The Best Habit For Artists

Being an Artist, Creative Process, Photography, The Artist Life, The Fierce Life

Hi fierelings,

I’m sure like me you’ve read all the advice about having a blog. Publish something at least once a week. Sounds easy, right? The blogs that you follow? You check their published dates and you notice they publish multiple times a week. So, you get ready, you create a time to write on your blog and then what happens? You’re not quite sure what to say. You had so many ideas brimming in your mind but now that you’re here, you’re unsure what to write.

Enter, the morning pages.

The author of The Artist’s Way is Julia Cameron and she’s very well known as an expert on the creative process and the spiritual connection to creativity. I first learned about her while reading The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. I finally got a copy of Cameron’s book. I was already familiar with the concepts and ideas of Cameron’s book but reading it for myself was invaluable. Besides detailing the connection between creativity and spirituality the thesis of the book is to recover or unleash the inner artist. The main tools to do this is what she calls the morning pages and the artist date. I will be elaborating on the morning pages here.

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This beautiful, yet inaccurate, map of the world drawn in 1832. One of many journals that I use for creative goals and ideas.

Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing. No filtering. No editing. When you wake up one of the first things you do is grab three pages of paper, or a journal, and you write whatever comes to mind. This is mental throw-up. This is getting the previous day out of the way. This is getting your inner voice that says “You can’t do this” to shut up. This is you putting your doubts and fears on paper so that you can confront them and so that you can get them out of your brain. Don’t worry about proper spelling or grammar. Don’t worry about wording things poetically. You should not go back and read this. You should not show this to anyone.

When you perform the practice of morning pages you are cultivating inspiration.

Writing begets writing. The more you write, the more you want to write. Part of this is that initially you have to discipline yourself. An undisciplined artist is no artist at all. I think when you perform the practice of morning pages you are cultivating inspiration. You will find if you start this practice that it is hard to write your thoughts down unfiltered. You will find your mind wandering down mental roads you didn’t really want to think about which in a way is exactly what the morning pages are supposed to do. You get the ideas that you don’t want to dwell on out so that you can dwell on the good. Besides creating her art regularly this is one of the best habits any artist or creative can develop because it keeps the artist’s mind sharp, clear, and focused on what she really wants.

You get the ideas that you don’t want to dwell on out so that you can dwell on the good.

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This is the journal I am currently using for morning pages

How can the morning pages help with the writing/blogging you really want to do? I opened this blog detailing a problem all writers and bloggers face: uncertainty when it comes to what topics to write about or even “writers block”. The morning pages can help or solve these problems because when you get the mental clutter out of your brain you are left with the mental space to think, dream, work, and create the things you really want to focus on.

When you get the mental clutter out of your brain you are left with the mental space to think, dream, work, and create the things you really want to focus on.

I have noticed an increase of creative energy by practicing the morning pages. I have also found an increase of patience in my everyday life. The morning pages are an invaluable tool for the artist. Initially, I was very disciplined with the morning pages but now my goal is to do two pages, instead of 3. Even 1 if I have a rushed morning helps. If I go more than a few days without doing a page I find my creative endeavors sluggish. For a fierce gal like me with many creative goals that is not acceptable, so I turn to morning pages. If you are desiring to get your creative side running at top notch, or just want some more mental clarity, the morning pages are a fierce gift.

Stay fierce,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

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Ross Family Photos

Fierce Photography, Photography

Hello Fiercelings,

A sweet friend of mine hired me to do some some family photos of her son’s 1st birthday party! When I say I have photogenic friends I am not kidding. Enjoy the fierceness!

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Beyond in love with this family shot

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Brother love

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Everybody

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Precious family

These cuties were a joy to capture!

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

Writing Tools

Being an Artist, Creative Process, Photography, The Artist Life, Writing

Hi Fiercelings,

I’ve found myself thinking about writing and going back to the basics. Remember highschool? In Oklahoma, it is required that highschool students complete a class on Oklahoma History. So in 9th grade I marched off to a co-op for an Oklahoma History class. The main thing I remember about this classroom was that on the first day the teacher (Let’s call her June) declared how horrible the textbook was but we will use it anyway (digression: great example of why I can’t stand organized institutions – they tolerate mediocrity!). So every week June would heap on in class complaining about what was wrong with the last chapter every week. Seriously! June was quite eccentric. The funny thing was that this was a co-op. To my knowledge, June picked the book. So why she didn’t just find a book she did like is beyond me. Interestingly though, I learned a great nugget of truth about writing in this class. Perhaps because of the peculiarity of my teacher I remembered a few things.

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In this class we had a myriad of writing assignments due every week so I remember quite vividly June writing on the chalk board many times throughout the semester these 3 points when it comes to writing:

  1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  2. Tell them.
  3. Tell them what you told them.

Plain and simple this is writing summed up! Of course, June did not come up with this by herself but that was where I first learned it. If you look it up it is most often attributed to Aristotle but I also saw Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, and Dale Carnegie spins on it. These phrases are used to help spell out how to write and speak publicly. I don’t think this is conclusively what happens in writing nor is it intended to be but it is a framework of where to start. Let’s discuss the points one by one.

The first one: tell them what you are going to tell them. This is your introduction. This is your opening remarks. Hopefully, you will get a thesis statement in there. Ultimately, the goal here is to entice the reader to keep reading by revealing what they’re going to be reading about in a brief way. The second point: Tell them. This is where you expand about what you’re sharing. The details are shared here. This is where you look at whatever you’re writing about from every angle, you answer objections. The third point: Tell them what you told them. Now that you have completed the first two, the last point is a summary of what’s been shared. This is where you wrap up or conclude. Your point or information has been conveyed, therefore nothing else needs to be revealed. You sum up and tell the reader goodbye. If fitting, you challenge the reader in a way relevant to what you have shared.

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It’s good every so often to remind yourself the fundamentals of writing. To my own surprise and delight I have found this nugget that I learned in school to be a simple way to organize things I want to write about. It’s possible that this is just because I had an eccentric teacher teach it to me but either way this is a useful tool to have in your writing skills. Even if your writing or speaking doesn’t follow this example exactly, it can help you mentally orchestrate where you are on a topic. Our minds can sometimes over complicate something we are trying to explain when in reality it is not that complicated. Use it or don’t!

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

Birthday Bash X5

Family Life, Personal, Photography

Hi fiercelings,

On a personal note, my oldest daughter, Isabelle, turned 3 this past Sunday. She had a shared birthday party with her four cousins because all of them have July/August birthdays. My mommy brain is turning and processing the fact that my baby is 3. GASP. In my mind, I am thinking about school starting and the homeschool program I intend to do with my children can start as early as four years of age. Which means we have one year left before “school” starts. GASSSP.

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Enjoy a few pictures from our huge Birthday Bash!

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From left to right: Isabelle “Izze” 3, Ethan 2, Zélie 1, Fulton 6, Isaac 3

Cousins are so much fun!

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Will be back to share about Art in the Bible by Francis Schaeffer soon!

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

Artistic Entrepreneurship

Being an Artist, Photography, The Artist Life, The Fierce Life

Hello fiercelings,

“We don’t make films to make money, we make money so that we can make films.” ~ Walt Disney

I found this lovely Disney quote while listening to a podcast by Jeff Goins. He recently came out with this book, Real Artists Don’t Starve which I have devoured! This, in a nutshell, is what artistic entrepreneurship is all about. How can I make money with art? How can I devote myself to my art? How can I enable myself financially to get paid doing what I already like? How can I have the freedom financially to create without it being a waste of my time?

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Stella Grace in a Minnie Mouse floaty 

Artistic entrepreneurship is all about owning your employment with your art. Sometimes you can end up feeling greedy when people criticize your prices but you don’t charge what you charge because you’re greedy. You charge what you charge to represent monetarily how much you are worth and so that the money earned can help enable you to keep on creating. You can’t create your best work when you’re stressed about money. You might be the most expensive person in your industry and that’s okay because your work is valuable. No one criticizes the price difference between a used Honda and new Mercedes because we, as consumers, recognize paying a premium price for a premium product. Consumers are becoming savvier and are willing to pay more for artistic work.

Money is ultimately a tool for the artist to keep on creating. I make art or provide an artistic service, you pay me for it, I use that money to keep creating and to make a living. As artists, we love our craft and have passion for it. We don’t do it for money, but we make money from it so that we can keep doing it.

fiercely pursuing artistic entrepreneurship,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Natural

Family Life, Personal, Philosophy of Life, Photography

Hi Fiercelings,

Over the past few years I have become really passionate about living as natural as I possibly can. You might call this being crunchy. You might call me a hippie – I would consider that a compliment! You might call me a health freak. I would consider that a little extreme and unwarranted but I won’t argue with you.  Let me explain practically what living naturally looks like: when there is a natural option, you do that first. Then, (after doing the natural thing) if that doesn’t help/fix/improve/solve whatever your issue is then you move on to what might be considered either conventional or mainstream. This mostly applies to health choices but it can apply to more than that.

For example, this means when your child is running a fever you do the natural thing before reaching for fever reducers. What’s the natural thing when a child is running a fever? Let them run it! Fevers, are the immune system’s signal that 1. You are sick and 2. You are fighting the sickness. Telling the immune system to stop this natural (and good!) process is really counterproductive. This one probably seems obvious to you so let me share another example.

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I used to suffer from allergies really bad. I have had weeks where I carry a BOX of tissues with me everywhere I go. I used to keep nasal spray in my purse. I had antihistamines in the glove box of my car, in my purse, by my bed. And you know what? None of that worked. I finally got fed up and tired of it. And so in the course of becoming more natural minded I thought what can I do to prevent my allergies from flaring up? I know my respiratory system kind of sucks. It didn’t matter what sickness I got, it ended up going to my respiratory system and hanging out there for a week. I wanted to find a natural way to keep my immune system running at top notch so that I didn’t have to ever look at something containing loratadine again. You know what I discovered? Vitamin C. Surpluses of it. And not the emergen-C things that you can buy at Walmart. Those things are sugar(mostly). I mean buffered ascorbic acid powder or sodium ascorbate. I mix a teaspoon or two with orange juice almost everyday and chug it and guess what? I don’t get allergies. It’s glorious!!! I probably get something within the realm of 2,000-5,000mg of vitamin C a day from doing this and it works. I’ve learned that vitamin C is something that humans do not produce but the immune system vitally needs it to function properly. You can read more about vitamin C here from Dr. Suzanne Humphries. That is where I learned about vitamin C and how to use it to treat well, everything, but for me it has cured me of allergies.

Another way I’ve become more natural is avoiding hair products with sulfates and parabens, buying organic produce whenever possible. using a fluoride free toothpaste, and using coconut oil as a moisturizer. None of these changes were overnight. As I run out of products I use regularly I research something before replacing it. I’ve been solely using Himalayan pink salt in food for over a year now since I learned about it and it’s benefits compared to table salt.

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The shocking thing when you research products or brands that you’ve been using for years is that many products have tons of chemicals, some of which aren’t safe. You learn that many things aren’t natural or good for you that you would’ve never given a second thought to. Consider this your invitation to learn about being more natural. Currently, I am learning about homeopathy because I have decided that I hate drugs, including over the counter drugs. I am firm about raising my children as drug free as possible and I am learning with homeopathic medicine it is very possible to never need over the counter pharmaceuticals or antibiotics. That is so exciting to me!

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

How Becoming A Mom Turns You Into A Health Freak

Parenthood, Photography, The Fierce Life

Hi Fiercelings,

Disclaimer: 2 hours before writing this I gave my 2 year old a banana popsicle (we all know yellow is the best flavor)…and then she asked for another so I gave her another…I’m not perfect or legalistic.

Disclaimer: I use the pronoun mom in this article but dad could just as easily apply.

 

Before you become a mom you didn’t know what bisphenol A was but now you make sure that any plastic you buy is free of it. Before you were a mom you didn’t know what might be genetically modified food but now you look for the GMO free label. Before you were a mom you weren’t concerned about how much sugar you consumed but now you hate all junk food. Before you were a mom you weren’t worried about eating a handful of m&ms but now you think your child is sensitive to red 40 and you’d rather be safe than sorry. Welcome to motherhood in the 21st century. This is crazy. We are crazy…or are we?

When you become a mom I think there’s some switch in your brain that changes and you suddenly become hyper aware to how many chemicals are in household goods and to how much sugar is in well, EVERYTHING. Sure, I cared about being healthy before I was a mom but after I became a mom I realized how unhealthy everything is that is readily available in any American grocery store. It’s shocking. It’s angering. Why is it that so much of everything in our society is bad for you? I’m not the crazy one here. Our world is crazy.

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I didn’t set out to be a health freak when I became a mom. I didn’t set out to be hyper vigilant to check labels when I became a mom. I don’t even have children with allergies or special needs. I just want raise my kids without having their constitutions ruined. I want their little bodies to have good stamina. I want them to view food as a way to nourish their body and not as an addiction or an emotional crutch. But everything geared toward children is sugar loaded or chemical loaded. Everything geared toward children is addictive. Everything geared toward children is going to give them a high followed by a crash. Which is insane because five minutes later we will demand that they sit still, be quiet, and listen.

So for all my other moms out there being health freaks with me for our kids, keep it up. Every so often I see a child throwing a fit at the grocery store and mom/dad tells them to be quiet while reaching for a soda and gives it to them. That makes want to scream. That’s insane. And I say that fully realizing I have given my child plenty of soda. You can’t expect your child to be level headed and calm while fueling their sugar and chemical addiction. You just can’t. And that’s why becoming a mom has turned me into a (mostly) health freak.

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

Lenlie Danielle Photoshoot

Beauty Shoots, Fierce Photography, Photography, Portraits, The Artist Life

Hello Fiercelings,

My sister Lenlie and I had talked about doing a darker toned fall styled photoshoot. We let fall and winter go by but on a chilly spring day we finally went out to a field I had been eyeing and took a bunch of shots. The photoshoot turned out really well. We could have done a darker look if we had shot later in the day but it was cold so we didn’t want to wait much later. I think the contrast of her clothes and make-up with the field and sky is stunning. Enjoy!

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First up is Under Armour activewear look

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Camo pannnntsssss. Yes please!

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Hat, hair, pullover. Yes, yes, yes.

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I love the light peaking through the woods.

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Off to the meadow we go!

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Getting ready

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Hello gorgeous!

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The beautiful Lenlie Danielle

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How is this girl single?

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A little happy, a little thoughtful. A whole lot of fierce.

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Black lace. Yes please.

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This image was one of those unintentional moments. The wind, in our opinion, wasn’t really working. We were cold and tired after shooting for an hour but in editing I was like, “Wow!” The high fashion vibe here is so cool.

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Just a pretty girl wandering.

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Happy girl right here!

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The loveliness makes my heart happy!

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The levity in this shoot was something, that I wasn’t going for initially but I am really delighted with how it came through!

I hope you enjoyed this shoot!

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

 

A Fierce Life Ended: My Grandma

Art, Philosophy of Life, Photography, The Fierce Life

Hi Fiercelings,

My paternal grandmother, Dorothy, passed away on March 4th, 2017. She had been declining pretty drastically since Christmas and in the long run for the past 2 years. She would’ve been 97 years old this year if she had lived to her birthday this year in August.

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Usually adorned with rings, but not here.

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In her 20s she did modeling – still beautiful!

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My grandma always lamented about her wrinkly old hands

 

I shared this on my personal facebook page.

Many of you know that my grandma has been declining for quite awhile. She mercifully went to heaven this past Saturday very early. I say mercifully because the last week she was in a very bad way. The last time I saw her was Monday night before her death. I made a point to take some pictures of her hands about 2 weeks before she passed. For as long as I can remember I would admire my grandmother’s hands, primarily because she was always wearing a beautiful ring or bracelet. Anytime she would catch me looking at her hands she would lament about how wrinkly they were. She would lament about one of her thumbs that were bent out of shape. She would then admire my hands with my long fingers and any rings that I was wearing, which was and is generally at least 1 ring on every finger – haha! I always claim that I inherited my love of sparkly things from my grandma. As I got older and we would repeat this conversation at family gatherings I would think when she would lament about her wrinkly hands that they are an outward sign of having lived for a long time. Not everyone lives long enough to gain wrinkly hands, afterall. I know the world seems obsessed with this age cream or lotion, which is fine, I want to look my best too but wrinkles are a sign of living and not everyone gets to live a long time. My grandma had a very full life. She was born in 1920. She lived through the Great Depression, through World War II to the War on Terror, she lost her first husband to WWII but because of that went on to marry my grandfather, she beat breast cancer, she was kind and generous, she loved her family, particularly all of her grandchildren. She once lamented to me that me and my younger siblings didn’t know her as the “fun” grandma. She would always tell me that her oldest grandchild, Amy, knew her as the “fun” grandma but though I tried to tell her she was plenty fun whether she felt that way or not I will cherish the memories I have of her. I mourn her earthly death but I celebrate the life that she had here. I mourn having to answer my 2 year old’s question, “grandma die?” but I celebrate that she lived long enough that one of my children will hopefully have memory of her. And like her, I hope to live long enough to lament wrinkly hands. Dorothy Dunn 1920-2017.

There is something about death that makes you contemplate life. My grandma lived 96 years. She always said how inside she still felt like she was 20 years old. Her life went by fast as all lives do. My grandma’s graveside service had a small, intimate group of family and extended family. Many of her peers have already passed or are in ill health and were unable to attend. Thinking about her I think of my mantra word, fierce. She was a very fierce lady indeed. And she will be missed. I rejoice that she is no longer in physical pain.

fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings

 

 

 

Childbirth & Creativity

Art, Childbirth, Creative Process, Fierce Photography, Matrimony, Parenthood, & Family, Philosophy of Life, Photography

Hi Fiercelings,

Childbirth is a rite of passage for women, I believe. One of the most obvious and striking differences between men and women is the woman’s ability to conceive and bear new life. This is not to condemn or pass judgement on women who are or have been unable to conceive. Barrenness has historically been regarded as something extremely tragic and I mourn with those who have experienced it while being extremely grateful for my effortless conceptions.

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The rest of this blog post is going to be about the correlations between pregnancy, childbirth, and how they are informative of the creative process.

Anything worth doing in life is hard. I just wrote life in the previous sentence without any hard work but to even get to a life a lot of work has to have occurred. Being pregnant is hard and I say that fully recognizing that I have had two easy and non-eventful pregnancies. In spite of having easy pregnancies I would never say I loved being pregnant. I love the finished product of my pregnancies but being pregnant isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Delivering a child is hard and yet, ironically, I look back on my births as joyous events. Why? Because that pain brought two of my greatest creations. This is what the creative process is like. When I see a painting I have made on my walls, I don’t think about all the negative feelings I had when I was actually creating that painting. I see the painting and appreciate it but I know back when I made the painting I thought I had ruined it at least a dozen times. But of course, I look at my paintings and think how pretty they are and how I should paint more.

Creativity is like giving birth. It’s labor. It’s hard. It takes time. Inspiration is essentially having an orgasm. It’s fun. But for it to fully develop into a new life, it must be carried for months, and then it must be delivered. Or perhaps inspiration is one of those first real kicks that you feel when you’re pregnant. It’s a jolt. You feel it and think wow this is really happening. The sonograms you saw before were cool because you saw the baby but now you’ve felt the baby. That’s what inspiration does it lets you feel it and feelings are exciting. Feelings are a motivating force. When you have an idea for a painting or a song you think oh this is a good idea and you might pursue it. But for that idea to bloom into that painting or song you have to actually sit down and work on the painting or write that song. And sitting down and doing the work can be hard. We procrastinate about it. We say, never mind that wasn’t a good idea. You say you want a baby, but then you wind up in a hospital or are at home in the middle of a painful contraction and you think why am I here? How did I get here? I’m never doing this again. I literally thought these thoughts at least a dozen times during my first labor. Pain is one of those things that it’s hard to really describe unless you are currently experiencing it. Being in labor in many ways is not as hard as our society thinks it is. Movies and television shows portray it either in a comedic way or in a horrific way and I wouldn’t describe labor in either of those terms, especially the latter. But we will put up with pain and labor for a good cause and having a baby is the best reason to put up with some pain. They’re magical. And a little pain for some magic is worth it. This is what happens when we create, we want some magic but in order to bring a work of art to life it must be born and birth is painful.

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My second bundle of magic

How many times do we think as artists this isn’t good enough? Or I should just give up? What we are really experiencing is that doing art despite all our natural or learned artistic abilities is challenging and laborious. We hit this bump on our creative road and think I’m a fraud, I’m not a real artist, when in reality this “bump on our creative road” is birth pains. This is really a contraction and contractions lead somewhere if you breathe with them. The common phrase, “no pain, no gain” comes to mind and is spot on. The only way to have a bundle of magic is to labor and the only way to have a work of art is to labor. Don’t give up. Breathe with it.

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fiercely,

alexandria

alexandriafierce

Fierce Beliefs. Fierce Ideas. Fierce Art. Fierce Life.

Photographer, Blogger, Artist, Entrepreneur

Email me at alexandriafiercephoto@gmail.com for photoshoot and wedding bookings