Saturday, 4 November 2017

⭐️Can you feel the power?⭐️

It's powerful stuff!

You may feel it calling to you, even though you haven't got a clue which creative outlet will let you shine your light. 

When I finished my drama degree, I was obsessed with writing a play, only I didn't have a voice - I had NOTHING to say. I kept a folder with ideas in and the start of scripts but I never wrote more than 2 pages of any! I could think of situations and characters but not a story or what was going to happen, yet I still felt compelled to try. I started to question my intellect, telling myself stories that I was the least academic member of my family, that I was thick, that I was failing! I told myself that because spelling isn't my forte I couldn't write - yet I'm writing this right now, indeed writing is now surprisingly to me, a large part of what I do. 
And yet, even though I was pretty horrible to myself in the inner voice department; that little spark of creative power didn't give up, it always shone through, the drive to make things and draw was always there - even at the hardest times. 

Especially at the hardest times. 

When it came to writing it was as if I was completely clogged up. My soul knew I had a voice in there but my ego put every obstacle in the way to prevent it from becoming a reality. 

 But allowing yourself to feel it and (even harder) do something about it is a big challenge for all of us. 
Part of me, for a long time, didn't feel like it was really possible or that I truly deserved to allow myself to be happy doing something I love! Perhaps something bad would happen if I fully 100% indulged in what I truly needed to do? 
What I needed to do turned out to be embracing myself and my creativity and not to apologise for it. I got to this  realisation through returning to painting and less expectedly receiving coaching - by addressing a whole package of self care options. Taking back some control. 

The unexpected 'Brucey Bonus' I got from allowing myself to try lots of creative pathways, was that I was reunited with myself because of my creative searching and my explorations outside my comfort zone - where all the good stuff happens! I grew to like, no LOVE and accept myself again. I don't want to dwell for too long on when I stopped liking and loving myself but it's important to say that I did.

But choosing a life as a creative isn't an easy choice, especially if you are ambitious and goal driven ( code for tough on yourself). 
What I am coming to understand more and more is that it is in the ACT of making and creating where the JOY happens, it's in the PROCESS, nestled right in the middle of the DOING.

 And that's why I feel so passionately about helping women reconnect with their creativity. It's one thing to crave a creative life or career (what are we really craving? A glamorous title? A fantasy that only exists for the few?) - but the reality can be tough, it's hard to make a living solely by being an artist or creative; it is possible but the reality is that you will probably need a part time job too - which is fine, but just factor that it, at least until you hit the big time!

Whilst a creative career isn't a certainty (I have days where I question my choice believe me) what is CERTAIN is that who ever we are, we all have access to beauty and creativity if we choose to EXPLORE, LEARN, WORK AT IT and ultimately GROW. And I believe it is GROWTH which is the ultimate reward.

Being creative is completely free and at the end of our fingertips. It's a gift.
Access isn't restricted to a select few, although it probably can feel that way. 
This enrichment can then be applied to all areas of life. For example, I didn't know that the act of drawing an illustration after the birth of my daughter would lead me here where I'm embarking on training to do a coaching qualification. 


Art and creativity should enhance life, they shouldn't take away from it or make us sad. That's not its point.  

It was during my MA in fine art that I became acutely aware that each one of us on the course was working through some personal issue. And that's because life and our creative impulses are so intertwined and connected, when we make art we tap into our true selves.

Your soul's purpose is shining through right now, even if you can't feel it. That's your power

If you want to find out more about reconnecting to your creative purpose then I would love you to join the creative conversation over on facebook in my group Create, Make & Shine ⭐️ xxx

©fionameakin 2017

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A Mum Who Draws #1

"Then it dawned on me. Have I been sort of hiding?! Have I been waiting for a 'better day?' "

April Showers

I'm sitting in the front porch at a little table that I'm renovating. It belonged to my grandma and is covered in sheets of paper with my daughter is drawings on. It is raining outside. True 'Manchester' drizzle. My little girl is standing at the top of the drive in the rain. But, despite my best efforts to advise her that we should wait for a 'better' day, she's not perturbed.

"Come and buy a drawing!" She calls. "Drawings for sale. They're one of a kind!" 
I think we have a natural sales woman here!

My heart is bursting with pride at her guts and natural enthusiasm. She is only 6 and so brave to put herself out there! Would I do it?! Am I trying as hard as she is?

The one problem is that she hasn't made a sale...yet. Charlotte's showed up but where are her customers? It's Good Friday. People are lying in. People are tired. It's raining...many factors are at play.

On reflection, what a good example of the pit falls of business.

If you're struggling to maintain a steady flow of customers maybe it's because the conditions aren't right? And also if they don't know you're there how are you going to sell to them?

So, after about 20 minutes and hearing "I'm getting FRUSTRATED now," from the top of our drive I felt it was time to gently explain that maybe there was a reason. That it wasn't that people didn't LIKE what she was selling. Actually there WAS no one there to like them.

I suggested that when it was nicer weather we would set out a stall at the top of the drive with a nice table cloth and some bunting and we would tell the neighbours we know well.

Light bulb moment! There are some (common sense) but actionable points I can follow in my own work.

Firstly, be more VISIBLE.

Secondly, make your work more ATTRACTIVE - i.e. know your target market.

And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly - MARKETING/ADVERTISING.

Then it dawned on me. Have I been sort of hiding?! Have I been waiting for a "better day?"

I couldn't have asked for a more vivid illustration of how it sometimes feels to be carving out a living as an artist than what my gorgeous daughter was showing me. The childlike optimism of creating. The knowledge that you have something important and special to contribute and that you're part of a larger, creative community.

Sometimes it feels like you are standing out in the rain shouting 'Buy my work. You won't regret it!' Whilst you and your work become steadily soggier! ;)

Now, this isn't intended to be a rant or a moaning post. I don't want you to feel sorry for me, or yourself (if you're on your creative journey) I think it's just a really good example of not giving up and made me question why, as adults, can we be so fearful?

So thank you beautiful daughter for giving me a wakeup call, a reminder to get my welly boots and waterproof on. To slip the illustrations into a water proof pocket and stand there anyway!

I guess you never know who will walk by?

I've recently set up a facebook group called Create, Make & Shine, for women wanting to reconnect with their creative roots. I will be teaching and offering free and paid resources and group programs there. It's a supportive space, where women are exploring the possibilities around their creativity and creative careers. We would love to see you there!

Fi x

p.s. We quickly got inside to avoid the worsening rain. Charlotte was fine after a cuddle and a hot chocolate and, of course, we are going for round two when the weather improves/we send flyers to the neighbours! :) We'll keep you updated!

(All content copyright Fiona Meakin 2017. This is an excerpt from my blog series 'A Mum Who Draws.')