Filling Up The Creative Well

​It really is true what Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way. If you do not regularly replenish your creative well, then your creative juices will ‘dry up’ and you will stagnate. Even if you seem to be on a roll, your project will skid to a halt because you’ve burned up all of your available resources!

What Julie Cameron suggests in her book is going on something called an ‘artist’s date’, in which one devotes some time to replenishing this dried-up well with fresh inspiration and ideas. This might involve going to the local art gallery, reading a book or even going to a new restaurant and doing some people-watching! You are meant to do this completely alone so that you can fully absorb the experience.

This week, for example, I wrote lots of nursery rhymes and nonsense poetry after devouring a collection of classical nursery rhymes in one sitting! On other occasions, looking at statues or taking a stroll through the park has triggered something within me. It does not matter what you do to fill your creative well, as all art is birthed from the same creative energy that flows through us all. 

I too have had sudden droughts while writing, especially when I’ve written a lot in a short space of time. While I believe that any of us can tap into the abundant energies of the cosmos, it is important to realise that we must be proactive in exposing ourselves to life’s wonders (a beautiful piece of artwork, trees rustling in the wind, a new exciting experience etc), which act as portals to that creative energy which you seek. Make sure that you take regular “culture baths” and always be open to new inspiration and experiences to fuel your creative projects!

Good luck, my fellow creators! And much love =)

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Just put pen to paper and see what happens!

Sometimes, you might feel like you don’t have it in you to be creative. But if you don’t bother showing up to the keyboard / notepad, then how do you know for certain?

This morning, one sentence fell into my head and I immediately began to analyse it. Deeming it to be rubbish, I ignored it for a few minutes, but it kept on floating around my mind, so I decided to jot it down as a meagre starting point for later.

However, as I wrote it down, something amazing happened. What I wrote immediately transformed into something better and I channeled down more words with great ease. That is the true alchemy and wonder of creating! Often it takes just one little nudge to start an avalanche.

So if you’re struggling to be creative, then don’t lose heart, for the slightest little thing could ignite you again. Be open to anything that motivates you, especially those thoughts that are inspired. Just go with your intuition, put pen to paper, and see what happens!

The Subtle Language of the Cosmos

Struggling to find inspiration? Just take a look all around you! There are so many things going on that can fuel your creative cogs. Life is unfolding and manifesting in a countless number of ways, so learn to read the subtle language of the cosmos.

Sometimes, it is almost as if the universe is speaking directly to you. Not with words, but through signs and circumstances, using a language that deeply resonates with your soul. Keep a lookout for these cosmic messages.

Whether it be the way a person smiles, getting caught out in the rain or seeing a piece of rubbish blow across the street, there is a whole multitude of different things that might speak to you. Creative people pay attention to such things and are often keen observers of the world around them, watching the strange dance of life as they express themselves through it. Everyone reads things in a different way and that’s what gives each of us our own unique expression.

I’m a firm believer that we channel down our creativity from somewhere higher – from somewhere beyond the mind. Creating is effortless when you surrender to the flow of life, as opposed to trying to create things forcefully. The creation process is so much more enjoyable when you have fun with it and let the magic unfold quite organically.

So learn to speak fluently in the subtle language of the cosmos. Watch life with a keen eye and you may be surprised by what is revealed to you! Good luck, my fellow creators. May it be that you successfully tune in to the cosmic radio station and receive its bountiful transmission!

Ideas That Refuse To Go Away

This week, when sorting through my writing notes, I made a very interesting discovery. In one of my journals, I found the initial seed of the idea for my first book, written two years before my supposed eureka moment!

Amazingly, this piece of paper had been completely forgotten about, yet the idea stayed in my subconscious and resurfaced two years later, as if for the first time! While the initial seed differed slightly from what I thought was the initial seed, it was the same idea in essence.

What I’ve learned from this is that some ideas are very persistent and will stay with you throughout your life, begging to be brought into the world. They may lie dormant for a time, but they always find a way to return to you. This is reassuring for a writer like myself who clings on to his notes for fear of losing his ideas – clearly such written prompts are not needed, nor are they re-visited much once written. Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep notes, as you just don’t know what notes might spark your imagination, but I’m merely pointing out how persistent our ideas can be.

Throughout your life, you may have many ideas, some great and some not so great. What I recommend is focusing on the ideas that really sing to your heart. Don’t give a hoot what others might think. If you’re going to express yourself, then it should be something that appeals to you.

You are the judge. You are the gatekeeper of your ideas, who gets to decide which ones are worthy and which are not. But how do you choose what should take priority? Oh, that’s easy! I think you already know deep down which ideas are special. They are the ideas that refuse to go away.

 

 

Do You Hate Self-Promotion? Read This Amazing Book To Change That!

Before I read Show Your Work!, I used to think of self-promotion as something that was dirty and unwholesome. I was afraid of annoying people with too many updates and thought that I might come across as indulgent or arrogant if I posted too much about what I did.

But this guidebook was written for “people who hate the very idea of self-promotion”. Reading it has dramatically changed my perception and I now view self-promotion as simply sharing what you do – thinking of it in this way makes it seem less unsavoury somehow! In fact, sharing what you do – with regards to your work, thoughts and ideas – is really just being transparent about who you are as a person.

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While reading Show Your Work!, I made key notes that I will definitely refer back to in the future. If you are someone who struggles to self-promote or have trouble speaking about what you do, then I highly advise you to check out this book. It is packed full of practical advice and really does help to shift your perception. The main lessons I learned from it are as follows:

  1. Share something small every day, whether it be something that inspired you or an idea that you had. Anything from your creative process that might be insightful or interesting to others.
  2. Document everything that you do. Take photos, keep a work journal etc, so that you have a wellspring of material to draw upon when blogging or posting updates.
  3. Focus on your work and get good at what you do. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to gain followers or network. People will come to you if you are good at your craft.
  4. Don’t hoard your ideas. Post about what you’ve learned and help your fellow creatives, encouraging support and collaboration.
  5. How to deal with the dreaded question: “So what do you do?”
  6. Appreciate your guilty pleasures (i.e. that TV show that everyone else thinks is lame) because maybe it will lead to something that inspires/influences your work.
  7. The vampire test. If something drains your energy, cast it out of your life. Keep the things that boost your energy.

There are so many other things that I learned too. There was also a lot that I already knew deep down, but I just needed some reassurance and encouragement. It is precisely the book that I needed to read and I am enjoying incorporating its methods and techniques into my life. Thank you, Austin Kleon, for a fantastic guidebook!

If you wish to check it out further, then click here: http://austinkleon.com/show-your-work/

 

Finding a job that supports your passion

It is said that artists find it notoriously difficult to hold down a job.

I don’t know how true this stereotype is, but I have certainly had a few issues with employment. Not because I’m a writer and do too much daydreaming, but just because the corporate world is extremely messed up! On quite a few occasions, I have been blighted by the probation curse, fired on the grounds that “I’m not suitable” or not meeting ridiculous targets. A lot of the time, I believe that I am let go because I don’t fit into the workplace socially. And then there’s the suggestion that I don’t work fast enough… jeez, why is everyone in such a hurry these days?

Even though writing is my main passion, I do always try my best with whatever job I have to pay the bills. Unfortunately, society usually ensures that I don’t keep each job for too long. Recently, however, I have found a job that I think I might keep for quite a while. It is a casual job, which means that there’s no probation period and I also haven’t been pulled up for being too slow. In fact, we are encouraged to take our time so that we don’t make mistakes.

Just in case you’re wondering, the job is in a cafe! As a writer, it is good to get out of the house and interact with my fellow humans, as they are fascinating and provide fuel for my imagination. All of my stories feature people, so it is important for me to stay in touch with them. And I am not above working in a cafe, where there are many opportunities to be kind and considerate to customers.

Most importantly, I am still writing in my spare time. In fact, going to the cafe focuses my mind and fuels my writing. It is not a strenuous job and I still have plenty of energy when I get home, so writing still gets done. With other jobs, I have always been too drained or too beleaguered by workplace politics to give my writing the attention that it deserves.

So my advice to any fellow writers or artists would be to find a job that supports what you love. We all need to pay the bills somehow, but try to do something that helps with your passion, even if it’s completely unrelated. If you’re lucky enough to earn money from your art, then that’s great! But most of us have to do a balancing act and quite often we don’t have time for what we love.

Please don’t abandon your hobbies! Do what you love and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Life is meant to be enriched with the things that you love, so fight tooth and nail to incorporate them into your life. You know what you want deep down, so why deny yourself happiness?

Getting Started

Sometimes, getting started can be the most difficult part of the journey.

We come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses for not getting stuck in. Out of nowhere, a whole host of other things seem to require our attention, whether that be cleaning the house or watching cat videos on Youtube! But if we don’t take that first step into the unknown, then we would never get anything done!

Many of us turn to procrastination when we are afraid to proceed, but you must cast aside your fear and believe in yourself! If you do not have the discipline to face your tasks head-on, then it will take much longer for them to get done, or perhaps they might not get done at all. But once you get into the right frame of mind and start believing in yourself, you stand a better chance of achieving your goals!

Usually, I find that once I delve into a task, it’s never as daunting as I originally thought. For some reason, the human mind puts up barriers and makes something look much scarier than it actually is. But you’ve got to change your attitude towards these sorts of challenges and put aside your fear. Do not be afraid of failing and do not be afraid of something not being good enough… do something because it is what you love doing!

Getting started can be the most difficult step because you are committing to the road ahead. Indeed, commitment can be scary, but no journey can begin without that first step! And once you find your footing, you should be able to gather momentum and enjoy your journey. When you’re passionate about every step that you take, travelling towards your destination is much more enjoyable.

Nurturing your writing voice

To write efficiently, you need to call upon your writing voice.

If you are not in tune with your inner writing voice, then you can lose track of how the prose flows and sounds. But when you use your writing voice, you kind of narrate as you go along, which helps you to gauge if your writing is good enough. In other words, you are being both the writer and the reader at the same time.

I’m not suggesting, of course, that you read out loud. Just acknowledge what you’re writing in your head, rather than just spewing any old nonsense onto the page. Authors speak in a certain way on the page, which differs from how people speak orally, so it’s important to get into that zone.

On days when my writing voice is absent, I find it very difficult to string sentences together and produce quality writing. To remedy this, I usually grab a notepad and do a writing warm-up, spewing words onto the page until the sentences become more coherent and I rediscover my writing voice.

The Magic of Inspiration

As a writer, inspiration is very important to me. Without it, I do not get any ideas and I can’t proceed with any new projects.

What I’ve found is that I receive much more inspiration when I stop chasing ideas and just let them develop naturally. When I open myself up, ideas just flow through me as if I’m tuned into some sort of cosmic radio station, tapping into a wealth of inspiration. When I’m connected like this – when I’m in “the zone” as some people call it – stories grow and mature all by themselves!

Some ideas develop more quickly than others. Some form overnight while others take a while to ferment before they grow legs and spring to life. What’s important is that you don’t push an idea until it is ready to enter the world.

The wonderful thing is that all of us have an imagination. All of us can receive creative ideas and get inspired. So I would urge you all to have fun with this mighty gift and push the boundaries of what what you can create! Keep your creative juices fueled by reading books, watching films or whatever else gets you inspired!

Fantasy: A welcome escape

Once again, inspiration has struck me, this time in the form of fantasy.

I have always loved writing fantasy. During my teenage years, while facing the trials and tribulations of high school, I used to find solace in the mythical lands that I had created. However, I never managed to finish the story, despite working on it almost every night after school.

For whatever reason, my first two proper books were very much anchored in reality, but now I yearn to create something more fantastical. I have been receiving inspiration for characters and plot-lines for well over a year now, but recently it’s all clicked into place. In other words, the pieces of the jigsaw have finally come together!

Creating a new world is truly liberating, but it’s also a massive undertaking! To my delight, I’ve managed to work in some elements from my original fantasy tale, so that the spirit of my childhood brilliance lives on! And also, it’s going to be a trilogy, so that means that extra care needs to be taken with weaving the narrative together.

Quite simply, I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge. It’s a great opportunity to go crazy with my imagination, creating different kingdoms and religions and creatures and characters. Okay, I’m inspired again… imagination land, here I come! 🙂

Speak to you soon, guys!