Creative Courage and Confidence

I wasn't surprised to hear recently that adult coloring books have started to become a trend and have even landed on top of some bestsellers lists. I think this new trend along with many current and past trends in art and creating are all very telling. Over the last twenty years or so it has been interesting to watch the ebb and flow of various art making trends that have become somewhat pop culture phenomenons. I think of Zentangle, art journals, knitting, quilting, artist trading cards, altered books, scrapbooking, and so forth as speaking about the need and desire that so many people have to create and to make. I’m not bashing or making light of these trends because I think the need to create is an innate need. We all want to bring something into being that hasn't exist before. Little kids are a great example. They make, create, build, imagine, and explore without much prompting or hesitation. They take creative leaps and are open to simply trying. Over time this innate drive to create gets pushed down, buried, and often forgotten.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I think that a lot of people have systematically closed themselves off to creativity. It probably wasn’t a conscious choice, but the interesting thing is that creativity has a way of working itself back up to surface. For many, there remains a lingering desire, a gnawing wish to make and create, but fear holds them back. Words like art, artist, creativity, and talent are all kind of scary. So, these folks hold onto the fear of taking a risk, and find something that’s safe - something where they can follow some simple directions and be successful, where they can make something with little to no risk. They can satisfy the desire to make and create, at least for a little while, by coloring in someone else's designs, using someone else's ideas, and following someone else’s directions. This is often fun and enjoyable, but is often only a momentary fix. They move onto something else that allows them to feel the sense of accomplishment - the sense of creating. But these activities can never fully satisfy, because they are not authentic expressions and creations - they are not original and true to the maker. They can ring hollow because we often want to bring our own vision to life - to create our own direction, but fear and doubt get in the way.

For so many reasons, so many people lack the creative confidence to take an artistic leap. But what if we could build the creative courage that would allow us to take risks? What if we could create with an authentic voice and original ideas? What if we could silence the inner critic that judges and shames us? What if we could embrace our vulnerabilities and the messiness of our attempts? What if we could open ourselves up again?

I think that’s exactly what Dave and I have been trying to do for the last ten years as the Journal Fodder Junkies. We have shared the visual journal, conducted workshops, and written books, all in the hopes of opening people up to that need to create. We want to help others connect to their creativity and discover their own authentic voices. We want to help others discover the innate potential they have to make something that is true and comes from the heart and not just a copy of someone else.

To that end, there are several things in the works. A plan is taking shape, and things are falling into place. I’m not going to spill it all out there right now, but I have already posted about this over the last few months, and most recently, I have given a glimpse in our latest newsletter. So please stay tuned over the upcoming days and weeks as I reveal more.

I am very excited to see what the near future has in store for us, and I hope that many of you are up for a creative journey!