0045_melissa_dinwiddie_cWelcome to the season finale of My Rescue Rocks! It’s kind of become the tradition for each season to end with a conversation, and today’s conversation is all about a powerful concept that’s totally changed my life over the past few years.

In 2010 I was working hard to establish myself as a professional photographer, I was building my portfolio, working any and all photo-related jobs from portraits to products. For most of that year it was all work and no play for me… I’m not sure what first inspired me, but a holiday was coming up, Nick was going away, and I found a bag full of Yoshi’s beautiful feathers that I’d collected over the years… he’s an orange-winged amazon, so his feathers are really colorful and unique. Somehow, free time and inspiration collided and I found myself playing with my camera.

I got two really beautiful photos out of my playtime, but more than that, I felt really charged and refreshed and I wondered why I didn’t play with my camera more often. So I decided that I would.

This is essentially the story of how I became an artist, but I don’t want you to zero in on the artist outcome, what’s more important than that, and what I want you to know is, that this is also the story of how I recognized that I was creative.

My point being, not everyone wants to be an artist, I know that, but everyone is creative in some way, and everyone can really benefit from having creative play in their lives.

So, after playing around for awhile, I showed one of my flower photos to a photographer I assisted, and he told me that it reminded him of Georgia O’Keefe. I was floored, he was comparing my photo to a real artist, a real and quite famous artist. It might sound silly, but before I had that validation, I always told myself that I wasn’t creative.

In fact, if I knew that photography could be so creative, I probably would’ve been afraid to pursue it. But to make a long story short, that was the spark that inspired me to keep making art and to figure out what it would take to become an artist.

And that, my friends, is how I discovered today’s guest. I assume I Googled “how to become an artist,” or “how to sell art,” and I came across an online course that would teach me all about it. The course had two teachers, one taught all the tactical approaches to running an online art business, and the other taught us how to overcome the mindset issues that plague us in the pursuit of creativity. Both teachers gave us so much value, but being able to recognize and put a stop to all the negative voices in my head is the skill I value most these days, and I’m not sure I would have developed it at all if it weren’t for Melissa Dinwiddie.

That course doesn’t exist anymore, but I’ve followed Melissa ever since. Her blog, and now, her podcast too, have inspired and empowered me over the past few years, and I’m honored to be able to bring her into your ears today.

And, because this is a podcast about adopted pets, I asked Melissa to share the story of how she met her soul-kitty, because I knew you’d enjoy it. But this episode is more about you, and we quickly move into the fascinating ways that creative play can make your world a better place.

Ok, here we go, I hope you enjoy our conversation. Hit play above to get it in your ears right now!

Resources Mentioned in the Show:

The Creative Sandbox Way will be out on 11/15!!

I did some digging to find the original song Melissa shared in this video 3 years ago for the creative sandbox rules – it’s quite catchy!

Art and Fear is one of the books Melissa mentions

Michelle Theberge is the artist that told Melissa “if you can’t put 15 minutes into your art you’re making an excuse.”

Dr. Kristen Neff’s resource on self compassion

Go to creativesandboxway.com to sign up, get a FREE 50-page sample, and/or check out all the launch week goodies!

Live Creative Now is Melissa’s podcast

Vanessa Van Edwards on the science of happiness – Melissa learned that happiness is NOT self-indulgent, because the ripple effect makes the world a happier place!

You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

My Favorite Organization, HeARTs Speak, Needs Your Help!

HeARTs Speak has just launched their annual crowdrise campaign and I’m helping them to raise funds for the year. Let me tell you a little bit about what they do, just in case you’ve never heard of them…

HeARTs Speak is a small non-profit that’s grown to over 600 artist members who volunteer at animal shelters all over the world. Members are all kinds of artists including writers, illustrators, graphic designers, and photographers. I joined HeARTs Speak as a photographer, and many of us volunteer our photography services in order to give shelter pets better first impressions.

If numbers impress you, here are some fun facts about HeARTs Speak:

  • Only 25-30% of pets living in homes are adopted from shelters or rescues.
  • HeARTs Speak’s artist members partner with 1/3 of the shelters in the U.S. alone
  • They contribute more than 15,000 hours of service each month throughout the world
  • More than 32,000 animals receive professional portraits monthly
  • Nearly 400,000 shelter pets are impacted each year!

So if any of that sounds like something you can support, and you want to help HeARTs Speak make an even bigger impact next year, please consider making a donation.

Check out my Works of HeART fundraising page to pitch in.

Thank you!


Cover art and logo designed by Zack Magnuson of Podcast Designer

Intro/outro music by Mark Hermann of Rock & Roll Zen & voiceover by Tim Paige of Tim the Paige

Please Help Us Spread Our Rescue Stories

Share this show with a friend, pawlease, I’d really appreciate it!

You can also subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher… and if you like it, I’d absolutely love a rating and review!