Snapshots

I took a step outside. Breathed in the scent of the spring-visited woods. And I just kind of knew deep inside that life would work itself out.

~

I made myself an extra cup of coffee, on a day where I felt out of touch. Couldn’t remember what I was doing for three seconds together that day. The coffee didn’t really help that much, but, if only a little bit, it got me by.

~

I slept in too late and lunch and breakfast were one and the same. Everything was late that day. Somehow, through all of that, I felt a profound sense of acceptance. I’m allowed to make mistakes. I’m allowed to be okay.

~

That day, the greening country road was as pretty as the idea of getting home, slipping off my boots, and making myself a cup of tea. Maybe even a little prettier.

~

There have been days that I didn’t get dressed until three in the afternoon, but somehow doing it anyway reminds me that I’m still fighting. Even if it takes me a while, sometimes, to pick up my sword.

~

Thunder late at night. I forgot what thunder sounded like until lightning reminded me of the concept. Loud, as though it was in my head and not just outside my window. Reminders of childlike fears when you can’t go to sleep because you’re afraid of what you don’t understand; of what’s hidden when the lightning leaves.

~

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There are gentle raindrops on the car window and that always makes me think. Everyone is blessedly quiet and the rainfall builds until water is cascading down and everyone is just blessedly quiet and that always makes me think.

~

A little bow in my hair became all the whimsy I needed to get by.

~

Late, late at night, when your half of the world is dreadfully quiet, and there seems to be nobody… Well, there’s one person I can always whisper my little worries and ideas and God-dreams to. And get a whisper back, when I finally pause for breath.

~

A story in my pocket. A story I’ve been working on for months. A new story. I have fresh dreams and fresh plans and a fresh hope to keep anything from going stale. It’s good to keep stories in your pockets.

~

People buy flowers sometimes and it’s so odd, but somehow so necessary to get by.

~

The day when I sat and laughed until my bones ached and kept laughing still just because it felt so good to be alive and I didn’t think I ever wanted to stop. I was laughing over absolutely nothing.

Book Review: “Fairytale: The Novel”

Good morning, friends!

Recently, I got to be involved in the twitter read-along for Hope Pennington’s “Fairytale: The Novel.” I was super excited to be a part of this because I’ve been following Hope Pennington for some time now and have really enjoyed the content she makes. Joining the read-along seemed like a no-brainer because I never got around to reading her book and I was so excited to see what it was all about!

Of course, maybe I should have thought about how little time I would have this month before I decided to do this, haha! I ended up not being able to participate as much as I wanted to! But nevertheless, I loved the book, and I’m super excited to get to be a part of it’s blog tour!
So without further rambling, here is my spoiler-free review of “Fairytale: The Novel.”
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Hope Pennington is a homeschool graduate, a YouTuber, an author, and an overall encouraging, lovely person. I first stumbled across her Instagram and fell in love with her posts and the way she was inspiring people to embrace their geeky side. I then decided to look into her YouTube as well. Hope posts videos on a lot of topics, but pretty much all of them have a tone of encouragement and I love that so much. Her mantra is “we are epic heroes” and I think that’s so awesome.
So, of course, after falling in love with Hope’s Instagram, YouTube, and overall personality, I would have to read her book. When this book tour and read-along came along, I had my opportunity! And, overall, I’m glad I got to read it.

The story is about an average teenage boy name Sean who is sucked into a cliche fantasy world and forced to be involved in your typical fairytale plot line. What he finds is that his ability to predict the storyline is just what he needs to help save their world from destruction.



~ What I liked ~

Here’s what I liked most: The voice. Some could interpret this book as cheesy, but I think the author was well aware of that and used it to the story’s advantage. The book plays around with all the cheesy fantasy themes that we’re all acquainted by now and the outcome is pretty hilarious. Our main character, Sean, is the voice of reason in all of this. His sarcasm and sense of humor contrasted with the average fairytale storyline is perfect. The author somehow manages to take two cliches, the “sarcastic teenage boy” cliche and every fairytale character you grew up with, and come up with a very interesting and humorous balance.
I think overall, the characters were very strong. And despite most of them being cliches, they were original and unique in their own ways and managed to win my favor. I also really loved Steve. Steve is great.

The story itself was very fun and I think Hope has a great writing style and an awesome sense of humor. I’m really interested to see what else she’ll write!

~ What I did not like ~

I always hate to say anything negative when I enjoyed the book overall, but I did actually have a hard time with some of the book. A lot of it was that I was very busy and did not have the time to give it my full attention, but I do think some of it was the writing itself. The book at times very much had the feel of a first-time novel. And while it was very good and I enjoyed it very much, I felt that the author is still developing her voice.

There were some parts that I found a bit confusing, some plot points that I didn’t get. There were moments when I felt it was dragging on or that it wasn’t cohesive enough, but it was little enough for me to ignore.

~

I will also say two other things, just for the sake of the accuracy of this review.
First is that I have not, as of writing this review, completely finished this book. The ending could be a total wreck or totally amazing for all I know. And that’s entirely due to me being busy with finals and I apologize for that.

The second thing is that the review copy that I received was not the final copy of the book. I noticed some editing mistakes here or there as well as some distracting editing notes and so that affected my overall perception of the story to a small degree. (Hence, perhaps, the perception that it is feels like a very “first time” sort of novel.) I don’t know how much of that (I assume, all of it) was edited out of the final copy and so I’m recommending you take the negative part of my review with a grain of salt this go around.

I will actually be purchasing the final copy soon, but I don’t think I’ll be updating this review. So you’re on you’re own for this one, buddy.

 

~ Would I recommend it? ~

I would! Not only to support an epic creator, but to enjoy an awesome story. If the idea of this satiric story struck your fancy, absolutely go for it!
And check out Hope’s other stuff too, while you’re at it! She has an epic social media presence and her YouTube is so lovely.

 

~ Rating ~

My scale, for reference, is…

One Star: I hated it
Two Stars: I didn’t like it
Three Stars: I liked it, but I probably won’t read it again
Four Stars: I really liked it and I might read it again
Five Stars: I loved it and it is my precious and I will read it again every fortnight and probably buy all of the available merch.
…I’m giving this 3 and a half stars. I liked it, and I’m super interested in reading whatever Hope writes next!

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Thanks so much for reading, friends!

And a special thanks to Priya Prithviraj at Writerly Yours for being so lovely and so patient with me!!

I hope you have a lovely Friday, beautiful readers. Tune in next week for more finals week related existential crises! Or maybe I’ll write about cats, who knows?

Both? Both is good.

Bye!



More information on Hope Pennington…

 

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Bio: Hope Pennington is a homeschooled graduate living in Kerrville Texas, author of the young adult novel Fairytale and creator of The Epic Place YouTube channel where she encourages geeks, nerds and fan girls to always remember that #WeAreEpicHeroes every single day of our lives. Coffee is her spirit animal and if she had it her way she’d be living on the TARDIS from Doctor Who going on endless time travel adventures.

 

 



Twitter // Instagram // Tumblr // Blog // YouTube



 

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In which I am a very busy college student, but am still sending out all the gentle fairy vibes I can manage…

Good day, ladies and lads or whoever the heck reads these things! *waves awkwardly*
Quick notice: Next week I’m going to be reviewing Hope Pennington’s book “Fairytale: The Novel” as a part of a ~blog tour~ so just like, get super pumped about it and make sure to tune in then!! I was actually scheduled to post it this week, but because of my exams, I’ve had to push it down. Really hoping it will work out next week and I won’t have to wait until the week after. So busy, eep! Sorry blog tour friends!
Please do check out Hope Pennington’s stuff in the meantime though (Twitter // Instagram // Tumblr). She is pretty epic!

So… I don’t have much of a plan for today’s post because, like I said, I’ve been super busy trying to keep up with finals preparations. Essays and studying and trying not to cry! Yay! But all is well. And I will make it through as always and then I will have a glorious summer break.
So, today I’m just going to write a list of things I’ve learned this week and throw in some of my recent photography and sincerely hope you enjoy it!
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  1. I am literally an adult now.
Does this mean I’m throwing out my flower crowns and buying a business lady suit on Amazon? Heck no! I’m still going to watch cartoons and sing Disney songs and be better at holding a conversation with a five year old than with someone my age. That’s just my deal.
No, it just means I’m a little different inside and I’ve come to accept that recently. I’ve got to start taking things more seriously. I’ve got to put away some of those obsessive daydreams and start investing in right now a little more.
Not to say I don’t believe in my dreams anymore. That is my advantage over the usual sort of adultlings, actually. I keenly believe in miracles and rising up from the ashes and living a crazy, meaningful, beautiful life without sacrificing my passions and dreams. Unrealistic does not mean impossible and I will stand by that.
So, yeah. I’m still a reckless dreamer, but I just know I’ve got to start taking some of my dreams more seriously and start seriously praying over them, knowing and trusting that God can make anything happen. I’m a dreamer, but like, a serious dreamer.
~
  1. Patience is a very good thing.
I’m the kind of person that groans internally just a bit when I hear the word patience. Because yeah, I get that waiting is important, but why does it have to take so dang long?
Or at least, I used to be like that. Recently my eyes have been opened to just how beautiful patience is. It’s still hard, yeah… but it’s sort of amazing too.
Patience is faith in action. Patience is a little pink bud, happy to bask in the sun and dance in the rain, knowing deep inside that one day she will bloom. I just want to bask in the sun and dance in the rain, knowing and trusting one day I will bloom.
And it’s so weird, because now that I understand that, I want the waiting to last a little longer. I want to savor it and I think I’ll be sad when it ends. It’s almost as if God has matured my heart ever so slightly. I see that responsibility is beautiful. Purity — of mind, body, and heart — is even more precious than I could have ever imagined. Quiet trust is a tear-worthy wonder.
I want to put away my anxious daydreams. I want to throw out all of my silly schemes and plans. I want to stop worrying that my dreams will never come true and instead, I just want to deeply know— just remember that God’s dreams are better and bigger and brighter and more beautiful than mine. This isn’t in my hands. It never has been.
And you know what? There are so many quiet, beautiful things in the now and I just want to soak them in while I’m waiting. I’m a little pink bud, enjoying the sound of rain and the warmth of the sun; happy just in having faith that one day I will bloom.
~
 
~
  1. I’ll never be a bodybuilder.
I hate exercising too often to actually ever build muscle. I think I need to just start focusing on being healthy and not on my weight/general overall squishiness. Because sometimes exercising is so great and I just need to let that happen and stop stressing myself out.
Yeah.
~
  1. It is good to be gentle with yourself.
Are you an anxious blob like me? Do you criticize yourself for stupid things like the way you talk/walk/breathe?
Well chill it, man!
Listen. You are a valid person. You can just exist. You can just breathe and walk and talk and eat and create and exist. Be gentle with yourself, okay? You’ll find that when you are, life isn’t as scary, responsibilities aren’t as scary, social expectations aren’t as scary. Why? Because you’re not basing your worth on those things.
You’ll always be so much more than that, okay?
~
  1. Sometimes it’s okay to just watch cartoons and eat cereal and chill out.
Sometimes you just have to embrace the chill. Just be a kid for a while, eat your Froot Loops, and chill.
~
  1. Umm… that’s it?
It’s only been a week, yeesh.
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Haha, hope you enjoyed that little post! Hopefully next week a be a little less busy and a little more coherent.
Have a great week, lovely friends!

“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost. I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!”
 
Psalm 131:1-3 (Message Bible)

My Relationship With Giving Up…

Good morning! Good Friday! Good life!

It’s been a strange week for me. My main memories of it involve all the writing I did about the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson for my research paper, the large amount of Adventure Time I watched during my breaks (for some reason this is my new favorite show?? — make its all the butt jokes), and today, which was the most eventful day of my week and all we did was grocery shop…

I had a feeling yesterday evening that is a recurring fear of mine — that I’m somehow losing my grounding and missing things and not remembering my life as much as I’d like to. Honestly, I think it mainly happens when I let my days run together and become an autonomous routine. I guess I’m the kind of person who needs more than routine to feel alive.

Well, just a few hours ago, I remembered exactly what it was that makes life so lovely. For me, anyway. It’s appreciating the little moments of childlike abandon. Braiding flower chains, reading poetry, running barefoot, jumping in a trampoline, talking about silly things under a spring-blooming tree. It’s choosing to remember the things that went right with gratitude and let the things that went wrong fade and pass. It’s a cup of cinnamon dulce latte after an entire Lent of giving up coffee. Okay yeah. It’s not Easter yet and technically it’s still Lent, but whatever.

It really is the little things sometimes… I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Am I rambling?

Yes. Yes, I am.

 

Today’s post is not about gratitude, haha. It’s about my relationship with giving up/failure as an artist. I really hope you enjoy!!
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When you’re a writer — nay, when you’re ANY kind of artist, there comes a point when you have to… give up.

Okay, okay. I don’t necessarily mean giving up your entire art! That would be so sad! I actually mean specific projects. Because, sometimes, things just don’t work out.

My first novel was an overdramatic Christian contemporary tale about a young boy, his friend-zoning redhead friend, and a series of very moody events that somehow led to said young boy’s salvation. I wrote it in a summer, all 20,000 words of it. I believed in this story so much. I worked so hard, but… eventually? I had to give it up.

I really didn’t want to give this story up. Even now, there’s a part of me deep down that wants to pick it back up and write it again, patting it on it’s silly head and telling it it will be alright. But believe me, though the ones who read it (I’m so sorry) might tell you it wasn’t that bad (kind, kind souls), it was so bad.
And to be perfectly honest, I’m okay with that! It was my first novel ever and first novels have every right in the world to be horrible. They are not always horrible, but they, by their very nature, are entitled to be. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. Beginnings are always a little sketchy.

Since this first novel, my ideology about giving up has changed enormously.

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Here’s the thing, pal. I have a lot of ideas. A lot. That’s probably the one compliment I’ll ever give myself. I am good at coming up with ideas. (Not to say I know what restaurant we should go to, haha. That’s the problem — I have too many ideas and it’s hard to decide. Eep!)

So I have all these ideas floating around in my head, right? Just yesterday I came up with a wildly exciting idea for a book and I spent a good half hour on a Pinterest board for it. I completely intend to write that story as soon as possible.

And… that’s the problem. I have too many ideas. A lot of them promising ideas, but I have no time to see them all through.

How do you know it’s time to give a story up? Or — let’s diversify this to include other art forms too, just because I like doing that — when do you know that song you’ve been working on is just not going to work? When is it time to throw out that canvas and start a new painting?
With my first novel, there came a shift in my attitude towards it. It was when I realized I was twisting the plot too much just to make unrealistic characters and flat personalities seem more interesting. And then the plot ended up being unrealistic and uninteresting. Could I have saw it through until the end? Sure I could’ve! And I admire anyone who has that kind of patience.

Maybe it was simply that I didn’t believe in the story enough. I was bored with the characters, bored with the plot, and I had a thousand other new ideas to attend to.

Let’s grab one of those new ideas I had and talk about it. My second novel, for example. It was a story about an eccentric old women and her magical library. It was one of the most fun stories I ever got to write, but after a first draft, I realized there were some huge flaws and I just didn’t know how to go about fixing it. And I gave it up.

Maybe I could have saw it through. Maybe there was more to be found in it. It’s just that my heart wasn’t into that story anymore. I had bigger and brighter ideas.

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And so has been every novel since. I’ve had two since then. Another contemporary; 50,000 words, and a dystopian/sci-fi; barely 20,000, a very flawed first draft. All given up because I had bigger and brighter ideas.
The more I think about it the sadder it sounds!! …But here’s the thing: as I write and continue to grow as I writer, I realize I want more out of my stories. I want them to mean more, I want them to be more vivid and fascinating, I want to make people feel things and think things. As I improve as a writer and as an artist, my ideals improve and it’s those “failed” novels that are pushing me forward as a writer.

Every novel I write teaches me something new — what I like and what I don’t like. Sometimes that means I have to spend a year writing something I don’t like. And you know what? I am so hecking okay with that.
As of now, I’m working two stories. I believe in them both with all my heart. I’ve found niches where I feel that I can shine. I’ve found a writing style I feel I can expand upon and grow in. I’ve learned how fun it is to play with language and to not worry about the strict rules I’d always placed upon myself. I’ve learned how to write what I’d want to read rather than what I feel like others would like.

And maybe one day I’ll give these stories up too… and that will be okay. Why? Because I am learning so much.

In the end, isn’t that what art is for? Teaching us loads about ourselves?
I hope one day I can publish my work. That’s been one of my biggest dreams. For now though, I am so happy to be in a season of learning.

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Note to anyone who noticed I forgot to publish last week:

  1. I love you.
  2. I’m sorry! I was sick and sad and busy, but now I am okay and I am keeping my posting promises, hehe.

Why you should smell the flowers…

“There’s a fairy in the garden…”

There’s a fairy in the garden. She lives just beyond your peripheral vision. She ducks behind the daisies when you turn your head her way. She flits away to the tulips and hides herself between rose petals.

She lives in your garden — in the back wood, beneath the floor boards, just beyond your peripheral. She takes little things to aid her in her tinkerings, but always makes sure to repay you for your donation. With a bloom. A dandelion. A bud on the apple tree. A wildflower, blooming bravely between the crack in the sidewalk.

This fairy is very clever, very kind, and very courageous. She fends for herself, but takes time to bless your life with the small things. Flowers. A sprinkling of fairy dust here or there that triggers bursts of joyful laughing without reason, sweet nostalgia, and gratitude for the simple things in life.

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Where can you find this fairy?

Well, the trouble is, she would very much like to meet you, but sadly, she cannot. We live in a world that, for the most part, does not believe in fairies. And of course you know that is a very dangerous world for a fairy to live in.

But if you really want to find your fairy — follow the clues.

Fairies can be found where flowers bloom wildly in abundance. Listen carefully and you just might hear a rustle or a tiny snap of a twig. Don’t forget to thank her for the flowers. She most likely was feeling extra happy and put them there to make you smile.

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Have you ever felt a burst of happiness out of nowhere? Surely you must have been exposed to fairy dust. Even the smallest amount of fairy dust can cause joyful feelings of every kind.

Have you spotted a pretty bird and it doesn’t seem to be flying away? Or perhaps a deer that seems content to observe you quietly? Probably a fairy is nearby. Animals and fairies are very close friends. An animal that has come in recent contact with a fairy will be calm and gentle and unafraid for quite some time.

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Be still. Be quiet. Listen for quiet movements and subtle rustlings. But for heaven’s sake do not go looking for her! Do not try to trap her or capture her or hurt her!

Indeed, what a fairy wants most is for you to enjoy her work. She encourages the flowers to grow so that you will be tempted to wear them in your hair. She wants you to blow dandelions seeds and make wishes. She wants you to braid daisies into flower crowns. She wants you bring daffodils in and put them in your favorite vase.

Just enjoy life. And that’s how you will know you have a fairy friend nearby.

~

And my goodness, please:

Smell the flowers.

3-24-2017 — Currently…

Listening to…

A playlist I’ve made of songs full of adventure-longing and dreamer fuel. Currently? “Wind In My Hair” from the new Tangled movie.

Drinking…

A cuppa tea. It’s this odd new pumpkin spice tea my Dad got me (’tis the season?? Hehehe)  and it’s the cutest thing because it’s got scripture printed on the tag! How sweet, huh?

Reading…

*thinks hard* Oh yes! I’m reading and enjoying Hope Pennington’s  “Fairytale: the Novel.” It’s so nice so far! Excited to read more of it.

And I have this gorgeous review copy of this lovely-looking book that I may start on soon. Not to mentioned I just came into possession of roughly ten new books within the last week, so… Lots of stuff to read. These are exciting times.

Sighing over…

KILMENY OF THE FREAKING ORCHARD. Okay, I’ve said before that I don’t like romance novels. WELL THIS ONE DOESN’T COUNT. You know, there’s a strong difference between a respectful woo-ing and a steamy seducing.

SO.

That said, Kilmeny of the Orchard was very sweet. The kind of sweet that only an INFP’s heart can handle. xD

Swooning over…

The visuals in Beauty and the Beast. And Belle who = me.

…And Dan Stevens. I will say no more.

Worrying over…

My stinkin’ Astronomy assignment. I am a lady so I will say this respectfully.

I strongly dislike this class and all that it stands for — all the dreams it has crushed, all the hopes it has severed, and all the tears it has produced.

STRONGLY. DISLIKE.

So.

Watching…

My current shows are Stranger Things and The Office. Stranger Things, I have one episode left of. And I am totally late to The Office party. My brother and I used to watch it together, but I am only now going through the seasons on a friend’s recommendation. Oh brotha, I am glad of it. Hilarity of the highest degree. And I dearly love a laugh. I’m already quite a good way through it!

Hoping…

For a good dear rest. I have homework tomorrow and an article to write for my part-time article writing thingy and ooh boy, I am rather swamped mentally. But tonight I will rest. And watch The Office and let my only worry be whether Michael can get his stupid new paper company off the ground.

Lamenting…

The tea on my window ledge that has gone cold.

Excited about…

All the new Rhett and Link shenanigans that are happening. If you don’t watch Good Mythical Morning on youtube, I strongly suggest you do. (But do go back a few seasons if you find yourself liking it a whole lot. Their older episodes are so good and absolutely not to be missed.)

And I recently got their mug, hehe. After years of watching I finally have the iconic GMM mug! *mythical beast noises*

Texting…

My lovely INFP friend and my lovely INFJ friend periodically as I write this. They are gems of human beings.

Snapchatting…

Puns to my Slytherin friend. She’s a gem of a gem.

Planning…

A hot shower and a youtube binge.

Grateful for…

My life. Who I get to be. How far I’ve come. How far I’ll go. And for this cold cup of tea.

 

Regretting…

How stinking late today’s post is. Oops!

Busy day, busy brain. I’ll see you later, loves.

Dear Creative — A little ramble about creativity

Dear Creative,
Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever medium you use — whether it be music, paint, the written word, the spoken word, or simply your own way of living — YOU, my friend, are a brave, brave soul. You are doing something not just anyone has the guts to do. And I don’t know exactly why, but I felt the need to encourage you today.

You are being vulnerable. You are putting sound in the air and words on a page and paint on a canvas. You are bringing something unique to the planet — unique because no matter how hard you try to imitate others, it will always have a bit of you in it. You can’t escape that.

Embrace it.

You will make so many mistakes. You’re going to suck. Your voice will crack. You’ll break a few strings or get paint on your favorite shirt. One day you’ll stare at a Word document and realize all 50,000 words of that NaNoWriMo novel are going to have to be scrapped — may or may not be speaking from experience there, ahem.

Embrace it!

Because, dear creative, you are a work of art. You are a unique concept. You are an original. You are priceless. Art is vulnerability because art is sharing what is genuine and true about yourself.

Embrace it.

Art is not about being perfect. Art is not about doing it right the first time. It’s not about doing it right ever. It’s about doing it the way that feels genuine to you.

And if the sound of that makes you feel uncomfortable, well, you have two options. Either you can keep going and embrace all the awkwardness and mistakes and vulnerability, or, you can turn back now and save yourself the trouble. I’ve chosen the former… though, admittedly I’ve seriously considered the latter many, many times.

This isn’t advice from someone who’s made it. This isn’t a friendly New York Times bestselling author or a gracious, accomplished painter. I’ve never wowed an audience or even, honestly, been published anywhere notable.

No, this is advice from someone who is choosing not to take those — very depressing once you write them down — facts along with all the typos and all the rejection letters and throw them into very large and deep and dark chasm and walk away from them and grab an ice cream on the way home maybe.

Why?

Because I am not the best creator, but I love creating. Accomplishment doesn’t define good art. And “bad art” does not make a person any less of an artist.

~

Creatives,

This one’s for you.

Because even if you never get good at your art, if you love it, you shouldn’t stop. Art is a joyful struggle and if you feel like giving up, you’re doing it right.

Pick up that pen, get out the instrument, just put a blank page in front of you and pour out your soul.

Because people are messy things and it is fitting that the road to being creative is a messy one. But people are beautiful things too. It’s so beautiful even that you continue to breathe and think and exist, of course it is beautiful when you decide to create.

So don’t give up just yet.

Dear Creative,

Keep making art.