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10 Ways to Engage the Inner Artist

1. Find Your Medium

What is that ingredient that is missing in your life, that would make you feel excited and engaged? If you're drawing a blank, what sparks your interest? What draws you closer when you visit a museum or gallery. What mediums or processes facinate you or scare you? Are you looking for comfort or a challenge? Are you looking for a loud sweeping statement, or a quiet meditative process?

2. Find Your Statement or Vision

What is important to you? Are you looking to unpack a private experience, or make political/social commentary? Are you hoping to provoke deeper thought and dialogue, or evoke a contemplative mood? Perhaps the process is the sole purpose of your creative endeavor, for example, the process of being in nature and observing the light on the trees.

3. Honor Who You Are

HOW you approach your creativity is more important than the end product. Here are just a few examples, but you'll need to do the internal work to get clear on what YOUR values are. If you place a high value on community, it makes sense that you would participate in a class or group experience. If you place a high value on service, you might find ways to offer your creations in service to a local benefit or fundraiser. If you value environmental sustainability, you will choose mediums that reflect that.

4. Prioritize

It is easy to prioritize when something is important to you. We prioritize our partners or spouses, our kids, our careers. What about your creative wellbeing? When you make your creative health a priority, as important as your financial wellbeing, or physical health, you will be connected to your why. Perhaps there is a story in you somewhere that says it is selfish to spend time with your passions and interests. However, when you can strike a balance between external demands and your rich inner life, the more enjoyable life becomes. The positive effects in your mood and energy will have a profound impact on the other aspects of your life. Complete this thought for yourself: I want to ___(paint/draw/write, etc.) __________because_____________. You have now found your why.

5. Make Time

Grab the reigns of your schedule. Make time for yourself to do your important creative

play/work and don't let anything hijack your time. This might mean creating boundaries with friends and family, asking for help, and re-designating some of your usual tasks. It is a great time to start making your technology work for you instead of getting worked over by your technology. Set your phone to 'Do Not Disturb' and turn off your alerts. You are the person in command of your time.

6. Stop Comparing

Teddy Roosevelt is credited for saying, "Comparison is the thief of Joy," and I couldn't agree more! Measuring your talents and achievements against those of other people is a sure fire way at putting the breaks on your creative process. What if you were to approach your own unique creative voice and style with reverence and respect. Handle yourself with gentle care. Get inspired by others, but hold the door open for your own special expression, you unique perspective and interpretation.

7. Get Started

There is the blank canvas, the un-molded clay, your materials still neat and pristine in their packages. You've identified why this creative exploration is so important to you and carved out the time. But when it comes time to begin, it is possible to feel blocked and a little insecure. When we are on the verge of starting something new, perhaps something exciting and outside of the box, the inner critic is known to emerge. Take a deep breath, and connect to something that moves you. Is it the creaminess of the cerulean blue, or the way the light is spilling onto the table, warming your back? I like to remember my child self when I begin, how easily she dove with unabashed joy and curiosity whenever art materials were in reach.

8. Experiment

Make mistakes, make a mess, be willing to fail. When you are engaging with a new process, no one expects you to produce a masterpiece right off the bat. The point is to be engaged with your process or medium. The value is in the act of creating, not solely in the end product. It is about who you are becoming as you create, this wholeness that emerges when you are fully present with the medium or process of your choosing.

9. Align with Allies

Inviting others to witness your work or your process at some point along the way is a great way to bring energy and focus to the creative play/work you are doing. Discernment is key, as you only want to bring in the energy of support and encouragement. People who delight in the creative process, who themselves make time to nurture their creative spirits are the people you want to welcome in. The goal is not necessarily feedback or critique. Having a supportive community can help you feel connected to your goals and keep you engaged.

10. Return Again

Whether you are reestablishing a relationship with your inner artist, or are developing this side of yourself for the first time, cultivation is key. Think of your creativity as a relationship that you nurture. The more you put into it, the more enriching it becomes. Return again and again, and take notice of how your creativity blooms in all areas of your life.

Melissa Eppard lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY area with her young son and husband. After overcoming breast cancer in her mid-30's, she knows that nothing is guaranteed in life. As a Personal Life Coach she has made it her mission to ignite the spark of purposeful living and creative fire in everyone she meets. What you nurture will grow!

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