i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

You are an original. Try and find your own way. Find your “Authentic Swing.”


Self-portrait as a cat.

Self-portrait as a cat.

There you sit. Maybe at your typewriter. Or perhaps you are sitting in front of  an easel, or a piano. You have a story in your head, a painting in your hands and a song in your voice.

You sit and you sit. Day after day, you write stories, paint pictures and compose songs. But, none of the work is yours. You hide what you really want to say; you don’t paint your dreams or sing your songs.

 You  create by copying someone else.

You have a favorite writer, so you copy their style.You know a painter who shows in a gallery, so you paint like them. Maybe if I copy their style, I will be successful.

The songs in your heart are unsung because you think they won’t be successful, so you try to imitate a popular song.

You are an original. Try and find your own way. Don’t copy. [ tweet tweet.]

Steven Pressfield’s latest book, The Authentic Swing uses golf as a metaphor for finding your own path in life.

The concept of the Authentic Swing is that each of us is endowed from birth with our own gift, our own style, our own unique talent and point of view. Our job is to find it and bring it forth.
– Steven Pressfield

Who are you really? What is your style? What is your gift? What is your unique talent and point of view?

Write your own story today. Paint your own painting. Sing your own song.

In my basement are twelve large canvasses. I am painting my own paintings. At the end of this month they will be hanging in a coffee shop; Proximity Cafe, 1450 East High Street in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

I will not copy anyone else. My paintings will be me. They will be my mine.

At the Alberta College of Art in 1979,  my teacher said, “You can’t draw, Pamela.” I use to believe him. I tried to draw like my friend Laura, who drew realistically. I tried to draw like her, sitting for hours with a pencil trying to make a glass of water look like a glass of water.

But, that is not how I want to draw. I don’t want to draw to imitate reality. My drawings are fun and colorful. Bold and graphic. Cats, birds, sardines.  My brain is full of cartoons and stories; like the woman who was stung by a bee and became a super-hero, Weed Woman Saves the Town. (It is in production now.)

My job is to find my “Authentic Swing.”

I would rather fail being me than succeed being someone else. And, if I succeed? It will be me succeeding, not an imitation.

My bookcase.

What is your job? Are you trying to find your “Authentic Swing?”  Who are you?

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to talk to you.

p.s. Please send me an e-mail if you want to know when the opening party is for Proximity Cafe. [email protected]  I WOULD LOVE to have you come.

p.s.s. The link to Mr. Pressfield’s book is an affiliate link. The pennies Amazon pays me helps pay for kitty litter. I have seven litter boxes and four cats.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Iya Hannum

    Can you believe this topic is exactly what we are going to teach in the Merge service this week? Title of the sermon is “Epic Fail” Ha! You have prepared me well, friend!

    • Hello Iya,
      God will use your voice and your heart to bless the children. Thank you for teaching and being willing to serve. How amazing that this is the topic for Sunday!

  • It is indeed my job to find out, and to stay in touch with, who I *really* am, and I sometimes find each of those difficult with so much social pressure to conform. That’s why I need to honor my own sacred time each day to create. I’m still finding my own voice, my own style.

    • Hello John,
      Yes, there is soooooo much social pressure to conform. The more you write and take time to listen to your thoughts, you will find yourself. What treasures are yet to be created by you? And one day, you can look like a person and not just a shoe! All the best John.

  • I’m not sure what my authentic swing is, but my boss told me if this whole nonprofit office manager thing doesn’t work out, I could be a Christian standup comedian. Maybe that was a hint.

    • A hint how funny you are. Try to tell the story of our 15 hour drive to Nashville, while standing up and see if anyone laughs. You would get people to laugh even if you were sitting down. A Christian sitting-down comedian.

  • margaret simon

    Great lesson today. And I love the self-portrait as a cat. Wish I had thought of that, but wait, stop, I need to be me, not you, right? Thanks for this.

    • Thank you Margaret. Yes, lets be ourselves. Mind you I would like to learn how to wear a big hat. But, that is you, not me, right?

      • margaret simon

        Actually, Pamela, I wear a hat once a year to an event called Hats and Hallelujahs. Not really me at all, but I liked the picture. Funny how we can represent ourselves publicly in a way that is not our true selves.

  • Yes! Let’s celebrate our unique style and way of doing things. A very freeing idea. I love this post and the image you have shared. So soulful. Though I recognise how far I yet have to come to be fully confident in my own writing voice (working on it) as there are days when I want to write in a different manner/style than I am able to. But the more we share our art, the more our courage and confidence grows. Loving this series, Pamela. You are doing a great job in helping us to get in touch with our inner artist/child and just create for sheer enjoyment. Thank you! 🙂 xx

    • Hello Joy,
      Every time you write you will find a little bit more of who you are. It is in the doing that we discover. It is hard to get better at something if we never do it.
      Thank you for your encouragement Joy. Let’s create to have fun. A little bit of joy.

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  • La McCoy

    Love it!

  • Janelle

    I think this is my favourite post of this series. I’m excited for you to show your art. Wish I could have coffee surrounded by your paintings!

    • Good Morning Janelle,
      Do you think the coffee will taste better? Thank you for your encouragement.

      • I wish I could have chai surrounded by your paintings!

  • kathunsworth

    I try and some days I fail, but I do dust myself off and start again. I LOVE your SELFIE awesome cool painting Pamela. You should do famous people as your quirky cats!

    • Hello Kath,
      I am constantly dusting myself off. Do you think it is the getting up again that matters more? Perhaps if you are drawing cows in a barn you need to dust more, if the barn is dirty.
      Happy you like the painting of me as a cat. I actually look like that.

  • I love this, Pamela! I have been recommending your site to my homeschool friends and others. When my husband talks to people about his artwork and what he has been doing, as soon as they say, “I can’t…” I tell them about your site and that they can too. Then I recommend they go home and check out, ipaintiwrite.com. You wouldn’t believe how many people need what you have to say.

    • Anastacia,
      Thank you for encouraging people and directing them to my stories. “I can’t fly,” makes sense, unless you are Superman, but the rest? We can, and we will.

  • Christa Sterken

    I like the idea of just being my best “me”, well said Pamela

    • Christa,
      Yes, lets just be ourselves. Your best you, is wonderful.