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Overcoming Creative Hurdles

Overcoming Creative Hurdles

Many things prevent us from being creative. Here are a few, with suggestions for overcoming them.

Time. We all lead busy lives, but if creativity is a priority you can find time for it. Wake up a few minutes early, watch less TV, or do it while you watch TV. Give up time spent on other things, or incorporate creativity WITH those things. I sometimes sketch while having my morning coffee and waiting to drive the kids to school.

Skill Level. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and feeling like you lack the skills to finish. I recommend pausing your project and using the available online resources. A quick YouTube video, followed by a practice session, can get you back on track.

Confidence. You may think it’s not worth it to spend your time on creativity because only the “talented” should spend time being creative. Should only yogis bother doing yoga, or olympic runners spend time running? There are benefits to creativity at every level!

Motivation. Wanting to be creative and actually doing it are not the same thing. Find ways to motivate yourself. Work on things that excite you. Participate in challenges. Create schedules and deadlines. Break down bigger projects into small tasks and assign a due date to each task.

Procrastination. I can spend hours planning in my notebook the creative projects I’m going to do, or next steps with current projects. The longer I procrastinate, the harder it is to break out of it and actually create. I take advantage of breaks in my day to change gears and stop procrastinating.

Distraction. There is so much distracting us. Set a daily reminder on your phone. “Were you creative today?” My reminder goes off at noon and reads, “Did you draw today?” It reminds me of what I want to do.

Focus. Have too many ideas and can’t focus on one? Try my Creative Ideas Worksheet. It will help you prioritize, focus, and finally make progress with your creative projects!

What hurdles get in the way of your creativity? I’d love to hear!

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Practice Creativity vs. “Creative Practice”

Practicing creativity not creative practice
“Creative Practice” is one of those terms I find intimidating, similar to calling oneself an artist. Technically I guess I have a creative practice. I sit down probably five days a week and draw and paint. Calling it “practicing creativity” is less intimidating. I’m simply sitting down, experimenting, and exploring. Anyone can do it!

I share creative tips and inspiration in my weekly newsletter. Sign up now and get the following freebies:

  • Watercolor Quick Start Guide – everything you need to know to get started in watercolor
  • 50 ideas on what to draw or paint
  • US Flag with fireworks clipart

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I’m behind but it’s okay #the100dayproject

work in progress Jones Beach State park map
I’m on day 67 of #the100dayproject, while most people are on day 75. Thankfully every email they send says, “Wherever you are is a great place to be. Truly. You’re on your own path and your own timeline.” This is great, because otherwise being “behind” might cause me to give up. I’m more than halfway there, I can’t give up!

Even if the 100 days doesn’t end the way I wanted or expected, the process and the self discovery is definitely worth it. I’ve always enjoyed working within a theme and working on illustrations for beach locations is right up my alley. But, what isn’t up my alley, is painting buildings – all those straight lines! The other aspect of my map making project that I struggle with is the computer time. I love painting in my sketchbook, but once I’m on the computer, placing the illustrations on my map background, then it feels like work.

I thought I’d have more completed maps by now. Instead, I have too many illustrations that I have a hard time fitting on a map. 😂

I have a lot of respect for those that create custom illustrated maps as their business. For now I’m still too intimidated to add custom maps to my Etsy shop. Truth be told, I’m probably more intimidated by the “commission” idea than the illustrated map idea. Maybe the next 33 days (or more) will boost my confidence.

Click here to visit my Etsy shop where I sell digital prints, clipart, invitations, painting tutorials, and even personalized family trees!
Illustrated Fire Island map | Day 25 #the100dayproject
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Finishing your creative projects is important

Finishing creative projects
It’s such a good feeling to finish a creative project and motivation for the next one! I used to be awful about following through on my creative ideas. I would start a project excited about my idea and as soon as things got hard or weren’t easily working out like I envisioned I’d give up.
The finished painting:
Jones Beach jetty painting by Eileen McKenna
Where I started from today:
Jones Beach jetty painting in progress by Eileen McKenna
When I started my blog – My Creative Resolution, the first thing I did was pull out unfinished projects and finished them. I didn’t plan it that way I just did it. In doing this I learned so much about pushing through the hard parts of a project and I learned how rewarding and motivating it is to finish. I learned what turned out to be a crucial skill in the beginning of my creative journey. I also learned that done is better than perfect and never finished. And any “mistakes” I make are just lessons for the next project. If you read this far I hope I inspired you to pull out a neglected project and give it another try! Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna if you do. 😀
Have so many ideas you don’t know where to start? Gain focus with my Creative Ideas planning worksheet – Download it in my Etsy shop here.
Creative Ideas Planning Worksheet pdf for when you have too many creative project ideas
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Too Many Creative Ideas? Here’s How to Gain Focus.

Too Many Creative Ideas? Here’s How to Gain Focus.
As creatives we usually have no shortage of ideas. This is definitely true for me. I never have artist’s block. What I experience is feeling overwhelmed by ideas and not being able to pick a focus and direction.

Gain focus with my Creative Ideas planning worksheet – Download it in my Etsy shop here.
Creative Ideas Planning Worksheet pdf for when you have too many creative project ideas

Before my blog and my creative resolution, I had many unfinished projects lying around. Having the commitment of this blog helped me learn to finish projects. In doing this, I also learned how motivating a sense of accomplishment is! It didn’t really matter what the final result was. What mattered was that I had an idea and executed it to completion. Armed with the learning experience of that finished project, I could decide on the next one.

Now that I’m a bit obsessed with accomplishing things, feeling overwhelmed by a huge list of ideas is very unsettling. This is what I typically do to work through too many ideas.

1. Write down every idea. On one or two pages, write down each idea on a line, one after another. Just getting them out of my head is a bit of a relief.

2. Pause for a moment, drink a coffee, and then read through the list.

3. Prioritize the items on the list. A book I loved – Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – recommends labeling items as A, B, and C. A is the highest priority.

4. Number the A’s. Once the items are assigned A B or C, number the projects labeled A (priority). On a new page write the highest ranked A items, leaving several lines underneath each project. Write a few tasks necessary for this project under the project. This doesn’t have to include every task to complete the project, just the next few steps.

5. Write a To Do list. Because I typically have a few projects going on at once, I take the top tasks under the priority items and create a To Do list.

6. Pick one To Do list item and act on it and complete it.

7. Celebrate the completion of a task by checking it off the list.

8. Move on to the next item on the To Do list. Complete all the items on the list.

9. Create a new To Do list. Once the original to do list is completed, go back to the task lists under the priority projects and use some of the remaining tasks to create another To Do list.

10. Repeat creating To Do lists (and accomplishing the items on them) until the priority projects are completed.

11. Go back to the idea list, once the priority projects are completed. Read through and see if the A B C ratings you gave the remaining projects still apply. Adjust as needed and then go back and repeat steps 4 – 11. Some projects on your idea list will cease to interest you. Cross them off when that happens.

This process gives my mind clarity and then I can focus. I designed a Creative Ideas Worksheet that’s pretty and easy to use! Download it in my Etsy shop here.
Creative Ideas Planning Worksheet pdf for when you have too many creative project ideas

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!

creative newsletter featuring artists crafts tutorials books shows and more | creative inspiration

Too Many Creative Ideas? Here’s How to Gain Focus.


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Patriotic Paper Quilt activity for kids and adults

Patriotic Paper Quilt craft activity for kids and adults for Memorial Day July 4th Labor Day
You know when you have an idea and you’re like, “This is such a great idea.” But then you don’t get it done in time? Well last March I had the idea to create a paper quilt printable kit. The idea was based on a paper quilt I created back in the early days of my blog. I designed the paper quilt to look St. Patrick’s Day-ish, with shades of green and shamrocks. Every year before St. Patrick’s Day this post is popular. A paper quilt is a fun project, especially for non-sewers like me!

This year I thought wouldn’t it be fun if I designed four patterned papers, created a template, and instructions and added this digital paper quilt kit to my Etsy shop. Unfortunately St. Patrick’s Day came and went. Then I thought, “How about an Easter quilt?” Then Easter passed. “How about a Spring paper quilt?” I think you get the idea here.

I completed enough of the work with creating the template, etc. that I couldn’t let the idea die. Plus, I really think it’s a fun project for kids and adults, especially for kids with the component of matching the correct pattern with the correct letter on the template. And it looks good! A fun project that can be used for decoration or as a background in scrapbooking or matting a photo. I really believe in the idea.

With Memorial Day here, followed by July 4th, and then Labor Day, I thought, “How about a Patriotic Paper Quilt Kit?” Yes! And guess what? It’s ready! I hope you and your family will give it a try! Download it now in my Etsy shop.

4th of July | Independence Day kids craft activitycreative newsletter featuring artists crafts tutorials books shows and more | creative inspiration

 


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Free Watercolor USA Flag & Fireworks

Free Watercolor USA Flag & Fireworks clipart for scrapbooking blog and social media

Sign up for my newsletter here and receive the high resolution Flag & Fireworks clipart jpg image in your inbox. It’s great for blogs, social media, scrapbooking, creating invites and more! My newsletter goes out every two weeks and is a collection of all the things inspiring me:

  • artists and makers
  • places
  • crafts and all different art mediums
  • tutorials
  • podcasts
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  • shows
  • and more!

The newsletter arrives early Saturday mornings, just in time to enjoy with your coffee. My hope is, by sharing what is inspiring me, I’ll inspire you! Sign up for the newsletter here.

You can browse past newsletter issues here. Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time.

I look forward to sharing with you!
😀 Eileen
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Breathing new life into my 100 day project

Jones Beach State Park pencil
With a few days til the halfway mark, I had lost interest in my #the100dayproject theme – map making. I considered totally changing my theme but then I thought that wouldn’t be a 100 day project it would be two 50 day projects.

I love the daily illustrating part of my map making project. The computer part of putting it all together isn’t as much fun, probably because it feels like work.

I have a draft of my Charleston map, which I’d like to add a few elements to. I still have to finish my Point Lookout map (on the computer). My first map of Fire Island is completed. So how to breathe some excitement back into my project?

With a new map and a location I know well!

Today we went for a walk at Jones Beach State Park – the location of my new map. I took a bunch of photos, wrote a list of elements to illustrate, and I’m excited to start painting tomorrow!

creative newsletter featuring artists crafts tutorials books shows and more | creative inspiration
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Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” where I feature artists and makers, and link to inspiring art, design, and craft, inspiring places, interesting books, movies, and more. It’s a collection of all the things inspiring me delivered to your inbox every two weeks. Click here to sign up.


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Sea Life Bedroom

Sea Life Bedroom | Kid Ocean Bedroom ideas fabrics color palette
When my son was small, he loved all the creatures in the sea. He carried around plastic whales, sharks, sea turtles and knew the names and types of all of them. The ocean is a wondrous place! I’m so pleased to announced my latest collection of fabric celebrating life in the sea. Have fun with the blue and turquoise palette I’ve created. Mix and match the fabrics. Add a sprinkling of the coral and mustard accent colors as desired. Enjoy picking out ocean inspired accessories to add to your room.

Large Jellyfish fabric | sea life bedroom ideas Sea Turtle turquoise fabric | ocean bedroom ideas
The Sea Life fabric can be ordered from my Spoonflower shop.

Sea turtle bedding by Eileen McKenna
Want ready made – order bedding, window panels, and more? Order from Roostery. Wallpaper is available too!

Shart art print | sea life decor ocean decor
Add sea life art to your child’s walls. This shark print is a available for download in my Etsy shop. Download and print at home, or send to a local or online print shop.


Look at some of the fun sea life accessories I found on Amazon. Click the image to learn more.

I’d love to see your room design! Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.

This posts contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Easy Starfish Watercolor Art Lesson for Beginners PDF Tutorial

Easy Starfish Watercolor Painting for Beginners | Learn Watercolor Techniques
The “Easy Starfish Watercolor Painting for Beginners Step by Step Printable PDF Project Instructions” is a fun project to help you learn watercolor. This two page pdf contains:

  • Supply list
  • Step by step instructions with color photos
  • Techniques
    • Taping your paper
    • Wet on Wet painting
    • Bleed and blend background
    • Different ways to apply paint
    • Building up the layers
    • How to soften hard edges
  • Bonus starfish template for tracing

Visit my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/EileenMcKennaArt to download the Easy Starfish Watercolor project pdf.

New to watercolor? The perfect companion to the Easy Watercolor Starfish Project is the “What you need to know to get started with watercolor” pdf. It’s the perfect introduction to watercolor. And you can download it for FREE by signing up for my newsletter. Sign up for the “My Creative Collection” Newsletter by clicking here!
The newsletter is a curated collection of all the things inspiring me and comes out every two weeks. Just in time for your Saturday morning coffee, you’ll get to read about other artists, different art mediums, places, all things creative! The newsletter contains links to books I’ve read, shows I’m loving, tutorials, interesting videos, and more! Sign up now for a free download off “What you need to know to get started with watercolor.”

Beginner Watercolor Painting Instructional PDF "What you need to know to get started with Watercolor" Beginner Printable Introduction