The following is the first chapter from award winning author Josh Langley’s latest memoir / self help release Find Your Creative Mojo: How to overcome fear, procrastination and self-doubt to express your true self. Feel free to share with those who might need some extra motivation.
Back in late 2010, I randomly started to draw rough hewn stick figure cartoons and caption them with insights and quirky commentary. When I say they were rough, I mean they were rough. A four-year-old could have done a better job! Despite my lack of drawing ability, I decided to start a blog and Facebook page. I called the concept, Frog and the Well and within twelve months I had a multi-book deal with a cool indie publisher.
Theoretically, what I achieved shouldn’t have been possible. I didn’t have any obvious talent in illustration or writing, and the chances of getting a book traditionally published were heavily stacked against me. I should have been riddled with self-doubt and put my sketches in the bottom drawer, never to be seen again.
But it did work and for one major reason. No-one told me I couldn’t do it.
Self-belief is just one of the many things I’ve learned about creativity and self expression throughout my life — and given I have worked as a copywriter in the creative industry for a long time, I know a fair bit about how things should work. Unlike some people, I don’t refer to myself as a ‘creative person’ or a ‘creative type’. Everyone is creative in some way. To tell you the truth, it’s not really about about creativity; it’s about self-expression. Everyone needs to express themselves. For me, I needed to escape the confines of my client-driven advertising day job and find a way to give my inner-self a voice. The Frog and the Well cartoons were the start of my inner creative revolution.
I honoured that quiet, powerful voice inside and, when I gave it a platform, it transformed my life. While I still write advertising, I now have my own business. Since publishing my first book, I’ve gone on to illustrate and write six more books, win the Australian Book Industry Awards Small Publisher’s Children’s Book of the Year Award, become an outsider artist and photographer, deliver workshops, make public appearances and tour schools talking about self-esteem and resilience to kids.
I never dreamed I’d be doing any of this. When I was young all I wanted to be when I grew up was a train driver. Obviously that didn’t work out. Come to think of it, not much in my life has gone to plan. I failed high school, not once but twice. I had to drop out of photography at TAFE because I forgot to re-enrol. I was unemployed for over a year and the government ended up paying some poor sod to employ me because I was making the government’s unemployment figures look bad.
I had no higher education, no trade, no formal skills or qualifications; on paper I appeared to be fairly useless. But I had an inner voice. And when I eventually found it — after a lot of soul-searching — my life changed for the better.
You have an inner voice too.
And you need to let it out.
You need to find your creative mojo and honour it. And because it’s your inner voice, there are no rules about how you go about finding it and expressing it. None whatsoever. I know this goes against current thinking, with so many ‘how to be creative’ books out there, and the litany of societal
expectations about what constitutes art and expression. But a lot of these beliefs are all made-up.
I’m going to destroy all of the myths and fears you might have about finding your authentic voice and where creativity comes from. I’ll also give you some tools and ideas on how to take the first brave steps to get started.
I’m going to help you push through whatever is holding you back creatively, and show you how important it is to express yourself and achieve your full potential. Not everything in here is going to be your gig, but I’m sure you’ll be able to take something away and use it to your advantage. I’m going to share my gut feelings, and a fly by the seat of your pants brain dump of everything I know and what I’ve seen work for others.
When I talk about creativity in the book, I’m referring to all forms of self-expression; including making art, writing, drawing, stand-up comedy, music, acting, knitting, dancing and everything in between.
This book isn’t just about art and creativity; it’s about how you can live your complete life. Fear, procrastination and self doubt can infiltrate into every aspect of our lives and hold us back from being the person we want to be and living the life we really want. You have the chance to change that. YOU have the creative power.
Get your crayons ready this is going to be a fun ride.
“The world needs this book!”
– Anne Simpson
“I’m LOVING YOUR BOOK. I bought it just because I know how awesome you are but OMG I’ve definitely done myself a favour. I love how you write.”
– Joelene Lavrick from Life Lessons Australia:Emotional Fitness & Mind Management
“The book really has achieved the lofty heights of being on my favourites list.”
– Linda Western Australia