Sunday, May 21, 2017

Day 40 of My #100DayProject Self-Challenge-Where to Start When You Have SO Many Ideas

  My #100DayProject

 Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

I've been absent due to a visit to Florida to see my Dad and Stepmother. I opted not to travel with my laptop so I could sail through Pre-TSA with no issue. But I'm baaaccckkk!

I've mentioned here the scores of sketches piling up in my sketchbooks, and half-started projects bunched up in my WIP (work-in-progess) file. I took the #100DayProject self-challenge to finally confront one of the reasons I only manage to complete 25% of all the ideas lying around in my studio. The reason being I have ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. I no longer get excited, sketch out an idea, then my flighty mind is off and imagining something else, or I hit a road block in completing the idea because of a production issue, or funds or both. Project gets shelved.


I follow Cory Huff's THE ABUNDANT ARTIST blog and recently read his book SELLING YOUR ART ONLINE. From Cory's emails I found Jessica Abel who tackles the very subject that I am tackling with my #100DayProject self challenge. Jessica offers a unique way to hone in on how to select the best unfinished project to start.


As synchronicity surfaces with helpful information since I started the #100DayProject I'm finding despite the extra burden of dealing with Attention Deficit issues, that people without ADD also deal with the same frustration of unfinished WIP (works in progress). Ms. Abel''s advice on how to breakdown and select just one WIP to finish has allowed me to open up and find that inner child who used to create without abandon, this unbridled joy gives me focus.

Today, in keeping with one small task, I continued to organize my studio and processed three orders, before venturing out to enjoy some reward work, gardening.

My name is Suzanne Urban I am an artist and writer. My funny stuff like the magnet to the left is available in my ETSY shop here: SmirkingGoddess and my art and art products here: SuzanneUrbanArt

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Day 39 of My #100DayProject Self Challenge Learning Disorders Need Not Be An Excuse

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

It occurred to me that some might think I'm being over-indulgent in laying out why I re-booted my #100DayProject from one of finishing uncompleted studio projects, to a simple, complete one task to jumpstart me to be more creatively productive in my studio.

The Adult suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder learns to be defensive, to cover our tracks for our learning issue. And I've come across many a creative individual that I could swear had no clue that they might have ADD or ADHD. In fact I didn't have a clue, and once I heard the term, my life turned around. I no longer silently blamed myself for not being as smart as everyone else in this universe.

The odd thing about one's inner critic is when I knew more information about something or had an intelligent response I remained silent. Another thing? People I truely respected for their intelligence, never questioned mine, they offered respect back.


Once I had a handle on why I was so easily distracted, I was able to create a variety of ways to remember things. I also know this, if you are passionate about something, you won't forget, even if you have ADD. This is something teachers, psychologists, and educational pundits haven't figured out yet. I think a lot of creative people might suffer from ADD, as I talk to my artist friends I'm amazed how many did poorly on standardized tests, stared out windows during class, and always seem to misplace their glasses, book, keys etc. We aren't stupid, just distracted. The world is filled with people who can color within the lines, but for those who can't, we're a rarer breed. But, do not use your ADD as a crutch, think of it as something to tend to, but not as an excuse, this brings me to:


Have you ever been sweeped into an arguement with someone and mentally blame yourself for not communicating appropriately, even though you know and may even have email proof that you DID inform clearly what the issue was? Since I've trained myself to keep notes, and emails I've learned to have my own back. A year ago someone emailed me that I neglected to do something, I seldom receive emails from this individual. Some of our conversations on a project I helped her on were done over the phone. DO NOT use the phone to commit to anything or make changes on a project with out sending a back up email i.e. "As per our phone conversation (put date of phone conversation here) we are moving forward with your consent to_________________."  I reminded this person of what we agreed upon in phone conversation and her angry response was : "I can't keep everything straight with my ADD!". I didn't know it was my responsibility to manage her learning disorder too, I thought it my responsibility to deliver a project at a very reasonable price which I felt I'd done. ADD is the responsiblity of the owner, period. This leads me to:


At a former job of mine, not mentioning which one, I noticed there were certain co-workers, and superiors who never returned an email. Instead they would answer my question, or affirm my procedure in passing. OR like one obnoxious woman, call at an inopportune time to blather a response.

This is a coy tactic that protects some from taking responsibilty for their job. If their answer is wrong, they remain blameless. I worked in a very busy office, one such individual worked in a quiet two-person office; she had the luxury to listen to music as she worked. Once she called me at an extremely busy time, when I requested to call her back when things settled down her reply: "Absoultely not!" She was a narcisstic bully, but mostly lazy. And she succeeded in getting me written up. Another idiot I worked with had to train me on a program. when I whipped out my notebook to write down instructions she said: "PUT THAT A WAY!" YOU DON'T NEED TO WRITE THINGS DOWN!". My response? " I respect that your time is valuable, and I need to write things down so I don't trouble you with questions in the future."  What these people don't know, is very few employees in the workplace like them, respect them, and some of us do a grand job of mimicing them behind their backs. Did these people suffer from ADD? I think not, they suffered from being in love with authority with out responsibility.

My name is Suzanne Urban I sell my funny stuff on ETSY here: smirkinggoddess and my art here: SuzanneUrbanArt

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Day 38 of My #100DayProject Challenge–One Not-So-Small Task and Color Theory of Sorts

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

My One Not so Small Task:

Before participating in the #100DayProject, I never realized how the act of rebooting when I'm stuck and not being creatively productive can help me to get back on track. Re-booting which for me consists of stopping, thinking through why I failed and figuring something out to motivate me to get energize to return to the drawing table. I've often re-booted over the years, but this challenge has taught me to slow down the process and really think things through so that my goal arrives and sticks. This in turn has spurred me to work harder, it's helped de-fog my mind and decision making is coming faster and easier. I've been more productive since starting this challenge then I've been in a long time. For starters, yesterday and today I finally tackled a not-so-small task, re-painting my art studio.


 When we moved into our antique home five years ago, I was a little too excited in getting our interior space painted. I designated my studio space to be the guest room, but my husband pointed out that our computer room is off of this room and it would make more sense to keep this room as my studio. I agreed, however the painters had already painted the walls, a soft sage green. This green looks dull, almost grey on most days. I found myself not wanting to stay in my studio for long periods of time, and worse, the dark green color didn't reflect any light, with just one window, light was kinda scarce. 

I also suffer from depression, I think it's basically SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Grey rainy days not only make me gloomy, but they make me sluggish. The sage green walls exacerbated the inner gloomy feeling I endure on overcast days leaving me uninspired and unproductive. And the color sucked light instead of reflecting it. I've been wanting to re-paint my studio for a few years now. I finally conquered the task, I'm half-way done and already I see the improvement in how I feel and how the lighter color Benjamin Moore's Golden Straw, reflects light from my one window.

I couldn't have tackled such a big over-taking with out this challenge. Can't wait to finish the room.


My reward was to attend our local Garden Club's Garden Mart, I added Ribbon Grass, a Columbine and one Chinese Lantern (love this shrub) to my basket, Can't wait to plant them. I attended my Churc,h Grace Episcopal on the Green's fabulous Rummage Sale and even bummed a ride from my friend Wonderful Willa to visit a woman in town who sells perennials straight from her garden where I picked up Bluebells and some Angelina Sedum. All of this was purchased for under twenty bucks. SCORE!!

My name is Suzanne Urban I sell my funny stuff here on ETSY: SmirkingGoddess
and my Art here: SuzanneUrbanArt

So I've advanced already to handling a larger task. The bigger the task, the bigger the reward! Had I not thought through a system to get my motivation engine going, I wouldn't have gotten this far.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Day 37 of my #100DayProject- Lists and Synchronicity Too

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.


My issue with Attention Deficit Disorder makes me inconsistent in performing daily tasks. One such task is making a To Do List. When I write things down, I remember to complete some of the jobs listed. Crossing of each one is a boost and propels me to have a more successful day. Unfortunately, I'm inconsistent with making these lists. Sometimes it's because I get overly ambitious, and hardly anything on said list gets done and then I feel so awful that going back to creating a list is upsetting; or I allow my impatient ADD mind to bypass jotting stuff down to do and end up vaguely trying to get things done with little direction. Or as an artist, the rebellious non-conforming side of me resents following orders, but these orders are dictated by me for me, not another party. So get with the program Suzanne.

To Do Lists spur Productivity. I'm finding with doing one task a day, organization comes more naturally to me, and the list-writing is an urgent gotta do first.


In my last post (Day 36) I mentioned a community project I and a fellow neighbor/artist dreamt up. I decided I wanted to raise Monarchs by growing butterfly friendly plants in my my backyard and asked BJ, a phenomenal gardener if she wanted to join in. She did, but she wanted to expand the project to plant a Butterfly habitat in a conserved area of land reserved for joggers, walkers, nature enthusiasts and wildlife. She approached the town and we're underway.  Volunteers are coming out of the woodwork, and the town is 100% behind us. Most significant to me is Monarch Butterfly images are manifesting on a regular basis in front of us. From the one early Monarch flapping in our backyard, to a local magazine my husband spied at the grocery store with a picture of a butterfly delicately resting on the world, to the above picture of a wall sculpture my husband took last night in a restaurant he and friends ate at.

If you're a fan of Carl Jung, you will know that synchronicity means this:

These occurences tell me our Monarch Project is on it's way to good things. I look forward to seeing how my participation in the @100DayProject also brings some interesting synchronicity our way. I won't look for them, but I will pay attention.


My name is Suzanne Urban I am a writer and artist. My funny stuff can be purchased on ETSY here:
SmirkingGoddess and my art here:SuzanneurbanArt

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Day 36 #100DayProject Finding Community to Create The Tipping Point

The Windsor Butterfly Project to help out: click here

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.

Getting back on track to teach myself to stay consistently focused on creative projects by participating in the #100DayProject has taught me one thing. I never recognized how, when and why I got unfocused. I just did. I had a set back, the project got shelved, and that was that. I stuck with the easier work to produce, work without a struggle. This held me back. A vague sense of dread permeated my thoughts when I saw my WIP (Work in Progress) file grow. At first starting a file made me feel organized, tucking it all away in one safe place meant I'll get to it. Then a year past, another year and so on. Sometimes I did finish a product and get it up, but the snail pace is unacceptable for someone who wants to share her ideas in art-product form to the world as well as sell the work.

By adhering to one simple task, my esteem lifts up, solutions seem more forthcoming and suddenly a variety of To-Do's don't seem so overwhelming disparate and unattainable. I'm waking up with a plan in my head, a plan that unfolds more easily and stuff gets done.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT=Getting A Project Off the Ground

Not only does stuff get done, but new ideas spring forth. One idea, I wanted to raise Monarchs after reading about a man who repopulated his city of San Francisco with the rare Blue Pipeline Swallowtail. I thought, I'd like to try that, raising butterflies isn't as all consuming as raising bees, I'm an avid gardener and greenie and Monarchs are about to be added to our endangered list. I enlisted some local gardening friends to join me in this venture, next thing I know my neighbor mentions it would be great to have a Butterfly habitat along our local Riverwalk (conserved land with trails that runs along the Farmington River here in Windsor, CT). Well, BJ isn't one to let a good idea sit idle. She approached the town, we met with the Chamber of Commerce and Wetlands department and now we're in the process of seeking sponsors for our project. People are joining us, and one thing I've noticed, Synchronicity is happening; butterflies including a monarch flapping in the breeze in our backyard two weeks ago, keep manifesting before us in some way.


So now my idea of raising monarchs in my garden, to BJ's idea to expand to a public place has met what Malcolm Gladwell calls the Tipping Point, when an idea catches fire and spreads to the point the object becomes a commonplace product, idea, or event.

What makes the Tipping Point happen is community, but it must be an engaged, aware community. This distracted artist needs feedback from a community in order to create, most artists do, even if we work in a vacuum, sequestered in our studios. Without receiving energy back, we go nowhere.

Seeking a pro-active community is hard. Some groups are lackluster, some self-involved and inclusive, some demand a lot out of you with out giving back. I've had my share in joining the wrong kinds of groups. But when you least expect it, you meet someone who will turn you on to a team, or group or club or person, and the right kind of community surfaces, and good things spread, like wildfire.

So my one simple task today? I'm prepping my studio to re-paint the walls, maybe not so small, but I'm motivated and ready to go.

My name is Suzanne Urban I sell my funny stuff here: SmirkingGoddess and my art here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Day 35 of My #100DayProject Challenge-Seek Support, Spread the Joy

 My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.


We have two mailmen, both are wonderful. One has had our neighborhood beat for years, he is the typical, friendly, funny all-American postal delivery guy that everyone should have. Mr. A knows the town like the back of his hand, and will share snippets of Windsor lore every once in awhile. The other Mr. J, is fairly new. Polite, kind and always present like Mr. A., to pat our MaltiPoo on the head, in the face of Pieper's barking, Mr. J. was a welcome relief from the former postal delivery man who worked the days that Mr. A. didn't.


The former mail guy exuded anger, to the point  I could feel the vibes. We referred to him as "Surly Guy", okay we had other nicknames too, as he continued to grunt and complain on our front stoop. One day Surly Guy announced to me he reported our dog to his manager. He claimed our "vicious" dog prevented him from delivering our mail. Our dog is always indoors when mail is delivered, hmmm. He also instructed me to buy a mailbox as our mail slot wasn't big enough for him to slide mail through. He further demonstrated his displeasure with our mail slot by rolling up our mail into a wadded ball and shoving it through the slot. This act of anger resulted in a damaged CD. I actually started arranging my schedule around his arrival time, as I didn't want to interface with this unpleasant jerk. I even spent my money on a mailbox, though my husband said not to, I allowed this bully to influence my behavior out of fear, fear of what? Somehow his demeanor managed to intimidate me.

And we own a federally registered historical home, slapping a mailbox on it is a no-no.


Artists and especially those with Attention Deficit issues are sensitive folk. My ADD impacted my self-esteem, low self-esteem can ripen one to cower in the face of a bully. This is because our mental retrieval response is off in the face of conflict.  For the distracted artist the best way to manage a bully is to exit them from your life, if that's not possible, surround yourself with kind, supportive people and focus your attention on them. Their warm vibes will act as a protective blanket. Bully's are powerful in stealing your attention, and they know their game and know it well.


Show gratitude to those kind spirits who've entered your life. In this case, in my garden-scaping I found out Mr. J. loves to garden, so every day I have a little something for him to add to his landscape. This very act has taught me that a gesture of kindness and gratitude keeps me mentally focused and thinking of future creative projects to finish up.

When I started this #100DayProject, my intent was to log in what small task I performed and the resulting reward I gifted myself with for doing so. I'm finding this act has become a floodgate to helping me to work through my ADD issues through recording daily observations here, rather than what small task I did for the day. But the small tasks are getting done, and the reward work is healing.

My name is Suzanne Urban, my funny stuff can be purchased here: SmirkingGoddess and my art here: SuzanneUrbanArt

Day 34 of My #100DayProject Self Challenge-Don't Let Disappointment De-Rail You.

My #100DayProject

Perform one simple task a day to assist me in becoming more creatively productive and consistent in my studio. All tasks can be followed with a reward to encourage consistency.


About three weeks ago, the mother Robin shown in this picture built a nest under our backstairs roof. We use this door frequently and her presence and new home forced us to use another exit so not to disturb this neo-natal nursery project. Adjusting was hard, our dog was confused when we re-directed to exit from the solarium. Unfortunately, due to my ADD tendencies, I'd forget every once in awhile and use the door, Mother Robin would fly away squawking, her husband would appear and keep an eye on me until all calmed down and she'd return. She even became more comfortable with my working close by in the garden and would sit warming her eggs as I dug, and weeded.

But yesterday, whatever happened, Mother Robin abandoned the nest for good. I have to admit I am so disappointed, in fact, sad. I got used to working around her, watching her comfortably settled in and I felt proud that we could accommodate Mother Nature as in this day and age, Mother Nature gets a lot of whacks from profit-driven humans. To do one thing to assist a miraculous natural event in some way, feels good. I don't know what let up to her leaving her nest too soon.


I keep gazing at the nest, hoping she'd return. I considered putting a call out on Facebook for positive thoughts, meditations and prayers that she'd return. I'm plagued with thoughts of what could've been. This is when it hit me, that abandoning a creative project isn't a singular activity, somehow someone else is impacted by your decision, positive energy gets stymied. Fear is usually the force behind this. Fear crushes everything.


Last night I and a neighbor friend of mine presented a project we'd dreamed up to a local Civic Club in hopes of support. As we fielded questions from the audience to assure them we'd done our homework, I noted there were a couple of people who voiced discouraging comments. The more one talked the more I visualized a big bubble of fear hanging over their heads. One person's reasoning just didn't make sense to me, as we met her advice with our research. Despite the kindness we received, I got hung up on what I felt were the few discouraging comments. Come on Suzanne grow up, not everyone is going to like your idea. And maybe down the road they'll change their mind. When I got home I googled: "How to Cope with Naysayers" as I needed to process my frustration with not understanding what I perceived as negative information. Several sites came up, giving advice on how not to be derailed by discouragement, and the one phrase that stuck with me was how closely nay-saying is linked to one's personal fears, and the advice? Don't take on someone else's fears.

Sometimes someone else's fears might be your own inner voice, but fear originates first from something or someone in our environment. I think those with Attention Deficit Disorder absorb others well intended but FEAR-based advice more easily that those without the learning disorder. It's our duty to NOT allow THEIR fear to impact our creative flow. As you never know what might've been.

The Magnet to my left is available for purchase in my ETSY shop here: SmirkingGoddess and my art is sold here: SuzanneUrban