Why I Need Community to be Creative

April 17, 2018

Last summer, I abandoned a creative project that I was really excited about.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized why: I needed community to be creative.

Did the Road Runner ever crash?  Fall? Get smashed by a boulder? Not that I remember. His only goal was to get the coyote in trouble. To get him pummeled, smooshed and to die over and over.

Which one are you? The Road Runner or the Coyote? Do you feel like you’re chasing after something you can never obtain, or running from something that you keep avoiding?

This past summer, I definitely felt more like the Coyote. I chased after my artistic dreams and started a mini project for myself which I titled “The Canvas Project.” The Canvas Project was my summer experiment, my master class. It was my exploration of my art and myself. Music, writing, drawing and painting all ready to come alive in my daily schedule with no pressure to produce—only to explore. Classes, rehearsal, exposure and experience were all part of my project. I would take guitar lessons, buy a sketchbook with nice pencils and draw every day. Maybe I would attend the opera, dust off my musical theatre repertoire and get my vocal chords back in shape.

The Canvas Project is a personal experience with no flash and no show. Although the key to a successful master class is to have a final performance, I decided I would do a “living room” performance. I tossed around ideas like a mini art gallery in my home, playing my guitar, and sharing my writings and an informal musical theatre concert. The only guests invited would be those who love me “no matter what” so that the accolades and applause I received would not be based on the level of my talent and production but based on the risks I took and the creative expression of my gifts.

Sounds like a beautiful idea, right?

I mapped out a structure; I created the name and set an agenda. I decorated a fancy binder, interviewed guitar teachers and texted my vocal coach. I even made a logo. (The entrepreneur in me!)

Then I made the mistake. I told too many people. I raised the bar along with the risk. I shared it with my team who loved the idea and encouraged me to document my journey so that I could share this process with others. The excitement grew. We brainstormed ideas like courses, products, canvas bags, a book, a brand of its own—and I hadn’t even started my day one! So guess what happened? I froze. All of a sudden, it became really big. The Canvas Project became more important than my journey and required a huge production that demanded tangible results. I got stuck and couldn’t move.

So after many stops and starts, not to mention distractions and excuses, I started again. But this time, I realized that I couldn’t do it alone: That’s why I started my Facebook Group, Creative Uncovery. Instead of having an audience for my artistic pursuits, I have a support system to cheer me on.

This time I am taking the pressure off. I am calling it what it is and let it grow organically.  I’m doing it for the artist in me who is throwing a temper tantrum and needs to have more space in my life. My canvas project is allowing my artist to get up from the time-out chair and go wild, to play, to run, and explore without boundaries. “To dance like no one’s watching.” I know I’m not the only one who craves this. What’s your craving?  Whether it’s art, a book, a business idea—or even the deep desire to travel across the world and serve those in need—there is something in you that is BIG and wants to get out.

My hope is that my journey with all of its challenges and triumphs becomes a blueprint for yours, and that by supporting each other, we express and create more than we ever imagined possible. I have no idea where I’m going and definitely no idea where I’ll land, but I know I have to move, and I know I have to create.

So: What if it’s not a bad thing for the Road Runner to be chased by the Coyote? Is your passion chasing you, but you’re running from it?

Because my artistic passion always looms behind me, I have realized that I am not the Coyote chasing my dream, but rather being chased by it!  I am the Road Runner, relentlessly pursued by my Coyote (my artistic passions). Even though the Coyote chases after me, it continues to fall off a cliff, run into an anvil or get smashed by a boulder. My first attempt at the Canvas Project was one of these casualties.

All the Road Runner has to do is stop, turn and face the Coyote, the chasing will stop and the relentless ceases. All I have to do is face my passion and live the purpose. (With a little help from my community.)

Maybe they’re really two parts of the same person. The Road Runner and the Coyote, yin and yang, the push and the pull—two opposite halves making a balanced whole.

Let’s face our creative purposes together! If you’d like to join Creative Uncovery, we’d love to have you! Click here to become part of the community.

"Elle is an engaging and dynamic speaker! Her energy and positivity is infectious."

— Marlene Gordon, Senior Vice President and Global Chair of Bacardi's Women in Leadership- Bacardi USA

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