Vunerability, experimenting and wasting time

Today’s video feels self indulgent, it’s about letting go of some preconceived notions about myself and my own creativity.  I guess I should let the self indulgent thoughts go too. I don’t know at what point in the last 2 years painting and illustration became something I “got to do” instead of “had to do.” I suppose it is when I took earning out of the equation. You see, I pretty much have always done art for money. You hire me, I create it, you pay me. Along with that came promoting and marketing my “skills.” Now as  Smart Creative Women and Smart Creative Style have become robust and healthy, I have had a desire to pick up my brushes again and “create”. But I am stuck, hesitant, scared…not sure. I want it to feel different. Maybe I want it to be for MY pleasure instead of someone else’s pleasure and doesn’t that feel the MOST self indulgent of all?? When did I become such a Puritan? And I know, I know, it can be BOTH for my pleasure and  for people’s pleasure too.

What if I create for myself  and it doesn’t feel different?  What if it doesn’t feel as robust and healthy as Smart Creative Women? I have gotten myself in a quandary and it is time to put a stop to the silly voices in my head. I know very well that the voices in there are NOT always on my side and I usually have a handle on them. Apparently around  my  actual painting they have come back to roost. What I realized this morning, when I watched my own video, is that I am assuming what I have done with Smart Creative Women and Smart Creative Style does NOT fall into the creative category. Bad girl! I had a complete BLAST creating the video content inside the Smart Creative Style course.  The constant stream of content for this site  I have been creating  the last 2 years at some point has taken a dose of creativity! See what I mean about “preconceived notions?” So today I am giving myself a bit of a “loving smack down.” ha-ha! I imagine there are a few more to come! Thanks for putting up with me on this. Do you have preconceived notions about what it means to “create?” Do you need to give yourself permission to grow?
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  • Marielle Che-Novak says:

    Excellent message, I started reading Brene's book 2 weeks ago, I'm going slow so I can absorb all the lessons. About experimenting without fear I can totally relate to your feeling about not doing things because I will not profit from them, but I found that my fear came from not wanting to be seeing as the freelancer who really just plays with her crafty tools, but doesn't make a living. I'm starting to work into that doing gratitude art pieces, that way I'm "allowed" to be creative and not expect anything in return at the same time that I'm saying thank you to the universe for giving me all I that I have. Thanks for sharing your feelings, you are great Monica.

  • Seven months ago, I allow myself to experiment and explore new ways to figure out my style, now I have to learn and accept that sometimes it takes time to find your own path, it's not a waste of time and I shouldn't feel guilty, what I should do it's enjoy the journey guild free !

  • Your brain craves the new-the push, push, push! Just DO Monica and don’t read in to it! ( like I do) It’s FUN. Take workshops-paint with your eyes closed-etc. Here’s another-interview the artists that are not in the spotlight. Show their studios- show there styles….oops getting off the subject here and my pedestal. sorry. In other words as before-Just DO!
    xxx Laura.

  • Linda Tieu says:

    Oh wow, totally connected with your statement about being online and sometimes it being difficult to admit that we are working through things. It’s this thing about being an authority… but at the same time living and growing – because we all change over time!

    So I totally relate coming from a graphic design background… most everything I do is a request… so it’s actually a challenge to be completely “free” – it’s like too much freedom to create! Hah! Imagine that!

    • Monica Lee says:

      Art directing yourself and your time without a deadline sometimes means it flat doesn’t get done. I know myself well enough to know I have to schedule time!

  • Sue Allemand says:

    It’s really not “wasting” time Monica — think of it as “self-care” time (which is NEVER wasted time!) — you need that creative part of you in order to be fully YOU! 🙂 I’ve disconnected myself from creating what is immediately profitable (or racing to meet deadlines) – or what agents, publishers, editors, manufacturers, etc. want – earlier this year… and it’s wonderful!! I create what I want to create – I play – and you know what…. that is what people are coming to buy!! They’re drawn to the feeling in the paintings – the joy and peace used to create them. So in “giving myself permission” to create without fear…to experiment — it took my creating and my business to a whole other level! 🙂 Have FUN girl!! Oh – and another thing happened – life slowed down a bit! No more working 7 – 9 months ahead… painting Christmas in May, Halloween in January…. I actually get to enjoy the holidays when they’re here — not always reaching for the next one! 🙂 Life is Happy! And I am extremely grateful!

  • betz says:

    I keep thinking about experimenting and stop myself short for the same reasons. I want to know what the end is! But I think you are right. We need to make time for “personal work”. It’s hard to separate that from the other “work” since it is all personal to an extent. When you have an entrepreneurial mind it’s hard not to convert everything into a buck before you even get started. There are so many ideas that I have for my business that I don’t have time for, I can’t see when I’ll have time to try any ideas that are “not for business”. I’ve been threatening to get out the knitting machine that I bought and learned to use in college…I need to make that a goal!

    • Monica Lee says:

      Get out the knitting machine, she says gleefully!!! Sometimes we need to give our sense something else to focus on, which in the big picture I guess mine have been focusing on technology for the past 2 years! Ack!

  • Monica, I'm just now finding a quiet moment to check out your site. I've seen your interviews on Alt's blog many times and I think they're great! Love the mission and concept of your work. And I can fully relate to your feelings expressed in this episode. When time is in such short supply, it can feel not only scary but risky to step out and experiment! For myself, I'm always scrambling to get the minimum done to move my work forward and taking detours to "just have fun" doesn't often even seem like an option. But I think you're right. Giving yourself permission to lapse on other things temporarily, or step out of our comfort zone, or risk making a "mistake" along the way is a good way to get over that fear. As I've seen it play out in my own work, experimentation is often the very thing I need to make my work more meaningful and successful. What could be more profitable and smart?!

    Anyways, I'm so glad I stopped by and look forward to keeping up with your show. I think you're doing wonderful work here.

  • michmcfad says:

    I can totally relate to the fear thing. I have so much fear around this whole notion of “success” and think to myself, “what does success really mean?” I still get excited and anxious when I make a lot of sales because I wonder at times if I can handle it all.

    I’m sort of opposite of you, Monica, in that I don’t always think of my work in terms of marketability or profitability. I love to experiment, but need to allow myself to fathom the possibility of my dreams actually coming true! Why is that so hard to do?? 🙂

  • Laurie Nelson says:

    Monica, I am so proud of you for allowing yourself to do something fun for you! I totally relate to the driven person (my kids complain about my inability to sit down and relax). So I think the permission to relax. I like the idea of permission slips! 🙂 I also think I should take your Water Color class because I feel like I have pinned myself in a corner with what I think I should be creating and the Smart Creative Style class is showing me that I need to look at what just flows from me. That permission to not have to be on the narrow path of creativity that I have put myself on. So you GO GIRL!!!

  • Amber Savage says:

    Monica! We are so on the same page! By nature, I never want to do anything unless I am going to be able to sell it or it's attached to my business. I've learned that I have to take the time to play with ideas if I am ever going to grow. Hope you have a great time experimenting!

  • Taylor Ridling says:

    I can absolutely relate to this! I am always working on commercializing every idea AND I think everything to death, leaving nothing to show for what I feel has been hard work. Ultimately, I end up in the same place whether I brainstorm and research all day or just enjoy the day and let thoughts and plans shape more organically.

  • Phyllis Harris says:

    Wow, Monica! We are SO similar in that I am so driven that I don't give myself permission to just play with my art because I may waste time and it may not be profitable in the end. Thank you for putting into words what I also fear and for giving me permission to PLAY without expectations!! xoxo, Phyllis

  • Lynnea Washburn says:

    Thank you Monica, for putting a voice to something so many of us deal with. Now if I can just get you to sign this permission slip…

  • Jen says:

    I need to give myself permission to fail.

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