The Artist Who Quit

Today, I'm dedicating my blog to an artist I'll call Travis. 

An artist who, sadly, quit. 

If you suffer from creative perfectionism, so much so that you want to quit, may this story offer you the encouragement to keep on going...When I was five years old, my parents brought home a HUGE oil painting of a TREE and hung it in on the wall of our living room.

Here it is...


From the moment I saw this beauty, it became my soul friend. It seemed so alive and became a fantastic world I could turn to when I needed sanctuary.

Yes, art can do that for people! 

One day, as I was staring into the painting, I saw a figure staring back at me. I would begin to call him My Teacher.Check out the upper right side of the painting and you’ll see My Teacher too. He’s peeking his head through the branches and has a white turban and beard.And so My Teacher and I would "talk".I would tell him my problems and he would say wise things back to me and I felt such comfort there.In fact, my whole family loved this beauty, and when my Dad had to go to assisted living a few years ago, one of us was going to get the tree.Lucky me, I did!It now hangs in the room where I teach my local writing classes, so my students can feel its power.They find themselves drawn to it, and that’s when I tell them the same story I’m telling you.

Because this painting has a message for heartbroken artists who suffer from perfectionism...

It goes like this:My Dad told me that the painter of this painting, Travis, pretty much stopped painting shortly after he painted the tree.He was insecure and afraid he was no good. (Hard to believe, I know!)He must have had an awful inner critic, right?A big dose of perfectionism! And no one to talk to about it...My Dad said he’d become a mean old man and we both thought that perhaps it was because he stoppedpainting.

Yes, he gave up his gift.

Telling you this story makes me want to cry. My heart aches for him.Travis is gone now, and my great regret is that I never tracked him down to tell him how much his painting meant to my family and me.

If only he could have known...

I wish I could have told him that his art was a life raft for a little girl growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.And so now I teach my Writing from the Top of Your Head workshops so that the Travis’ of the world never have to quit.So that perfectionism doesn't have to take them down.

Because we never know the powerful impact our gift could have on another human being.

Not to mention the joy that creativity can bring to ourselves and our lives.

I created Writing from the Top of Your Head workshops as a place of shelter, so YOU never have to quit doing that which you LOVE.A place where the VULNERABILITY of creating art is TALKED about - a place where you can receive the kind of SUPPORT Travis never had.Cause honestly, it ain't easy!What an honor it is to do this work in the world and to watch students wake up to the riches they have inside.If you're having trouble getting started with your writing, or you want to quit more often than you don't - even though you KNOW you have a calling, here's a safe space to start:I offer FREE monthly online writing salons. A sanctuary for heartbroken artists, a place to heal and come back to your true self.Just follow this link and you can sign up here:

For the love of Travis...

And to learn more, you can visit my website