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Creative Wounds - Curiously Designed

Healing Creative Wounds

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I am a member of Liz Kohler Brown’s online community known as “The Studio” and am taking a course about finding your artistic style. One of the lessons in the course is about finding and healing your creative wounds. So of course it got me to thinking.

What are some of my creative wounds from childhood and adulthood that might be holding me back from really “going for it” and pursuing a career as an illustrator and working to build a creative business? And what are different ways I can talk to myself about these wounds as well as begin to heal them?

Setting Boundaries & Pricing My Services

When I first decided to go out on my own as a freelancer I decided to start a business as a web designer. I had no idea how to start a business and quite frankly, wasn’t very good at the “business” part. For so long I made very little money yet busted my butt and worked long hours, sometimes for very unappreciative clients. A lot of them were very demanding and didn’t understand that every seemingly small change in the design brief meant hours and days worth of extra work.

I was very bad at creating boundaries and saying, “No.” And I paid a heavy price physically, emotionally and financially.

Healing thought: I can research and learn how to price my work. I can create boundaries that are healthy without feeling guilty. It just takes practice.

I Feel Invisible

I have a hard time “being seen.” I’ve talked about this before on my blog. Obviously in order to be a successful illustrator, I have to be SEEN. I have to be willing to be seen. The act of being seen has multiple layers and meanings. Literally, you have to be found online by potential clients and companies who might want to license your work. Through social media, my website and blog, marketing and more, I have to be found – and be seen.

The other layer of “being seen” is being seen for who you really are and the type of artist you really are. This is hard and can be very vulnerable. Being seen triggers fear of rejection. But without it, I’m doomed to mediocrity and failure.

Healing thought: I don’t have to be perfect to be seen. I don’t have to wait until I am “fully formed” before I put myself out there. But I also don’t have to go from zero to 60 in under a second. I can take it slow, dip my toe in, find supportive people and ask for feedback. I can learn that it is a process and through time I can learn to little-by-little feel more comfortable about sharing my work and myself. I am doing both in this very blog.

It’s Too Late

There is a nagging voice inside of me that says I’ve waited too long. I’ve wasted too much time and have made too many mistakes and shitty decisions that led me down a dead-end road. I suppose the trick to healing this is to forgive myself and hopefully find the nugget of gold in all that “aimless wandering” that led me here. But this is a tough one. Healing thought: It’s never too late to embrace my creative journey. And my journey will not look like someone else’s. Focus on my own growth and moving forward. 

You Can’t Make Money as an Artist

I grew up in a family where I received very little support and few resources from my family. I was basically left to my own devices.

When my mother did give an opinion about my interest in art, it was always to ask why and how I expected to actually make a living doing that. I never took myself seriously as an artist or the idea of being a working artist.

My entire career danced around the idea of doing art but never actually embraced it fully. I was an art therapist, an art teacher, a high school technology and design teacher, an eLearning developer, a web designer. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I finally stopped and asked myself why – why was I so afraid to actually pursue this as a business and career.

Referring back to my previous wound (it’s too late), you can see there is a lot of healing that needs to be done around this as well.

Healing thought: Of course I can make money as an artist. It may not be a lot, but I’m already doing so. I can grow my income little by little as I learn how to find multiple paths of passive income for selling and licensing my art.

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Hi, I'm Kerry
Hi, I'm Kerry

...of Curiously Designed. This blog documents my journey as I figure out how to finally pursue a long-held dream of being a working illustrator and designer.

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