Just Keep Creating

 Just Keep Creating

Create Because You Must

I want you to believe in your art. No matter what others might say, or how much self-doubt you might feel, you ARE an artist. If you are reading this blog, chances are, whether you indulge this feeling or not, you feel the need to create in your bones. Do you want to paint? Write novels? Create music? Dance? Don’t worry about the outcomes, every art form is a practice. The process matters. [bctt tweet=”Create because you need to. Create because you love it. Create because you must.”]

Fueling Your Creative Dreams

When I was in college, I discovered the books of Isabel Allende. I’ve been an enthusiast for years, reading her interviews, buying her cookbook, watching her TED talk on living passionately, and of course reading her novels. By the time I was studying abroad in Spain, I could read all her books in Spanish, which thrilled me.

Many of her books have changed my perspectives, made me laugh, and helped me creatively in one way or another, but no book moved me more than Paula,* an extended letter to her daughter who died. I was moved by her love for her daughter, and all of the candid and magical stories she was willing to share about her own life. I was inspired by the way she found hope and love over and over again despite adversity.

I wrote to Isabel Allende to share a bit of my own story and tell her why her book moved me. It felt important to give back somehow. One afternoon I got a letter from a California address with no name. When I opened it, I saw she had written back. Exhilarated, I jumped around my apartment like a lunatic. Ever since then, I’ve dreamed of meeting her.

Last night, I was lucky enough to see her speak in Cambridge, MA and cued up with about 15 others to ask questions. When it was my turn, I felt really choked up, almost 20 years later, this letter still moves me. I introduced myself, and told her how receiving her note was one of the most meaningful moments in my life. Being able to thank her personally was powerful, and I could see her expression, and I think it meant something to her as well.

Her note made me feel special because she took the time to write me. But it speaks to me for many reasons. It speaks to me about the importance of taking creative dreams seriously, and having the courage to reach out. I didn’t have to take the risk of writing a famous author, but I did. Isabel Allende didn’t have to write to me, but she did. Art can connect people who have never met in a very real and powerful way. That gives me a lot of hope about art and humanity.

Isabel Allende dreamed she could write a novel. She’s written 20. I dreamed I could share my art and help others believe in their art, and I’m living that dream through this blog. No, you won’t always succeed, you won’t reach everyone, but sometimes you WILL reach people, and that’s worth taking chances for. What’s your dream?

[bctt tweet=”You and your art are worth taking chances for. “]

What Happens When You Take Your Imagination Seriously

I’ve been wanting to share this TED talk with you for some time. The artist, internationally renowned sculptor, Janet Echelman, was rejected by every art school to which she applied. Her story is inspiring because she dared, and continues to dare, to take herself, her art, and her dreams seriously. I can’t wait for you to see the wonder that happens because of her creative courage. I’d love to hear your comments on creative courage, art’s power to connect us, and what happens when you believe in yourself.

Janet Echelman: Taking Imagination Seriously

*This is an affiliate link, if you click on it and purchase, I will receive a small commission. If you do, I hope you love this book as much as I do.

If you are moved by this post, please share it with someone you love with one of the social media buttons or by copying and pasting the link. I share all my latest art inspiration and projects on Instagram @AmyMaricle if you’d like to join me on an art journey. You can also be sure to find out about recent posts and special goodies for my mailing list here.


  1. Patty Hicks

    I’ve recently began my journey back into art after decades of artistic dormancy and began uncovering my buried artistic talents and your blog is a part of my process. Your blog has been so helpful in this process and today especially I’m thankful for it. It seemed to be just for me and for a couple reasons.

    First, Janet’s story of how things evolved for her were just stunning to me. I’ve always believed things that we go through and places we find ourselves have purpose but never really attached that to doing art because I had buried my artistic talent for years and am only now uncovering it. All I can say is I am still in tears, this so touched my heart, it was as if God was validating my desire to do art and saying “Nothing is wasted in My economy.”

    I have had a desire to do meaningful art for years really but was never in the right place and time. This is the beginning of that place and time and I can relate to her story as I see some of the pieces falling into place for me as I move forward in my own artistic journey.

    Thank you so much for sharing Janet’s story with us. I hope others were as inspired and encouraged as I was. Just amazed…wow.
    Second was before I could exit off YouTube the next TED talk popped up and caught my attention so I watched it too. It brought a huge amount of insite and validation for me as to the process I have used my entire life! His scaffolding process is how I think! People have asked me how I can come up with things like I do, ideas of all kinds, and especially for the rusty garden art I’ve made.
    Maybe others will find it encouraging or validating too. “Creativity and Imagination: Gregg Fraley at TEDxStormont”

    Thank you so much Amy.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Patty:

      Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! I’m so pleased that you have found the wonderful community here. I’m tickled too that you took the time to write and share with me about your experience, it really makes all the effort worthwhile. (And it’s nice to not hear so many crickets!) Janet’s story is just amazing, and I hear in your words the same spiritual sense that I get of wonder in Janet’s work. I’m thrilled that you are returning to your art, your heart, and responding to that call to create. I can’t wait to check out the next TED talk. Thanks a million for sharing it! Please also let me know what else I can offer here to help you along in your creative “re-awakening.”
      Happy Creating in that art garden!


  2. Linda

    I stumbled upon your blog today. First, your post had me in tears. Then, I too watched Janet’s TED talk and that brought on more tears. I just started Flora Bowley’s Bloom True course and have yet to put paint to canvas because my graphic design business has had me working 12 to 15 hour days and then falling into bed. Rinse. Repeat. While this is a GOOD thing, and the work I do on behalf of non-profits is often rewarding and somewhat creatively fulfilling, it is NOT what my heart yearns to do. At 62, I will never be able to “retire,” but I dream of spending my days painting and writing and realizing my NEXT career as a full-fledged artist, doing work that is unconstrained by budgets, timelines and other people’s “two cents” (client’s DO NOT understand the importance of negative space in design work, alas).

    I can’t wait to loiter on your site and want to say thank you for the inspiration. I met Julia Cameron nearly two decades ago when “The Artist’s Way” first came out and was able to thank her for that insightful workbook in creative recovery. I have a feeling you will help guide me the rest of the way. Thank you, Amy.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Linda!

      Oh my gosh, you are in the right place! I’m so thrilled to hear that my words and resources have had such an impact. I really appreciate you being here and telling your story. I’m so excited too that you are doing Bloom True, what a wonderful course.

      What a special thing to have met Julia Cameron! You won’t be surprised to know she’s had a huge impact on my artistic journey over the years too. You might also enjoy my post on 20 Art Books that Inspire Me, she is of course on the list, but so are some other really inspiring ones that may speak to you. Steal Like an Artist is one of my recent favorites.

      Please don’t hesitate to tell me what else I can do to help you along on your creative, expansive journey.

      Creatively Yours,



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