What I’ve Learned From My Creative Rut

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I’ve spent the past four months in a creative rut. How did I get out of it? Well, it began with getting out of my own way.

You see, whether you realize it or not there’s a natural ebb and flow to our creative cycle. Sometimes we’re completely inspired, and sometimes we’re just not. There are these natural ups and downs, kind of like a roller coaster ride.

And I’ve been finding myself in that really low point for the past few months. So I just wanted to speak into that because I know from experience that being in this state can be really scary at times.

Thoughts can cross your mind such as “Will I ever get my creativity back?” and it leads you to start fighting against it and trying to force yourself to create. But the more you fight for it and try to force it, the harder it is to get back into the flow again.

It’s like you’re hitting a wall, and no matter how hard you push, you just can’t create. (click to tweet)

But going through these ups and downs is a natural part of our creativity. As long as you’re aware of that, you’re going to be okay. So, if you’re a blogger and haven’t blogged for a while… there’s no need to apologize. If you’re a creator, and you’re in the space of not being able to create, there’s no need to beat yourself up for that.

It was when I finally let go of the fighting and was able to accept the space that I was in, that it finally started to turn around.

So it’s that fighting against it that really prevents you from getting back into the flow. And as soon as you can release that tension and give in to the flow, you start to move along again, which will eventually bring you back into a creative high.

But just because you realize you’re in this flow, it doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing when you’re in the low.

You want to let go of struggle, but you should also be gathering inspiration, surrounding yourself with what you really want to be doing, and taking the steps to get back into your flow. But none of this works if you don’t first remember to give in to the flow.

When I was finally able to let go and accept where I was at, I started to become more aware and open to all of the inspiration surrounding me.

With my recent experience, two things helped to propel me out of it, after letting go:

#1. Accountability – As you may know, I’ve been going through an intensive training to become a life coach, and my mentor Kate said next month we’ll be taking a break to focus on marketing and she’ll be taking a look at our websites to give us feedback.

This put me in a bit of a panic, as I haven’t updated my site in so long, and there’s so much I’ve learned about marketing in the last few years that I haven’t implemented yet. So I got really inspired and motivated to start working on it again to bring it up to my own standards… so that when she does come to offer me feedback, it’s going to be something valuable for me to hear and grow from. (So expect a website update hopefully by the end of the month!)

#2 Inspiration – During one of my random wanderings on the internet one day, I came across a creative exercise that was connected to what I had been thinking about. And it just hit me the right way and really inspired me. If I hadn’t given into my creative flow and surrounded myself with what I wanted to be doing, I may not have come across this inspiration.

This magical combination of accountability and inspiration really helped to propel me into a high creative state. Now ideas are coming from every which way and my only problem is deciding which idea to pursue first!

So if you find yourself in that creative low, my suggestion to you is to first become aware of your own creative cycle and stop pushing. Let yourself go with the flow. Then, seek out some inspiration and accountability. Perhaps get together with a friend, join a community, take an e-course, or something similar that’s going to give you the accountability and inspiration.

Now, I’d love to hear from you: Is there anything that you have found that helped bring you out of a creative slump in the past? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it!

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    This is NOT What Art Journaling is All About…

    It’s so easy to get lost in the glamour of the art journaling world, browsing through blogs, watching YouTube videos, flipping through gorgeous magazines, and buying the latest products… that we forget what art journaling is really all about.

    This is Not What Art Journaling is About

    Art journaling has a deeper purpose. It’s not about the supplies you use or the techniques you learn…

    It’s about the connection you make with yourself through the process of journaling.

    It’s about growth, trust, and self-compassion.

    It’s about exploring and finding your own path.

    It’s about opening up for self-exploration.

    It’s about believing in yourself.

    Are you ready to make that shift in focus and give up comparing your journal pages to others’ so that you may discover your own style?

    Find Your Style - Free Video Series

    To get you started down that path, I’ve put together a special {Free!} video series where I share my secrets to developing your own art journaling style, my 4-step process to disempowering the inner critic, and so much more.

    Click HERE to sign up and watch the first video now!

    Wishing you continued inspiration,

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      10 Beautiful Benevolent Journal Artists

      10 Beautiful Benevolent Journal Artists

      adjective: well meaning and kindly.
      synonyms: kindhearted, big-hearted, good-natured, good, benign, compassionate, caring, altruistic, humanitarian, philanthropic

      There are so many talented women sharing their love for art journaling, but I wanted to pay special tribute to the journal artists who seem to have a true love for teaching and believe with all their hearts that creativity is a necessity in everyone’s life. These women, who like me, believe in giving real value for free and truly want to help others. If you want to learn more about art journaling and how to use it to become your truest self, you should definitely check out these generous gals’ websites {listed in no particular order} for inspiration, tutorials, communities, and so much more!

      Effy Wild Art

      Effy WildEffy Wild

      Effy is a true believer that art journaling is a powerful tool for healing and self-discovery; as she’s experienced it firsthand. Now she helps others dig deep with art journaling and “come back with an artfully created healing salve for the things that stand between you and living the one wild and precious life you’ve got.” Visit her website and YouTube channel for inspiration, tutorials, insights on life, and so much more. Join her Facebook tribe to connect and share with a beautiful group of spiritual creatives who embrace art as a soulful practice.

      Blog: http://effywild.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/effythewild/videos
      Community: The Glitterhood Facebook Group
      Currently Offering: Book of Days Boot Camp

      Tammy Garcia Art

      Tammy GarciaTammy Garcia

      As an advocate for creativity, Tammy believes that it’s one of the keys to happiness. Visit her blog, and you’ll never be without inspiration again! She hosts a myriad of challenges; her current ones being the Daily Paper Prompt (which I’ll be definitely starting soon myself!), and The Moments photo challenge. She also offers tons of tips and prompts for art journaling. Her Facebook community offers accountability and encouragement to get you creating daily.

      Blog: http://daisyyellowart.com/
      Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/gypsy999/videosvideos
      Community: Daisy Yellow Facebook Group
      Currently Offering: Daisy Yellow Zines

      Felicia Borges Art

      Felicia BorgesFelicia Borges

      Felicia is a down to earth gal who gives a lot of insight on living a creative life as she shares stories about her own life’s creative journey. She believes that we are all artists and offers art journaling tutorials, inspiration and tips to help us in our own journeys. She is fairly new to filming tutorial videos compared to the other girls I’ve listed here, but her work is absolutely gorgeous and her passion for creativity is evident; so I’m sure we will see great things from her!

      Blog: http://feliciathejournaljunkie.blogspot.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/feliciaborges/videos
      Currently Offering: “Paint&Sip” social gatherings in Sacramento

      Samie Harding Art

      Samie HardingSamie Harding

      Diagnosed with a chronic illness at a young age, Samie claims: “Art saved me, and continues to show me an easier, more joyous way through.” Now she aims to lead others to a happier life through art, and offers tons of tutorials, videos, inspiration, and support through her blog, e-courses, and zines. She also offers tips on creating wherever you can {which she dubs “Couch Art”} – perfect for those who have trouble sitting for a long period of time to create or even for those who don’t have studio space.

      Blog: http://journalgirl.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/samanthakira/videos
      Book: Going Further – Finding Yourself in Creative Art Journaling
      Currently Offering: Gelli Print Junk Journal E-Class

      Jennibellie Art

      JennibellieJenny “jennibellie”

      Widely known for her videos, Jenny enjoys teaching and encouraging creativity in others. She believes that everyone has a “solid creative instinct” that might just need a little help to break free occasionally. She offers tons of in depth tutorials on art journaling, book binding, crafting, and more. Her blog series “Tell All Tuesday” goes deep into the hearts of artists from around the world as they talk about becoming who they really are while overcoming obstacles in their creative lives.

      Blog: http://jennibelliestudio.blogspot.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/jennibellie
      Currently Offering: original artwork, journals, supplies, & more on Etsy

      Chelle Stein Art

      Chelle SteinChelle Stein

      Chelle thinks of art journaling as therapy and believes everyone can benefit from it, even those that don’t feel they are creative. She says “It’s really the process of creating that helps me get everything out of my head, work through problems, let go, and be myself – it’s a wonderful experience I love sharing with others!” Her website offers tons of inspiration, tips, tutorials, and other information to get you started on your own journal, as well as a community to connect and share with others on the same journey.

      Blog: http://artjournalist.com/
      Community: http://artjournalist.com/forums/

      Julie Fei-Fan Balzer Art

      Julie Fei-Fan BalzerJulie Fei-Fan Balzer

      I like to think of Julie as the “Art Journaling Goddess”… her approach to it is so sensible, simple, and real. Her blog is just overflowing with inspiration, tips, tutorials and more on how you can practice meaningful daily art journaling {and so much more}. She explains, “For me, the point is to open that art journal every single day and do something creative in it — even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It’s half scrapbook/journal and half artistic experimentation/expression. I don’t make any effort to make the pages look pretty.”

      Blog: http://balzerdesigns.typepad.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/milkcannyc/videos
      Community: Art Journal Every Day Blog Series Link-Up
      Currently Offering: Getting Started Mini E-Course Series

      Diana Trout Art

      Diana TroutDiana Trout

      Diana encourages a carefree, non-judgmental approach to incorporating journaling and art making into your daily life. On her blog, you’ll find an array of tips and tutorials on art journaling, book binding, fabric art, paper making, eco printing (think smashing flowers to create beautiful colored prints!) and more… as well as insights on taming the inner critic, procrastination and other obstacles we face as creatives.

      Blog: http://dianatrout.typepad.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/DianaTro/videos
      Book: Journal Spilling
      Currently Offering: Tacket Stitch Book Binding E-Course

      Ronda Palazzari Art

      Ronda PalazzariRonda Palazzari

      While Ronda blogs about a wide range of creative endeavors such as scrapbooking, art journaling, stenciling, cooking, traveling, and more, you can’t help but be inspired by her bold colors and encouraging attitude no matter what your favorite medium is. (I especially love her Create Daily blog feature that offers inspiration, tips, and challenges!) She is a huge believer in incorporating a lot of actual journaling in your art journal. “It’s equally important as the art part. Writing stimulates creativity, releases your emotions, and is all part of the process. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like your handwriting, use it anyway. It’s as unique to you as your finger print.”

      Blog: http://rondapalazzari.typepad.com/
      YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HelpMeRonda/videos
      Currently Offering: Technique Classes

      Leslie Ackman Art

      Leslie AckmanLeslie Ackman

      Leslie is an open-hearted mom who is on a journey to wellness as she explores a better way of living her life. Art journaling is a true passion of hers, and she shares how she uses it as a tool in her journey much like I do. Leslie is currently hosting a free e-class on her blog called “Being Me: 52 Weeks of Soul Searching and Loving Me” which is for anyone wanting to add more light in their life, be happier, be healthier, or just be. I’ve been following her along this journey, and it’s been amazing!

      Blog: http://wordsofmeproject.blogspot.com/
      Currently Offering: 52 Weeks of Being Me

      What an amazing group of girls, wouldn’t you say? I am blessed to share space with these awe-inspiring women. Who has inspired you on your art journaling journey?

      Interested in learning more about art journaling?
      Sign up for my free introductory e-course:
      Art Journaling 101”.

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        Your Perfect Day – Everyday {Living Intentionally}

        Your Perfect Day... Everyday

        There’s been a lot of talk about morning routines lately and I can’t help but to feel a little jealous… I mean come-on, who has time for a cozy cup of tea, yoga, journaling, and self reflection every morning?

        Heck, I can hardly fit in a shower most mornings!

        My reality? Being startled awake by my five year old demanding cereal, rushing to get breakfast and the kids’ packed lunches made while the baby is screaming to get out of her crib… and then rushing to at least get dressed and brush my teeth before the baby finishes her breakfast, and then it’s off to school or summer camp.


        I’m sure that if I lived alone, I would probably have a dream morning routine in place; but seeing as though I have three young kids and waking up at the crack of dawn isn’t an option I’m willing to take (not yet anyway), then I needed to figure out another way to fill my day with intention.

        Many other “experts” suggest you imagine what your perfect day would be like, and then make it your intention to direct your life daily toward that perfect day.

        So I tried…

        and tried…

        and tried.

        But, to no avail could I come up with ONE perfect day that I would be happy to keep as a benchmark for happiness.

        I’m a multi-passionate after all.

        How could I know that I’ll be happy in the future with what I choose now?

        As I was pondering about this, I stopped in my tracks and looked around me. I was alone, in my quiet backyard, with the warm sunshine on my face. THIS. This right here would be part of my most perfect day, a day that would make me happy. Being alone with my thoughts, if even for a moment, in a quiet peaceful place, connecting with nature. Yeeesss.

        I had found the answer to envisioning my “perfect day”… I didn’t have to strive for a certain lifestyle, or commit to do a certain activity every day; living intentionally simply meant breaking away from the mindless daily grind and doing something that connected me to ME.


        and my values,

        and what would make me truly happy.

        Once I realized this, I was able to add more to my intention list.

        Today, that list looks something like this:

        • Experience something new
        • Get in touch with self (being alone with my thoughts for a few minutes)
        • Get in touch with nature (go outside!)
        • Create something (ie a cake, a painting, an entry in my journal…)
        • Get my heart pumping
        • Connect with my family (spend individual time with each)
        • Help someone, or make a contribution

        Purposefully doing things throughout each day that reflects your values and makes your life richer… that my friend is living intentionally.

        What’s on your intention list?

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          How Art Journaling Saved My Life {and what it can do for you}

          Okay, so maybe claiming that art journaling “saved my life” is a bit of an over statement. Unless you’re like me and consider being a slave to the daily grind day in and day out isn’t really living at all. Then you may just understand where this might be going and perhaps are in need of a little saving yourself.

          You see, not too long ago I found myself feeling utterly lost.

          I felt depressed and empty, almost like a walking ghost.

          Feeling Down

          But I had everything I could want… a loving family, a supporting husband, and even a successful business selling my primitive art.

          As a business owner, I spent my days crafting and creating. People loved my creations; I was featured online, in magazines, and even on TV.

          You could say I was living the dream.

          Yet, as my business success grew, a part of my spirit began to feel deflated.

          After much self-reflection, I realized that while I was creating, I was not creating freely. Art had begun to become a part of my daily grind.

          Before my eyes, that which I once cherished had turned into another 9-5 job.

          By creating the same items over and over again I was filling the customer demand, but depleting my spiritual supply in the process. I was on auto pilot; not only with my work, but in my personal life as well. I knew I needed to alleviate that suffocation before things fell apart.

          So I quit.

          I quit my business and embarked on a self discovery journey determined to reclaim myself and find the freedom I so desperately needed.

          After a time of aimless wandering, I decided to jump-start the journey with a 30 day challenge which I dubbed “Busy Mom VS Daily Grind”. It was then that I finally delved deeper into art journaling and in time discovered its true gifts.

          And that’s when everything turned around.

          I started to eagerly anticipate each new day.

          I felt alive and more in tune to my surroundings.

          I was rediscovering parts of me that I didn’t even realize I had lost.

          Through art journaling, I was able to unearth my most authentic self. She who had hidden behind the mask of the expected for far too long.


          I’m now living a happier more fulfilling life with more clarity and self awareness.

          My outlook on life has changed.

          I have less stress and can discover my true inner feelings easier.

          I’m not caught up with the daily “9-5 rut” anymore; I’m living life with open eyes and creating art I never imagined was within my power.

          I’ve come to see how infusing creativity into our daily lives is therapeutic in so many ways. Once I recognized it in my own life, I became deeply cognizant of it in other people’s lives as well.

          I couldn’t deny the call.

          It’s what has ultimately inspired me to make it my life’s mission to help other women wake up from the slumber of the daily grind. To unearth their creative spirit, discover their authentic voice and embrace their heart’s path; allowing them to live happier, more fulfilling lives through expression of creativity.

          And I believe it all begins with art journaling. A place where no rules exist; where you can let loose and free your most inner desires, callings, and truth.

          Are you ready for this amazing journey?

          Learn more about art journaling
          with my free introductory e-course
          Art Journaling 101”.

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