Today is going to be a bit of a ramble, just some things I'm thinking about. I love notebooks. If you have been around my blog or any of my other online spaces for a while, you already know this.
I keep trying to find The Notebook. I keep trying to convince myself that I should pick one and go with it. But I just finished up this composition book where I do writing practice, and the Happy Planner I thought I would use as my writing practice book and catch-all notebook didn't do it for me. So I'm on to another composition book for writing practice (still need to decorate the cover!). And I've been beating myself up about having too many notebooks.
But yesterday I asked myself, "Is it really too much? Do I really have too many?" Do I use them all? Off and on. I've been using the Happy Planner (the latest in my slew of disc-bound notebooks) for my everyday book, my catch-all. So great. That one has a purpose and gets used a lot. But I love a composition book for writing practice, and I use it. So still good. I also love Moleskine cahiers. I use them for on-the-go writing practice sometimes, for notes for classes when I'm taking longer classes with lots of notes. I don't use them as much anymore, but I still use them.
I do have a hardbound faux Moleskine that I was going to try bullet journaling in, but I can't quite seem to get the hang of that, at least not yet.
There are a lot of notebooks around her. But some of them are older and used to get used. Some of them are in use now. There aren't actually that many that aren't being used. And you know what? I love them! That right there means they belong. They make me happy. I'd love to get them all into one place. One shelf maybe, with filled books on one side and empty books waiting to be filled on the other. So I could see what I have. But right now I'm going to stop insisting that I pick one kind and stick with it. That's NEVER going to make me happy.
So, lots of notebooks it is! Check that off the list, stop worrying about it, and move on to what kind of stickers I need for the covers!
I have a three day weekend starting now. I'm not even working every day right now, but those words "three day weekend" put a bounce in my step and a lightness in my heart. Why? What does this mean?
It's a freedom. And openness. Space that's ready to be filled with endless possibilities. There's so much energy in knowing you have this space and time to fill how you want. I want to feel like this more.
I don't have any answers right now. Just questions. How can I feel more of this three day weekend energy on ordinary days? How can I cultivate that enthusiasm and excitement and feeling of open space and open-ended possibility more often?
New paths start with the right questions. I hope I'll be back here, sooner rather than later, with some answers or at least some things to try.
I'm not too into watercolors, at least not with the techniques like sprinkling salt, tapping wet paint off the brush, sprinkling alcohol. It feels fussy, and the paint never goes where I want. Plus, I'm not super comfortable with sketching. This lesson had me dragging my feet a lot. But yesterday I finally sat down and did it (finished the writing and words today, though). And I liked it! I like that galaxy look and how it blends into the lighter blue area I put into the top left. I even liked sprinkling the gold and silver paint!
I could have (maybe should have) made this a little easier by doing it on separate paper rather than right in my journal, but my supplies are really disorganized right now so that felt kind of hard. But I probably would have been less resistant if I had done it in a way that felt temporary, that felt like I could just throw it out if I didn't like it.
So what's the message here? Do the thing. Try it! Experiment! Find a way that makes it feel easier, or at least less hard or scary. But do the thing. Cool stuff happens when we just do the thing.
I don't always have the best relationship with my body. I spent my whole life from age ten into my forties trying to make it into the "right" shape and size. Then I spent a lot of time trying to break that diet, cult of thinness mentality. Then old injuries caused new injuries, and a medication caused tendon damage in my hip, and so chronic pain came along.
When our bodies are hurting or not working quite right, or when we have those bad body images foisted on us by society, it's easy to spend as much time as we can living in our heads. But one thing I'm learning more and more--especially now because I've started some new physical therapy stuff for the various injuries--is that our bodies are ourselves, and they need our love and attention.
I think our creative work can flow better, can come out better, when we spend some time doing good things for our bodies. What good things? That depends on the body, of course. Just like with other experts, it's important to not just listen to and jump in on whatever the fitness gurus say. Here too we have to find what's right for us.
I know that when I'm giving my body attention, I can find things that feel better (maybe not completely get rid of the pains, but make them better which is good). And I feel like this attention to my body helps me when I'm trying new things in my art--I can feel the difference in ways to hold a pen or brush, how much pressure is light versus heavy. The physical transfers itself into my creative work.
Giving attention to my body also helps me have more energy because I know when to rest and when to stop doing something that's putting too much strain on me. It touches on all parts of my life, including my creativity.
Our bodies are part of our creative journey. We should decorate them, care for them, love them, and give them all the good things so they can carry us along our path.
I have a lot of reasons why I create. But one biggie is the glorious riot of colors. Who can resist this? Who can look at this and not want to grab them up and make something?! New supplies and the video tutorials that go with them are constant sources of inspiration (and shopping). Sometimes, though, I get inspired by grabbing the supplies I have and pairing them up into new color combinations or by combining supplies I haven't used together before.
That's it for today. I'm rummaging through my supplies, working on how I want to organize them to make them easiest to access, so I thought I'd share how doing that always makes me extra excited to create things.
I write and talk about creative dreams a lot. It's a focal point in the coaching work I do. But I don't think I've ever really said what "creative dream" means.
Your creative dream is what you want to do. It might be that thing you think about in quiet moments and wish you could do. It might be something you already do that you wish you could do more of. It might be a really big, overall wish for your life. It might be something you'd like to try out this year or this month. It might be (probably is) some mix of these.
Your creative dream doesn't have to be a big, driving force, a target you are focused on with no room for anything else (but it can be, and that's fine, too). And it definitely can be short term or something you want to do more of but not daily or even weekly.
So don't worry if you feel like you don't have "one true passion." A creative life doesn't have to be about that. We don't have to have this near-obsession in order to be artists and live creatively. All those find your passion messages can make us feel like we're missing something when our creative dreams are right there in front of us guiding us to do a little of this, a little of that, mixing and matching interests so we build our own brand of creative life.
I guess what I'm saying is follow your interests. They don't have to feel huge and fiery the way passion sounds. They can be little tickles or sparks, but they're still worth following. Do the things that interest you, and don't worry if they're big or small. Just do the things that make you feel glad you did them.
I'm sluggish today. My allergies are trying to murder me, and I can't seem to get anything going. So here's a list of things I'm thinking about, in no particular order.
I need a different storage solution for my water soluble mark makers. I don't like having the art crayons in plastic tubes in with the watercolor crayons that are paper wrapped. And definitely I don't want the watercolor pencils mixed in there. So, something different needs to happen.
I want to take pictures. In high school and college I took photography classes and did a lot of shooting. I want to do it again, but I'm not entirely sure what to take pictures of. I think I might be overthinking it.
I absolutely love my art cart, and it doesn't fit in the space I have for it in my studio, and that's just not going to do. I need a new plan. Meanwhile it can stay next to the dining table where I've been doing all my art for the past year.
I have been aware for a while that part of why I don't go sit at my desk or art table to do things is that I am physically uncomfortable. Not really sure what to do with that. I've tried different chairs, but no luck so far. I am hoping the new physical therapy exercises I've found, along with the PT ball I got for them, will help with my hip and leg, and then maybe I will be more inclined to sit in my spaces and work. Meanwhile, I want to figure out all the other things that will make the space appealing to sit in so I can break my habit of sitting on the couch constantly. I don't get much of anything done here beyond writing blogs and newsletters and browsing the internet. And I want to do more.
I'm doing this 365 mile challenge (walk 365 miles in a year), and I'm afraid I'm not going to make the goal. I'm very slow and don't have the stamina to do more than a mile at a time. And now I injured my knee (recovering though!), so I've had to dial back a bit. By now, according to my plan at the beginning of the year, I should be walking 1.5 miles 5 times a week. Now I have to rework that plan, but I think I also need to rework how I'm thinking about this and start celebrating the walking I am doing and the progress I'm making. Because two years ago I could walk half a mile on a good day, and I had to use a cane. So this is really progress.
I kind of want to get a couple of friends together and form a writing critique and support group to give myself a push to get back to writing stories again.
I think I need to make myself a separate list of the things I need to get done over the next few days and get on them, because I've been procrastinating so now I'm behind, and I feel like I don't know where to start. When in doubt, start with a list.
That's about it. I mean, I could go on, but I'd just be babbling. I'll be back tomorrow, possibly with less babbling (but possibly not, so don't get too excited!).
I love to try new things. And I like goals. But I don't always like super big things (like New Year's resolutions). Quite a few years ago, though, I felt like I needed something for the year. We had moved the year before (moved in together!), and we were in a new neighborhood. So I decided that I would try one new restaurant near our new place every month. It was so much fun! I went with various friends and with my partner. We all had a good time, and my partner and I found a couple of new favorite restaurants.
Another year I wanted to get better at knitting, so I decided I would make something every month. That experiment didn't work as well. I made a few things, but the monthly goal was too much for me (I'm a slow knitter!), and it started being not so fun
In 2019 I set the goal of going to each of the reciprocal venues that had free admission with our zoo membership, and that was the best one so far! So many fun trips!
This year, I'm trying out a new recipe every month, something that's a little tricky or intimidating to me. So far I've made bao, dolmas, and homemade pizza, and this month I'm going to try egg foo yung.
I've learned that my experiments work best if they're something I can do, something that happens on one day, rather than something that stretches over the whole month. I've also learned that I enjoy them more if I share them with others. So the years where it didn't go as well, wasn't as enjoyable, when I didn't make it to the end of the year werent' failures at all. They helped me see what works for me. And that's a thing I am trying to learn about all sorts of "failures." I thought this story about how things not going as planned or hoped are still helpful might be useful to some of you out there. I hope you are finding fun experiments of your own no matter what the outcome!
I have been slowly working on this spread for almost two weeks. I realized it's because I was giving it a lot of weight in my head. The photo is my great-grandmother, and I think I was wanting to make this so very perfect because of that importance. Maybe I should have used a random photo from the internet!
Sometimes when something is important it freezes me up. That's another thing I think I need to spend more time with. There's a message there and some digging to do.
In a group I'm in we were talking about how "what if" can really hold us back from doing things we want to do. I joined the conversation, agreed with what we were all saying, gave encouragement. And then I was thinking about my own what ifs, and I realized something really big.
My what ifs do hold me back, but it's not only the potential bad things that could happen. I have a really huge, anxious reaction about the possible good things that might happen. Unpacked that a little more and found this big, loud voice saying that if I do have some success I won't be able to do it more than once or won't be able to sustain it. Lots of reasons about why those things are true.
So wow... is this a fear of success? Not exactly. It's a fear of not being able to be successful in an ongoing way. I have work to do, clearly, but this is really interesting, and it's very cool to have this new piece of information.
This work of growing and moving forward is ongoing, and if we stay open and pay attention we will always find new clues, yeah?