As I go along this journey towards embracing my inner creative, I’ve been thinking about how I used to interact with inspiration. Inspiration to me was like a robber – it came up from behind, hit me over the head, then ran away to possibly return at some random, unknown time. Not a very positive relationship.
Lately, thanks to posts and videos from other creative people I admire (this post from The Fresh Exchange, this video from Kayley Melissa, and this TED talk from Elizabeth Gilbert have really helped illuminate this concept for me) my relationship with inspiration has been changing. I’m learning it’s something I can cultivate. Instead of thinking, “Whelp, that one thing that inspired me for a while but now it doesn’t, so I guess I’m not creative anymore,” (seriously self??), I’m learning to keep looking for inspiration. I’m learning to cultivate sources of inspiration (blogs, Instagram, photos, Pinterest, etc) so that they keep giving me inspiration.
This creative life is not a stale one. It’s full of nuances, ebbs, and flows. I can do something about being inspired. I don’t have to wait for it to decide it likes me again. Like any relationship, I can put in the time and effort and get great rewards out of it.
My challenge is to keep being inspired. To not give up because the ideas are dry or the things that inspire me are changing. Move with the changes and find new, delightful ways of being inspired. Then instead of being a robber, inspiration will be more like a good friend.
Happy Thursday!! I personally can’t wait for this week to be over, can you? The first full work week after the holidays is so rough. I mean, how can they expect you to work 5 days in a row?? And here in the Midwest, it’s been extremely cold. Like, hurt-your-face-when-you-walk-outside, dear-god-why-did-I-walk-outside, kind of cold. Which leads me to think about warmer days and sunnier times, like this wedding I was in this summer:
A dear friend of mine got married in August, and the only guidelines she gave her bridesmaid’s for their dresses were the color and length. Otherwise, we were free to choose whatever we wanted. I, of course, got really excited about the ability to make my own dress and started dreaming. For the bodice, I used Simplicity 1497, I used chiffon for the first time (which was a project unto itself), added pockets using this tutorial from Burdastyle, and drafted my own pattern for the skirt and sleeves.
This was the biggest project I have attempted so far, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. So while it is snowing sideways outside, I will sit inside, sip my tea under a blanket, and remember happy, sunny times.
When I was a kid, my first word was no. “Do you want some peas?” “No!’ “Do you like the color brown?” “No!” But over the years I’ve gotten to be much more of a yes-sayer than no-sayer. I love people and I love saying yes to responsibilities, events and activities galore. I mean, there are so many things I’m interested in and want to do. Why shouldn’t I try to do them all? All the things are good things.
But the truth is, I need to say no more in my life. When I was in Mexico over Christmas (there’s just no way to say that without sounding douche-y, is there?), I had so many opportunities to do absolutely nothing. Which I took full advantage of. And now I’m seeing that my life has become unbearably stretched thin. I’m snarky, I’m tired, and I’m super insecure about my future. I’m feeling like I’m not doing anything well. Well, if you stop and think about it, of course I’m not doing any one thing well. I’ve got too many things to do to give any of them the full attention they deserve.
I think it goes back to that old maxim, “Less if more.” If you have less stress, you have more quality. If you have less to do, you can invest more fully into the few things you are doing.
I think 2015 will be a year of minimalism for me. Getting back to the basics and focusing on doing a few things really well. Learning to value quality over quantity, both in my creative life and academic life. What things will you be doing to make this year an amazing year?