The Open Window: Plant Your Creativity Where It Will Thrive

72.Q.fullpencilA guest post by Quinn McDonald

July is the hottest month for Northern Hemisphere areas, and here in the Sonoran Desert, we often have 30 days when the temperature tops 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Degrees C). In my first year here, I bought plants that claimed they needed “full sun.” Now, “full sun” on a label means 6 to 8 hours of sunshine, but it doesn’t apply to our 12 hours of intense heat. That first year, I struggled to keep those plants alive. It didn’t work. The containers overheated, the roots and the plants wilted and died.

From that, I learned that trying to grow tropical plants in the desert makes as much sense as trying to keep the leaves on the trees in October in Vermont. Choosing desert-adapted plants that thrive in parched heat is both satisfying and successful. No super-human struggles that are doomed from the beginning.

Your creativity is not that much different. Put your creativity in conditions where it can’t possibly survive, and the struggle is non-productive.

It’s time to eliminate the superhuman effort poured into the unforgiving project that cannot thrive. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to be very honest, determine that you do not have the stamina, strength, materials, or spirit to make this project take root and thrive.

This is not to say you should never try something new or challenging. Of course you will. But most of your projects should be ones that combine your ability and possibility to create interesting work adapted to your definition of success.

Spend the precious strength and effort you do have to nurture the project that will thrive with your talent. Put your energy behind the projects that will bring you joy and interest.


Raw Art Journaling 150Quinn McDonald is a mixed media journaler and creativity coach who helps artists through transitions in their lives. Quinn’s book, Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art is published by North Light. She is working on her second book for North Light Books.

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