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  • Writer's pictureJan Avellana

This weekend I spent time setting up a small desk in the corner of my bedroom so that it could become my 'art studio'. It's a wee thing, but I decided it's my wee thing and I'm going to make the most of it!

I'll post more pictures of my space soon, but for now, this. I've been painting small paintings with gouache to get my feet wet again, and it feels familiar, though far away if you know what I mean.

I have to fight the trolls off, the trolls who try to shame me back into not writing, not arting. They are vicious.

I am dabbling in all kinds of art these days, a little bit of mixed-media collage, a little bit of digital art, a little bit of gouache, a little bit of writing. And I'm letting myself just play to see what feels right and to see if anything sticks. I know these are important first steps back into the artworld and towards my dreams of being an artist and writer.

I still only have a vague sense of where I'm going, but a strong knowing that I am on a journey of discovery and self-fulfillment. A large part of this path is rediscovering creative community, and embracing being among my people again! It's been so refreshing and heartening to slowly gather with creatives again, and I'm just so grateful.

  • Writer's pictureJan Avellana

It's been a week! I've been absolutely swamped at work lately, logging in long hours and depleting all of my brain cells in the process. (This illustration is one I did years ago, but it is still very much a self-portrait, especially the unruly hair!)

Needless to say, I haven't been getting much artwork done, but I have been writing here and that's a wonderful thing! I'm making my slow way through my children's book class and it's something I look forward to very much.

Today, let's talk about the permissions we give ourselves. The quote below is from a book called "Writing Poetry from the Inside Out" by Sandford Lyne:

For the longest time, like most of my life--I've been stingy about giving myself permission to live a life that I fully love. Unlike the quote, often in my life I DOOO wait for others to tell me what was okay to do, and what my next steps should be. Often having the feeling that I want to be chosen and discovered. It's a very passive way of living and I don't recommend it.

But there have been pockets of time when I've dug deep and found the courage to work out my life and choose myself. Like now in this season. I'm doing what the quote says, "Through trial and error, they learned how to experiment with their lives."

The first step to this is to listen to yourself. Really listen and not just hear. Get quiet. Write out your thoughts. Ask yourself the questions you dare not ask yourself like, "What would you LIKE to do?" and "What would you actually ENJOY?" and then, go do those things even if you're not ready, even if you're unsure. Go do them poorly if you must, but go and live your life out loud. We're here for such a short time and we'd best be using our time wisely. Like Brooks says in Stephen King's "The Shawshank Redemption": "Get busy living, or get busy dying."

So I'm doing all the things, the scary things, the brave things, the hard things and sometimes I'm doing them poorly, badly, but I'm doing them a little bit at a time. What are some of YOUR things? What are you doing to get busy living? Do tell.

Oh, I'm tired this morning! I've had a few nights of broken sleeps and today it's caught up with me. I'm surviving on cold coffee and hope.

One GREAT thing that has been born out of this new season of creative renewal is that I've gathered together a group of writers to meet up once a month for a writer's group!!! I'm so excited I can't even!

Years ago, I belonged to an art group, a gathering of creatives from different backgrounds and disciplines. We gathered every week to do a book study of Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", make art, eat and grow together. It was such a lifeline for me and I still have such sweet memories of all of our time together.

I'm hopeful that this new group will have the same kind of sweetness in store for us all. This one is different because our focus is narrower--we are still all creatives for sure, but this time we are all writers! In this season, I'm so grateful that I have found a people to belong to. This is so important for artists and writers, this safe space to nurture one another, to grow together, and to make time to write. Stay tuned to meet my writer's group and follow our journey! I'm such a blessed girl. <3

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