Creative confidence: Living a truly creative lifestyle by Chris Cromwell


Take a moment to consider this… What quality would you consider to be the most fundamental aspect of being creative? Lots of notable teachers in the space share common opinions. I’ve heard everything from being open to new experiences to being actively curious. I’ve heard really simple things like the awareness and intention to be more creative. I think each of these methods have merit and I believe that together they can create a truly empowered creative experience.

I propose that each of these tactics have a unifying theme.

The title for this little blurb was inspired by a book I read recently. “Creative Confidence” by Tom and David Kelley. The book outlines their concept of confidence as it relates to creative thinking. The book was actually fantastic and I highly recommend it for anyone pursuing a creative lifestyle.

I wrote this article with the intention to share my own opinions in contrast to what I learned in their book. I’m completely addicted to learning and I listen to about one audio book per week. In my immersion of education, I’ve gained lots of insights into my own learning process and I’ve found a few common principles for living a truly creative life.

First of all, we have to constantly be learning new things. I always like to use the analogy of a toolbox when referring to the mind. Your mind is a toolbox. Information and knowledge are your tools. The more tools you have, the more things you can build. It makes good, logical sense doesn’t it?


I’ve had the good fortune of meeting thousands of people in my adventures and I constantly notice something unique about creative people. They are veracious learners. For creators, it doesn’t matter what the skill is, as long as it’s interesting creative people will deep dive into a topic without hesitation.

If you’re anything like me, you were told growing up that you should specialize your skills. Get a good education and find a job in a field that you’re passionate about. Easy right? Well, until you’ve had the experience of looking at all your options… It becomes obvious that a single specialty is just not practical. I’ve always been given freedom to choose what I prefer and being faced with so many options, I feel it to be painfully impossible to pick just one thing to excel at.

Personally, I’m excited about the science of people. Anthropology. I’m extremely passionate about music and the arts. I’m an avid marketer and sales person. I’m a big tech geek and I’ve always loved speaking and performing as an orator. I’m an entrepreneur and an aspiring philanthropist. As I’m sure you can tell, each of these skills are very different. I don’t specialize in any single industry or narrow my options to select just one field of study. Along my path, these passion have naturally overlapped and I’ve found it very useful in practice to have multiple skill sets.

Creative Confidence to me, is having the ability to face obstacles.

I feel that being curious, staying open to the potential of new experiences and living a ‘fun’ life are the foundational aspects of living a fulfilled, creative existence. Without having the courage to face new challenges and overcome new barriers, we become apathetic. I believe that continuous learning is the fundamental key to being empowered, creatively.

Our lust for life exists in our ability to seek out new challenges, create new problems and really face life head-on with ambition and excitement about the unknown. I know that we are naturally courageous and creative people that are drawn to learn, explore and ponder the world around us. I feel that our society (unintentionally) teaches us to play it safe and follow the beaten path. I suggest to get lost, make messes and explore the possibilities of the world. We’re very fortunate to grow up in this day in age where the information of the world is at our fingertips… literally.

It’s a natural experience to be curious and wonder about things. If we spent more time in our days following our curiosities and courageously exploring this magnificent world around us, we would be actively living a creative life and be fulfilled in the process.

Here’s to your creative adventure, whatever it might be.
Go forward courageously, friends!


More About Chris:

Chris Cromwell is a visual artist based in Calgary, Alberta. After losing both parents in 2011, Chris quit his day job and started pursuing art full time. Jumping in head first gave him valuable insights into how much work it actually takes to survive and thrive as an artist.  Read more about Chris Cromwell here.

You can check Chris out by visiting:

Grandmother Winter By Eila Carrico

“I am a woman who wonders when we as women, as men, and as artists will recall our ability to carve the shapes in the landmass
beneath our feet.”

unnamedWritten by our full moon contributor Eila Carrico.

I am overwhelmed with the state of the world this month. I feel the fullness of the moon above me, and I cannot help but try to make sense of the many innocent deaths I have seen. The bright silver light on her face in the sky seems to pull at my internal waters, causing them to flood from my eyes as tears. I do not understand, and I do not know what to do. When I feel small and helpless, it always helps for me to turn to stories. This story of grandmother winter, known as the Caellach, shifts my state from victim to creator and from misunderstanding to curiosity. I share it with you in the hopes it may do the same.

I do not know why things happen as they do, but I know the only certainty is change. As my own grandmother Clara always said, This too shall pass.

The Story of the Caellach, From the Celts of the British Isles

The autumn afternoon yawns and stretches shadows deeper across the flat green canvas. A bee rests on a single white daisy, and an oak tree shivers in the wind. The sun slides below the horizon, and a shadowed figure emerges.

Silhouetted by the dimming light, a giant woman carries a heavy load of stones in her apron and walks toward the fading orange sun. She pauses and uses the oak tree as if it were a barstool, to rest. Just as she seems to be dozing off, a stray dog barks and startles her. She jumps and accidently places her foot on the white daisy. The bee reacts just in time to sting the sole of her foot before being squished.

The electric shock of the bee’s final act zips from the giant’s foot through her body. She whimpers and hops on her other foot, thereby dropping her load of stones and thus creating hills in the once flat landscape.

This rolling landscape becomes known as Ireland. And the great giant woman is known as Grandmother Cailleach, the powerful crone of winter and water. She is the queen of ice who has shaped the land and her people since before time began. The marbled colors on the stone faces hint at her passing with deep tans, grays and whites swirling in a slow, timeless dance.

She controls the flow of water from wells, decides when and where to form lakes and streams, and welcomes the spirits of the dead to the other side of the river. She is respected and feared, but this face of the mother is seldom loved.

I am also marbled like the stones, with a streak of my Grandma Clara’s flare for control and precision. The lines carved into my soul remain as the simple pleasure I enjoy after sweeping the floor clean and emptying the dirty laundry bin. And those streaks of white, freedom and wildness, surface in my refusal to brush my hair or get a job that requires I wear shoes.

I am a thoughtful, curious woman who spends her time reading myths about the days when women were giants and glaciers and rivers. I am a woman who values the bee sting, realizes the cost of courageous freedom and remembers the true faces we once wore underneath our masks.

I am a woman who wonders when we as women, as men, and as artists will recall our ability to carve the shapes in the landmass beneath our feet.

More About Eila:

Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008.  Check out more of her work at:  The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.

Meet Clara Rose Thornton….Spoken Word Artist, Culture Journalist, and Radio/Television Broadcaster (Audio)

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Clara Rose Thornton
is a spoken word artist, culture journalist, and radio and television broadcaster. She is a multiple slam champion, including the 2014-15 Dublin Slam Poetry Champion. Her themes of social justice, identity politics, and place have been featured at Electric Picnic, Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, Bar Demory in Paris, Christiania Jazzklub in Copenhagen, and Workman’s Club in Dublin. In fall 2014 she toured Ireland as the headlining artist for the nation’s inaugural Black History Month, which she was instrumental in founding.  She is Chicago-born, New-York-simmered, Dublin-dwelling.  Meet her at and @ClaraRose.  We invite you to learn more about Clara Rose Thornton by visiting her site out the upcoming Vice & Verses:  Neo-Soul Brigade in Dublin, Ireland (December 1).  Details can be found be found at the end of this interview or by clicking here.Wildly Creative:  How do you define living a creative life?

“Really art making is the most selfish yet simultaneously most altruistic paths that you can choose and simultaneously incredibly selfish and incredibly altruistic.  Because you are taking your thoughts, your perspectives, what happens to you on a daily basis and mulling over it.

You are sitting there writing poetry about it;
Some people take years to write a book about a certain experience they had;
Someone is writing a love song about someone that made them feel bad in high school;

You know these are deeply personal experiences being mulled and obsessed over. Sure, but it is all in the name of potentially connecting with someone else and their experience and extracting the universality in the crux of that connection.”  Interview Excerpt, press play to hear more:

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Wildly Creative:  Creatives are usually the ones breaking the rules and little bits of misfits. How are you making sure to hold true to breaking the rules?

Here Clara talks about breaking out of the box of what it means to be or look like a creative. How does being wildly creative intersect with “isms” like race, class, and education status alongside connecting Social Justice within the realm of creativity?

Through this brief segment, Clara encourages us to challenge what we see or envision even in our own skin of living a wildly creative life.

“I have lived in 6 countries on 2 continents.   I do not let the awareness and reality that my particular skin color, my particular background, life, view, perspective may not be the most welcome or familiar in some of these places daunt me because I want to go and grab life.”  Interview Excerpt, press play to hear more:

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Wildly Creative:  What words of wisdom do you wish to share with others?

Is it possible to gain freedom through your life, passion and paycheck intersecting? Here Clara speak more about this:

“Simply it’s going to be very very daunting and to never lose grip on that essential internal kernel of why you began doing it in the first place.”  Interview Excerpt, press play to hear more:

Photo Credit: Rafael Photography

Want to see or hear more from Clara Rose?  Check out what she is doing in Ireland with Vice and Verses:
“Vice and Verses: Neo-Soul Brigade is a bimonthly series I started this year on October 6. It’s all about bringing disparate cultures together, and specifically, bringing African-American musical and poetics culture abroad. Our second installment is Tuesday, December 1. We have myself and my jazz band, the Vice & Verses Flute Trio; the biggest name in Irish hip-hop, Dublin-born Funzo; with a very special headliner to be announced this week (“stay tuned to” yadda yadda).”

Social Media Links to Vice and Verses:

Vice & Verses Facebook Page

Vice & Verses:  Neo -Soul Brigade
Tuesday, December 1, 5 Wellington Quay, Dublin, Ireland
Click here for more event details

Eventbrite page Info




Wild Musings: Unzipping the Self & Tips for Wild Creativity (Video)

Wildly Creative Co-Founder Shanta Lee talks about tips for leading a wildly creative life during an interview with Ezlerh Oreste of Brattleboro Community TV.

Shanta Lee
Photo Credit: Liz LaVorgna, Core Photography

“Being in relationship with yourself is a long term dysfunctional relationship.”  Shanta Lee on navigating the relationship with the self in order to unzip creativity


Meet Chris Cromwell…Author, Visual Artist, Muralist & Web Designer (Audio)

“2011 was a pivotal moment for me because it taught me that life is extremely short and if I were to spend more time on this earth, I should be doing what I love.” Chris Cromwell

If you are interested in purchasing his new book, The Working Artist: 15 Lessons & Philosophies for Artists to Build a Successful Art Career,  you can visit the following link:

More About Chris:

Chris Cromwell is a visual artist based in Calgary, Alberta. After losing both parents in 2011, Chris quit his day job and started pursuing art full time. Jumping in head first gave him valuable insights into how much work it actually takes to survive and thrive as an artist.

500 Hamsa
Original Art by Chris Cromwell
500 Fishy
Original art by Chris Cromwell

Chris currently works full time designing websites and commissioning fine art and mural installations throughout Canada. Chris is also an author and an enthusiastic public speaker.

Curiosity Chris CromwellChris travels to schools teaching young people to aspire to living a creative life and emphasizes the value of creativity, uniqueness, optimism and most importantly, creative confidence.


Chris can be found online through social media:

Chris Cromwell _ Amanda StewartFacebook

You can check Chris out by visiting: