Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Creative Challenges

Instagram numbers crushing your creative vibe? Here’s how to change that.

I stumbled upon a mindset that helped me detach my creative motivation from those pesky Instagram numbers – the follower growth on IG that plagues any digital endeavour. Since this is a challenge that many artists who begin sharing their work publicly deal with, I wanted to share this analogy with you in hopes that it may shift you into an ‘appreciation of’ mindset over a ‘validated because’ mindset.

 

 

“While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.”

Top Pic by Anna King on Unsplash

Left pic by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

 

The beginning of that toxic relationship with Instagram number

When I began my journey of painting daily, I watched eagerly as the numbers of people following my work climbed. I remember wanting to check my account first thing in the morning to see if the painting I had posted the day before had gained me new followers. It was a dirty little addiction and I didn’t enjoy the way it felt.

For many artists, myself included, there have been periods where, if the climb wasn’t happening rapidly enough, the motivation to paint just wasn’t there. The ‘who cares anyway’ thought would come to lurk on my shoulder.

I call this a ‘validation because’ mindset.

I would only feel motivated to paint because the external validation was pulling me to do so.

Why a commitment to self helps break the cycle of IG numbers feeding creativity

It was the decision to paint daily no matter what  that eventually helped break my addiction to validation. My commitment to my own challenge was more important than whether many followers latched on or not. Instead of stopping to paint, because of the unsatisfactory follower count, I pushed myself to paint through the feeling, paint in spite of the apparent low validation.

Then things shifted.

With daily work, the momentum of the art snowball takes on a life of its own. Once that happens the numbers stop mattering.

Your mindset shifts too.

I call this stage the ‘appreciation of’ mindset

Here’s the analogy I tap into to explain how daily work will break your attachment to the social media numbers:

With daily painting, that looming number on Instagram, the people following your account (ie your creative work), begin to appear like whether it’s raining outside or not.

While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.

Light rain or no rain (no new followers) = “eh, I can take it easy for a day, I can build slower. There’s no urgency to build the house because no one is coming inside. No one cares.”

Now, if you keep making despite light rain, hard rain or sunshine then suddenly you have a house to keep painting in and you care not for nought about the numbers. They’re just there. Pitter pattering on the window panes of your creative palace.

 

Now, about that shallow self-talk, when we feel like the numbers matter

 I don’t believe that in the heart of an artist, the numbers matter. That’s not initially why you sat down to paint, or to undertake a creative challenge. (and if it is, honestly, I’d suggest asking yourself if you really want to be an artist or if you just want recognition somewhere)

 When creatives look at the numbers, we think they matter, because we think high numbers = you’re a good artist.

 But what you’re really looking for is not approval, it’s signs of growth. 

That’s WHY you started painting. Somewhere deep inside, you, like me, are hungry for growth of self. We’re all just hungry for inner expansion and connection to our purpose. 

Here’s a beautiful Hopi Creation Story about the magic we can only find hidden inside

But it’s in the continuation of painting that we begin to see where the visible growth is happening. It’s in us. And it’s on that canvas or paper.

Stay committed to your creativity.

Before you know it, the numbers won’t matter.

What will matter is your art. And it will matter most to you.

Header image credits:

 

QUICK RECAP

MY METHOD TO STOP INSTAGRAM NUMBERS FROM AFFECTING YOUR CREATIVE MOTIVATION

1. Decide why you want to paint.

2. Commit to painting daily.

3. Painting daily switches your mindset around Instagram number growth from ‘validation because’ to ‘appreciation of’

4. Through painting daily you create a momentum and accountability to self.

5. The growth you’re looking for in the ‘Instagram follower increase’ is really a growth of self.

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x

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Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

MINDFUL MININATURE

Lessons from the dandelion: How to navigate change

I have a feeling that conventionally we view ‘change’ as the BIG unknown and ‘acceptance’ as this little thing we eventually have to give into in order to make the change less uncomfortable.⁠

But what if there’s a different way of looking at it?⁠

What if ‘change’ is this really little unknown and ‘acceptance is the BIG known we can reach to every time a possible change of direction arises?⁠

Change is happening all around us on micro levels. Our hair is growing. The plants are blooming. The leaves are going brown. You meet a new person you didn’t know yesterday. You hear a new song that shifts things for you. ⁠

It’s not that change is the divergence from the consistent ‘normal’ routine. It’s that we tend not to notice the little changes, give them that little nod hello.⁠

I made some sense from it by observing and painting this dandelion.

Here’s how you could view Change
many unknowable little things you can’t control like the seeds of a dandelion⁠

Here’s how you could view Acceptance
one consistently available thing you can tap into to smooth your experience of the ride, like the warm breeze all around you⁠

Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land. ⁠
.⁠
Puts a whole new perspective on having an ‘Easy Breezy’ nature, hey?⁠

 

“Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land.”

Leave me a comment if viewing change this way could help your art process, or other perspectives and thoughts you might have on change.

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Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

MINDFUL MININATURE

Earth Poem: An ode to the beauty and the suffering

Which Earth do you choose to believe in? Which Earth do feed belief into?⁠

I used to believe in only the green, lush and growing Earth, but having painted both, I ‘m coming to understand that we cannot deny the dying Earth amid the living Earth.

I’m still trying to find a way to hold space for this duality in my heart – continue doing and believing and creating towards the beauty and overcoming, but holding with peace that there must always be suffering.⁠ Each new encounter with death reminds me of this.

I wrote an Earth Poem recently to try to speak into these feelings.

Dear person whose name I do not know,⁠
in this community in which we grow,⁠

Dear maker in-spite of all your inflictions,⁠
being creative amidst these restrictions,⁠

Dear giver despite burdened limitations,⁠
feeding, sheltering and providing sanitations,⁠

Dear birds that fly away at dawn and return at dusk,⁠
urging me to discover the things I must,⁠

Dear afraid and hungry, doing the best you can,⁠
along cynics and sceptics, also doing the best they can,⁠

Dear glorious breath I get to draw every day,⁠
Dear ache, dear pain that feels here to stay,⁠

This Earth, will pulse on, no matter what,⁠
She too does the best she can with what she’s got.⁠

There is always sun while there’s moon,⁠
somewhere nourishing rain, yet somewhere monsoon⁠

We’re not in this together in exactly the same way,⁠
But together we are,⁠
There’s no other way.⁠

~ EarthDay 2020⁠
.⁠

To view more paintings inspired by our living planet check out the full 365 gallery.

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Top 8 take-aways from being interviewed by Crush magazine

Top 8 take-aways from being interviewed by Crush magazine

MINDFUL MININATURE

8 creative insights I only uncovered after being interviewed

I recently did an interview with the lovely folks over at Crush magazine (who by the way create drool worthy recipe shoots) about my miniature painting journey, the 365 challenge and what it means to be creative daily.

I was surprised to discover that being interviewed can open up a lot of clarity about your own process. Questions you never ask yourself reveal aspects of the deeper ‘why’ in your journey that were, up until that moment, even hidden from you.

Here are my eight quick take aways from the interview that taught me something I didn’t know I had learnt through the process of painting daily.

 

1. Everything is far richer and more effortless to create and sustain if we cultivate a symbiosis.

2. Your art doesn’t have to please everyone. There are literally different (brush) strokes for different folks.

3. Making it as an artist will be tough but I would rather climb this mountain than sit behind a desk never having even tried. I have to believe that my hiking boots are made of the right stuff to climb my own mountains. If we have innate talents, then we also have the innate strengths to see those into fruition.

Photography by Ashly Newell

4. Nature is it. It’s the beginning and the end of us. She’s our greatest teacher. A silent and all-knowing one at that, who waits for us to find her.

“As they say – no mud no lotus. So even the lows become highs if you’re accepting of what is.

5. Having a sense of momentum and purpose was powerfully focusing. 

6. A self-belief in what you can accomplish if you do it mindfully and  constantly looking for the learning curve – that’s been invaluable.

7. The people in your life who love and care for you, really do want to support you. They get reward out of helping you achieve your thing.

8.  I know the painting is done when it’s looking back at me. It reaches a place when it suddenly has a little life of its own.

Read the full interview and get the context behind all these insights head on over to Crush Magazine.

Big thank you again to Julie Velosa and her team for the feature.

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A key insight from a Hopi Creation Story to inspire you to paint

A key insight from a Hopi Creation Story to inspire you to paint

Insight  from a Hopi Creation Story that will make you want to paint again

Mindful MiniNature

Some Hopi wisdom in tribal stories to get you in a daily creative habit.

Some people learn by example, some learn through teachings. I, and I have a feeling you too, learn through story.  Stories that transcend the fluctuations of societal trends are particularly powerful. Especially when they’re embedded with beautiful imagery and nature’s wisdom.

I came across such a story four years ago, the Hopi Creation Story. It was part of the catalyst for my starting, and more importantly, actually completing a 365 daily painting challenge in 2019. (I’m not a great finisher of things – all the ideas, peter out in the follow through.)

The story is a beautiful story. It’s not long. It’s also not complicated. But it’s powerful.

In a few short lines it helped me understand why doing the daily work of being creative, in my case painting, was the only way I would ever find the nameless fulfilment I was seeking.

 

 

“Doing the daily work of being creative…was the only way I would ever find the nameless fulfilment I was seeking.”

This is the Hopi Creation Story, although some sources say Sioux, . 

Hopi is the shortened form of their full tribal name, Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, which means good in every respect” or “good, peaceable, wise, and knowing.”

 Origin aside, its sentiment offers a universal understanding.

It came to me many moons ago from the pages of one of my favourite magazines, Happinez

CREATION STORY

Creation said:

“I want to hide something from the humans until they are ready for it.

It’s the realisation they create their own reality.”

The eagle said, “Give it to me, I will take it to the moon.”

The Creator said, “No, one day they will go there and find it.”

The salmon said, “I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean.”

The Creator said, “No, they will go there too.”

The buffalo said, “I will bury it on the Great Plains.”

The Creator said, “They will cut into the skin of the earth and find it even there.”

Grandmother who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, “Put it inside them.”

 

And the Creator said, “It is done.”

 

 

 

Does it give you goosebumps? My eyes welled up when I first read it. 

These simple, honest words fell like rain into the dried up, dusty parts of my creative self worth. 

Here’s the thing though. I believe we all have that wise Grandmother living inside us.

It was her wisdom that urged the Creator to hide our ‘something special’ deep inside us. It was her wisdom that knew the only way we would ever be able to find the place where ‘it’ – our truths- were hidden  would be through deep digging.

Here’s how I interpreted The Hopi Creation Story

The only way to dig into the soul is to excavate it. We excavate by releasing what is compacted inside. And the way we humans release is through making, through becoming creators.

She knew, grandmother earth, that only the diligent work of seeking by creating daily, could ever lead us to the truth that we are quite literally the makers of our own reality. 

The revealing part of accepting your responsibility as a maker, is understanding that it’s not so important to put emphasis on what you’re making. The outcome while you make daily is of less relevance that what you uncover while you’re making.  

Think of it this way, ‘the making’ is the shovel, the tool you use to dig. What you end up producing, at least in the beginning, is just the clay you’re excavating. Leave it behind you and continue making, continue to unearth.

I had this story hanging above my desk where I painted every day for a year. Even on the days, especially actually on those days, where it was the last thing I wanted to face, I would read this story again and find the will to dig deeper into my own creation. There was reward and insight at the end of every one of those paintings.

Not one left me less.

 

“only the diligent work of seeking by creating daily, could ever lead us to the truth that we are indeed the makers of our own reality”

 

 

Here’s how you can use the power of this story to be more creative

1. Write it out. Paint it out. But make it tangible.

2. Stick it above your creative space or your writing desk, heck above your yoga mat. Where ever you do the one thing you do that helps you get closer to what brings you joy. It doesn’t matter if you now only see it as “just a hobby”.

3. Now do your creative thing. And do it daily. Don’t make it big. Make it do-able. Most importantly, dig daily.

If you don’t have a creative thing yet or you don’t feel creative at all you can try this free 21 day ‘drawing insight challenge’ under resources that I created. It’s super easy and combines simple quick ball point drawing prompts with some writing prompts to help get your intuition flowing. Something will unlock for you. I believe it with my whole heart.

4. Then, it doesn’t matter what creative thing you’re doing, write. Write write write. They don’t have to be essays. They don’t even have to be good. But writing is the only way your own inner wise Grandmother can start sharing her wisdom with you. You will be humbled and blown away by the realisations only applicable to you and only knowable by you that are waiting to be tapped into. I’ve been looking for a long time, and the only way I’ve found to access these realisations is through the daily task of creating and writing. I’m not the first to advocate this by a long shot. If you want more proof of the power of writing pick up ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron.

 

You’ve got to start digging somewhere. It may as well be inward.

 

References:

www.religioustolerance.org
www.reviveyoursoul.co.uk
Womb Wisdom: Awakening the Creative and Forgotten Powers of the Feminine, by Padma Aon Prakasha, Anaiya Aon Prakasha

The Hopi (The History and Culture of Native Americans) by Barry Pritzker (z-lib.org)

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be so grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x

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