A creative friend of mine was lusting after an artist’s residency she’d read about.

“I can picture it!” she said. “The joy of making art ALL DAY! My creative inner child being given FREE RANGE to PLAY!”

The rub? With a closer look at the application, she learned she didn’t qualify. The residency was only for people of limited means. This is not her. She has a stable income. She has free time. She has space.

That made me wonder. “What is it you’d get from a residency that you couldn’t create for yourself at home?” I asked.

The answer? “Honestly, it’s just the idea of having someone really believe in me. Of getting that affirmation that my work MATTERS.”

I could relate. Can you?

Have you ever wished, as an artist, for someone special and important to affirm that your work has value?

If you’ve felt this way, you’re not alone.

AND, here’s the thing.

There is no affirmation that anyone can give you that can replace your belief in yourself.

So here’s what I told my friend. “Ok, so let’s imagine it. Let’s say that you DID qualify for the residency, and you got it. When you imagine yourself opening the acceptance letter, how would you feel?”

(Joyful. Full of life. Like I matter. Like my work matters. Like someone cares enough to invest in me.)

“Now, how about this.” I went on. “Think about what else in life gives you that feeling.”

(Dancing. Spiritual practice. A sweet conversation over tea with a friend. Saying I love you. Smelling a bouquet of fresh roses. Etc.)

You know what we learned through this exercise?

It doesn’t take an acceptance letter from a prestigious residency to give you that beautiful feeling you’re looking for – the one that makes you sing all over, and dance inside, and KNOW your worth.

All it really takes is the simple magic of self love. LOVING your dream. Believing in your work. And committing to make space to honor and show up for that work. No matter what.

What would it take for you?

Roses? Chocolate? A sunny window and a new box of paints? Whatever sweet, small somethings you can give to yourself to affirm loving devotion to your path. DO IT.

You are the patron you seek.

And what about you? What elements might figure in YOUR *ideal* creative residency?