Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Creative Second Guessing

As a kid, my mom supplied me with Tinker Toys. I hated them. Flat out didn’t like it. You were just given a bunch of pieces and there was no plan to them, no already outlined end goal. I have always liked to color in the lines. ALWAYS. I liked to have things as the color they really are (pineapples should not be purple and blue. . . they are brownish yellow with green on top — as I was big on proving when I was 3).

This doesn’t mean I lack creativity. But I lack that free flowing thought process that a lot of others do have. I am not good at taking something and instantly modifying it to fit my needs or wants — cooking is not a creative process for me.

A lot of this stems from not being comfortable with the task at hand or second guessing myself. As my driving instructor would tell me, for eleventy-billionth time, “Stop second-guessing yourself, you know how to get into 2nd gear!” I’d do it every single time. I’d freak out and stall the car. Can I drive stick now? You’d better believe it. Have I done anything creative with it? Yeah, I’ve popped it into second when I started off driving instead of 1st gear and even hopped gears, but I got comfortable with the car I was driving and THEN felt I could get a bit more creative in how I was doing things. Downshifting, accelerating into curves, and learning about the sounds and feel of the car. But these things weren’t immediate questions. . .

So Tinker Toys pissed me off. I wasn’t told what to do with them, I was just urged to “make something.”  But… WHAT. . . there are NO guidelines, no ideas, and no one said, “Create a box with a wheel inside of it.” I would make things that just fit together and felt right, but I had NO idea what I was doing. I was so far outside of any comfort zone that when I was asked what I’d made, I might have a story for it, but it left me so uncomfortable that I couldn’t wait to take it down.  I was never secure in my creative process. And because of this unknowing and people doing the , “OOOOOO, that’s amazing!!” thing, I was just pissed off by it. This isn’t ‘amazing,’ it’s just a weird shape and it has no actual purpose . .  it’s just thrown together and I don’t even know WHY . . . there’s just nothing else to DO with these sticks and wheels with holes.

Legos were a bit more logical and I’d make houses with rooms and layers of things. I’d play with the little people and they’d pick flowers and have walls that were all one color. I liked the regularity and that the basic pieces worked with my thoughts. And then you had the collections where you had an end goal and a set of directions on how to build it. They were (and still are) the best. You follow the instructions and lo and behold, you’ve built the thing on the cover of the box. It isn’t … creative, but it is creating something. You are given an end goal and the means to get there. Is it more fun to create the way yourself? Perhaps. But I’m always wary, because of second guessing.

My best friends and I created a comic book when we were about 11. It was AMAZING. We came up with characters, we drew the characters, we made these powerful female characters come to life. I used a sketch my super artistic friend did to come up with my character drawings as I did not have the drawing skills my friends. My mom was our biggest champion and we all hunkered around our dining room table coming up with these characters and some story lines. It didn’t really take off, but one of these friends is bringing them back to life again. It’s magical to be part of a creative force, but I could never have done it on my own and with these friends dragging me along for the ride. In creating characters my mind would literally go blank. I had no idea where to go with it. . . no way to let the ideas out and so we teased them out of me.  . . I’m sure it was stressful for everyone else to watch me struggle.

And now I’ve started one of those DIY Planners. They have another term that has become popular, but honestly, this system isn’t a few years old. People have been creating planner/journal combos for decades and even hundreds of years. It’s not a novel concept. I’ve always ended up turning some portion of my journal into a task list or mini-calendar, but never really went much further than that. But now I’ve decided instead of spending the $18 on a 2018 Planner, I’d actually make my own with a blank book. Did I Google and read countless blogs and websites? Yup. Did I try to create a few things on my own? Sure. I’m about 2-3 weeks in (2 weeks of the actual big planner creating side of things) and I still find myself Googling everything I can to see what others have done. My biggest take home is that people keep saying, “It’s such a creative process, you can be your own unique self” and then EVERY DAMN PERSON has the same font/script scrawl. Are you all using the same “I’m unique” stencils? Seriously, what IS THIS?! So then I started to see some that didn’t have the same font and I was drawn to the weirdness, the creative, the “OMG that person can draw some SERIOUS foxes!!!” It’s daunting to see just HOW creative people have gotten but it’s also reinforced some of the ideas I’ve previously had. It’s like, “Oh… okay.. so when I started that one idea of boxes, it actually could have ended up like this if I’d just shifted the lines down a bit more.”  It helped me to see that I was on the right path, and where I got frustrated, I just needed to reassess.

I will say, the creativity of doing this myself with some inspiration (I drew out some really tiny sketches of potential weeks or months to get an idea down to see if I liked it) has been interesting. Do I think it looks nice? No. Will it get better? Oh yes. I have busted out the colored pencils, and run to the store to buy a cheap ruler (49 cents!!), a compass (yay circles!), and colored ballpoint pens. I have crayons waiting in the wings (I apparently unearthed my creative box while unpacking things, huzzah for that!).

There is something comforting about the rigidity of boxes and lines and that I actually have to put in some effort to create them – counting out the lines on the page or measurements on the ruler, doing some quick math and then putting ink to the page to make it show up. And then adding some color with my pencils. No crazy scripts, no doodles, just a bit of color and some attempts at being creative.

I look forward to pushing my comfort zone and maybe one day I will be the inspiration for an idea, rather than needing that inspiration to get out of first gear.


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** From September 2014 **

Today I, and 6 others, helped a friend load her moving truck. She is moving away to Texas and we are all really going to miss her.  It’s going to be really weird on Monday to not have her come downstairs to say hello or to talk about gardens and SI and games and Mahjong.  She’s become a huge part of my weekly routine and now that routine is gone.

Oh the flip side, seeing how organized and diligent she’s been about her move makes me want to get just as crazed and organized as she’s been. There’s so much to learn from the friends and people around you.  I forget this lesson from time to time and just wallow in my own head, but I’m trying to clean up that muck and push forward.

One organizational tip from her is to use colored duct tape on boxes, tubs, etc to mark what room it belongs in or a general hint to what it contains.  I’m currently using fluorescent orange to mark our book boxes. So far those are all the boxes I have, but we have other things already packed up that are the wrong season.  I need to make an assessment of those boxes and apply the necessary duct tape color.

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That moment when…

you realize you are in love with someone

But that someone isn’t anyone you’ve met.

It’s who you will become.

It can be hard to stand on the edge of that precipice and see that image glittering in the air of possibility, and you can’t quite see what’s behind it, or how it came to be there. You just know that the only way to truly meet that person is to leap. . . and hope the path shows up. Trust in that leap.


This message brought to you by seeing an opportunity open and being given a chance at something that was the whole reason for moving.

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So proud of my friends

This is the year of friends-publishing-books. I am so excited for them. Also, other friends are really taking off with their blogs and creative business ideas. A part of me wishes I were able to dedicate the crafty and creative juices to such things, but I shall have to settle for applauding them.

Below are the links to their work via Amazon.

Melody Condron — Managing the Digital You (Informative resource)

Megan Keno — Cast Iron Gourmet (This book just makes me hungry, thanks Megan!)

Amy Knight (she did not write all those historical books that are on Amazon, that is a different “Amy Knight”)– Lost, Almost (Fiction)

My friend’s wife wrote this book a few years ago, but I didn’t know her then.  Elly Zupko – The War Master’s Daughter (Fiction)

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The urge to create is sometimes like a mosquito bite — you don’t know when it happened but all of a sudden it is a raw itch that you can’t ignore. Although creativity is far more pleasant than a mosquito bite, it is also something that if you don’t listen to when it’s nagging will leave you feeling like you missed out on some amazing brain fireworks. It’s that, “You know, I was going to do… this thing… now… what was it?”

Recently I wrote a letter to my uncle. Nothing remarkable there right? Except this was a real letter with pen and ink and the pen in question was a fountain pen — it’s part of our deal for writing letters to each other. If you are going to have a pen pal, it is sometimes vital to find the right writing instrument for the job. I have several fountain pens — two are the “under $20” variety and I have used them on any kind of paper. They don’t dance across the paper in smooth swirls and dips like a recently acquired pen. I also really like that the newer pen only has a bladder, not a “it can take cartridges or bottled ink.” It changes the feel of the pen and how I interact with it. This one has a metal ‘button’ you press to fill the bladder. Another pen, a gift from my dad a few years ago, has you twist the end of the pen to fill the bladder. None of these pens are ‘works of art’ or something you’d want to insure — goodness knows what I would do with a $1500 pen!!

I guess this comes down to you have to acquire the tool that allows you to reach your potential. It’s like using a pair of “whatever was on sale” running shoes and then finally going out for a pair or real running shoes that make your feet happy the second they’re tied on. There was a guy who worked at a running store who flat out refused to sell you a pair of shoes unless you were almost instantly comfortable in your shoes. This was to guarantee a reduced chance of injury due to a poor fit in the shoe and also to help you understand that your feet do not care about the color scheme or your shoes. I tried on just about every shoe in the store and finally had to go with a trail running shoe that we had the preconceived notion would be a poor choice for what I wanted to do. My feet didn’t care, they knew what they wanted and that was how it was going to be.

When your tool challenges you to push further and achiever more, you are building those skills to achieve a goal that might have seemed unattainable and is now visible on the horizon.


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I am down but I’ll get up again

I’ve been thinking about inspirational songs that show hardship and make me feel a bit better about struggles, large and small.

These are two of the ones that immediately come to mind thanks to the wonderful world of Spotify and my random playlist.

Cher’s You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me from the movie Burlesque

R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts

I will add more as I think of them, but these are the ones that I heard while cleaning the kitchen and packing up a few more boxes.

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New Training Plan

I am starting a new workout regime courtesy of my Nike+ App.  Sometimes those free apps really do something nice. Apparently my friends here can’t get me out running on a regular basis even with promises of “Oh yes I’ll join you for X Race coming up in Y Time.”  I fail.  Sorry friends, but yay for you keeping up your fitness!!!

So this new training routine is training for a 10K. The first week of training is:

Mon – Run 1 mi

Tues – Run 3 mi

Wed – Cross Train

** I swapped T and W because there was no way I felt up to running on T

Thurs – Rest Day

Fri – Run 1 mi

Sat – Run 4 mi

Sun – Run 1 mi

I’m not sure what Week 2 will be like but I think something around Week 3 or 4 is the “Run 9 miles.”  Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.  If I can keep this up I should start feeling a helluva lot better about my body image.  You can’t be fit and lazy, and I’ve spent too much time on the lazy train. I’m still doing things, like violin lessons and playing with the puppy, but I’m not keeping myself healthy and well exercised.  

In all honesty I’ve let previous injuries keep me from going strong — patellar tendinitis, a broken foot in high school that led to severe ankle pain for a few years (I limped if I walked faster that a snail’s pace and couldn’t run more than a block for over a year).  Let’s just say I’ve had to build up the belief that I CAN, WILL and MUST get out there to do something regarding fitness.  Brain Games are a very real thing.

My running trick, because it’s the right season — I pretend I’m being chased by a cloud of really slow mosquitoes and the thought of that much itching keeps me going.  If I let them get me I’d better be bed ridden, because otherwise I can totally leave them in the dust for some other lazy sod.  I have a crazy intense allergic reaction to mosquito bites — huge red welt that hurts more than it itches.  More than 4 or 5 bites and I feel mildly ill.  I hate ’em.  Therefore, my own worst enemy is my inspiration. 


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