“We are all thinking, willing, knowing, conscious centers of Life.
We are surrounded by, immersed in, and there is flowing through us a creative something… call it what you will.”
— Ernest Holmes
What if is another one of my go-to journal prompts.
Today it came it really handy, because last night I became convinced that this whole project is stupid and meaningless.
My night dreams were filled with lost luggage, missed transit connections, and endless subways in foreign cities.
Before bed, I spent time writing down my dream of the next two years for my blog. My teacher encouraged me to dream even bigger than I dare. She talked about how we limit our dreams.
Then I freaked out over the gap I felt between where I am now, and the bigger dream that I allowed myself to consider.
Simultaneously, I felt like a failure (at everything, not just blogging) and guilty for wanting more.
I thought about going back and editing my homework, ratcheting down my dream.
Interesting how I felt more shame about sharing my ambitions and desires than about my failures. Hmnnn…
Later, I ended up crying over a dumb misunderstanding that hit me sideways.
Sobbing, really. Feeling the despair I felt as a throwaway kid in stuck in another orphanage. A kid with dreams bigger than I dared ever say out loud. Which is when and where I started keeping visual journals in earnest.
I went to bed with puffy eyes and a clogged head from crying. Afraid of having to post again today, and it being terrible, stupid, meaningless.
This morning/afternoon as I wrote and re-wrote this post several times from scratch, (not including all the mental writing I did while not sleeping) What if…kept coming back to me as a prompt.
Devotion was also on my mind. Thinking about students in my workshops or readers commenting on my blog, who are deeply struggling with their right to create.
How I feel devoted to helping people who want to create, but don’t think they are creative.
How I feel devoted to helping people deal with the fear that seems to accompany all great love:
- fear that we’ll fail, something will go terribly wrong,
- fear that we’ll actually succeed,
- fear that we won’t follow through,
- fear that we’ll sell out,
- fear that we’re just not really creative, so why bother?
- fear that whatever we make will be stupid and meaningless, even if we end up doing it.
- etc. ad infinitum.
What if we all just accepted that everyone is creative?
What if we didn’t listen to those ideas we heard long ago from mostly well-meaning people, that have turned into internal voices that are critical and destructive:
You’re not creative. Your sister is the talented one. How can you be a writer, you can’t even spell? Art is a terrible way to make a living. Do something sensible. Have something to fall back on. How can you be an artist if you can’t even go to school? You need to money or someone to support you to be a serious artist.
What if we used our creativity to prove it?
What if we just wrote down whatever the naysayers say (in our head, or in our lives) in a private journal?
What if we labeled that page something like:
Just doing that, writing down the critical thoughts, and then moving on and doing your work, is huge.
It tells you subconscious mind, and the impossible-to-reach-with-logic Lizard Brain, that you mean business, that whatever tries to stop you from creating isn’t a big deal.
Here are the steps:
1. Hear the critical voice.
2. Write down what it says.
Thanks for sharing is the attitude in which you…
3. Move on. Do your work.
What if... is a prompts I play with a lot in my own journals, here’s a page where I did the steps, then collaged and painted over it all later:
You stopped efforting?
You allowed yourself to simplify?
What if you let Devotion be your guide?
What if you came out of your spiritual closet?
What if you got honest about the things that make you feel like a failure? If you just wrote down those things they way you do in the Naysayers Say exercise?
What if you weren’t afraid to tell the stories that are really alive inside of you right now – but do it live, on your blog, instead of just in your notebooks?
These are the What if questions that flow to me today in my journal.
Do you get a sense of where this kind of inquiry can take you?
It may not look like much on the surface, but I had to stop myself from erasing a couple of those What if statements.
I am right on my own creative edge. It’s uncomfortable.
This morning and through the afternoon I wrote, erased and re-wrote this post
six seven times.
Now I’m just going to press publish. And let it be.
What if your fear was really a compass in disguise?
Your turn. Go.
Today’s Journal Prompts:
What do you call the creative force?
How can you tell when you’re in creative flow?
What makes the conditions of creative flow possible?
Play with What IF…then report back.
Marketing Department Sez:
What if…you allowed yourself even more creative “indulgence”?
If you resonate with what we’re doing here today, I really think you’ll love The Creative Sketchbook online course.
I want to help you give voice to your creativity. That’s why I do what I do.
You, too, can create freely in your own beautiful style.
When we create freely, whole new worlds of possibility open up for us. In ways we cannot plan or expect.
The Creative Sketchbook helps you excavate your own true desires, innate wisdom, and intuition, with ease, gentleness and joy.
This workshop is a foundational course for The Creative Sketchbook Teacher Training.
Why bother keeping an art journal or sketchbook? Yeah, I used to ask myself that from time to time, too.
The Journal Prompts in this Post Are Included in the FLOW: 30 Day Journal Project Printables
When I offered the first 30 Day Journal Project, I found that having the prompts printed out in advance helped me get right into my journaling for the day.
I think of this as lazy journaling. 🙂
Fill in the blank, and you’re done!
After I made these for myself, I prettied up the design (and added another layout) so you could use them, too. This is what I’m using for my own journaling.
There is another layout for cutting and pasting into an existing journal.
Get ALL of the FLOW 30 days of prompts & quotes (plus one bonus day) with 2 different layout designs.
FLOW: PRINTABLES | $18
No more blank page. No more writer’s block.
Whether you are brand new to writing or journaling or simply want to break out of a rut in your creative practice, these printable prompts make it fast and easy to get going.
See All 30 Day Journal Printable Designs
There are four different sets of 30 Day Journal Project Printables, beautifully designed, each with a different theme.
Use the printables on your own, or with The 30 Day Journal Workshop
Come on over to my studio in Mexico (via video!) where I’ll show you how to journal with intention and focus as we create two different kinds of handmade journals. It all happens in The 30 Day Journal Project Workshop, designed for experienced and brand new journalers alike!