creative frontier

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Balance40 Comments

The first few days after my surgery was tough in some ways, but in one way, I was sort of enjoying it.  It was a forced rest.  I couldn’t do very basic things that were staples in my line of work…typing, writing, painting, holding a camera.  The things that felt safe, normal, and routine were temporarily not options.  I rested in that for the first couple of weeks, a part of me accepting the permission to sit and binge-watch old seasons of Survivor all day.  A part of me was thankful that I could ignore my inbox and excuse myself from posting on my blog and social media regularly.

A couple of weeks out, I started feeling better and set the expectation for myself to jump back into the everyday tasks.  Writing posts and e-mails with dictation was unexpectedly frustrating and I struggled to compose posts verbally instead of letting the words flowing through my fingers onto the screen.  I stopped listening to podcasts and reading books about creativity and business.  I read magazines and decorating books, but my official “daily input” and daily journaling fell off a cliff.

At first, I was disappointed and impatient at my limitations, but I maintained perspective and gratitude knowing this was temporary and not terminal.  This is a season and it will pass, but I would hit snags and roadblocks repeatedly each day as I was trying to keep business humming as usual.

And then, something beautiful happened.  In the time of quiet and stillness, in the pause of the routine, I had time to think.  I had time to soak in inspiration for no particular purpose.  It wasn’t research or a line item on my planning sheet that needed to be crossed off.  I just wanted to look at beautiful photos and read.  I wanted to soak in ideas, textures, palettes, designs, and motifs, just for the pure delight of it.  Just as I used to before all of this became a business.

I realized that God orchestrated this time of rest and recovery not only for my shoulder, but for my creative mind and heart.  I had been tiptoeing on the edge of burnout for so long that I wasn’t even acknowledging it.  My work/life balance has been much better in the past couple of years, but I didn’t have the same consistent joy in my work that I have in the past.  It felt more like work more often, which was a stark contrast to the days when I was bubbling with excitement at every turn.

I think a part of it is the way the landscape of blogging has changed.  The work is now diffused and scattered over many platforms…Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and it’s not just about posting and engaging on my blog.  The world of blogging has become more professional and more competitive.  Content is being run through a finer filter.  And, even at the not-so-old age of 41, I feel like I’m “over-the-hill” in the world of influencers.

And ten years of experience has made me more aware of my audience…not in an individual sense, but in a collective sense.  The internet will turn on you with one small misstep, one rub the wrong way.  Negativity is like a wall of water waiting behind a door.  If that door is cracked just a little bit, it all will come rushing in.  My awareness of that and firsthand experience with it has made me guarded and maybe even a bit cynical, causing me to over-edit myself.  If you’ve ever done it, you know that overediting and walking on eggshells gets tiring.

But this time of forced rest has been a white knight.  It’s not only given me a clearer perspective, but it has shown me that I love this work.  I have desperately missed writing in all forms and taking pictures.  I’ve missed sharing and connecting.  I’ve missed making tutorials and working on projects.  I’ve missed all of the bits and pieces that make up this delightfully strange, unconventional career.

In tomorrow’s episode of the TCe podcast, Shaunna and I talk about Creative Frontier.  When it was my turn to share what was frontier to me; what awaits me just out of view over the horizon, my answer was something like this…  I want to do all of the things I’m doing, but do them with more openness, joy, and bravery.  I want to go back to the days when I wasn’t so self-conscious about every little thing…every word, every angle of my face on camera, every way that something can be misunderstood.  I want to stop over-editing and overanalyzing.  I want to walk the delicate tightrope of creating wholly for myself and generously for others.  

(If you want to listen to that episode, the finale of season one, it will be available Tuesday, November 26, HERE.)

That is territory that needs to be claimed.  It feels unknown and even a little scary.  I don’t know what it looks like and I can’t chart it out because it’s unexplored for me, but I know it’s the direction I need to head.

Stop trying to live up to assumptions and perceived expectations that may or may not be rooted in reality and just start doing things out of a whole and honest place.  Be that.  Do that.  Share that.  

Here’s to frontiers – to pioneers and explorers.  Let’s all be in that group.  However, wherever and whenever we’re called to it.  Let’s be brave.

What is Creative Frontier to you?

creative frontier

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40 Comments on “creative frontier”

  1. i have learned at ’51’ that it looks a whole lot different as each decade passes but yet feels comfortable-ly the same in life and in my creative biz…..staying true to myself is key…not always easy while being pushed and pulled into all different directions. I am always inspired by your business, home and writing…..sometimes I re-read your older posts for joy! I am stepping away from the old and into new ‘land’ in my creative business in 2020….a little scared ~ but with a whole-lotta joy in my heart. I have new things to do and share! Thank you for sharing your true heart.

  2. God works in mysterious ways. We don’t always see the big picture. I’m so glad you are doing better and ready to inspire all of us again. You are always a ray of sunshine. Happy Holidays!

  3. Sometimes I think things (or blogs) are brought to us for a reason. After reading this post I just thought how glad I am to read about your thoughts of feeling the pressure of negativity. I am a brand new blogger in a new chapter in my life. Hitting publish was petrifying to me and knowing that my little tidbit of the internet may never be seen is ok with me because I want to do this. I have wanted to do this for many years but for whatever reason I just couldn’t. Now that I have begun to blog I enjoy it, and I think about it constantly but I also know that I may not be perceived as being good enough and there may be critics.
    I for one look forward to your posts and your message. Thank you!!

  4. Love your blog no matter what stage you are in. I enjoy hearing about your family & adventures. Keep up the good work.

  5. Thank you for sharing the story of your inner stirrings in the midst of your physical healing. Your courage to stay with suffocating feelings in messy places, while paying attention to what they told you, has brought you back home to your true self. Your own dreams, treasures and gifts appear freer as they call forth new directions and ways in your life and business. I also hear your “wonder” as you enter this new season of your “one precious life.”

    Thankful for you,
    Diney on Camano Island

  6. I honestly don’t know how bloggers can stand all the pressure of possibly saying or doing the wrong thing, no matter how innocent. My nerves couldn’t take it. I enjoy your blog and wish you well in all your endeavors!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. It’s interesting you should post this because I have wondered for some time how happy/content/satisfied you are. I wonder if your one-after-the-other projects are a mask/screen for ‘other’ work that you are not acknowledging. It sounds as if in this forced down time things came bubbling to the surface, as they do.

    1. Well, I enjoy projects and going from one thing to another. I love productivity and being busy, but perhaps a little too much, so it’s hard for me to rest. It’s not the projects that are draining, but the grind of the business of blogging and social media. It is a part of the creative business that takes a completely different kind of energy and resilience.

  8. So happy your shoulder is healing, but even more so, your heart for creativity is healing. I do think stepping back from a different prospective is helpful….imagine if you were trying to paint with your nose a half inch from your canvas! So thankful always for your generosity in all things. For sharing your talents, your fears and your joys with all of us. We love you for exactly who you are and in this season of thanks, we add you to our list of blessings.

    Hugs from Texas,

  9. Thank you for your thoughtful post. It’s inspiring. In this time when it can feel like cynicism and nastiness is overwhelming everything, it is so good to hear you (and others) talk about keeping a focus on being open hearted and genuine. It’s a path we can all decide to take and our world will be better for it.

  10. This is what I would have told my younger self if I knew then what I know now. “I’m glad God side-lined you w/surgery just long enough to let you know that you are enough and just need to breathe in all the beauty He has surrounded us with, He’ll provide the rest. You are enough”. I’m 66 now and still learning how to direct my choices to reflect what I love and enjoy without letting comparison heavily inform them, still learning to move more slowly and intentionally instead of my normal “getter done” speed. For me, creative frontier is in the two 3 ring binders next to my Bible & daily planner where I drink my morning coffee. One is labeled TO DO and the other is labeled TO BE. I’m planning my days to include more “think time”, more staring out the window time, less audible & visual noise. Not every single day, but more like a hit it hard day followed by a recuperation day over the course of weeks.

  11. Thanks so much for this post Marian. As a beginner blogger myself I feel caught up in the “perfect” at times and it feels hard to compete some days and some days I feel I am rocking it! Over the last couple weeks though I have felt the need to be myself, not be perfect, share the ups and downs of DIY. Your’s is one of the few blogs that I read every single post and I love it! Thanks for being you and sharing.

    1. Oh, it’s always a struggle! You are right…some days you feel like you’re killing it and other days you feel like it’s all downhill from here and why bother! 🙂 Such extremes that have to be evened out with proper perspective…We get to do something we love every day.

  12. I’m glad youv’e had this time to relax and reflect on many things. What a beautiful gift! And while I know that you are an influencer, I much prefer encourager or inspirer. Definitely! Have a joyous Thanksgiving!

  13. The universe reminds us, often in harsh and unwelcome ways, that finding time for quiet reflection is a vital component of life. At my house we are entering a year of treatment for my husband’s newly-diagnosed pancreatic cancer. This is new territory for both of us and we are facing it with trepidation. Yet, we have already rediscovered a tenderness in our time together, a willingness to communicate more openly. I am learning to devote time to self-care, so that I have enough juice in my battery to allay his fear and uncertainty. My hope is that we learn to slow down, to enable his healing and to become more empathetic and caring as a result. Wishing you continued recovery in body and creative spirit.

  14. Your blog is one of the few that I read consistently and don’t delete. Just keep on keeping on. I am sure there are many of use who feel the same. Glad for your healing and Happy thanksgiving.

  15. In silence..is the only time we can hear God speak. Just an hour ago I told a friend whom I mentor that I couldn’t meet her today as I slept until 11:30 and didn’t feel well… of course I don’t if I sleep that late. Kuddo’s to me for allowing myself to take care of myself. I’ve been questioning how I feel ever since but know it’s what I need today.

    I felt there would be a silver lining for you Marian… it feels exciting and as though you can see the world with new eyes and enthusiasm. I feel you do so many things so well that at times you might have to stop to just catch up with your creative thoughts~

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
    Many blessings~ Cynthia

  16. Marian. 41 has been in my rearview mirror for awhile…..as I struggle to make my blog a business I read your piece today and it gave me a jolt.
    I too love writing, photography, art and stopped going with my loves and tried to climb the wall of professional blog…..competition…making money….ranking,etc. I can see now that path is the wrong path for me. I will now go back to sharing….sharing my love of story telling, great photos, fun and art..
    i thank you for your insight as it helped me find mine. So this year you are part of my Thanksgiving Blessings
    Thanks kiddo
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your
    Dara

  17. I’m glad to hear that you are on the mend, in many ways. I started reading your blog several years ago.
    I don’t/ can’t consider you an influencer. Just that term makes me think of a person who is self involved in the worst possible sense. I think of you as a joyful sharer and I thank you.
    I begin each day with a look in the mirror and tell myself “today I will be grateful” and ” today I will be nice”. While both sound like simple platitudes, sometimes life can make both goals darn difficult. I try. Each day, I try.
    I end each night in our screened in back porch sharing the sunset with my husband. These are my moments of thanks.
    Please don’t change Marian. We love you just the way you are!!

  18. Hi Marian. I have followed you for a long time. I think almost from the beginning. I consider you a friend. Actually I probably spend more time with you weekly, than I do a lot of my friends. And why wouldn’t I. I love the Lord, I love decorating, I love the color blue, french influence in my home, doggies, kitties. You see what I am saying. When I read your blog, I want to see you. The real you. I want you to share your victories, your loves, your passion for your craft. And if you ever have a defeat, I hope you share. So please be you. No filters. Just you.

  19. This is why I look forward to my emails with your blog updates. Your beautiful writing and how I feel connected when I read about your furniture makeovers or small changes to a room or just writing about the simple joys of the act of writing or painting. I’m glad you’ve had the time to reflect and just enjoy standing still. Thank you.

  20. We, your followers, love you just the way you are. The authentic you. The unedited you. Don’t stress over pleasing those that don’t accept you as you are! Your Faith and your creativity inspire us as decorators and even more as people of God! You are such a blessing. Thanks for all you do! Prayers for continued healing and feeling His peace in your work.

  21. I haven’t read the other comments so forgive me if this has been said today…
    Comparison is the thief of creativity.
    I suppose there is a growing number of people and projects to hold yourself up against, Marian, so it’s hard to
    just do what you do the best you can and call it good.
    For years I’ve enjoyed your way of creating things and the way you write about them and it makes me sad to imagine your joy getting stifled by competition.
    As an artist I’ve learned that my best work comes from a place of joy and when selling it or winning a competition enters the picture, the joy suffers.
    God bless you in your new commitment to keeping it fun!

  22. I mus be living under a rock! How did I miss your doing podcast?! I have read your blog since day 1! I have read some awe full nasty comment that some have made and I just don’t understand that mentality! So keep on keeping on girl!

  23. Isn’t it wonderful when you can find the silver lining of perspective, even through pain of shoulder surgery?

    I’ve been following you for a few years. And I can tell you exactly what kept me coming back. Your honesty and ability to be an open book. This continues to be what brings me back each day. I love your tutorials, your products, your creativity and style. But truly, I come back for you. I am so glad that you have found a place to be “ready” to return, and to return with a renewed enthusiasm and excitement!

  24. Our whole church — Sunday sermons, community groups, women’s Bible studies, college group, etc. — has been going through the book of Exodus this fall. My time in my Precept study of Exodus has been so rich and so full of surprising and meaningful details. I feel like Moses has become such a relatable friend! 😁. And I have come to be so much more in awe of God Almighty, The Lord, the Great I Am. The conversations between God and Moses have really come alive and made me want to do what God is calling me to do more than ever before. He is so worthy and so faithful, and so capable of seeing us through whatever He is calling us to do. I’m finding that this is giving me an incredible amount of confidence to move forward in areas that I would have fallen into the pit of overthinking in the past. I love the new freedom, and I am in awe of a God who still wants to use people for His purposes as much today as in those days. Good to hear how He drew you into a quiet place of renewal and fresh resolve as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your life with us. 💕

  25. So well said Marian! Wise words to soothe the soul, usually only learned through tough times or forced times of rest. I’ve experienced both this year with much learning gleaned along the way. But your words today and your podcast “Don’t Babysit Your Work” have combined to help me find the right road again to creating through joy instead of stress. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being yourself, and being so open and honest with your family of viewers.
    And as a side note, you are not “over the hill” as an influencer. Your sharing my insta account last week through the mentoring group sent over 60 new followers to my account. Thank you kindly!

  26. Ahhhh…the old days of blogging sound amazing!!! If only 😊 But perhaps 10 years from now these days will seem glorious too! I love how re-energized you sound and excited! I want to work from that place too.

    You are so inspiring and good at expressing your thoughts! Hoping to continue to learn from you! 💗

  27. It’s got to be hard to put yourself out there every day, wide open to the public with your ideas (and feelings). Things have changed so much on your blog from that early post when you were sitting in your mom’s car painting ornaments to sell, remember that? I was hooked at Post #1. If I may be so bold, I’d like to see more posts about things to do (tutorials, reasonably priced decor) for the average people out here. This is not a put-down in any way, just saying what I’d like to see more of. Most people don’t have the incredible talent you have. But we would like to have ideas we could copy in our own way, at reasonable cost. Marian you honestly are the most talented person, in so many ways, that I’ve ever known (online). And I’m so proud of how far you’ve come with your business, just so happy for you. Praying your shoulder is completely healed very soon. xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Mary, and I’d like to do more projects, too. Another thing I’ve realized in this recovery is how much my shoulder has been holding me back over the past year. It’s been physically hard to do some of the things I used to do. Anyway, tutorials are on the to-do list for next year!

  28. This blog post was such a joy to read! Thank you for being open and honest about your recovery and the frustrations you’ve felt. As I read it, I literally had the thought “she’s a REAL person!” Now I know you’re real, but reading about the struggles and apprehensions of someone I admire so much makes me feel more normal about mine! And thank you for talking about how blogging has changed! I joined the blogging party late and it totally feels different to me from what you described when you first started. It’s so planned, crafted and strategized now. SEO is king and you can’t just let your words come out of your heart to turn the green smiley face on in Yoast. Seriously loved this post and thank you again for writing it 💕

  29. Marian,
    I just ordered the book written by Pastor Robert Morris called “Take The Day Off”. He was on “Huckabee” last night and I had seen him on several other programs. He really gets into what you just wrote about “REST”. He said the 4th Commandment is one we give the least importance to for some reason and talks about how “busyness” has become an epidemic in our society and why rest is important for not only our physical well being but our spiritual well being.

    In reading your post, I agree how blogging has become more professional and competitive. Bloggers have become more of what I call “product influencers” now as sponsored posts have taken over. One blogger will do a post for a product and in the next few days three other bloggers are doing a post for the very same product/company. It just feels like the individualism has been sucked out of the blogging world and its become so staged now. I can look at a picture of a house for sale and tell you in five seconds whether its been staged. Everything looks the same!

    Because of that, I don’t follow blogs as regularly or frequently as I use to even bloggers I have been following for years. Blogs just seem to be overlapping one another which is sad. I know its a struggle for you as a creative person to have to over-edit and guard your words and thoughts for fear of one word being taken out of context and the backlash. Best wishes and prayers for you continued recovery….I know you are chomping at the bit to get back to your regular routines.

  30. I’ve enjoyed reading your journey and I’m pleased you are forgiving yourself for resting. I can’t imagine the deadlines and forces that occur on social media for constantly being creative.

  31. I am 30 yrs. older than you but, you still are such a joy to read and you feed my creative soul. Thank you for being you.

  32. Hi Marion, May your recovery go smoothly!. I sympathize with your thoughts on blogging as I have noticed a change in the few years I have been following a few bloggers. I am facing a possible shoulder replacement and at the risk of asking questions that are none of my business, how did you injure your shoulder? My problem is arthritis and maybe too much hand sanding when I used to refinish furniture. I am debating if the long recovery is worth it, or should I just put up with my more limited range of motion. Thanks for any input you can give me. Always love your blog!

    1. Elaine, no problem! I had several issues with my shoulder, but the ones they fixed were calcific tendonitis (it was in a rotator cuff tendon, so they removed it and repaired the rotator cuff) and one of my bicep tendons was inflamed and had a cyst under it. They cut and reattached the bicep tendon. I’m about 10 weeks out and I’m already glad I did it. I still have limited mobility, but it’s getting better each day with PT and use. I have also been encouraged by others who had the surgery that they are now pain-free and have full mobility. I would at least consult with a surgeon to see if you can gain the use of your shoulder again. It is so limiting!

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