If you had ever asked me if I was creative, my answer would have somehow revolved around my writing. While both my grandmothers painted, I didn't feel my artistic bents leaned that way in the least. But art has been sneaking in for years... through mandalas and collages and vision boards and now, yes, painting.

I have to say that playing with markers, paints, ink, and pastels has humbled me greatly. I have a vague idea of what I want to create, and it NEVER comes out the way I (even vaguely) imagined. Yet, I've pressed on because I really do love the creative process and the results.

Here are some of the lessons art has taught me about all art, especially writing (where I feel oh-so-much more comfortable).

1. You sit down to do one thing, and something completely different happens, within seconds. I sat down one day at my art desk, and I thought I was going to start a new project; instead, I went back to an already in-progress piece that I didn't think I was particularly fond of (and was contemplating just ditching). I followed my energy and just went with it. Same thing with writing. I can have three different writing to-do's, and I THINK I'm going to start with A, but before I know it, I'm typing B. Follow your energy, and the result will be much more powerful.

2. You have to try different techniques to see which ones you like the best - and that you're best suited for. I have found I like the heavier.08 pen instead of the ultra fine.01 pens for drawing. With writing, I write with shorter paragraphs, and I try very hard to circle the ending back to the beginning. All that happened with practice and trial and error. And it meant that I couldn't let myself get caught up in "it has to be perfect." Most of my recent art projects aren't perfect. (And my writing probably isn't either. Sigh.)

3. Have faith that you will complete it. I love to quilt, but I'm not overfond of the final top quilting process. It takes so long! The only way for me to get a quilt - or a big writing project like a book - done is to take one step at a time. And to have faith that all those steps will finally culminate in a finished piece.

4. The big picture is important, but you can't live there. One reason top quilting is so challenging for me is that it feels overwhelming to figure out how I'm going to quilt each section. So, I put my head down and concentrate on one section at a time. But every now and then I do need to step back and look at the quilt as a whole in order to ensure that all the sections work together. When I'm working on something like a book, I can't think about the book as a whole; I have to write one section at a time. But if I don't think about it as one entity, then my individual sections might not work together as well.

5. You'll figure it out as you go along, and you'll probably change your mind along the way. As I was quilting one section, I was already looking ahead to how I would quilt another one. It seemed to make sense to follow the pattern minutely, but I knew it would take forever. As I was quilting smaller sections and realizing that quilting too close together would bunch up the fabric, I decided on a much larger pattern on the one section - quicker, easier, AND actually better. But I certainly didn't know that going in, and not even a little way in. I had to be in it for a while to figure it out. So when you're writing, don't worry if you don't have it worked out ahead of time. Just know it will emerge as needed.

6. Sometimes you don't know what a piece needs or what the next step is - until you walk away from it. The same is true for writing. Not only might you not have the entire piece pre-written in your head, you might actually HAVE to walk away in order for the next step to appear. I knew I wanted to do something with this empty circle in the middle of the mandala, but it took walking away and coming back to it several days later to know what that was. In my Phoenix Rising story, I'm patiently awaiting the next scene.

7. Subtle changes can make a big difference. For example, when I've come back to a piece (see above), I usually see places that need a little something, and usually that something is a thicker pen. When you go back to a writing piece, sometimes just changing a word or phrase here and there can make all the difference.

8. You don't always get the satisfying, screamingly obvious "I'm done!" feel. Sometimes, you have to say, "That's enough." I probably do feel a writing piece is more done than I do my art pieces. And sometimes it's done because I don't know what else to do to it.

9. Leave off at a place where it's easy to pick up the next time. I actually learned this lesson first from my writing. End the writing session with an unfinished sentence or a question to easily pick up the next day. For my current piece, I knew I was going to repeat the pattern from the opposite quadrant. I knew if I drew a few lines, I'd pretty quickly see what the next step was.

10. A mistake can turn into an opportunity. Especially with my pen and ink mandalas, a line gone astray can seemingly ruin a piece. I go to fix it (usually making a heavier line), and I realize that it's evolving into something different, even better. The trick is to keep going and don't discard outright. So that article that has a problem... perhaps the "fixing" of the problem or turning it into something else will actually result in a better piece overall.

And here's the most important lesson...

11. Try not to judge the results too harshly. Try to see the finished piece objectively. Learn from the process. Improve. And, ultimately, see the beauty in what you've created. I'm not happy with this particular mandala because of some (to me, obvious) errors. But there are some things I do like about it. So, it will stick around. Same with my writing. When I'm done with a piece (especially an article or blog post), I publish it and put it out of my mind. I can't obsess about it or keep going back to it.

See the beauty in what you've created.

Author's Bio: 

Dawn Shuler, Content Creator Extraordinaire, helps entrepreneurs and authors convey their deep message into compelling words, whether it's marketing material or a book, as well as to create powerful content to increase their credibility, visibility, and profitability. Her soul purpose is to help entrepreneurs unleash their authentic selves into their businesses through their content. She created the Writing From Your Soul system to help business owners connect more powerfully, reach more people, and make a difference. Download the free, 13-step system at www.WritingFromYourSoul.com.