From Out of the Blue
I just got the most amazing email. Here, have a look:
I’ve been following you on Facebook because you’re a big poster.The question I have is….where do you get all your energy and passion? You’re constantly making things, creating amazing projects, ideas and on and on. I’m just a lazy girl who has been doing a lot of nothing lately and I’m just amazed at all you do and get done. Maybe I’m jealous, maybe I’m just in awe but girllllll….where do you get all your inspiration. Do you ever just chill and read a book like for a week? I’m asking because I find you just incredible and now you’re doing this horse book after making a fantastic rainbow layered cake after you’ve done 1000 things!!!!
This gal is a friend of a friend. She does amazing work from a totally exquisite hand built house she and her husband co-created in Santa Cruz, California. No, really, if it hasn’t been already, their place should be featured in Architectural Digest or any number of glossy high end magazines that are made to inspire others. If she gives me permission I’ll blog about her work one of these days – you’re gonna love it!
It amazes me that she’s amazed is what I’m saying. Really? Are you kidding me? Her work, her house, are so incredibly perfect and thoughtfully created it almost made me ache to visit! So here’s this gifted creative asking me where I get my inspiration. Zoiks!
So, Where Do I Think Inspiration Comes From?
I think it cross pollinates. I mean I think we each have a bunch but that it grows exponenitally if we’re brave enough to do a few simple things.
- Make space for creating: in our schedules, literally in our places, in our beliefs that we can.
- Get to work and start doing stuff. Make and keep regular appointments with your muse.
- Identify all your pursuits as worthy ones – this includes the ‘mistakes’ and the ‘mundane’. This sets the right tone from which to draw creative flow wherever you are; whatever you’re doing.
- Identify all your pursuits as potentially creative ones. Folding laundry, baking cakes, changing your oil, raking leaves, painting signs, addressing hopes, grappling with sadness, searching for Truth. i.e. what can be done differently, or what can you add to the situation that makes it better, more fun, more pleasing? Music? Audio book? Video Call? Photo-document the task for future generations, lol?
- Fear no art; not your own, not the work of others, not the stuff that’s slapdash or high falutin’ — beyond your capabilities, nor below them.
- Be open. Good stuff is everywhere. I know, so is crap. But even crap can be inspirational on any self-proclaimed Opposite Day!
- Try not to worry about what others will think, nor the resale value of items you own. This frees you up to paint your car, jam your garden with found objects, sew crazy stuff on a silk blouse or cut apart your old sweaters and sew them back together into capes! BONUS: usually almost every time you break free from the mold doing stuff like this the resounding yeas will outweigh the nays by a very large margin. In case that matters at all (and sometimes it seems to – and that’s ok!)
- Do your best. Give it your all. That’s absolutely, unquestionably and totally enough!
- Connect with people who inspire you.Listen to the ones who support you.
- Listen to the ones who don’t, too, because you’ve gotten through their shell and have threatened them somehow – there’s gold in that information! You’re rabble rousing at that point! Always a good thing to shake up the status quo.
- Give yourself a break. Take a day off. A week off.
- Indulge! Read up. Kick back. Take a hike. Do something unexpected, unpredictable, off-the-wall. Reward yourself for good intentions regardless of productivity!
- Go out and get supplies. Get the good stuff. The stuff you’d feel bad about wasting if you didn’t use it. The stuff you know your art is worth! Doesn’t have to be the highest quality – because sometimes maybe it’s gonna be the biggest quantity. For some there’s nothing so inspirational as a whole lotta something. No mater what it is. Mr. Imagination, whom I met in Chicago, uses bottle caps! I buy the “Oops” paint whenever there’s a halfway decent color at Home Despot because it’ll come in handy for something eventually.
- Crash! Mope, avoid, get trapped. Just don’t absorb the negative mood long term. Know that this too will pass – and let yourself off the hook.
- Those voices in your head? Listen to the ones that support you and dump the ones with the ugly comments. Seriously, you don’t need that noise. Oh, and Big Secret Revealed:every artist has those too. The meanies inside. Successful creatives know to shun their bad advice. Or at least not let it direct their efforts. Unless you’re good at turning around bad advice into something positive and useful. So maybe a voice that says: “This painting I’m doing sucks!”, is really just an impatient part of your muse that’s really saying “Where’s the pink? We need more pink!”. Kinda like “More cowbell!!!!”.
- Find ways to be accountable for your creative pursuits. Make some public. Post pix, write blog posts, document your process, join forums and discuss, slam some up into an Etsy shop if you have stuff to sell. Show your work: in galleries, online, at art fairs. Start making public art. People will notice, and you’ll start believing what you’re doing exists and even matters! I have a friend who’s as busy a person as ever there was with her horse racing career – yet this whole year she’s making 365 “Mailed Art Projects” and sending them via USPS out into the world to random people. She’s made it public in a Facebook album. I mean she gets up at 5am has this whole crazy-busy day taking care of and training 24 horses and then comes home and makes her art.
- Make your struggles public too. You’ll be amazed at the support that will come out of the woodwork.
- Identify + Interact With Your Tribe.Interact with them. Your tribe wants you to
be happy. These are usually other creatives, but don’t have to be. Besides interacting with Facebook, I watch TED videos, subscribe to blogs (like this one and also very different from this one), read books & magazines and participate in events where “my peeps” come together: actual or virtual. I invite you to join our Online Art Club. Comment me your Facebook name for an invite.
So there’s 18 ways to be inspired and it looks like I could keep going. But I’ve already dangled this post way off the end of your screen enough for one day. I’ll go ahead and finish up.
So, yep, I am a Facebook addict and here’s why: I have a ton of fellow creatives and other inspirationists that through our apparently casual comments on each other’s wall and under photos and stuff help me buoy up for finding, creating, moving towards another effort. I’m a blogger for much the same reasons.