Sunday, February 1, 2015

Inspiration: Use As Needed

     Something I’ve really been trying to work on is being creative on a daily basis. I’ve always had an appreciation for the artistic and the aesthetic, but I often find myself relying on classes or clubs to be my creative outlet. Last semester, I took a photography class and a course in creative writing, and in high school I took art classes that forced me to sketch, paint, or play with pottery nearly every day. Unfortunately, without these structured classes to give me clear assignments, I sometimes get too lazy or busy with other priorities to make myself work in any creative way. I’ve made some efforts to amend this, including creating this blog and purchasing a daily sketch journal (previously seen here and available here). But they don't always feel like enough, especially on days when I feel like I have no inspiration.
There are times when I have so much I want to express, be it through prose, poetry, photography, paint, or some other artistic form. When inspiration like this strikes, I might be on the metro and see or hear something that makes me think or I might be unfocused in the middle of class and find myself frantically scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, and my favorite blogs. By the end, I wind up with about ten different tabs and a page’s worth of ideas. I can nearly feel all the ideas swimming around and it’s all I can do to frantically put pen to paper —literally or figuratively — while they’re still there, fresh and honest. These days are the best, because they grant me the satisfaction of feeling motivated and then actually following through to be proactive or constructive in some way.
But for the days when I lack inspiration for a daily sketch, the latest creative writing assignment, or a blog post, I usually turn to the same sources. These often serve as the catalyst for when I lack motivation and need something to inspire me, and they are even sometimes the impetus for those good days when the ball’s already rolling.
      I thought it would be helpful for me to share with all of you what my favorite sources of inspiration are, to either share the food for thought or to even push you to find your own. Here are some Instagram accounts, blogs, books, and websites that usually help me get the creative juices flowing:

  • Cupcakes & CashmereEmily Schuman is my absolute favorite blogger and I find myself visiting her website often five times a day. Her posts are grounded and honest, and I am so inspired by her self-motivated and self-created success. She has a great eye and she is ambitious and talented in really everything she does. Her blog makes me think of OMS in a more professional way and, though with my full course load and internship I certainly don’t have the time to put in the hours she does, I am pushed by her to post more often.
  • Kate Arends of Wit & DelightHer photography and taste in interior design are impeccable, but the reason I am absolutely addicted to her Instagram (beyond her great eye) is her new puppy Winnie Bear. I even follow her husband for the same reason! (Protip: he puts up more dog pics!)
  • Tyler Knott Gregson: His work isn’t exactly my style, but it has a quality to it that is sometimes so beautiful and moving and it compels me to write in a way that I, too, can affect and inspire my readers. I follow his Instagram for a daily haiku, which adds some literary beauty to my Insta feed and serves as a reminder that I should be writing as well. Always.
  • Amy Poehler’s Yes, PleaseFirst and foremost, Amy Poehler is Queen. Not of America, not of SNL history, but of the world. She’s the best and the chapter titled “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend” emphasizes the need to prioritize creativity over career, which is something that I so needed to hear. I’m not going to say any more about this for those of you who haven’t read it yet (and really need to hurry up already and do yourselves the favor of doing so).
  • Daily sketch journal: Having an outlet that absolutely forces me to create has been great because it holds me accountable for days that I miss. The notebook has exactly 365 spaces to sketch, along with blank spots in which you write the date. So, when I miss a day (or two, or three) I have to do that many extra sketches all within the same date and write down how many days late I was in putting that extra sketch on paper.
  • Charles Bukowski: I only began appreciating poetry in the way that I do this past fall, thanks to a pretty great Creative Writing professor. I started reading What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through The Fire and it makes me think in a different way, if that makes any sense. It’s hard to explain through words (ironically enough), but poetry, especially Bukowski’s poetry, gets my mind thinking in lines rather than sentences, which in turn affects the way I write. I love the effect it has on me and I am grateful to have found this new appreciation for poetry.

I'd love to know, what inspires you? Let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below! 

~ V

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