- Unplug the internet.
- Visit an Art gallery big or small.
- Write a poem, make it rhyme.
- Stop fighting all the bad ideas, embrace them. Follow them to see where they take you. Write a corny story with unbelievable characters or create a paper mache model of Kiera Knightley’s nose or make bacon flavoured ice-cream.
- Increase your vocabulary.
- Pick a random word from a book at hand and start writing, painting whatever. Go with it.
- Visit a part of your city you’ve never been to. Spend the day exploring
- Believe in what you’ve got to say
- Nourish your body with good food.
- Go to the markets and look, touch, smell.
- Be kind to someone you love.
- Be kind to a stranger.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Turn the tv off.
- Teach your craft to someone keen to learn.
- Talk to someone creative, pick their brains, ask questions.
- Talk about your project to everyone. Don’t bore people to tears, but put it out there.
- Love your work. laugh at your jokes.
- Find a mentor, someone who can help you take the next steps with your work. Network and research until you find the one.
- Commit to submitting a piece to an exhibition, performance or literary journal. That should put a fire under your bottom and motivate you to get things done.
- Listen to other people’s stories.
- Ask more questions.
- Take a whole day to read, observe or listen to new kinds of music.
- Do something spontaneous and fun. An unplanned road trip with friends, a party at your place.
- Beg a friend to use their holiday house in the country for a weekend and use the time and the empty house to create.
- Listen to classical music.
- Take responsibility. It’s easy to blame others for your lack of time – but it’s your life and if you don’t take responsibility, no-one will.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Take an afternoon nap if you must.
- Do neck stretches and strengthening exercises. Seriously.
- Make time to spend with people who inspire you.
- Read something that challenging your thinking/opinions.
- Start a creatives anonymous group. Use the interwebz to find like minded people.
- Share your work.
- Take a break if you need to, it’s okay the work with still be there when you’re ready.
- Set your timer for 30min and use that time to clean your house/check your emails/file your important documents or whatever else is plaguing your mind. Get it done and then go back to the work.
- Use old ideas in new ways.
- Stop trying to do something brave and new, and just do something – write a romance if you have to, make music that your parents would enjoy, paint a self portrait.
- Have a deep conversation with a young child. Ask them a few of life’s big questions – you might learn something.
- Try a new style/genre. Mix a couple together.
- See one task, one project, one idea to completion – it’ll will do wonders for your self esteem.
- Declutter your space, recycle paper, donate unused stuff.
- Take some classes in something you’ve always wanted to try. Pottery, poetry, knitting, life drawing, just do it.
- Do some volunteer work, it’s just good for the soul.
- Cut unnecessary shopping out of your life for a month.
- Write a list of things that make you feel creative
- Drink too much coffee one time and see if that works.
- Have tea and a chat with your grandmother, grandfather or borrow someone else’s. Ask them some of life’s big question.
- Do what you love, not what you think you should.
Posted: March 29th, 2013
Comments: 2 Comments
You’re blocked. You stare at the blank canvas or page and… nothing. It’s as though somewhere in your mind there’s a huge treasure chest of delicious, sexy, beautiful IDEAS, but it’s locked and you can’t get in. You try to remember where you put the keys, scratching your head like a caricature monkey. You try pleading with the chest to open. You begin to shake it violently until, eventually, you slide down to your knees banging you head on the chest over and over and over and ov…
Ok, pull yourself out of the fetal position. I’ve got a little trick for you that will guarantee you will never, ever be in this awful awful place again. I’m going to take away all the pain and free you from this eternal suffering. Ok, up you get, take my hand.
Oh, I feel your hand tighten a little.
You look at me confused, scared.
Design like an amateur.
No, don’t let go just yet. Listen.
Sketch the worst drawings you can. Write a scene for your novel that is so vile, so fake and stiff that the thought of anyone reading it makes you feel a little nauseous. Set a goal to only photograph pugs and awkwardly dressed people for the week. Design a collection to be worn exclusively by David Hasselhoff’s back up dancers in his next comeback tour. Do cliched, do kitsch, oh yes do tacky, corny, repetitious, boring. Create bad, I mean really bad work. If you’re feel ambitious, do the WORST work you are capable of.
I once spent four hours writing a couple of chapters with as many fart metaphors as I could squeeze in (or out, tee hee hee). It’d been a tough week. My favourite was: “He was nothing but a fart on the breeze, vaguely annoying but out of your face soon enough.” You can can use that one for your next narrative if you want. Don’t say I don’t give you nice things.
Yes, I happen to have the mental facilities of a juvenile and I find farting, fart jokes, even the word fart hilarious. No I don’t plan on submitting a manuscript with fifty-six fart jokes (one or two will suffice really). This task, however, kept me on the track with writing and creating when all I really wanted to do was pull my hair out of my skull. Instead of lamenting how little imagination and creativity I had, I was looking for opportunities to insert another reference to farts into the descriptions and dialogue. (Turns out I can bring farts into just about any situation, see this post for examples.)
I tricked myself into writing even when I didn’t want to or felt like I couldn’t. You can trick yourself like this too. Focus all your energy or creating bad work and you’ll be flying in no time. Creating bad work is about liberation. It’s about getting off that hamster wheel of doing better, being better all-the-time and giving yourself a break. It’s about releasing your tight (and somewhat deluded) grip of control.
So if you’re in a slump, take my hand and start to create your worst work because:
- It’ll distract you from thinking about your limitations and get you creating anyway.
- You’ll be exercising your creative muscles, keeping the blood pumping and thus avoiding the atrophy that comes from being stagnant and stuck.
- You’re more likely to find your way out of the “block” by creating (even if it’s rubbish) than by sitting around and mourning the deterioration of your creative soul.
- You will have fun with your work again.
And so I’ll leave you for another week with one last profound story:
A Japanese man and an Australian are playing golf. The Japanese gentleman is getting ready to tee off but suddenly starts talking to his thumb.
The Australian says: “Whatcha doin?”
“Oh, it’s very advanced Microtechnology. I have a Microphone in my thumb, I’m just recording a memo.”
They get ready to go to the next hole when suddenly a loud, rude sound comes from the Australian gentleman’s pants. The Japanese man looks at him, shocked.
‘Oh, don’t worry,’ says the Australian. ‘I’m just receiving a fax.’
Ahh, that’s good stuff. Hasta luego!
Posted: April 4th, 2012
Comments: 3 Comments
Tang Yau Hoong illustration
Tired, miserable, full of creative anguish – welcome to the artist’s torment of feeling uninspired. You may find yourself in this place every so often or very often. The good news is it’s very common (well that’s not that helpful) the better news is that you don’t have to pitch a tent and camp there! Creative dryness is a normal part of life, but if you have been dwelling in the desert for far too long it’s time to shake of the sand out of your ears and move forward.
Sometimes the light of inspiration just flickers on and it is glorious. I’ve learned, however, that if you want to be consistant with creativity, you have to be proactive and switch on your own lights.
In my opinion, a genuine sense of wonder and gratitude can lift you out of any slump. It illuminates everything you see, so that the ordinary becomes inspiring.
Some people spend their time waiting around for that flicker of inspiration before they start creating (aka working). But while we wait for inspiration we procrastinate until we make ourselves sick with self-loathing. It’s a wonder that we’re surprised that we got nothing done yesterday, considering we know that inspiration is not going to come from our inbox, or our Twitter stream and certainly not our ex’s Facebook photos. So how about we close all those browsers and try a few of these ideas to light up our world and grab inspiration by the proverbials.
1. Change your attitude. Hey, being miserable may work creatively for you in the short term, but… you’re still miserable. I’m just going to hazard a guess that this is not fun for you or the people who have to put up with you. Having a healthy perspective is far better long term both for your health and your art. You don’t have to conform to what everyone expects of you and you don’t have to start spurting affirmations like a glass-eyed doll. In your own way be happy. It’s better for you and it’s better for the world you touch. I still get cynical, cranky at times, full of it, bitterly disappointed, self-pitying…(ok you get the point) but I’m really happy with myself and with my life. I want more, but I’m happy. Being happy means that your work does not define you, it adds to the good life you already have.
2. Go outside. Honestly. If you’re sleeping till 12pm you are missing out on the best part of the day. Warm golden sunshine. Curious comical animals, smiling faces, couples in love, the ocean, the bush, there is so much to enjoy. It’s all good and it’s waiting for someone just like you to see (I mean really see), interpret and use in your work.
3. Talk to children. Probably stick to kids you know. Get down to their level and talk to them like they are adults. Ask them deep questions about life and about their favourite things. Start a philosophical conversation about the shapes of clouds, or what makes a good friend. You may be surprised at how wise they can be. Try to imagine the world from their vantage point, it may lighten up your own view.
4. Contemplate something terribly small and insignificant. Like a bug going about it’s business in the garden. Like a speck if glitter sparkling in the light. Like the worst word in the dictionary (am I the only one that feels really uncomfortable with the word “smear”?) Like your life as one among seven billion on the planet.
5. Spend time with someone that makes you laugh until you cry. If you don’t know anyone like that… you need new friends. I laugh a lot, but the person I laugh the hardest with is my mother. We get each other and we have known all of each others’ most embarrassing moments. I don’t know how or why, but laughing together makes you feel connected and understood.
6. Forgive someone. Forgive THAT person – you know who I’m talking about. It will change your life, trust me.
7. Be kind to strangers. Pay for a stranger’s coffee or fuel. Tip the waitress a lot. Write a short encouraging letter or note and slip in under someone’s door in your apartment block. Yes thinking about the recipient’s reaction will give you warm and fuzzies, but kindness also opens your eyes to the fact that there is a world full of people other than yourself. Kindness decreases selfishness, self-centredness, bitterness and more. So do it. Start today.
8. Hug someone. I hugged the “Free Hugs” guy in Sydney years ago. I was working in retail (while at university) in Pitt Street and having a pretty hard day/week/year. I saw Mr “Free Hugs” and walked straight into the middle of the circle around him. He opened his arms and held me, with my head resting on his chest. I still think it was a strange experience being held like that by a total stranger, but it made the most incredible difference to my day. That moment gave me a feeling of significance, in the throngs of people I mattered. Now when I hug someone, or even just touch someone, I make sure that I focus on the person. Physical touch is powerful, it can communicate compassion, love, reassurance, confidence and it lets you and others know that we’re not alone.
9. Engage your senses. Smell the change in seasons in the air. Watch the sky as it changes colour, taste new flavours, spend time in a spice shop or a florist. Listen to classical music. Sample the textures of the creations at a craft market. Take your time buying your fruit and vegetables, smell the mangoes, gently squeeze the tomatoes – don’t get too saucy about it, just engage in what you’re doing.
10. Stop shopping for six months or more. No new clothes, accessories, gadgets, stationary, magazines, or stuff. Also try to avoid the middle aisles of the supermarket – no good will come of cruising the sweets aisle. You may be surprised at how difficult it is to stop. You may also be surprised at how much clarity and space this gives you.
11. Stop consuming media geared toward advertising to you – fashion magazines, car magazines, online retailers, television programs. If you can stop thinking about the next thing you have to have you have more space and energy to actually create.
12. While you’re at it clean your space. Make your bed every morning, put things away, create cleaning routines that work for you. A clean space promotes a clear mind.
13. De-junk your world. Empty the spare room full of exercise equipment that you will never use. Get rid of every useless thing in your garage. Purge ugly clothes from your wardrobe. I am by no means a minimalist – but I like the idea of slowly parring back to the essentials. Every weekend I try to get rid of one to five items (clothes, odds and ends, old stuff, piles of paper) I also try not to buy more stuff to fill the space I’ve made.
14. Do something to the best of your ability. Cook an extravagant and delicious meal for people you love. Give 100% to the next project at work. Craft a scene or an artwork or a dance to your personal best standard. If you’re lacking in confidence it’s important to prove to yourself what you’re really capable of.
Will you try any of these ideas? What do you do when you’re feeling creatively dry?
Posted: March 8th, 2012
Comments: 2 Comments
I admit that I have many obsessions – let’s call them “quirks” – and making my brain more awesome is one of these.
Lately I’ve been getting excited about psychology and brain development. (May have lost some of you there, but this will get interesting. Maybe.) I’ve been reading The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, which is about neuroplasticity and let me tell you, it is fascinating!
Now if I’m being totally honest my whole intention in reading this book is to figure out ways that I can make my own brain more robust and intimidating, which I don’t believe was the intended purpose of the book, but you know…
I’ve always felt that our brains have so much more potential than we currently use. I felt that if I could unlock that potential I could create more, understand more and generally dominate at life.
Unfortunately, finding the keys to unlocking that potential is not so easy. During my undergraduate degree I used to feel frustrated and limited when I tried to figure out what on earth my lectures were on about when they discussed postmodernism, poststructuralism et cetera and trying to read Derrida, Foucault, Bathes et cetera was virtually impossible. I used to think that perhaps that sort of knowledge was only accessible to the brilliant or those people who pronounce homage with a silent “h”.
It’s only in recent years, by broadening my reading to areas outside of my original studies and my usual interests that I’ve started to think that my original fantasies – let’s call them “ideas” – about increasing my brain’s capacity were in fact possible.
I’m now re-convinced that reading, practise and continued learning not only keep you sharp and ALIVE but improves your ability to comprehend, contribute and create excellent art and work. And so I’m on (yet another) mission with the following brain exercises to unlock my brain’s creative potential.
- I’ve started to memorise stuff like Shakespearean poems and whole verses of scripture from the bible. Shakespeare because my husband loves the stuff and is willing to listen to me recite it. Scripture because it’s good for the soul and good for writing. Apparently memorising epic poems used to be part of school curriculum back in ye old days and apparently it helps your brain to grow. Also I’m pretty sure Norm reckons it’ll make my brain 5% bigger than the average non-memoriser by the time I die – mwah ha ha!
- I’ve committed my down time to reading instead of watching TV or staring at white walls. I have an ever extending list of novels and non-fiction books to read. I’ve included books that are a delight to read, popular genres and difficult classic literature that will take me several reads to fully understand.
- I’m prioritising and training myself in quiet time. Time that I spend on my own, without thinking too much about anything important. This is actually really difficult, but I’m working on it.
- I’m experimenting with drawing and painting purely for my own enjoyment. I’ve always wished that I could create artworks, so I’m just going for it. The great thing about this is that it forces me to slow down and really see things, whether they are tangible or in my imagination.
I used to think that I wanted to use more of my brain because I wanted to be the best at things. Now I think it’s because I perceive how much wonder our world contains and I don’t want to miss a thing. I don’t know if all the things I’m doing are going to actually make my brain better than yours, but I know it’ll keep me in an attitude of awe at the mysteries of life and the human condition, which ain’t too bad either.
Posted: February 13th, 2012
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I like lists. They unstick me when I’m stuck and they give my feverish little pencils something to tick.
Here’s one I prepared earlier to help when I feel creatively as dry as a young, impressionable brain ravished by YA vampire literature. (No offence. Kinda.)
- Stop talking about and thinking about it. Do it. Start now.
- Be generous with your time and knowledge.
- Join an online or offline forum, club, group and give each other deadlines to swap work. There’s nothing like a deadline to get you moving.
- Launch your new project with that crazy idea that’s kept you up all night.
- Finish the old project that haunts your daytime thoughts.
- Have daily, weekly, monthly creative output goals.
- Immerse yourself in art, creative writing, poetry, theatre…
- Start a notebook of ideas, dreams, inspiration, character sketches…
- Make a regular creation time – if you lack discipline enlist the help of your most creative friend. Make a pact (sealed with spit in your palms of course) to dedicate a weekly or monthly time slot to creating.
- Spend a day on your own with no program or plans.
- Fill a box with unnecessary junk that is cluttering your world and your brain. Donate it immediately.
- Research an obscure but fascinating event in history.
- Watch the couple at the coffee table next you for while. What are they saying without saying it? Try not to stare, you will scare people. Trust me.
- Explore art forms outside of your field; visit the art galleries in your local area if you’re a musician, read modern poetry if you paint, study the architecture of your city if you’re a writer, listen to avante garde music if you’re an actor or director.
- Close your laptop next Saturday and play outside for a few hours.
- Share ideas with those in your field.
- Share ideas with those outside your field.
- Go exploring on wikipedia.
- Take a drive to a part of your city you’ve never been to.
- Sing more. Sing louder. Sing with your diva finger high and proud, hmm hmm.
- Introduce yourself to strangers and ask about their story. Pretend you’re a journalist if you have to.
- Get involved with and ardently support local organisations, societies, clubs, groups centred around your field.
- Celebrate the success of others.
- Spend a whole day asking questions. If you don’t know where to start, Why? and How? are great questions.
- Read a book that challenges your paradigms.
- Go for a walk alone or with some you love.
- Improve your skills with practice.
- Improve your skills with study. Take a short course or that degree you’ve been thinking about.
- Create more. Sound simple yeah? Well then, get on with it!
- Buy EPs from local start up bands, buy art from the person selling it in the street, buy new literary journals, buy handmade stuff at markets. Support art in all it’s forms, especially the fledgling kind.
- Cut one negative person out of your life. Do it nicely, but resolutely.
- Carry a small notebook with you and record make notes about the things you encounter.
- Jump into a fun project that is pure sillyness or experimentation
- Stop trying to make money from your creation – focussing on the business of it can kill the joy of creation if you’re not careful.
- Stop trying to be famous. Fame is cheap. Don’t cheapen yourself, you’re better than that.
- Trust your instincts. You know more than you realise.
- Clean you desk, room, house. Make space and make it appealing.
- Stop trying to fix it or make it perfect. Let go and go with it.
- Close your eyes and picture yourself coming up with the most amazing solution to your dead-end work. How do you feel? What are you doing? What comes next? You may not get the actually solution straight away, but keep dreaming about it and you’ll keep motivated to find it.
- Learn to enjoy your own company.
Posted: November 16th, 2011
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So you’re still waiting for my tips for picking up (creatively compatible soul-mates) right ? Well here you go:
1. Start getting out there in your creative space. Submit to journals and exhibitions big and small, audition at your local theatre. Join the societies at your university or industry associations. Buy publications in your field. Get into the online spaces that those you idolise are in. Blogs and Twitter are good places to start.
2. Go to events, festivals, free lectures, talks, workshops and more.
3. Smile (even if you feel sick with nervousness) stretch out your hand and say “Hi, I’m Ignacia” (if that’s your name). Most people at this point smile, shake your hand and say “Hi, I’m Starla” (if that’s their name). Because you’ve been getting your name out there, perhaps they’ve heard of you. Because you’ve been reading and attending events, maybe you’ve heard of them.
4. Once you’ve broken the first barrier of the introduction, you might like to ask a question such as, “How long have you been coming to the festival/society/whatever you happen to be at together.” This may get a conversation going. If they are a little slow to warm up, keep asking questions about their involvement or their work. This should keep them interested, as most people like to talk about themselves.
5. If they ask about your work, let them know what you do, but don’t overwhelm them with your greatness – be gracious and modest. If you are THAT great, it’s better that they find out by themselves later rather than have you tell them how ahmazing you are. (Seriously.)
6. If you hit it off, ask for their business card/twitter_name/blog/website details.
7. A few days later, get in touch to say “Hi, it was nice to meet you”. If you’ve seen their work or website in that time, mention it and make a comment about it. Don’t gush, but a constructive comment it always appreciated.
8. Keep in touch via their blog or twitter or in the real world…
Okay okay, you didn’t hook up creatively speaking, but you now have someone new and interesting in your network! Maybe you will collaborate on a project one day, maybe not. You’re goal is not to make a play at anything that has a pulse, that’s desperate, cheap and a little nasty. You want to broaden your contacts in the hope that maybe you’ll find “the one” (or “the ones”) or maybe you’ll make a friend who can give you tips and vice verse.
Becoming a warm, generous and active member of the creative communities in your area will give you a better chance of finding people that can guide you in your creative pursuits. Remember it’s not all about you and your work and your imminent success. You have to care about the community and want to make it a place where you and others can make progress in your art.
Posted: October 9th, 2011
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Last weekend I woke up in Newcastle, NSW. It was the weekend of TiNA (This is Not Art Festival) and the NYWF (National Young Writers’ Festival). I listened to poetry, spoken word, rap, short story readings, panels of editors, freelance lecturers, and so on and so on…
I was virtually alone on the trip. Everywhere I looked there were young hipsters “wrapped in Frankie Magazine” (as Lawrence Leung put it). They were all tightly wound together in their little groups. I was cool with that. The thing was. I was there to pick up. I knew that there are loads of people just like me – alone and looking for love. Why is that we all put on our game faces and pretend that we’re so totally confident and happy (yes HAPPY) to be on our own in a crowd of people.
So while I was so like totally deliriously happy, I was on the prowl. Not in the romantic sense of course (I’ve got a ring on it after all) – what I was really looking for was creative collaboration, creative community. The goals of romance and creative connection may be different but the game seems pretty much the same. Do I catch someone’s eye during a reading, do I buy someone a ginger beer at The Northern (festival central)? Here’s another thing, I have a confession. I can talk to just about anyone, but I don’t make friends easily.
I’m a slow boil kinda gal when it comes to matters of the heart. We can talk till the cows come home, but I keep my heart in check. I won’t be seduced by your colourful clashing skirt and top combo or your fifties up do (though it is very lovely). I won’t succumb to your talk of post-structuralist theory or your story about the time you physically fought someone for a pair of YSL shoes in an op shop. You’re cute, but I want more than that.
I’m interested in people who are living extraordinary lives. Who are constantly figuring things out. Age doesn’t matter. Intelligence does. Not the ability to spit out random useless facts, but the ability to think deeply. To formulate opinions and ideas that are not just regurgitated quotes. People who reflect on the things that happen in their lives but also think about other people and the world at large. Big minded people. That’s who I want to be around.
And lucky for me, I’ve met a few special people who fit the bill. In my next post I’ll give you some tips for picking up the kinda people you’re looking for.
For now, here are some of my festival favourites:
Story: “1987″, by Zoe Norton Lodge (Her first year of preschool.)
Cafe: One Penny Black
Realisaton: Prioritising projects is important. Don’t let exciting new project distract you from what’s most important. The goal is to finish.
Posted: October 8th, 2011
Comments: 1 Comment
Do you ever find that you are sometimes motivated by the wrong things? Sometimes envy motivates me, sometimes anger really motivates me. At times sadness or feelings of self-pity can get me pumping out a greater volume of material than any other emotion.
There is a perception of the creative sort being a little… emotionally unstable. The tortured artist is a character that our society is all too familiar with. Which makes me wonder, do I have to travel to the depths of despair every time I wanna create something? Can I have a content, wholesome, satisfied life and still produce deeply moving work.
It’s a scary question because it suggests that I need to either give up my joy or my need to produce something beautiful. I could not choose. And so I won’t.
The truth is, we’re all going to have great days and we’re going to have awful, awful days. That’s a given. Sometimes I will push harder because I see that my nemesis has had her book of short fiction picked up for publication (stupid cow). Sometimes I will write something heart breaking because that’s what it feels like inside of me at that moment. But to rely on these emotions to create can be dangerous. Focussing on the emotion just makes it bigger, more consuming. But it’s not the emotion that is fuelling us, it’s the desire to express ourselves.
An emotion might allow you to take your focus momentarily off the fact that your technique is all off, or that your making hundreds of mistakes. You can get so caught up in the act of creating and your overwhelming feelings that you are blinded to the fact that it’s not perfect. It’s liberating to create this way, which is why it’s addictive.
But if you keep pushing deeper into the emotions to get to that place of creative liberty, you eventually lose sight of the purpose (which is to create) and you’re left with deep, weeping wounds. Self harm will not bring out your true self, it will only give you a momentary high.
Pain, anger, jealousy, deep sadness, these are all normal and pop up at different times in healthy person’s life. But don’t camp there, it gets real ugly, real quickly. If you find that you can only create in the dark places it’s time to start changing those habits.
“But that’s just how I work,” you say? Well listen up, just because it’s the way you currently do things, doesn’t mean it’s got to stay that way. Habits are formed by decisions. So decided to start some positive creative habits.
Forgive, let go, go for a walk, smile at strangers and small children, for goodness sake eat a vegetable once in a while. It’s good to be alive. You may have deeper issues that you need to face up to. What are you waiting for? How much more of your life do you want to waste on suffering? Ask for help, read something inspiring, book an appointment with a counsellor, hairdresser, mentor, house cleaner. It’s time.
Posted: October 1st, 2011
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image by Kaja.A
Saturday mornings are a beautiful time. My husband and I wake up early (or late), smooch a little (or a lot), grab some toast and go our separate ways for at least four hours.
It’s our time to work on our projects. Me: riveting mind-alteringly good novel or short fiction writing. Him: something to do with websites and finance. We hide in corners of local coffee shops long after the appropriate amount of time required to drink a few cups of coffee and a bottle of water. We smile politely and avoid eye contact with friends and acquaintances that find us hoovering over our laptops, slipping into a vortex of problem shooting some rapturous plot twist or WordPress plugin.
It’s our time to be alone and at one with creativity.
Time to refresh. Time to open blank pages and start something new.
Weeks full of working hours can be depleting. We know that a long sleep in would be nice, so would spending a whole day lying on the beach. More rest will make me feel more rested, what I really want is to feel more energised. So instead of sleeping more we do things that energise us.
Exercising your creative muscles will refresh you and spark all kinds of exciting thoughts and ideas for the rest of the weekend.
But before I get all carried away with the feel-good vibes, let me add a disclaimer — Creator Beware — If you want to be good at anything you will have to sacrifice for it. There are plenty of Saturdays where I have to wave away the offers of road trips to quirky south coast towns, long soul searching talks with friends, sunshine and salt water, clean washing, clean teeth and so on and so forth. Sometimes you will look up, notice the smiling happy people outside and ache for that freedom. But when you look back at your screen/canvas/instrument you’ll know you’re exactly where you need to be.
Posted: September 21st, 2011
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Everyone has a creative spark. Some people revel in the warm glow of it and stoke it up to a consuming fire. Others hardly recognise it in themselves, confusing its flickering for irresponsibility or foolishness. Which are you?
Sometimes it seems like there’s a hierarchy of creativity. There are those who like to adorn their bodies with kooky clothes or colour their hair hot pink. Maybe that’s you, maybe it isn’t. Maybe you wear a lot of grey, or maybe you’re one of those people who has to look down to remember what the heck you threw on your body this morning. Whether you are wearing a corporate suit, threadbare track pants or a vintage skirt as an elaborate headdress – your creativity is in there and it’s waiting to be set free.
It may be trying to burst out of little sketches in the margins of your work notes, the poetic ditties hidden in your journal, the engine you’re putting back together, the quilt you’ve been sewing all year or your box of impossibly stupid ideas.
We may not all be gifted equally in talent, but we all have the gift of creativity. But it’s only part gift. The other part is skill-habit-discipline-painful-stuff. That’s why only the truly brave and truly idiotic create the most beautiful things. While the rest of the world is busy waiting for inspiration or, you know, just enjoying the sunshine, the true artists are locked in their workspaces, studios, dimly lit cafes refining, crafting, gritting their teeth, crying a little (or a lot), working to get to the good stuff. Sometimes they emerge from their dark lonely places, blink at the sun and smile when they remember that they are in fact human and being alive is a good thing… (I digress.)
We all have “it” in us, but here’s the thing, you have to use it. If you want to be more creative you have to be more creative. There is something sacred and mystical about it, but most of the time its just hard, dirty work. Sometimes you soar on the winds of an outstanding idea. Most times you have to fight apathy and discouragement and fear and every other monstrous head that rears up to distract you from the task at hand.
So what are you looking at me for, get on with it.
Posted: September 13th, 2011
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