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February 19, 2013

Tree Draft


Not long ago, I decided to paint the insides of the closets.  Yeah, I know how that makes me sound.

Thing is, I’ve painted everything else in the Treehouse – the closets were the last frontier, and I left them for almost 2 years after I finished the rest.  They were grody.  Still, I avoided painting the last closet for a good month after I finished the one before it.  Deep down, I didn’t really WANT the last closet to be finished, because then there would be nothing left to paint.

But then I got this idea that I should paint white sillouettes on the green closet door fronts.  This was actually a trick I played on myself.  It would help me avoid painting that closet just a little bit longer.

But then, I decided I had to design the sillouettes myself.


Swirl 1


Music has always been my first love.  When I finally decided to chuck my fears aside and just go for it, I went full-on.  So much to learn, and I felt so far behind the young ones who knew a hundred times as much as I did about sound gear, gigging, instruments.  So it had been years since I’d drawn anything seriously, or painted it, for that matter.  In fact, I had not done much creating at all in a few years.  I was single-mindedly focused on music.  And in my quest to improve my skills, I even let songwriting start to slide.

The truth is, I was starting to be afraid I WASN’T really that creative.  I usually wound up performing other people’s songs, and often thought them better than mine.  Writing songs didn’t come any easier to me than learning the guitar.  And in the years when I HAD been drawing and painting, I was obsessed with a kind of realism in my work.  It was hard for me to break out and just do something out of my head (or so I told myself).


swirls set 1


The sillouettes never manifested themselves on my closet doors.  I had given myself permission to create crazy, silly stuff I’d never done before – originally with the intent of improving my surroundings.  Once I’d started, I couldn’t stop drawing.  I still haven’t.  I’ve been drawing up a storm here at the Treehouse, and getting back into other creative passions.  I’ve even had several musical inspirations since I started drawing (all safely recorded and ready to be formed into songs).  I DID get the inside of the closet painted, but not for another couple of weeks.


swirl set 2


There’s nothing wrong with being driven, focused on a goal.  Recognizing the need to step back and learn more about music was pretty humbling to me.  I took it seriously.  I think it’s paid off.

But sometimes, single-minded focus can be the death-knell of one’s creativity.

Being creative is more than just acquiring a skill set.  In fact, believing that our skills need improving before we can do creative things with them – create paintings, write music, etc. – can be the very thing that stops us from breaking out and being creative.  It all stems from an idea buried in our minds  that we are not good enough, that we must constantly improve before we are “ready.”




The truth is, we are all ready right now.  The creativity of the human species supercedes that of every other species on the planet.  We were all born with the ability to be creative – it’s a mindset that we let go of when we think we have to start acting like grown ups.

Skills improve by doing – that includes creative-thinking skills.  We have only to start and let it lead us where it will.


Dodie Goldney

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related posts by Dodie Goldney:

Creative Thinking = Accidental Organizing

Creative Tools

Colouring Outside the Lines

Refraction and Reflection

Worth a Thousand Words

The Mural That Ate My Dining Room


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