Musings on Being the Artist of Your Day

Tag: yourturnchallenge (Page 1 of 2)

Time to Blossom

"Blossoming," photo by Mary Gow

“Blossoming,” photo by Mary Gow

The Your Turn Challenge has helped me feel the momentum when I’m accountable to a larger whole. Thank you for the challenge, Wendy Kao!

I enjoyed the variety of posts.

On Day 2 it was a thrill to be scrolling and see the submission I made that day on the blog!

During the week I caught myself in a habit I’d like to break. Yesterday’s topic was to write about surprising ourselves. I wrote and rewrote a story of when I was in the seventh grade I heard about a famine in Africa and I was so moved by the potential of millions dying that I went room to room asking for donations in this school of over a thousand students.

Then I glanced at the Challenge to see what other people were writing – which were mainly surprises they recently experienced, not surprises from many years ago.

So I scratched my story and submitted two sentences about a recent surprise.

I’ll keep on writing though. I’m continually learning.

I leave you with a poem I look at every day:

… and then

the day came

when the risk

to remain tight

in a bud was

more harmful

than the risk

it took to


-Anais Nin

Day 6 of Your Turn Challenge

The topic for Day Six of the Your Turn Challenge: Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself.

"Surveying," by Mary Gow

“Surveying,” by Mary Gow

Recently I sang Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” and liked how I sounded.

Tips for Getting Unstuck

The Red Boat at Lake Union, by Mary Gow

The Red Boat at Lake Union, by Mary Gow

For the past four days I’m posting every day on my blog because I’m participating in Wendy Kao’s Seven Day “Your Turn Challenge.”

Over 850 people are participating. I can’t say I’ve seen any of my posts on the site – except for Day 2’s entry. But I’m going ahead and submitting my posts there and here on my blog each day. You can see the results of this challenge at

There’s a suggested topic for each day:

Day 1: Why are you doing the Your Turn Challenge?
Day 2: Tell us about something that’s important to you.
Day 3: Tell us about something that you think should be improved.
Day 4: Teach us something that you do well.
Day 5: What advice would you give for getting unstuck?
Day 6: Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself.
Day 7: What are you taking with you from this Challenge?

Today is Day 5: What advice would you give for getting unstuck?

The best advice I give for becoming unstuck is to use the methods that have worked for me:

1. Identify your deepest fears.

2. Remember your WHY.

3. Surround yourself with doers.

4. Work with a mentor or accountability partner.

5. Create a new ritual.

6. Rocking chair exercise.

7. Take baby steps.

8. Fail first.

One of my favorite methods is the rocking chair exercise. I first saw it in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Imagine yourself 85 years old in a rocking chair looking back at your life now. What would it feel like you did or did not do the action considered?

Another favorite is a combination of No. 7 and No. 8.

To get a painting going when I’m stuck I squirt a few colors on my palette. I tell myself I’m going to make a terrible painting in the next five minutes so the expectations are very low. And that gives me the freedom to take a baby step and get a new layer on the canvas.

To me “procrastination” and “being stuck” are synonymous.

I once asked the artist known as SARK what she would tell someone about overcoming procrastination? And her response surprised me. She said maybe there’s a good reason for waiting and to procrastinate some more until you’re ready for the next step.

Which brings me to one last piece of advice to someone stuck:

9. Trust the process.

Do You Suffer from HYLUAB Syndrome?

Untitled, by Mary Gow

Untitled, by Mary Gow

Also known as the Hiding Your Light Under a Bushel Syndrome. It’s a habit pattern characterized by consistent denial that one is good at anything.

At times it has mistakenly been labeled as shyness, introversion or being highly-sensitive.

It could begin in childhood and continue for decades but is not incurable.

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