Note: For the fullest experience, I recommend listening to the podcast, as the audio version always contains additional comments and tangents not found in the blog post version.

CSW 169: Courage and CricketsOn Sunday, a young woman named mentioned me in her Story on Instagram.

She was inspired by a video I made on my IGTV channel, which had a huge impact on her and how she approached her art.

I was so touched that she mentioned me that I not only thanked her in a direct message, but I shared her Story on MY Instagram Story (Instagram makes this one-click easy to do from the private message thread!)

This led to a lengthy private chat conversation, culminating in my inviting her to be on the podcast.

It’s a purely selfish move on my part, because she has a story about how I have totally transformed her relationship to her art. So of course I want to share that, right?

But it’s also a huge thing for her, because she’s really scared to come on a podcast, yet it’s something she’s been wanting to do, so it’s a big growth move, pushing outside her comfort zone. That’s something I’m able to give her, while getting something that I really want, too.

Which is, of course, the definition of a win-win!

Anyway, ALL of this came about because this young woman had the courage to share, and to tag me.

If she had never shared, had never tagged me, I would never have known she exists. I would not know that my work had any impact on her whatsoever, and I certainly would not have invited her on the podcast.

For me, inviting her on my podcast is not that big of a deal, but for her, it was pretty huge. She certainly did not see that coming, out of the blue!

And it ALL happened because she took a risk. She shared her work. She had the courage to put herself out there.

The Two Essential Steps of the Creative Process

The first step is to CREATE. This is obviously essential.

But if we stop there, it’s almost as bad as if we’d never created at all.

Don’t forget, creating is really a TWO-STEP process. Creating without sharing is missing something essential.

Share your work. Even if it scares you. Perhaps especially if it scares you. You never know where it might lead.

It won’t lead anywhere if you never share it. But it might lead somewhere really amazing if you do.

But then again…

My big fear is that I’ll throw a party and nobody will come.

This has happened to me.

Not necessarily with parties, but certainly with business-related things.

I’ve put an offer out into the world, and gotten the virtual equivalent of crickets in response. More than once.

It really sucks.

But what are you gonna do, just stop putting offers out into the world?

Every time, there is a moment I do think, yeah, I’m not doing THIS again. But then I take a breath. And I realize that actually, I will.

Because when I’ve had some time to get over the sting, I realize that the problem is not that I suck, or that the thing that I created sucks. There’s something that clearly didn’t work, and my job is to figure that out, and solve the problem.

It’s a creative challenge, and if there’s one thing I like, it’s a creative challenge.

So I always get back up, dust myself off, and start all over again.


But that’s not to say I do it without trepidation.

Oh, no. I have a lot of trepidation.

Pretty soon I’m going to open the doors to my Creative Sandbox Community again, with the “relaunch” (for lack of a better term) of a program I ran a few years ago called the Great ClutterBust.

Clear your clutter, change your life, make space to create, and get a full year of feminine support, friendship, and creative rejuvenation in the Creative Sandbox Community, my lab for women’s leadership through creative expression.

The women already inside the Creative Sandbox are amazing.

Just the other day, Angi said on a call, “I’m gaining so much just sharing with such wonderful women, and I can’t imagine not being in this group.”

Carla, one of the members who hosts our monthly creative challenges, recently wrote:

I’ve struggled with depression for over 30 years, and this daily practice has been the most effective “treatment”…26 days and counting. Hooray for the power of TINY and DAILY!

Leslie, another one of our creative challenge hosts, wrote:

The Creative Sandbox Community has helped me tremendously with accountability to help me get moving and keep going on my chosen work, with sharing daily (or at least frequent) creativity prompts to get the ideas moving, and with emotional support during a difficult time. I am immensely enjoying getting to know women from all over the world who share my love of art, writing, and all things creative. The resources, both human and informative, are priceless.

And yet, I don’t know if I’ll be able to effectively communicate the wonderfulness of the Sandbox to women who aren’t already experiencing it. I’m scared that when I open the doors it will be the equivalent of throwing a party and nobody showing up.

Of Crickets

Meanwhile, I decided not long ago to hold my very first Creative Sandbox Playday — an in-person co-working retreat, where people come together to work on creative stuff (art, writing, crafts) in community.

Creative Sandbox Playday hosted by Melissa Dinwiddie

It’s basically like the “day camp version” of my Creative Sandbox Retreat, which I’ve been running for coming up on 6 years now. Where the retreat is 5 days and 4 nights, the playday is a half day.

And it’s only $25!

But again, I’m really afraid nobody’s going to show up.

And how sad and depressing it would be to rent a big room and sit in it from 10am to 2:30pm all by myself…

But I definitely won’t get anybody to show up if I don’t put myself out there. If I don’t make the offer.

If I don’t share my work.

So that’s what I’m doing. Making the offer. Sharing my work.

Because this is what creatives do. We make the offer. We create, and we share.

And sometimes, people invite us on their podcasts out of the blue.

And if it doesn’t turn out the way we want, we learn from that experience, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.

Where are you stuck sharing? What are you going to share next? What could you use some help with?

Something Cool

Creativity with page folding! This satisfies my paper, lettering, and animation passions all at once. (If nothing appears below, click here to watch a 42-second video in a new window.)

Creativity with page folding from r/oddlysatisfying


Listeners Wanted!

Has the Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast made a difference in your life? Would you like to be featured on the podcast?

I love sharing listener stories, so if you have a story of how listening to the podcast has changed your life for the better in some way — big or small — I want to feature you in a Listener Spotlight.

Here’s how it works:

1. Just log into iTunes/the Apple Podcast Player and leave a rating and review. (If you don’t know how to do that, you’ll find step-by-step instructions at

2. Then copy and paste what you wrote in your review into an email, and send it to me, along with why you want to be featured in a Listener Spotlight. How has the podcast made a difference in your life? You can email me at

That’s it!

If I pick you for a Listener Spotlight, we’ll have a relaxed, fun conversation, and the recording of our conversation will be part of a future episode! How cool is that?

Want a creative kick start?
Check out my book!

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life, by Melissa Dinwiddie

What would change for you if you could totally revel in the joy of creating? You CAN, with The Creative Sandbox Way!

You’ll learn:

  • Melissa’s 10 fool-proof guideposts that have helped thousands get joyfully creating.
  • 5 reasons why creative play is good for you, AND for the world (it’s neuroscience, baby!)
  • Why “I’m not creative” is always a lie, and how to bust it.
  • How to turn creative blocks into friends.

AND you’ll get creating right in the book itself. 

ChrisGuillebeau“It’s one part field guide, one part creative practice—and I loved it. The Creative Sandbox Way is an adventure packaged as a book.”

~Chris Guillebeau
NYT best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

Buy The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie - checkout with Amazon


Hear ye, hear ye! This is to serve as official notice that all links to anything for sale, be it books or courses, are likely to be affiliate links. What this means is that if you click through said links and make a purchase, although it won’t affect the price that you pay, a few coins will jangle into my coffers, enabling me to buy a packet of hard gluten-free biscuits to feed myself and my husband for another day, or perhaps a pen with which to create some artwork. Or perhaps they will contribute toward paying a fraction of my web hosting bill, so that this blog and podcast can continue to exist. Thank you kindly for your attention.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for the Creative Sandbox Way on the Apple Podcast Player/iTunes!

If you’d also like your voice to be heard on the show, leave your question as a voice message right here.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Subscribe in iTunes | Subscribe via Stitcher

Now go get creating!

xo, Melissa <3

PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!

Manifestos by Melissa Dinwiddie

Subscribe to My Newsletter and Get My Manifesto!

Click Here!


Get the Inside Scoop!

Join our mailing list to receive entertaining tips & updates via email no more than once a week, and we'll send you our Team Assessment Tool to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your team in under 10 minutes. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!