Do it Scared…Explore Your Creativity

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(Alpaca and Pig Patterns by: Animal Friends of Pica Pau: Gather All 20 Colorful Amigurumi Animal Characters)

Fear has been my BFF since fifth grade. We met in Mrs. Parker’s classroom when a police officer came to talk to us about the dangers of drugs and something I had never heard of before, child abductions. I distinctly remember feeling completely gobsmacked and confused to learn that there were people in the world who wished to do children harm! Seriously? What did we kids ever do to them? As I walked home that afternoon I was convinced that each passing car was a kidnapper on the prowl. One car slowed down to pull into their driveway, but I thought they were just decreasing their speed to get a better look at me. From that day forward the world no longer seemed like a safe place.

Fear and I continued to be in close contact throughout my life. Once I became an adult, we were completely inseparable. My fear was no longer just about my physical safety but also about what I could and couldn’t do. I was afraid of what others would think of me. I was afraid to try new things. I was afraid to be a failure. As terrible as it sounds it was a comfortable place to be. It kept me from challenging myself. It kept me from failing. It also kept me from growing as a human being.

In early 2017 I was going through a very challenging time and desperately needed a creative outlet.  I quickly learned how to crochet from watching YouTube videos and fell in love with the craft (you can read more about that here Why I started crocheting and you should too!) I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I felt early on that this was something I wanted to explore on a more serious level.

My old friend whispered in my ear that creative things were for “other” people, not for me. I pushed those words aside out of sheer desperation for something to do with my hands. I also wanted to connect with others who were seeking creativity as well. That meant being vulnerable, putting my work out into the world, and setting myself up for criticism and failure. It was time to push my fear to the side, to put it in the corner and keep it there.

Recently I heard the phrase, “Do it Scared”, and it resonated with me. This is exactly what I feel that I have been doing. Sharing my passion, my creativity, and my heart has been scary and it continues to be. I’ve heard that bravery isn’t facing an obstacle without fear, but facing it afraid. But on the other side of fear is freedom, opportunity, and self exploration.

Here are some easy steps you can take to explore your creativity even if you have to do it scared.

1. Find a Craft, Hobby, or Creative Outlet to Explore.

There has never been a better time to find a hobby that interests you. Between YouTube, Skill Share, Craftsy, and multiple other platforms, you can easily find tutorials and/or classes that will teach you the skills you want to learn. Don’t be afraid that you won’t be good at it, try different things, let go of your own expectations or perfectionist tendencies. Just have fun!

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2. Put Your Work on Instagram

This one can be really scary at first. I will admit that when I first began sharing my work, I was really really afraid. I worried that my creations were crap. I worried that people would think I was bragging. I worried that people would be hateful. I worried that I wasn’t any good and I would make a fool out of myself. Do it anyway. Do it scared.

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3. Connect with Other Creative People

Find creative people in real life and online. This step isn’t scary at all! Creative people tend to be very encouraging and supportive. Make new friends and have fun with this step!

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4. Sell your Handmade Items

This is the scariest step of all. It involves several opportunities for horrifying things to happen. But selling handmade items at markets or online is a wonderful option for making additional income or supporting your hobby financially. Yes, this one is scary, I’m not going to lie. Do it anyway. Do it scared.  The very worst thing that could happen is that your items won’t sell. In that case, you will have lots of wonderful gifts to share with family and friends. But if the worst doesn’t happen you may find yourself with another new hobby or a successful business! (You can find out more information about why I started an Etsy shop here: Flip-Flopping or How I Started an Etsy Shop)

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5. Teach a Class

Once you have built up skill and confidence consider sharing your gift with others. This step has been more rewarding than I originally anticipated. It takes preparation and opportunity but the potential rewards are huge! Making a difference in the life of another human being is an incredible feeling and you might make some cash! (You can find more information about teaching here: Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching)IMG_1940

I didn’t know what I was doing before I plowed ahead into each of these five arenas. The point is I did it, scared and stupid. Some of these endeavors took off and some have been a slow process. Each failure has taught me A LOT about myself and about my path going forward. Do things that make you afraid. Take chances and risks. Don’t take yourself too seriously! Let’s not waste one more day being afraid.

Do you have fears that hold you back? Does the phrase “Do it scared” resonate with you as a creative?

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Why You Might Want to Become a Certified Crochet Instructor Even if You Never Plan on Teaching

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It took two hundred thirty-one days from the time I enrolled in the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP) to the day I received my certificate and pin. In that time not only did I learn a lot about crochet, but I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I hate having a deadline, but I also learned that I will finish something if I commit to it. I learned how to make a ripple stitch and that you shouldn’t overstretch it when blocking just to make it the perfect 5″ square. I also learned that I’m a total badass when it comes to weaving in my ends!

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The Nuts and Bolts

The Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP) is a self-paced correspondence curriculum. Students have six months to complete their crochet samples and send them in to their Master Teacher, but you have an additional six months to complete the required fifteen hours of teaching.  The program is broken up into two sections, Crochet Techniques and Teacher’s Handbook. The materials are very well organized and detailed explanations are given for each sample as well as lesson planning. The total cost is $85, but you will need to supply your own yarn, notebook for sending in your coursework, and you will need to pay to have it shipped to your Master Teacher.

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I really believe this program is beneficial for every crocheter, even if teaching isn’t the goal! First learning how to do things correctly is pure gold. The internet is full of tutorials and videos showing how to crochet practically anything, but occasionally there are mistakes. I recently found one when looking through a very popular crochet site and was surprised to see that the woman teaching a fundamental technique wasn’t doing it correctly. Crochet is also a craft that has been handed down from one person to another and it isn’t always taught the proper way. Now the goal isn’t to crochet correctly for correctness sake! Reducing fundamental mistakes will reduce big headaches down the road. It’s not to be nit-picky but to ensure a happy, stress free outcome!

The second, and I believe the most important reason to become a Certified Crochet Instructor, is because inevitably someone is going to ask you to teach them to crochet. I’m sure you’ve already experienced it!  There seems to be a renaissance in handicrafts happening around the world and more and more people want to get back to doing things the way their grandmothers did them! The availability of tutorials on YouTube is wonderful but there’s nothing like sitting down with another human being and learning how to do something useful and beautiful.

Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program (CIP)

Have any questions about the program? I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading and I hope you found this post beneficial!