Time to Get Real – What’s Stopping you from Starting an Art Journal Today?

So many women have come to me saying they feel the pull towards art journaling, but they’re waiting until things settle down. Or until they can save up for some supplies. Or until they can heal their bodies. Or until their kids grow older. Or until… whatever the excuse may be.

But ya know what? Art journaling doesn’t require any of those things.

Think you need a ton of supplies?

How about making a journal out of a few paper bags and some markers? Or cereal boxes and craft paint? Or how about an old book? One of my favorite ways to journal is with a $1 composition notebook and crayons.

Just because the majority of art journals you see online are covered in high quality paint, gesso, glue, glitter, and the works; doesn’t mean yours has to.

image from tumbler

Short on time or always busy with the kids?

I’ve been known to make messes along side my daughter, or limit my journaling to just 10 minutes a day. (It’s totally do-able! And I share that process in my e-course Roots.)

When it comes down to it, if it were a matter of life or death, I’m sure you’d be able to muster up a few minutes of your time. So perhaps the real issue is accepting the importance of art journaling or time to yourself. You can hear my thoughts on this and other tips on making time for art journaling here.

image by gina sekelsky
image by gina sekelsky

Struggling with your health?

I know this is a toughy. (And I can’t really speak from experience.) But there are many journal artists who create in bed or on the couch when they’re limited or in pain. Samie Harding shares some tips here on what she dubs “couch-art”.

image by samie harding
image by samie harding

I think the key here is to just keep it simple. You might be limited, but studies have shown that putting limitations on your creative projects actually increases your creativity! So if you have one working hand, you can do this. (Heck, you don’t even need hands!)

In fact, everything you need is already within you. (More on that HERE.)

And as the saying goes… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So, dig deeper.

What’s the real excuse here?

What's holding you back?

Could it be fear? Fear of failure or that you’re not good enough? If you listened to my story, you’ll know that’s totally what happened to me when I fell in love with the idea of art journaling. I spent over a year watching youtube videos and flipping through pages of magazines, learning techniques I would never try.

It paralyzed me with fear. Fear that I wasn’t worthy of doing it myself. That I would fail, and never be able to create such beautiful work as they could.

Long story short, it wasn’t until I was able to move past these fears, put the focus back on myself, and start having fun that I was finally able to develop a fulfilling art journaling practice.

I’ve shared many tips in the past about how to overcome these fears. But the very first, most important step in moving past any fear is to simply acknowledge the fear and show yourself some compassion.

Start by being honest with yourself.

What is your fear? What’s holding you back from starting an art journal today?

Take a moment right now to practice courage and share your answer in the comments below.

And remember… these fears? Are simply that. A feeling that you can work through. (You’ve got this!) And that feeling of not being good enough? Is totally wrong. You are good enough, because you are whole. In fact, you are full of infinite possibilities.

Art Journaling ROOTS e-courseStill feeling stuck in starting that art journal? Why not delve into it with a supportive community and me as your guide. In my 6-week online e-course ROOTS, you’ll develop your own transformative art journaling practice as we let go of comparison and open ourselves up for self-exploration. Check out the information page HERE.

Other Side of Fear

Remember, the only thing standing in the way of achieving all of your hopes, dreams, and goals is one little emotion.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~George Addair

Get past your fear, and anything is possible!

Fear of Ruining Your Art

Oh No… I love how that looks.

I have found myself saying this quite often lately. Once a piece of art I’m working on starts to take shape, and I like how it’s looking… I freeze up and get scared.

What if I mess it up? What if I ruin this lovely piece?

I try to remind myself, is it really a lovely piece if it sits unfinished, hidden away on a shelf? Of course not.

What’s the point of having piles of unfinished pieces? Where’s the rush feeling of accomplishment? Of being proud? Where’s the excitement of “what’s going to happen next?” You rob yourself of all of these things when you give in to the fear of messing up your work.

Sure, it’s possible a piece can get “ruined” by making a wrong decision. But the beauty of “messing up” gives you the freedom to keep working on it, which opens you up to taking more chances you might not have otherwise taken. And in the end, most often than not you end up liking the piece even more than before the mistake.

The key is to just enjoy the process, and detach from the outcome.

Remember that one of the biggest reasons for art is to feel connected to yourself, to express yourself; not to crank out perfect pieces on a consistent basis. Where’s the fun in that?

And if in the end you do feel like you’ve “ruined” a piece, let it rest. Come back to it a few days later, and most times you will find that it really isn’t as bad as you may have thought. You may even turn out liking it!

Because in reality, it’s not that you messed it up, or that you ruined something; it’s only that it turned out different than what you had hoped for or imagined it to be.

Life can be pretty scary. Things can turn out differently than expected not only in art, but in other parts of our life as well. So, this one little pesky question will always keep popping up: “What if I make the wrong decision?” Well, you deal with it and move on. And more than likely what does come of it is way more interesting and fun than if you had just stayed put in fear.

But if you let it, that pesky question can paralyze you from achieving anything in life. So instead of hiding in fear when your mind asks you “What if I make the wrong decision”, try responding with: “What could I miss out on if I stop here and don’t move on?

The Many Faces of Fear

Fear is a funny thing…

Sometimes it’s loud, staring you right in the face, making your heart pump out of your chest; and other times it’s quiet, hiding behind excuses, making you feel miserable.

Most times you aren’t even aware of its existence.

But if left unattended, unconscious fears can cause self sabotage, stopping you from ever achieving your dreams and goals.

You already know, that in order to overcome your fears, you must face them. But before you can face them, you need to discover what they are and understand the different types of fears that can manifest inside of you. There are three types of fears to look out for:

External Fear

When you think of fear, thoughts of spiders, ghosts (a big one for me!), or other hauntingly things may come to mind. Or perhaps you’re scared of something like heights or water. These obvious fears, where the emotion is triggered by specific instances or encounters outside of you, are easy to recognize in your life. But other fears are not so easily targeted…

Internal Fear

Similar to external fears, an internal fear can be triggered by events happening around you. However, internal fears are not specific to one certain circumstance (like how your fear of spiders would only come up when you encounter a spider). An internal fear, like for example the fear of failure, can come up in many different situations such as when wanting to start your own business, try out a new craft, or when trying to lose weight.

In addition, these types of fear can also arise with internal thought of the circumstance as opposed to having it right in front of you. These fears are led by emotion, whereas external fears are more led by survival instincts. Some other examples of internal fears could be fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of success (yes, this does happen!), or fear of being vulnerable.

Subconscious Fear

A subconscious fear is rooted deep down inside of you, and is usually attached to some sort of limiting belief about yourself or the world around you. For example, you may have a fear of public speaking because you believe that you aren’t good at expressing yourself. Or perhaps you keep putting off submitting your art to your favorite magazine because deep down you believe you aren’t good enough.

Because these fears coincide with beliefs, they are often very hard to recognize as fears. But by living with these beliefs and fears, you are limiting your life’s potential and they can also cause serious anxiety.

Now that we’ve shed some light on the different types of fears that may be plaguing you, let’s just go ahead and let it all out… right here, right now.

Bare all – What are your deepest fears?

Okay, fine. I’ll go first.

For me, it’s always been fear of failure. Failure in my business, failure as a mother, and failure in my relationships with my husband, friends, and family. And even though I’ve dug deeper and discovered the limiting belief behind it (more on that another day), I still struggle with procrastination and avoidance because of it. Just look at me… Here I am, 9:39pm Thursday night, trying to finish up this blog post. Nothing says fear and procrastination like waiting until the last minute to publish a blog post exposing your fears. Ha.

So, now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below… What are you afraid of?

It’s Time to Shine!

Sunrise by Steve Garner via Flickr

Year after year we make resolutions and promises to ourselves that THIS will be the year. THIS will be the year that we will pursue our dreams; THIS will be the year that we will be happy. But year after year these promises fall short, and we go on living unfulfilling lives.

It’s not that we don’t want to be happy.

It’s not that we can’t pursue our dreams.

It’s because there is something standing in our way that we are unwilling to face.

Whether it disguises itself as procrastination, forgetfulness, doubt, lack of time, or its many other incarnations… it’s always FEAR hiding behind the curtains.

Fear is what stands in the way of our dreams. Fear is what stops us from living the fulfilling, happy life that we so deserve. That YOU deserve.

“Never let your fear decide your fate.”

But it’s not fear itself that is the problem. It’s our responses to fear which are the problem.

You are a living human being, and when new experiences (or even just the thought of one) arise, fear is a natural reaction. It keeps us on our toes. Its original purpose was to keep us alive… to make us aware of our surroundings and to warn us of what might happen.

But somewhere along the line, we forgot how to work with our fears and use it to propel us forward.

Instead, most of us deny our fear. Ignore it. Which stops us from living to our full potential, numbing out our pain and suffering with tv, the internet, addictions, or other behaviors leading us to live dull, unfulfilling, and sometimes harmful lives.

We convince ourselves that we’ll start painting when the kids move out of the house, we’ll follow our passions “after things settle down a bit”, or we’ll start that blog we dreamt about when “we’re ready”.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears” ~Les Brown

But the truth is, that perfect time may never arrive, and you’re just throwing your life’s potential away because you’re afraid of it.

You’ll never have enough money, enough time, or enough support to follow your dreams. And we ALL will always have fear to overcome.

Fear is a healthy emotion that you need to work through.

Once you realize this and stop buying into the fact that fear is wrong or something to be avoided; then it will loosen its tight grip and you will essentially become more “fearless”.

So this year, instead of making resolutions that never last, and making excuses for not following your dreams and passions, it’s time to step up and face those fears.

Identify them, acknowledge them, then move on anyway towards what you know will make you happier.

This year, make a resolution to practice courage.

Because once you start swapping your usual response to fear with practicing courage, things will change exponentially in your life.

But that’s not to say practicing courage is easy. Like the name suggests, it takes practice. And a little encouragement, accountability, and community couldn’t hurt either. Which is why I’ve decided to start up a new series called “Fearless Fridays”.

Let us gather with courage. Let’s put our fears out in the open, talk about them, and let them loosen their grips on our lives. Let us swap stories, give encouragement, and lift each other up on this courageous journey we call life.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Every Friday I will post a story, feature, or words of encouragement here on the blog or on my facebook page

  • You are free to simply use it as a gentle reminder to keep practicing courage in your life, or join in with a story or words of encouragement of your own in the comments section. 

  • If that week you have written about facing your fears in respect to following your goals and dreams in life, or perhaps practiced courage in your art, feel free to leave us a link with your comment.
  • I encourage you to visit and comment on the links posted by everyone each week to support each other in this journey. Also, feel free to reply to other’s comments to add to the conversation.
  • If you share a link to your blog, please link back. You can grab a badge HERE.
  • There will not be a specific theme each week, as everyone’s fears and goals are different. This is simply to help you to practice courage daily in your life, and to bring all of you amazing women together for support.

You are not alone in facing your fears. Bring them out in the open, face them, and get the support you need to muster up the courage to move past them and start living the happy fulfilling live you deserve.

Are you ready to make the resolution?

It’s time to shine to your life’s fullest potential!

In the comments below, dream big and tell me… What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail, or if fear wasn’t standing in your way?