefine what I want to do with my life and work and sometimes that requires allot of hard work and commitment. Although some may think working in a creative field is great it too has its challenges, on of which is always trying to be inspired. Its not easy for me to come up with great, new designs for clients year after year, so I really work at it.

    I am looking forward to reading about these series and see how this will help renew a sense of belonging to those who feel the same as I do. Sometimes its nice to hear the voice of others who are in a similar situation, knowing that what you struggle with others do also.

    Ellen Crimi-Trents last blog post: New Prints

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente January 15, 2009 at 9:23 am

    What a wonderful idea! I always say, in my heart, I am really not that different from who I was at 7. I adored animals, babies, the ocean, jewelry, climbing trees, perfume, and make- believe. And those are still some of my favorite things. I love this exercise and am going to give it a try.

  • Reply suzanne January 15, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I’m a BIG believer in this whole idea of thinking of what you liked to do as a child…and connecting it to what you want to be doing as a career as an adult. I have three children and I try to bring this up often…pay attention to what you love doing now…some how, some way, it’ll carry into your adult life and make you very happy/satisfied with your career choice.
    Great Thursday Topic! I look forward to it!

    suzannes last blog post: now I know what to do….

  • Reply lindsay January 15, 2009 at 9:48 am

    My biggest struggle with being creative is it really infiltrates every area of my life…is that a bad thing? I’m sure many people have this same issue. I want to paint, do collage, maintain my etsy shop, build my business…but I’m also an obsessed foodie, who wants to grow all her own food, create beautiful gardens, meals, bake bread, raise chickens, grind my own flour! I love to sew, my skills are limited, but I’m making dolls, bags, pillows, and if I can find the time I’d love to make dresses for my girls. Then there’s the decorating, always rearranging furniture, painting, tiling, scouring ebay, looking for something to refurbish. Then there are days where I just want to pile the girls and all their little friends at the dining table and craft for hours! I love teaching and watching them be creative. AND there’s the writing…the blog, and the list goes on and on. (all this on a stay-at-home mom’s schedule) Sometimes I feel like a complete scatter-brain and I wonder if I would be better off neglecting some areas so that I can succeed in others…any thoughts on that?

    lindsays last blog post: After a long hiatus…

  • Reply Pixie January 15, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I love this posting and can’t wait to read more. I read your blog daily for the eye candy but more, for the inspiration. I’ve already started working on a mind map. This sounds so cool. Thanks for inspiring me.

    I feel like I need to create stuff but I’m at this spot where I feel like I can’t come up with any ideas on my own. I copy others stuff and try to make it my own, hoping to get a flash of brillance. And please don’t worry when I say copy…I’m not trying to steal other people’s ideas or art. And I don’t post it on my blog or sell it. I would never do that.

    I hope that if I just keep creating, even if it’s not my own idea, eventually, my own ideas will come to me. That I’ll have opened the gate so to speak.

    I wonder if anyone else feels like this or does the same? I hope I’m not “strange”. lol.

    Pixies last blog post: {Yellow} Wednesday

  • Reply ROOM design studio January 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Lindsay , add to that list of yours that I’m also a mom of a 6 mo old!! crazy world !!

    ROOM design studios last blog post: Summer Summer please come back soon!!

  • Reply Kathleen January 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I feel like I am about to boil over with creativity that is not yet cultivated or quite fleshed out. I work in a creative field and certainly have an outlet when it comes to my job but I want to feel more fulfilled, creatively, on a personal level. I’m definitely going to look into mind-mapping and see if it’s a way to figure out exactly what creativity I’m wanting to pursue in my free time and a way to execute those visions.

    Thanks for the post!

    Kathleens last blog post: Foundation Piers

  • Reply my Trampoline January 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

    this is a fantastic series…

    i am a stay at home mom who recently launched my etsy site. i can attest to the creative mind-block affliction…mine lasted about 5 years!

    i often find that what saps my creativity most is feelings of intimidation and fear of what lies ahead. i was overwhelmed by all of the promotional “stuff” that needed to addressed before launching the shop. i was also unsure of how my work would be received. it left me feeling blocked and frustrated. so i asked my sister in law, a photographer who was visiting for the holidays, to work in my studio with me for a day. she gave me feedback, helped me to develop the shop logo and take the first round of promo photographs of my artwork, therefore allowing me push that hurdle aside, launch the shop and concentrate on making more art.

    i guess my recipe is somewhat simple. find someone you know who is creatively inclined, who’s aesthetic you admire and who is willing to collaborate… add in some hot tea and good music…and more times than not you’ll find a little something inside that is ready to come out.


    my Trampolines last blog post: original polaroid collage THE QUIET PLACE

  • Reply Drea January 15, 2009 at 11:40 am

    This is just what I needed. After starting off the new year with a cut in hours and salary, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with my life. I know what I DON’T want to do, just have to take the plunge and life my dream. I’ll be mind-mapping all weekend.


  • Reply Drea January 15, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Oops, just noticed a typo. I should have typed:

    I know what I DON’T want to do, just have to take the plunge and live my dream.

    You don’t have to post this comment.

  • Reply Lali January 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Hi Holly,
    i have to join the crowd thanking you for this. I find myself in a situation similar to yours at Harvard time, stuck in the biggest corporate world, and I’m actually working on myself to get to understand what is best for me and my family. The thing I think I’m missing the most to be creative is time off. I really need to get quiet and bored to feel that ideas and new possibilities are emerging from my mind. If I’m stuck in regular scheduled days filled with to do lists my mind goes in off mode and simply executes most of the times, and it becomes really frustrating after a while. I’ll fortunately have my soon coming maternity leave to have the time to connect more deeply with my wishes and passions (until this little baby comes out, that is). My ultimate wish is to get to the point when the time spent on my passions will become my everyday occupation, but without the off mode mind – execute attitude thing this time. I really need to find the courage but I know I want to switch someday.
    Did I just write that? Oh I guess it’s a starting point :)
    You are really inspiring. Thank you again.

    Lalis last blog post: splash! un matrimonio azzurro

  • Reply Annady January 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Thank you for the post… and the earlier reply. I find myself following a similar path in the corporate world, and not having the words to describe what I do so instinctively. Now when people ask, I’ll be able to tell them where I hope this all goes. I’m looking forward to your Thursday columns!

    Now I’m off to work on my mind-mapping!

    Annadys last blog post: Sea Voyager

  • Reply Apol January 15, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I plan to read through the comments later tonight, but for now let me say that I am totally agreeing with your point that we should look at what we did as children if we want to let our creativity flow. Looking at the two things that I do full-time now — writing short stories and making toys — and that fill me with such joy, I am amazed that these were the two things that I enjoyed doing when I was a child. Like you, I worked for more than a decade in stressful corporate positions, but it was only when I quit that and began going back to my childhood occupations did I feel that I was really beginning to do what I was meant to.

    Apols last blog post: Magic Work

  • Reply annkent January 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Oh gosh, I so completely identify with Lesa (Lisa?). I have so many ideas swirling around in my mind (too many!) and yet, I also have difficulty taking that first step. The idea that whatever I start, whether it is a drawing; a sewing project; or a business idea, must be perfect just stops me. The fear that what I do will not be worthwhile and that it will indicate that I don’t really have any talent stops me “dead in my tracks”.

    I am a former corporate guru (many years in law) and now I am a stay-at-home Mom to a pre-teen so I should be thrilled that I have more time to devote to my creative side (which was totally neglected during the corporate years); however, I am blocked and I permit daily life to interfere with my creative projects. Like Lesa, I would love to hear from others regarding how they started to take those baby steps or rather how they overcame fear and trepidation in order to begin to take those steps … thank you Holly for initiating this dialogue!

  • Reply Jennifer O January 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know that I’m not alone. I have felt so lost since graduating college and have discovered that my creative flame is all but burnt out. I now have a 4mo old daughter and I want to encourage her creativity and I can’t see how I can contribute to that if I have lost my ability. I have had such a creative itch – I just want to create but I don’t know where to start. I am so excited about this series and to read other comments. It’s fantastic! Thank you,


  • Reply Bethany January 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    The design firm that I work for just started doing mind-mapping with all employees. Seeing it in your post today was just too ironic! I’m so looking forward to diving into this activity with both feet.

    Thank you for th lovely post!

    Bethanys last blog post: Thrifty Thursday {Jar Candles}

  • Reply Sandy January 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I am blogging for the first time in my life! I am a 36 year old mother of two little girls (3 and 5 years old). Before having children I was a designer fashion buyer in London for 10 years. I loved the glamour and the travel, but after having my little girl I realised life would have to change. I was constantly inspired in my job, surrounded by beauty! I am so fortunate to be able to afford to stay at home with my children all the time and it was my choice to give up my job. I did however think I would have time to be inspired and keep doing all the things I loved whilst looking after them, but I have to say that in the past 5 years I seem to have lost myself! I seem to have no time for me at all!! I am so pleased to have stumbled across your post and I am very excited to try out mind mapping, to try to start my creative motors again!
    Thanks again

  • Reply Niki P January 15, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Screw Oprah. Holly, you kick ass.

    This column could not come at a better time in my life. Since last May, I have been on maternity leave with my first child and I am already dreading my return to work. The pay is great and the benefits are even better, but the job itself is “blah”. There is no better word to describe my occupation.

    I would love nothing more than to stay at home with my daughter and work out of my house. But to be honest I fear that the creative marketplace is saturated…where would I fit? Why would anyone care when there are thousands of other amazing artists out there who are FAR more talented than me?

  • Reply Allison January 15, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    As a child I always had some kind of creative mess around me and I never truly left it behind or suppressed it in order to make it in the “real world”. I have been able to identify my childhood loves and dreams and am now pursuing them, but I am finding that it’s not so much that I am in the way of my creative happiness, but my new culture. Our common thread is that I am also an American living in Germany, (except I am here full time) but my whole creative world has been turned upside down since many things that worked for me before don’t work for me here in my new surroundings. I am really having to rethink and even reinvent much of what I am doing. I am really looking forward to your future postings and ideas on how one can make those childhood dreams a reality. I hope to even hear a little more of your first hand experience making it in your new culture too.

    P.S. I starting blogging because of your Dawanda event in Berlin.

    Allisons last blog post: She who has the most fabrics when she dies…WINS

  • Reply Michelle Ward, When I Grow Up Coach January 15, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks so much for this series! I’m a performer (I act, I sing, I’m funny, I dance a lil’ bit) who got my BFA in musical theater from NYU, & yet I tend to not see myself as “creative.” “Artists” – people who make something out of nothing, like writers, designers, sculptors, etc – hold that title for me. It’s been only recently, while coming up with the name of my business as well as some marketing ideas, that I’ve stopped and realized that, “Huh. Maybe I am creative.” Maybe? I take words off the page and make characters out of them. Just for doing that I should own that word. “Creative.” Still scares me though….

    Michelle Ward, When I Grow Up Coachs last blog post: My 30th Year, reflected upon on my 31st birthday

  • Reply Niki P January 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I just thought of something else:

    Does what you do ever start to feel like “work”? And how do you continue to be inspired and positive when being creative essentially becomes a job? Surely even the artsy world has a rat race of its own?

  • Reply E. Floyd January 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Really love this idea. I have been thinking about how to complete some brainstorming I think needs to happen this year, this exercise sounds just right.

    I am looking forward to this regular Thursday post. The 10 series are going to be great. Thanks, Liz

    E. Floyds last blog post: Red Onion Still Life

  • Reply Kristan January 15, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Wow, this is great! I do my own form of mind-mapping sometimes, but not often enough, I think. I’m definitely encouraged to do it more!

    I am really looking forward to this series. :)

    Kristans last blog post: Eye on Etsy: tree & kimball

  • Reply Jill January 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I am back, commenting again on this post… because, Holly, you are right! A lot of the “guts” of this post are in the comments. I have subscribed to them and it’s so nice to know that I am not alone in this process.

    So many others have touched on the exact same thing I am going through – fears about holding up to the “real” artisits, fears about the creative community already being so huge, fears that after taking care of kids for what feels like longer than it has been that I have just “lost” it…

    It’s so nice to know I am not alone… can’t wait until next week Thursday!

    Jills last blog post: rainbow inspiration…

  • Reply Blue Bicicletta January 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I’m really appreciative of this conversation. I think the question, “what did you love to do as a child?” is a wonderful thing to ask yourself to get to the heart of your dreams.

    One day last year, I asked myself this question and the answer was so obviously clear—the first thing I had ever wanted to be was an artist–I would draw and paint all day as a kid.

    That thought was an epiphany that undid the prior years of frustration about feeling like I just jumped from job to job. At that time last year, I had already gotten seriously back into visual art and had started selling my work a little bit. I had finally found my way back to the heart of me after a few diversions during which I tried to find a career that other people valued as a “career.” The realization that it had always been waiting for me, was a revelation, and now I’m taking it day by day and figuring out how to make my art into my work full time.

    One tool that really helped me in my transition back to creativity is the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Has anyone mentioned this yet? It is a wonderful book, and I should say it changed my life (and I don’t mean this lightly). If you have trouble with self-help books, I’ll admit, this one does have a spiritual component, but if you can get past it and really do the work/play, it can be a great tool to get back to creativity.

    Blue Biciclettas last blog post: Heartbursts

  • Reply lisa @ the red thread January 15, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks Holly for yet another great and thought provoking post. I really look forward to the series. I just wanted to comment on the idea of us all being creative as children and then somehow, somewhere it gets lost. I believe it’s because generally children are told how to ‘see’, how to create, and how to ‘be’ and gradually they lose their creative vision. They are often told that creativity is of lesser importance and value than academic pursuits. Children are innately creative souls and that creativity needs to be nurtured and allowed to grow. Most children aren’t given the space for this to occur. Possibly as adults the fear of not measuring up creatively is a result of these ingrained ideas of what creatively “should” be.

    lisa @ the red threads last blog post: Beci Orpin on The Design Files

  • Reply Hazel January 15, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Hi, I’m back again. All this got me thinking about my son. He’s 14 now and despite years of watching “Art Attack” he hasn’t got an artistic bone in his body. I’ve never seen him do anything willingly that would be called artistic.

    But what he did have was a great imagination and he would make up stories in his head complete with dialogue.

    I guess creativity can mean more than just the visual. And when he comes out at the other end of his teen years, maybe I can remind him that he’s a great story teller.

    Hazels last blog post: The Blue Rider in the Yellow House

  • Reply Julia January 15, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog for over a year, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I’m so excited about this series. A little over a year ago I got back into sewing and crocheting after not doing either of them for years. Right away my husband is amazed at what I can do and is urgign me to see my designs. Then just last week while crocheting a hat for a friend someone walks up to me and asks me how much I charge….I haven’t made the big leap yet – I’m all about starting small and building slowly; but I’m excited just to have founda creative outlet and one that it seems like others appreciate.

  • Reply Waheeda January 15, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I’m glad you’ve started this kickoff for creativity. As a freelance writer, I’m always on the hunt for inspiration to pitch a story to an editor, but in my personal life, sometimes a reminder is needed about what truly is my passion and what I want to continue to learn. I’ve always remembered a quote from Canadian designer / tv producer Debbie Travis, who told me in an interview several years ago “What was your favourite colour as a child? Blue? Green? Orange? Red? I bet it wasn’t beige, cream or off-white. Why have we forgotten our first passions?” I’ll be reading every week to see how we can all inspire one another with our thoughts and opinions.

    Waheedas last blog post: Cool

  • Reply aphrochic January 15, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    When I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer, a fashion designer, a lawyer and a minister. Well, I became a lawyer, I write my own blog, and I’m still working on the designer part. I love tip #1, because you’re right, when I look back to my childhood I realize that’s when I dreamed, when I wasn’t afraid to take chances, and when I was my most authentic self.

    I am currently struggling to figure out what the next step is in my career. I have some projects in the oven though, truly inspired by the little girl I once was. I hope to live out some of her dreams very soon.

    aphrochics last blog post: Fifi Lapin January Sale

  • Reply Aimee Elizabeth January 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Blue Bicicletta: I just wanted to let you know that this is the second time today I have heard that book mentioned (“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron) THe first time was at work today while I was listening to Lisa Sonora Beam’s teleconference (The Magic of Alignment:
    Simple Strategies to Make 2009 Your Best Year Yet- http://thecreativeentrepreneur.biz ) Lisa mentioned that book and the fact that Julia Cameron was a teacher of hers that made a huge impact on her creative life. I am definitely going to check it out. Thanks!

    Aimee Elizabeths last blog post: hello me!

  • Reply Laura January 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Love this, Holly! You have mentioned before that you’re not sure why you get a lot of readers asking you for advice on blogging, small business, etc. Well, I think it’s because you are not only a successful blogger, but a *positive* blogger, who always keeps her head above the fray, so to speak. I’m betting you will get into this at some point in this series in more detail, but I just think it’s so important to emphasize.
    It can be tough out there, and a bit frightening when you are just starting out in a creative field and putting yourself and your work out there – not everyone will be nice and supportive. As someone who has only very recently made the dive into blogging, I can say that your reminder that “It takes time” is exactly what I needed to hear. Patience, persistence, and a positive attitude are totally required! Thank you for being the fabulous role model that you are (whether you like it or not!) :)

    Lauras last blog post: What Did You Like To Do As A Kid? {Creativity Series from decor8}

  • Reply cindy January 15, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Wow! I am an artist who was fortunate to have worked for many years as a Graphic Designer and Art Director in NYC although my passion has always been to paint and just ‘make stuff.’ I have a large family to care for and tons of responsibilities, and a mind and closet full of great ideas and half finished projects and make little time for myself (which by the way I did and had before the family and responsibilities that brings). I’m presently stuck. A couple of months ago, my beautiful and totally creative and artistic 10 year old daughter asked me, “Mommy, why did you QUIT being an artist?”. I was crushed. Instead of lecturing her on “the noble responsibilities” of life, I just took it in, told her that was a really good question, gave her a hug and said thank you. Her simple solution was “Mom, why don’t you just do what you were born to do?”. Being an artist is not only important for me, but also for my family. They want me to be happy and get the wrath of me when I’m not. Thanks for this opportunity and reminder to begin with baby steps again. Enjoying the process of making art (starting with a mind map), instead of being so caught up in the product.

  • Reply bueller January 15, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Great series! This is really useful. Thank you!


    buellers last blog post: Peachy Keen – 8×8 Fine Art Photographic Print

  • Reply Kim @ The TomKat Studio January 16, 2009 at 12:09 am

    WHAT A TOPIC! I can’t believe I just read through 90 comments, but they were all so encouraging, that I couldn’t stop. I think that my locked up creativeness has finally busted out. I have been in real estate for many years, yet have always felt like I wasn’t using my creative side to its full potential. With the market the way it is (terrible), I have decided to stay home more with my two little ones and I couldn’t be happier. Not only do I get to enjoy this precious time with them before they grow up and go to school, but it has allowed me some time to explore all of the creative things I like to do. My true therapy has actually been BLOGGING. I am obsessed with it! I have no idea what I am going to do with this burst of creativity, but I believe that if you do what you love, good things will come. Thanks for the great post and starting the conversation!

    Kim @ The TomKat Studios last blog post: Invitations: Boy, She Gets Around!

  • Reply Pillows January 16, 2009 at 2:30 am

    This is going to be fantastic, thanks for getting the creative juices moving again, love your blog.

  • Reply Sarah January 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I loved this series last year when you did it. So interesting, motivating and heartwarming. I have to pose the question what happens when what you love isn’t what you’re truly good at? How do you manage to merge the two together in a way that is validating and and also creatively fufilling?

    Sarahs last blog post: Candy stripes

  • Reply diana baur January 16, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Yes, an interesting topic indeed, and will be a wonderful series to read. Five years ago, after having sold all we had and having left the corporate world to buy an old farm in Italy to create art and rent B&B rooms, I am now starting to go back and read my journals from shortly before the move and shortly after. We wanted to live a more self determined life; to have more time for each other, to create something real and authentic; to inspire ourselves and others. When I reread my journals from the beginning, I sense the fear and the unbelievable amount of work it took to move this whole project and life dream forward. It takes a vision of who you are and what you want, yes. It also takes an incredible commitment to face down difficulty, financial hardship, and it takes focus and determination. And business knowledge (Holly, I am glad you mentioned that in your comment above – it is in my mind one of the most important factors in pursuing one’s dreams successfully– to have them anchored in financial reality). I came to this phase with 13 corporate years behind me — my husband had 25 — and while creativity, ceramics, design and art are my passion, I am glad we developed the other side of my brain before starting this journey…. it’s kept us safe in a way, working hard but not being too “dreamy”, not over spending, and with both feet planted firmly on the ground. I am now, after five years of digging, building, painting, spackling, criticizing my own work, re-doing and reanalyzing, starting to see the real potential that lives inside of me and inside of this project we chose. We are remarkably lucky to have even tried this. And despite the uncountable difficulties we have encountered, we will continue to move forward, reinventing, discovering, and living — an authentically creative life.

    diana baurs last blog post: Mosaics

  • Reply erica January 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I saw this post yesterday and put off reading it today because there were too many things to do and I knew I wanted to take the time to soak in the ideas. I’m looking forward to the series. Thanks!

    If someone had asked me 2 years ago if I was creative, I would have said “No!” in a heartbeat. I have strong linear thinking/logic skills that I use everyday in my job, but I did nothing that I considered creative. Since then a whole new world has opened up to me and I’m filled with inspiration from others. However, I still struggle with fear of failure and with the feeling that what I’m doing is copying what I admire in/by others rather than actually creating. Maybe that’s because doing creative things are still so “new” to me that I don’t know my true self yet. I’ve used similar techniques to mind mapping for organizing goals and projects, and this evening when I’m home and can create some quiet space, I’m going to get reacquainted with my childhood loves. Thanks for motivating and inspiring me!

    ericas last blog post: Baby, it’s COLD outside!

  • Reply Noelle January 16, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Thank you for this inspiring series, Holly! I will look forward to it each Thursday!

    Noelles last blog post: My Love – Valentine’s Day – Greeting Card

  • Reply juliette January 16, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    SARAH – I definitely relate to your questions: What happens when what you love isn’t what you’re truly good at? How do you manage to merge the two together in a way that is validating and and also creatively fulfilling?

    I’m so good at stuff that I hate. I can organize and market and streamline things for others, but rarely for myself; I’m usually not motivated enough. I love cooking and creating other things, pulling things together for events and designs for others, but I’m mediocre at best, and mediocre isn’t going to bring in a paycheck you can live off of, if any. I’m all for learning more and honing my skills, but in a dog-eat-dog capitalist society/economy you MUST offer something you really believe in and/or that fills an empty and wanting niche.

    I think I need to get a management job at a company that does what I believe in and/or creates things I’m excited about. I would be good and would be happy to be there.

    Now I’m back to my first issue in my first post – how do I get a job like that in my corner of the world?

  • Reply BellaInkDesigns January 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Thank You! I constantly search the web for creative exercises. I’m always feeling stuck these days. It’s amazing how a small suggestion or image can really get the ball rolling. For those with writer’s block, I suggest finding an image, anywhere, and writing the backstory.

  • Reply becky from hatch January 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Hey Holly, I know it’s really personal, but I know we’d love it if you felt comfortable scanning in your mind map so we could read it . Yes, I am a total voyeur! Maybe in exchange, your readers could all share theirs in a flickr group or something?


    becky from hatchs last blog post: Who Dresses This Woman??!?!?!

  • Reply lisa h January 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Long-time RSS subscriber, first time poster.

    I’m definitely looking forward to this series as well. I’m interested in learning about small ways to build the self-confidence, like this mind map. I like these sort of exercises that seem small, but can bring major league encouragement.

    Holly, thanks for your insights!

    lisa hs last blog post: Black and Blue Dapple – Handmade Paper – 5 Sheets

  • Reply Vanessa January 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Yes! Help everyone get those juices flowing. I think in this tough economy creativity can be a good thing for people. What new ways can we use things? How can I save money on this by substituting it for that?

    I’ve linked your story on my blog!

    This is going to be great series.


    Vanessas last blog post: Get Creative

  • Reply Jenni Horne January 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    As always, I really enjoyed reading your words. Your ambition and achievments are something to really look up to and to aspire to. And I do realize that these accomplishments have taken time and sacrifices.

    Here is the gritty I’d love to hear more feedback on. I think there are many women out there such as myself that have felt compelled to be caretakers for their young families and have in turn placed their dreams on hold. In return for these years at home, I feel many women loose focus of their own dreams. I hear all the time, “when the kids get older I’ll get around to that”. I say there has to be a way to do both, and gain success. Balancing time for the creative endeavors I love has been the biggest challenge for me so far. (As my daughter asks for ice cream) Time, time time management is a vital key. I love the mind mapping idea and intend to try it during tomorrow’s coffee time. I realize this is getting long, but did want to throw out this component of the creative person’s dream. At this moment and time, I feel fullfilled and successful as a mother, wife and cottage business owner, but I know there is more out there for me. And I can’t wait for those doors to be opened, or perhaps I should do more knocking!

    Jenni Hornes last blog post: Birdhouses for the Felties

  • Reply Kathrin January 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you Holly and everybody else. This has truly been an inspirational discussion. I will do my first mind map ever. Love the idea of the whole series. And can’t wait until next thursday.

    I am a stay-at-home-Mom and I am now at the point where I need more than babytalk and diaper duty (even though I love my son to pieces). In the back of my head I keep thinking that I want to be more creative. Finally get out all the supply I have been collecting over the years. And all the magazine cutouts that are accumulating everywhere. I have so many ideas but somehow I never manage to get started. Why don’t I pick a project and just do it?

    The question is where do I begin? And my secret wish is to find something which will fulfill me and will be a career in the long run.

    But will my ideas and creativity be enough? Why are not more people pursuing creative careers? Is it because other people are afraid like me or is there just no market? (I live in Germany where I think tasteful handmade stuff is harder to find than in the USA. Don’t get me started on art/craft supply stores……)

    I am looking forward to the following discussions and am now starting to work on my mind map.


  • Reply becky from hatch January 16, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Cool. I’ve been reading The Creative Entrepreneur at your suggestion and this is a great way to get a kick start on the journal! Thanks Holly!

    becky from hatchs last blog post: The T.V. Cabinet.

  • Reply patricia January 16, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I’m really looking forward to this series. I think it will help me a lot with what I’m going through right now. I never tried mind-mapping before. I learned about it through a former boss who swore by it. I will definitely give it a try this time.

    I’m very lucky to be doing what I love but I still don’t feel like I’ve reached my fullest potential. There’s just something holding me back and I’ll admit that a lot of it has to do with the lack of being able to just ‘go for it’. I tend to be too cautious and full of assumptions (‘what ifs’ that may be completely wrong).

    Today I was talking to a friend that is going through a feeling of wanting to do something creative but not knowing what direction to take. I will definitely share your blog with her.

    patricias last blog post: 401st post giveaway

  • Reply rachel trigueiro January 16, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    i just came across your site and saw this post. i love it. more people need to hear this stuff! what people need to know is that creativity does exist inside them. i have heard too many people say, “i am just not creative.” they are wrong. creativity is a way of looking at things differently. because none of us were born with the same mind, we are all creative in our own way, we just have to find a way to cultivate that creativity. we have to give room for the creativity to grow. and creativity can have a difficult time growing under forced circumstances…it needs room to breath and be spontaneous. looking forward to this series.

    rachel trigueiros last blog post: new look

  • Reply Jacqueline January 17, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I love this weekly column series and am looking forward to the next one! This is such a great timming Holly! I’m taking baby steps to try to pave my creative journey and keep trying to move forward slowly. With the recent CPSIA, i’m trying to experiment with different ways of new creations. This execise is a great way to get a kick start for me. I will try to work on this over the weekend. Thank you so much for having this column and sharing it! *hugz*

    Jacquelines last blog post: I believe….

  • Reply diana baur January 17, 2009 at 3:05 am

    This is for Kathrin, who wrote the comment from Germany above — if you contact me through my blog or website, I will give you information on the best art supply stores/links in Germany. I had an atelier in North Germany for several years — I don’t know where you are, but I might be able to help you. The shops I know of are fabulous.

    diana baurs last blog post: Excuse Me Sir, Can You Please Pilot Every Flight I Take From Now On?

  • Reply macy dawn January 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I think this is going to be a great column. I can’t wait to read more. You can check out my mind map on my blog.

  • Reply Jonathan January 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    After a week of sadness after learning about a friend of mine who was only 28 years old when she died from an aneurysm last Tuesday morning, I’m now feeling is there is really a point to return to my life of trying to tackle many things at once: improve my finances now that I’m debt free, go to Hong Kong for my March Break holiday, start volunteering for a particularly community of people who are not often thought of or supported, trying to improve my health and improve my physique, and more. All of this now sounds and feel trivial and unnecessary after hearing more and more about my friend who died and what she did with her life: devote herself with working the three students with significant disabilities, with women and improving how they feel about themselves, travelling to different parts of the world to provide poor communities with resources that they didn’t have, spending as much time as she could with her parents, her brothers, her grandparents, her family friends, and her countless friends, and more. It doesn’t sound like she spent much time on herself and, here am I trying to spend more time on myself instead on my mom, on my students, and on others. It’s something that I have to figure out.

    So, I’m glad to see this blog on a Sunday morning when I have been trying to catch up on blogs that I have enjoyed reading and to see that you’ll be starting a new series of thought-provoking blogs.

    So what are some of the things that I used to totally enjoy when I was younger:
    – knitting and crocheting even though I never completed things
    – doing hairstyle on barbies and one of my cousins
    – studying maps, locating places, recognizing patterns of various kinds
    – admiring muscular physiques in magazines or in newspapers
    – reading Archie comics
    – playing string games on my own, like the cat cradle
    – looking out of the windows in the car, while my parents were driving, and making observations of various things in nature or in urban landscapes
    – playing my flute

    That’s all I can think of. I’m just realizing how much of these things that I enjoyed as a child are solitary activities. I suppose that is reflective of the fact that I am an only child and didn’t have friends to hang out with outside of school hours between grade 2 and 13. Wow.

    What do I enjoy nowadays? I’m feeling unsure of what I enjoy because I’m feeling that I have been selfish with doing what I want to do for myself as oppose to what I want to do for others, like my now deceased friend did. Anyways, until Tuesday morning a moment before I learned about her death, I would have said the following:
    – travelling
    – reading about lifestyle design, design, financial planning, issues related to being Deaf and, particularly, Hard of Hearing, green living, etc
    – hanging out with friends and getting to know new ones
    – doing something to improve life for those who are Hard of Hearing.
    – imaging myself with a much better physique and working towards it.
    – watching four tv shows that I enjoy watching.

    I suppose instead of figuring out of what is the meaning of life which I may be doing now with my friend’s death fresh in my head, I should return to making meaning out of life by doing things that I want to do. It’s just a matter of determining for who should I be doing things. Perhaps a bit for myself and for others…if I were to balance things….

  • Reply tonya doughty January 20, 2009 at 12:24 am

    I’m going to try this. I am a little afraid, like someone mentioned in your comments, because I don’t think I have any memories of childhood, and that, in itself, scares me. What if you look back on your life and realize you didn’t have anything that was apparently worth remembering? I’ve never heard of maind mapping though and it looks really interesting. count me in.

    tonya doughtys last blog post: See more in "Big people"

  • Reply sarah January 20, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I’m excited to go through this series with you. I think my whole life I’ve lived on this creative side of my brain, but never could imagine how to live IN it. I would love to quiet the randomness creativity I have running about my head. I think I’ve always been afraid that the end result wouldn’t be good enough, or come out the way it is in my head. I need to step past that fear and live a little.

    sarahs last blog post: Monday Muffins: No Donut

  • Reply Lisa Jensen Interior Design January 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I am a first-time visitor to this website/blog – and it looks great – and this topic caught my eye. I’ll try the mind-mapping later for fun (luckily and un-luckily for me I did figure out EXACTLY what my calling was 7 years ago – Interior Design). I say “un-luckily” because there is a long and winding path “between the dream and the realization of the dream” as Lisa wrote. I am still on that path and agree with Holly that “Fearless” has to be part of the equation!

    But, I do wish someone had asked me as a child, “What would you do [for work] if you had a million dollars?” and then showed me that was the path I should follow. I’m going to drive my niece and nephews crazy with this question as they grow up.

    • Reply decor8 January 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm

      I love that everyone really opened up here and just laid it all out without hesitation. Very important as we move through this series… just put it out there, comment with whatever it is that comes to your mind. I can’t wait to write tomorrow’s post, stay tuned!

  • Reply JennyB January 22, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I have struggled with time and focus since becoming a stay at home mom a year and a half ago. I’m always thinking of 20 million things to do and try to write them down to keep track of what i would like to do but that list gets longer and longer and my time gets shorter and shorter. And when i think i have a good rutine down….bam….i find out that i am pregnant! now i have more priorities and crafts and things to do. I’m not your typical type “A” person. I can’t run on fumes or coffee. HA! What is a crafty girl to do? On a daily basis i try to get this all crammed in. I love to sew….love making my little girl beautiful dresses and things. Working on making a quilt this year. Always have something new to sew! I love to Bake! Cakes are my favorite! Working on making my family “greener” this year. We are eating more Organic and i try to cook more organic. I’m constantly painting….new ideas flow thru me all the time. And my number #1 thing i love to do ….Photography. I am always working on my Photography Business. My poor hubby…he says that i’m going to put him in the poor house with all the stuff i find to do with my day…HA! All in all i love my life. I love my family. I just wish i had alittle more of “Suzy Homemaker” in me. As in i wish i loved cleaning my house as much as crafting!

  • Reply Chloe Cumbow January 23, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I found this last week and feel fortunate to have read where it began. I wrote back & am so sorry if anything I wrote was unacceptable, that was not my intent.
    I work as a designer(since I didn’t get posted last week I won’t make the speech here about designers being whores) I have a good girlfriend who works as a graphic designer, no companies mentioned. After years of good clean, successful(printed) work she was feeling like she could not call herself an artist. I said, I am an Artist – that doesn’t mean I’m any good, I just know that I am an Artist. She was encouraged by that. The being part.
    It is not easy. In classes I have told little kids “….do you hear the WORK part of artwork……”
    As nobody, I am fortunate to have come a circuitous (sp?) path to getting paid to think of things and draw them. Sometimes they are made as I envisioned them. Many times they are not. Sometimes I get to make my own models & then they are truly my own, but that is the exception.
    What I have learned is to keep going forward even when things do not go as well as I had hoped.
    Yes to excercise & doing something not related to your work. I walk dogs at the animal shelter. Now I am the secretary of the organization, believe me, I am NOT secretarial. My point is, the friends I work with at the shelter don’t give a ___ about art, design, the shape of a curve. But I have found that it is good to shake out your brain in a different venue, & to be physical.
    I enjoyed all of your comments, & wish for you all to chime in & not feel inhibited.
    Thank You, Love, Chloe C.

    • Reply decor8 January 23, 2009 at 12:25 am

      Hi Chloe!

      So sorry about your post last week… It wasn’t that I did not post it, you actually replied to the RSS feed and so your comment was sent to me on 1/15 via email. I still have it so I’ve posted it below since I see now that you thought you had posted it on the blog!

      Here’s your post, via email, on 1/15/09:

      whew found my way in. good thing. anyway have enjoyed your place here for some time, never commented & now have the design challenge….. fyi (note the lower case letters, I have great respect for you guys that I look at each day) I am a designer of hardware right now, working in Providence. I have spent many years in jewelry, most of 2008 laid off like a statistic, but am thankful to be makin’ something for a living. Anyway your thoughts about what you wanted to do when you were a kid resonated deeply with me. I have taught many classes, & if they are adults I have always asked “well what did you like to do when you were a kid….” There you go. For me personally, I just wanted to draw trees. I wanted to fly and brush across the leaves on the top of the trees. One time I had some F…….. teacher in maybe 2nd grade paint on MY PAINTING purple shadows on my tree( I think she wanted to show how sophisticated her freakin’ student was, but all I remember is that she touched my painting) but that did not stop me form wanting to paint trees.
      Coming to the point here, I now live in New England, transplanted from California. I grew up with Palm trees, but they don’t count as leafy trees.
      Interesting now that any chance I get, I make a piece for work with leaves.
      Will be listening to hear what’s going on in Berlington, (I do like that mall, have you been to Natick?) A girlfriend of mine & I are talking about taking a trip to PA- you know we just want to go to the Building 15 Free People/Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters arena. Yea yea we’ll surely see some history and some Art also.
      Sorry to be such a sorry writer tonight, a little buzzed, but you touched a nerve enough for me to respond. Love, Chloe C.

  • Reply Chloe Cumbow January 23, 2009 at 12:59 am

    You’re quick. Hmmmm. Maybe some people should save a draft and edit it in the morning after they’ve been out late.
    Thanks, Love, Chloe C.

    • Reply decor8 January 23, 2009 at 1:15 am

      Yeah, maybe Chloe. he he. It’s okay, I’ve had others comment after wine. Some of those are the best comments!!! ;)

  • Reply Heather January 24, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Wow, I’ve read through all of these comments over the past week and have been truly inspired. I relate to many of the posts here, especially to the moms that feel scattered! I find it hard to feel creative when I have to organize so many things for the little people in my life.
    I started the mind map almost immediately after I found this column. I took my time over a couple of days, added things when I felt like it and finished it with some watercolor. I also started a conversation with my family and asked my kids “What did you love to do when you were a kid?” It was a fun way to ask what memories a ten, seven and four year old have, too.
    What a great topic to start with. I think I will have to keep this mind map in sight so it can remind me to not think so hard about being creative, just let it happen. I posted it to my blog and to the group pool.

    Heathers last blog post: Mind Mapping

  • Reply Barbara January 28, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Holly, What a wonderful and generous way to begin the New Year! I have been enjoying your blog during the past months and find it inspiring. I’ve especially enjoyed reading the previous 121 comments! I think being creative is a universal human activity that is filled with many ups and downs, especially in our culture. We live in a world of ready mades, sound bites and instant gratification. This makes doing “the work” difficult. The challenge in being creative is trusting your abilities and the process. It is about playing and experimenting, about finding how to safeguard that seed that will lead you to your next endeavor. It is about respecting the small rituals you have developed (or will develop) in your creative practice.
    I try to do something creative almost every day. Painting and mixed media is my current focus. I work a full time job in the non-profit world, having made the jump from corporate one year ago. My job is administrative and not at all creative. Time is an issue. I long to be a full time artist, but find that moving the dream into reality is my real struggle. How do you take your beliefs and perspective on creativity out of the studio and achieve a level of success as an entrepreneur? How do you become fearless?
    Thanks again for a great discussion!

  • Reply Valette January 28, 2009 at 2:37 am

    I finally got around to posting my mind map.

  • Reply Chloe Cumbow January 28, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I think that you become more fearless by failing. After a few miserable failures (maybe a lot…) I have learned that it is not the end of the world.
    One time long ago in LA I was at the Actors Workshop. A young woman asked Lee Stasberg the usual question, “What does it take to make it in this business?” He answered:
    “You have to want it more than anything in the world.”
    I realized that I did not want to be an actor more than anything in the world.
    That thought has stayed with me ever since, and has helped clarify what I need to be working on.
    For all the young mothers, I have 5, the last is just turning 18. Things are not great. The best tip I have is from Nancy Zimmerman, of Nancy’s Notions. She published a book, 10-20-30 Minutes To Sew. In it, the main idea was that if you were working or had kids or whatever you would not have large blocks of time to work on your projects. So, for sewing world, she broke down what you could accomplish in 10-20 or 30 minutes.
    You may not have the luxury of an uninterrupted weekend, but you can get many things finished with a habit of small bites. I have found this useful in just about every area.
    Love, Chloe C.

  • Reply Lindsay January 29, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I think its amazing how many of us, from around the world, that seem to be struggling with the same problem and looking for more creative ways of expressing ourselves. Beautiful idea Holly and I look forward to following this and working through your tips.


    Lindsays last blog post: Fine Homes: Suzanne Dimma

  • Reply Carmen Delgado January 31, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Un mapa mental sembla un exercici força interesant. La veritat, dercor8, m’has inspirat. En aquest moment estava un pèl ofuscada i no atinava quin camí adreçar-me. Seguiré amb interès aquesta sèrie d’articles sobre la motivació a l’hora de fer els treballs.

  • Reply Lin February 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    This article was great. I’m really looking forward to the next installments. Thanks.

    Lins last blog post: Rogues gallery, comic style

  • Reply ROOM design studio February 8, 2009 at 3:48 am

    Holly ,

    Why dont we all share our ” break down for ideas” here on this comment section? For example..

    I want to do consulting ( architect and interiors ) which I’m working on right now..

    But it has its positives and negatives :


    Negatives :

    1.In kuwait , a designer is rarely taken seriously. People usually think of themselves as their own designers and would design their interiors the way they want .. even if badly .
    2. People rarely want to pay money to get consultancy service. They would go buy furniture and paint their walls and call it a design.


    1. Very small upfornt payments made by me as the business owner , as I’m mostly selling my ” experience”


    what do you think of that? discussing what we do and what we face and maybe we can help each other in the flow of thought..

    ROOM design studios last blog post: Feed your Creativity!

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