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Say yes to your dreams- Nancy Hillis-The Artist's Journey Creativity Journal

Say yes to your dreams

It All Begins With Saying YES To Your Dreams

What dream is calling you? What idea is whispering in your ear?

It may be something you’ve sat on for years.

But you tell yourself you’ll get to it later. Life keeps getting in the way. Years pass.

Before you know it, you look up and twenty years have elapsed and your dream has lain fallow.

You realize you’ve got to finally say YES to your dreams or they’ll never see the light of day.

There’s a power in decision- cutting through your fears and procrastination and self doubt and just beginning…zero to one.

Big dreams can be built with small steps

There is a Japanese concept called kaizen. The idea is that many small steps lead to big changes over time, where no single step seems very large or important.

There is power in cultivating daily creative habits.


Creativity is paradoxical

Creativity is paradoxical. Creative discipline is important.


Artistic creativity is particularly susceptible to habits. Cultivating a practice of daily creativity can have profound effects in the long term.

Setting aside time for reflection on a regular basis can transform your philosophy of life.


Say yes to your dreams- Your habits create your life- Nancy Hillis- The Artist's Journey Creativity Reflection Journal

Say yes to your dreams- Your habits create your life


Want the sample lesson “Your Habits Create Your Life” from my new book: The Artist’s Journey Creativity Reflection Journal?



Behind the scenes video on creating the new book



Order your copy of the book HERE and get into the exclusive Creativity Immersion Program for FREE!


Learn more about the book and the FREE Creativity Immersion Program exclusive to those who buy the book by going to https://www.artistsjourney.com/bigcreativity

The Creativity Immersion Program includes:

  • Daily creativity prompts
  • Daily affirmations
  • Creativity Immersion Workshop


A sample of the daily prompts and affirmations you’ll be able to access in the Creativity Immersion Program


Daily Creativity Prompts and Affirmations

Daily Creativity Prompts and Affirmations in the Creativity Immersion Program


Table of Contents from The Artist’s Journey Creativity Reflection Journal


Get you copy of The Artist’s Journey Creativity Reflection Journal and get in on my FREE Creativity Immersion Program! Learn more and order your book HERE. 


With gratitude from my studio to yours,



P.S. What dream is calling you? Will you say YES to it? Comment below this post and let me know.



00:00:01 Hey, everyone, I’m Nancy Hillis here. And I’m so excited for this big day today because the book is here. The Artist’s Journey Creativity Reflection Journal is live today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, and elsewhere online.

This is a big day. I want to thank you for being here, for  supporting the book, for being on the journey and for your posts. I found out this morning that the book is the number one new release in creativity on Amazon.

00:00:44 So thank you. Thank you for your support and also I want to encourage you to say yes to your dreams, whatever they may be.

Whatever creative dreams you have, I think the creative impulse can be subtle and easily missed or dismissed. And so oftentimes I think we’ll have a dream or dreams that we sit on for years because we’re afraid because we’re intimidated, because it seems not the right time. And I would submit to you that now is the time, now is the time to step in and say yes to whatever is nudging you.

00:01:29 Whatever is calling you in your life and it might be a book or it might be creating paintings or it might be choreographing a dance. It might be singing opera. It could be anything. It could be writing poetry, it could be going on an expedition.

Whatever it is that’s calling you, I encourage you to say yes to your dreams. And this is what it’s really about because I think that creativity is about the feeling of being alive and creating meaning in your life. And this is a big passion for me.

00:02:08 And that’s what I’m hoping to encourage in you. I’d love to hear from you, what you plan to do, what your dreams are and where you want to go in this year and also in this decade. So I wanted to let you know about that. I also want to share with you the journey of creating this particular book, the back story, because it’s been quite a journey just like anything. You’re creating a series of paintings getting ready for a solo exhibition and

00:02:44 It can feel really scary at the beginning… because really, I think what’s happening is you’re stepping into the unknown, and this is actually where you want to be as a creator. You want to continually say yes to the unknown and to the vulnerability of stepping into that and actually embracing it, because that’s where the magic is. This is where the discoveries are, and it’s allowing the experience of “not knowing”. And it’s stepping into the adjacent possible. You’ve heard me talk about that before.

00:03:21 It’s about stepping into that space and allowing one step to lead to the next. And of course, we don’t know ahead of time what’s going to happen. So this is really what this new journal is about. It’s about stepping into the unknown, activating the adjacent possible, allowing the opening of your creative channels and continually moving into the unknown and really getting that this is informed by your inner self and your inner sources. So the inner landscape effects the outer landscape. The inner landscape affects everything. That’s what we’re really getting at here.

00:04:02 So I thought I’d tell you the story of how this began, because this hopefully might encourage you with whatever dream you’re having. You have an idea that’s whispering in your ear. I encourage you to listen to it and to begin to write about it. It begins by noticing what’s calling you.00:04:23 So what called me was to create a reflection journal where you could get in there and write down your thoughts and ideas and stay in communication with your inner landscape and inner sources of creativity.

00:04:40 And so the way this started is that I actually had this journal that I had gotten at Ikea. It was just a plain journal.

00:04:49 Nothing was in it, and it was sitting on my shelf for months and months. And then I had this idea or this calling that whispered in my ear.

00:04:58 And it said, Why don’t we create a handmade journal? What if you took this blank journal and created a reflection journal?

00:05:07 And so that’s how this creation began. Here’s this really nice journal.

00:05:15 And then I started just writing in here different ideas. First, there was the question of: What’s the name of this?

00:05:23 The journey of self reflection and self expression, just playing with ideas. Some of these are in the journal

00:05:30 and some aren’t. And then it says Let’s begin by telling your story. So that was an idea.

00:05:37 And it’s akin to your story encouraging you or me to begin to imagine and reimagine our stories and write about them.

00:05:46 And this is an ongoing kind of thing that’s continually evolving. And then I placed it here. This six maquette story.

00:05:53 Some of you know that story. And here it’s about trusting yourself and what brings you alive?  So I’m just going to kind of move through this.

00:06:04 You can see we’re talking about playing with ideas, just grabbing things here and there. Here’s a timeline.

00:06:14 Some of these made it into the final book, and some didn’t. But this is like the maquettes where we’re playing with ideas.

00:06:24 And here’s something on big dreams. Here’s something on imagining.

00:06:30 It’s pretty just sketched out. It’s really playing with ideas here. It’s allowing, allowing whatever comes up.

00:06:41 It’s kind of like mind mapping. You just put down a word, and then you see where it goes.

00:06:47 So there were some sketches, animals, challenges, all kinds of things. This is where it started,

00:06:55 and it was in this really kind of crude form. And then I realized this would be really cool.

00:07:01 So I got into it more and more to turned it into a book. But I needed someone to help me with that in terms of the interior,

00:07:08 the graphic design. And so I looked around and looked around and I found this wonderful woman,

00:07:17 Lindsey Blakely, near Seattle, and I loved her work, and she got very excited when I reached out to her. Lindsey Blakely is an illustrator and lettering artist in Washington State. Her playful, quirky, hand-drawn artwork covers themes of love, positivity, and girl power.

00:07:24 And so the way it worked is that I took pictures from this journal and I sent it to her.

00:07:37 And the idea was, to see if she could help me animate the ideas through graphic design.

00:07:46 And she was very excited about that. And then, early on, one of the things that I did as I sat down with my editor,

00:07:56 Bruce Sawhill, and we laid out the structure for the book. We just did this on a legal pad.

00:08:05 Structure is really important for anything, as our bodies have an armature which is the skeleton,

00:08:12 and that’s important. Otherwise we would be a blob falling down on the ground. Likewise, if you’re an abstract painter,

00:08:20 even though you may have stream of consciousness mark making and wild energy you also want structure in the painting,

00:08:29 some underlying structure, because our minds, our bodies, our eyes, like to have some kind of structure in there and it may be very subtle.

00:08:38 So what we did is knowing that, we laid out a structure for the book. We played with ideas and we moved things around and asked: what kind of structure would make sense here?

00:08:49 We had sections of the book, and we kind of played that out. You can see a lot of scratch marks in here,

00:08:58 and so we created this structure. Well, there were some rough drafts with my graphic designer. Lindsey Blakely.

00:09:08 We started. I’ll just kind of whip through these, but you can see I sent her these pictures and then she’s playing with animating them.

00:09:19 It’s hard to see in here, into designs here, some big hearts. That would be exciting.

00:09:29 And we went through, I think, over 26 iterations, back and forth, back and forth over the course of a year or two,

00:09:38 So here’s the six maquettes. It’s starting to come together or starting to pull in some quotes and putting this together again,

00:09:54 and what happened is a lot of this was on the computer. But I like to have a hard copy because it accesses a different part of the brain for me,

00:10:03 where I can actually literally get in here and write on that hard copy. Another thing that happened is that Bruce and I

00:10:13 I went on a trip down to Southern California. I was jurying an art show down there, and we took the train.

00:10:19 And trains are incredible for kind of watching the landscape and coming up with ideas. And so at this point,

00:10:28 we were looking at what I had so far with the book and realized that it needed more stories. I wanted to bring more stories.

00:10:37 I wanted to bring more stories into it, wanted to bring more into it.

00:10:44 I wanted to bring more meat into everything so we started making notes and writing about all kinds of things,

00:10:53 like habits, like fear, the adjacent possible and stories that would animate this book so that it’s not just a book that has quotes and then you fill it in.

00:11:04 But rather it also has concepts and stories in it to help move you along and to help inspire you.

00:11:13 The other piece that happened is bringing in quotes. This was a big thing to find quotes that really speak to the particular concepts that are in the book.

00:11:25 And I got a gigantic book that had thousands of quotes in an old book from the library because I was looking for older quotes,

00:11:33 quotes that aren’t as readily available out there. And so here is a group of quotes. Many of them did not make it into the book because I was trying to pull and push and find the right ones.

00:11:49 But there are these. They’re wonderful quotes in this book, So then I’ll show you another version here.

00:11:57 Now we’re starting to see we’ve got the book cover. This is just a black and white image of the cover,

00:12:02 and now it’s starting to come together. Can you see that? Now we’ve got some structure pulling together.

00:12:12 Okay. Here’s another iteration you could see. I like to make use of these

00:12:23 different ways to animate ideas. Some of them are upside down. So again, playing,

00:12:31 playing, playing. And I think this is the last one before we went into publication, so you could see I’ve got marks where I wrote,

00:12:40 we’re still going in and making changes here. I’ve got all kinds of notes and appear to be moving things around.

00:12:50 So you get the idea. So all of that ended and here we are,

00:12:57 this beautiful book. Here’s a soft bound and I have a hard bound version, which is really cool because it’s glossy and great

00:13:06 and this book, I actually gave this book as pre release copy to artists who came to The Artist’s Journey Retreat

00:13:19 at 1440 Multiversity, and they absolutely loved it. And so I’m super excited about what’s going to happen when you see the book.

00:13:28 And when you go into it and embellish it with your story, your work, your marks, and there you go.

00:13:41 Your adjacent possible, animal totems, all kinds of things. Every moment is a miracle. Life and art are continually evolving, ever in flux.

00:13:52 Your meaningful artistic life, all kinds of different, concepts to encourage you to open up your creative channels and say yes to your dreams.

00:14:06 So I want to invite you to get the book. It’s live now and jump in because we are offering for anyone who gets the book

00:14:20 a free creativity immersion program, which I’m so excited about because we want to bring this alive and animate it.

00:14:28 And so we’re going to have this program in February and for anyone who gets the book because some of you couldn’t pre order it,

00:14:34 you were in Australia or various places. It was hard to get. If you order the book, you can jump in on this free program and it’s ultimately going to be 365 days of

00:14:48 Creativity prompts and affirmations, plus the Creativity Immersion Program, which is basically a course, and we’re going to get at at least five key foundational concepts that underpin creativity.

00:15:04 And this is based in science. So I’m really excited about this, it’s no telling where it’s going to go.

00:15:12 I’m going to be in there. Bruce is going to be in there. Charissa will be in there. So many of you will be in there.

00:15:18 And we’re going to be doing this as well, filling out our books, filling out our journals throughout the year and really opening up those creative channels.

00:15:28 So that’s going to be a free program if you get the book. So what you do is you go to nancyhillis.com/bigcreativity

00:15:39 And after I get off of here, I’ll write this down below and you can get your book,

00:15:44 then go in. Go down to the bottom of the page, fill it out. Put your receipt number in there,

00:15:50 or a picture or something. If you can’t do it write to us at [email protected] and we will get you in there.

00:15:57 Okay, we’ll help you. It’s no problem. So I think it’s going to be amazing what we’re going to do.

00:16:04 Together we will support one another. There’s power in groups and community. We’ll tell you more about it

00:16:14 in the weeks ahead, we’ll email you with details of what’s ahead, and you can go along at your own pace,00:16:21 and it’s going to be really cool. So I’m hoping that this is going to jump start the new decade for you and help you to finally say yes to your dreams.

00:16:36 I can’t wait to see what you do with your journal, how you mark it up with your marks.

00:16:47 You can use crayons, colors, paints, markers, gel pens, whatever and get going on your most creative and meaningful life.

00:16:57 So thank you so much. I’m so excited today. I see that many of you are writing. I’m standing back here,

00:17:04 I can’t quite see what you’re saying. So I’m going to step forward for a minute and say hi and then I’ll get off and interact with you from there.

00:17:12 Thank you so much.

00:17:24 I can’t wait to see you in there. I think what I’ll do is jump off now.

00:17:29 Thank you so much. We’ll see in the Creativity Immersion Program.









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