We’ve all been there before – when facing a looming deadline for a research paper or work presentation – we somehow find ourselves binge-watching episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix or re-alphabetizing our book shelves. We have every intention of doing the thing…eventually. We even set arbitrary deadlines for ourselves: I’ll do it at 11 o’clock. And when 11 o’clock comes and goes and we still haven’t done the thing, we move the finish line. I’ll start tomorrow. I’ll start Monday. I’ll start the first of May. I’ll start in the New Year. In the meantime, we stew in anxiety, guilt and self-hatred. Why can’t I do the thing? What’s wrong with me? Will I ever do the thing? Can I even do the thing? Continue reading “Why We Procrastinate. (Pt 1)”
When I was sixteen, I was a fan of a one-man-band, Dashboard Confessional. My friends and I traveled miles to tiny clubs all up and down the east coast, stood shivering outside in line in winter in bad neighborhoods, got our ribs bruised up against the partition in mosh pit, covered our backpacks and messenger bags in band pins from Hot Topic, went thirsty or hungry or without sleep – all to hear the soul-bearing lyrics of someone we considered to be a modern day poet. Continue reading “SELL OUT: Does Art Suffer from Success?”
We’ve been taught to think that perfectionism is a good trait. No one ever goes into a job interview promising to do less-than-perfect work. In fact, potential job candidates are often coached to answer interview questions about their greatest weakness as, “I’m a perfectionist in everything I do.” But is perfect attainable? Or even desirable? Or is perfect holding us back? Is our mental image of that “perfect” thing keeping us from doing anything at all?
In Ruby Sparks, Calvin’s Creation of the Perfect, Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl Backfires when his Creation starts to have a life and feelings of her own. Continue reading “5 Ways Perfectionism is Keeping you from Living your Creative Life.”
A few months ago, the idea of an “Artist and Writer’s retreat” wasn’t remotely on my radar. I was about to finish a one-year teaching contract in Korea and was looking for my next job. Would I stay in Korea, go back to Japan, return to the States or go somewhere completely new? The possibilities stretched out before me, but none of them felt right. Something in me resisted the idea of entering a classroom again. I loved teaching and my kids, but I needed a break. Not a vacation, crammed with sight-seeing. My soul was crying for a return to itself.
Five years ago, I was working in a beige cubicle with no windows in downtown Chicago. There was nothing wrong with my job on paper – the pay was good, I had fabulous coworkers, a healthy working environment and a relatively stress-free commute. Every morning, I arrived early to enjoy my Venti Starbucks coffee before my coworkers began to trickle in and I thought, well, it’s not happiness, exactly, but I’m content enough…I think? I didn’t technically have anything to complain about. I had job security and health insurance. I didn’t bring my work home. So, I gained a few pounds from being largely sedentary and snacking on the pastries that inevitably filled the break-room at lunch. So, there were lulls of boredom or stress when working up to deadlines. So, it wasn’t my life’s passion…
My cubicle in Chicago (with bonus cupcakes – thanks Dad!)