Hot Pink Ghosts

Hot Pink Ghosts

Another block to creativity are the ghosts of failures past.

A client once told me, “I’m afraid to get my work out there because the last time I tried, I was sabotaged and betrayed by a group of women I had trusted.”

I said, “I’m so sorry that happened. That must have been excruciatingly painful. But I’m noticing that there is no group of women holding you back now. It is you holding you back. You are sabotaging and betraying yourself.”

She launched her new business exactly seven days later.

Almost every working creative person I know has a story about the overly critical teacher, the cruel playground remark, or the scathing review that made them feel like quitting.

Some of these slights were imagined, some were real, and some were richly deserved.

After all, even the best artists fail from time to time.

But if you let the ghosts of your failures, errors, and wrongs derail you, they will define you.

You have the power to exorcise those ghosts, but it will take determination and persistence.

You must first notice when those ghosts take control, and then mentally paint them pink. Now you have hot-pink ghosts — they seem a bit lighter and sillier, yes?

Good. Now call to mind a memory of one of your great successes, a time you felt valued, gifted, and good inside. Really dive into this memory and let the feeling of it suffuse your body.

Repeat this process any time those old pink ghosts threaten to keep you stuck again.

photo credit: waferbaby via photopin cc

It’s Not All about Talent

It’s Not All about Talent

Here’s another hard truth: your talent doesn’t entitle you to anything.

You will not be surprised to learn that talent is not enough.

Every artist is (or believes herself to be) talented.

Talent is the price of admission, kids.

You’d be amazed how many agent/manager/gallery owner submission letters say, “I’m very talented and I think we should work together.”

You’re talented? Whoopee.

I mean, seriously, you’d better be. You’re going to look pretty silly calling yourself an artist if you’re not talented.

So it’s time to move on. You’re going to need to offer more than just that.

Another problem with getting too hung up on talent is that artists sometimes feel indignant because they feel — hell, they know — that they are far and away the best, most talented person for a particular job, and yet they don’t get selected.

That can be a bitter pill to swallow.

It’s hard knowing you’re the best choice and still be passed over.

But I have noticed something: people don’t always make the best choices.

In the same way that you don’t always choose the best food for your body, or the best shoes for your feet, or the best television show to watch, other people don’t always choose the best artist for the job.

The world might be a better place if we all read only the highest quality books, only screened the highest-quality movies, and only drove the best, most efficient cars.

But “best” is not our only criterion.

Sometimes convenience counts.

Sometimes what’s in fashion is important.

Sometimes it’s all about what’s sexy.

Sometimes a person wants a little schlock — a little artistic junk food.

Sometimes cheesy is perfect.

What’s best is not only relative; it’s often irrelevant.

So cut the people a little slack — you wouldn’t always choose you, either.

How To Wallow

How To Wallow

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I Can’t Go On.  I Can’t Go On.  I’ll Go On., ww… by samanthabennett222
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When you find yourself all bummed out and thinking dire my-life-is-a-failure-type thoughts, my advice is to wallow in the feelings and ignore the thoughts.


Beat the mattress with a whiffle bat.
Run around the block as fast as you can.
Re-read a book you find comforting and transportive (Sci-fi?  Romance?  This is not the time to be an intellectual, here, people – we’re looking for comfort.)
Watch a movie, and not one of those “good for you” movies, either.
Work out.
Write poetry (you know you want to…and you can call it “song lyrics” if you want)
Clean out your closet – be merciless.
Sleep, baby.
Write letters to the universe, pouring your heart out.
Go to a 12-step meeting.
Get down on your knees and pray.
Weed the garden.
Listen to Fiona Apple or your personal equivalent.
Comfort food!
Re-read books you’ve read before.
Watch home improvement/animal/decorating shows on TV – shows where nothing bad ever happens.

The idea is to burn off the fog of feelings with the sunshine of energy.

You wouldn’t let an over-tired child make an important decision, would you?

Of course not –  you would distract that child with something soothing and fun until they were calm enough to move forward.

So, when you’re in the grip of strong feelings, be your own good parent.

How do you like to wallow?