Creative dream blockers…tips to overcome them.

One of the nice surprises I’ve had in the past couple of years is how much I enjoy working with women who are ready to walk down a new creative path. It doesn’t have to be photography, either. I’ve had some very inspiring conversations with creative women who are ready to “make a move” in areas like book writing, painting or performance art, etc., but they are feeling the weight of their busy lives and the seeming enormity of such a lofty goal.

I’ve learned a few things in these conversations that I’ve been trying to adhere to myself (it’s hard) and be consistent with throughout life’s transitions (even harder) and be honest with myself when it’s just too much (the hardest).

Here’s a little “overcoming obstacle” list for your Friday..hopefully some of this rings true for you, lovelies…it seems that so many of us have a hard time giving ourselves the gift of realizing big dreams.

1) “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no”.

via The Sparkling Martins blog

One of my favorite wise women, Elizabeth MacCrellish (creator of Squam Art Workshops), said this recently in this podcast that I heard. I loved it and had to stop to write it down on a leaf while I was jogging (yes, I keep a pencil in my back pocket when I run). The principle is that if you’re hemming and hawing about something…can’t make up your mind to start that painting class or enroll in book writing 101 or even pick up your camera for a walk-about, it might be a “no”. Is it possible you are picking this creative path because you feel you should? Or someone expects this of you? Or is it truly a passion…a burning desire that keeps you up at night. The “yes” is there, but the plan is not. AND THAT’S OKAY. If it truly is a giant, big ‘ole pink elephant that follows you around, the plan will come if you devote some time and energy to it.

Ask yourself:  “If fear was eliminated, would it be a yes?”

Take a deep breath and commit yourself to “micromovements” (a term from Sark the Great), which are small steps to getting closer to doing this thing that just might make you deliriously happy.

2) Time Management

via Grow a Brain

168 hours…that’s what makes up your week. Laura Vanderkam literally wrote the book about this topic and came up with some pree-tty interesting stats about how we spend our time. Her blog can get you started to begin to track your own…trust me, it’s enlightening and scary at the same time. Committing to making micromovements (or big movements, for that matter) is going to cause a shift in your time managment tectonic plates. If you value sleep, cuts will need to be made somewhere. I suggest starting with Facebook (guilty…that’s me raising my hand over here) and Twitter…then take a look at the reality tv crap-ola time that is flushed down the ‘ole john each week. Take an honest look at what you’re willing to give up to get closer to making time to paint, or write or take a dance class or practice your Photoshop skills. Write it down in your planner as an appointment with yourself.

Your goal is worth being written into your life….in PEN.

3) Letting go

via Letting Go Quotes

Toxic friendships that suck you dry…the quest to have the perfect house…the expectation to keep up with the rat race in your neighborhood…volunteering your time in places you know you’re not appreciated…doing a job you absolutely despise…

Releasing these creativity killers could be the answer you need. Can you give yourself permission? I realize the job thing is a tough one, especially now when we’re in suckville economy-wise…but I can honestly say that the others..hmmm…you’d be doing yourself a HUGE favor if you simply and directly released it from your life. Such hard things…believe me, I know…’been there with at least two and it is terribly difficult, but it was so worth it. It freed up such a huge space in my brain for things that really mattered to me.

You can do it…I know you can…IT WILL MEAN MAGIC FOR YOUR JOURNEY!

3) Giving yourself permission to be alone to do creative things.

This is a hard one for women with kidlets hanging from their very limbs, but it is not selfish to ask for this time. I hear it so much from women (especially women who work and are uber-moms upon walking in the door) that they feel like it takes too much time away from their family to bring on a creative endeavor into the fray. 

I beg you not to believe this for a second.

You must ask for this time and take it…even at the risk of people (small and large) living on your planet giving you a hard time. You’re not flying to Tahiti for a week with a girlfriend, for cryin’ out loud. You simply want to time to test out or even (yah!) pursue a dream…remember? That little friend who seems to be sitting in the corner while you stir the spaghetti sauce?

via My Pinky Toes

Yeah…him. He’s calling you.

4) Create the space

This fab environment happens to belong to a dear friend of mine. She is fabulous, in fact, and a great model of how to take that creative bull by the horns and wrangle him in. She made this space to realize her goals of making beautiful things. It inspires her and fills her up in all its amazingly wonderful pink-ness.

Now, lovelies..I realize that we don’t all have the little room tucked away that we can take over and in one IKEA visit whip it into art-making shape..some of you out there might not even have a closet, let alone a room of your own. But I can tell you, that if you get innovative, like with these images, you can carve out the space you need to soar. It will be your own space where ideas take shape..even to be retreated to in the middle of the night.

5) Courage and Bravery

If you’ve had the privilege of going to Brave Girls Camp (and I highly recommend it), you’ve witnessed bravery in action. It’s moving forward when moving forward seems completely draining and awkward. Bravery doesn’t make a list of negative what-ifs…it only brings on the mojo to do what needs to be done.

Courage means stepping out and looking forward…not casting your peepers side to side to see what people in your creative field are doing or making or writing…yes, we can support friends who are realizing their dreams too, but

be mindful

of what’s stirring in your heart

when you go about realizing yours.

Does it make you anxious?

Does it make you feel like you’re not doing enough?

Does it make you feel small?

Recognize it and don’t go there for awhile…stay right in your own space with your own lovely, beautiful, talented self and make stuff…revel in just being present with that pink elephant…not letting the small voice of doubt creep in.

KNOW THYSELF…if thyself can’t handle looking at the amazing success of others at this stage in the game, it is OK.

Withdraw for a bit and find that creative space you want to live in. My friend Melody has done a bang-up job of this in the past couple of months. It has made all the difference for her and she recommends it highly. I’m even thinking about going on an art-making holiday and unplugging in August…so important to connect with what’s REAL right in front of you…and that includes communicating with loved ones by speaking and laughing together…sometimes I get frightened that it will all go away by the time my kids are grown…it won’t ,will it? We must not let it.

6) Above all…

Via Lost Bird Found.

…and if making things is what you love, give it the space in your brain, your home, your life that it deserves. If you nurture it and believe that growing this beautiful thing is worth the effort, the rewards will be more than you ever could have dreamed.

I promise.


For those of you who have a photography dream, a spot in my “Ignite:Photography only” September class just opened up.

Place: my studio in Camas, WA (20 mins. outside of Portland, OR)

Date: 9/26-9/27   9:30 to 2:30

Rate: $225 (lunch included both days) $100 nonrefundable deposit holds your spot (check or paypal)

~I might consider adding another spot, if more than one of you contacts me on Friday~

What’s it cover? First day are all things technical with your camera settings, shooting on Aperture priority/manual, spot metering, focal lengths, etc. Then we will work on lighting (inside and outside) with a walk-about shooting–I will go over the images shot with each person to make sure you’re grasping the technical side. I’ll do a demo of how to shoot a client…I’ll also demo different light modifiers you can make at home without spending a lof of money.
Day two covers review of lighting and then we will work in Photoshop–I’ll show you all the edits I do with my clients’ images and then work one on one with students on the process.I also will do a 15 min. one on one with each person to talk about your “plan”, be it wanting to take better images of your kids, or the art aspect of photography or starting a business. I like to listen to potential obtacles and then hash out a plan for making it happen…that pink elephant awakes!

Please email if you would like this class spot:

Upcoming retreats:

 “Ignite the Heart” in May in Italy 2012

 “Ignite: photography only” in West Texas in January 2012

“The business of running a successful portrait studio” in Olympia, WA (date TBA)

Please email me to be added to the list for further info.

Happy weekend, lovelies!


This entry was posted in Fab MPG women, Happiness, IGNITE THE ARTIST, MPG quote and wisdom, MPG stirrings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Creative dream blockers…tips to overcome them.

  1. Joy says:

    I didnt realize that you were in Camas… so is this class for a beginner “Ignite:Photography only” … I know some photoshop.. I have a nikon DSLR… I have never used it on Manual I want to learn how to take great pictures.

    Thank you.. Joy

  2. Susan says:

    Thanks – this was exactly the post I needed today. Funny how that happens!
    So pleased I found you.


  3. Holly says:

    Very inspiring Lara! Thanks, Holly

  4. Christine says:

    Lara, thank you for sharing this. I have talked with so many women who feel they cannot take time for themselves, but the truth is we all need that time for ourselves. We need time to renew our own spirits so we have more to give to those we love. This is such a hard lesson to accept, though, isn’t it? It’s something I still struggle with, and the guilt can be powerful. But the one thing experience is teaching me is that when I do make time to do something that makes me happy, I’m happier in all the other things I do, too. So thank you for the wonderful reminders! I only wish I could take that empty slot in September, but that’s right when I’m leaving for Germany. Maybe in January!

  5. Mary Jo vick says:

    Thank you for this excellent post. Your attention to detail is amazing… I appreciate the time and effort it took to create such a cohesive post with all the links and images and such. And the inspiration is just what I needed.

    Ok. Now on to the part I’m freaking out about… You’re gonna be in West Texas? In January? I have a ranch in west Texas!!! OmG! Please give me more info. I would love to work with you!!!

  6. Jenny Yang says:

    Hi Lara! I just found this pop up on my google alert and I really love it! I’m eager to write a post about this list on my own new blog called the creativelife. :-) Looking forward to following more of your work! Cheers! Jenny Yang

  7. Mikal says:

    Lara, so spot on… thanks sweet one!

  8. Kelly says:

    wow! Inspiring! Thank you for opening up your heart, mind, sprit and pouring it on to us! Great things for you, my dear friend, GREAT THINGS!

Comments are closed.