Art as INSPO for other creative outlets

Man, inspiration really shoots out of some people like a BB Gun from childhood. Actually we totally played with potato guns.  Those welts sting because you’re like, “and what I am creating?”  I can usually tear myself away from that jealous twinge with the satisfaction of seeing someone creating an image of what’s just spilling from their brain.

My best friend Nat is a doodler, sometimes I’m just fascinated looking at the lines she creates, the space.  This artistic development might sound like something that makes shitty people say, “don’t quit your day job.”  Creation isn’t tangible though, so screw those people.  I’d buy that girl’s greeting cards and coffee mugs in a second.

For my creative art, I’m a mind-mapper, the way my brain patterns connections for me to write essays is unique to me only.  Lots of writers talk about process, but recently I read a tweet (that I can’t find) talking about how writers fumble around when they’re asked about process. The tweet said something along the lines of — most writers don’t even know they’re process, they’re just doing what comes naturally to them.  To talk about your own evolution from point A to point B is doable, but to talk about the trench of matter that you tousle daily is a whole other conversation.  It’s difficult to possess, let alone explain.

A way to combat trying to explain yourself, your art, is just to share it.  Let the interpretation be the explanation.  I prefer saving other people’s art to an inspiration board on Instagram.  I love following artist accounts on Instagram because not only do I get to watch process and progress videos, but I get to see the evolution of their art, their color and shape choices, the way their mind works across a blank page.  Watching someone else create can stir something in our own creating. Maybe that is where explanation can be found — in finding semblance in your choices and another artist’s choices.

Here are some of my saved photos on my inspiration board:


It might sound strange, but I also love reading how artists describe themselves — what they name their skillset in labels and spaces.  If I was asked about where I fit writing-wise, I don’t think I could label myself as an essayist, poet, or novelist. I like to think I’m someone that strings words together like candy necklaces; I can just as easily chew them up into powder in my hands — watch them waft away.

he Church in Auvers-sur-Oise — Vincent van Gogh, Musee D’Orsay

I tend not to read a lot of artist biographies, but I do love reading comics, and art books by authors like Lynda Barry, Austin Kleon, or Keri Smith.  Coming up in my TBR pile,  I found The Secret Lives of Color in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam — definitely ordering that with my next Barnes and Noble Gift Card.  It tells the anecdotes and moments in history behind certain colors. After going to the Musee D’Orsay while in Paris, I’m ready to pick up the Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Vincent Van Gogh by by Steven Naifeh (Author), Gregory White Smith (Author).  

Where do you find inspiration? Where next should we all scour for a creative outlet, or search the jingling bells?



Spring 10 x 10

“I’m going all Pinterest on yo’ butt today,” said the cult of white women bullet journaling their way to productivity.

Okay, not quite, but I’ve decided that I seriously need to minimize my wardrobe.  Most people break bread and find communion through eating, wait for my Self-Help series on why food should be the non-negotiable on your dating list, but my Mom and I always found it through shopping.  This has resulted in an industrialized wardrobe.  If I was a fashion consultant, or an editor for Vogue, this probably wouldn’t come as a problem, but I’m just a small-town girl with an overcrowded closet.  My husband needs closet space, ya’ll. I also really want to focus on buying sustainable clothing. I taught this Huff Post article recently, “The Myth of the Ethical Shopper,” and I want to focus on two small things in our life to start bettering the earth, among composting:

  1. Ridding ourselves of plastic and paper bags in stores (aka bring out own bag).
  2. Buy clothes that are sustainable, and created ethically, and hopefully locally.
  3. Maybe once we conquer these two, we can work on bringing our own straws and cups to restaurants.

In order to do this, I need to better understand what clothes I really need and which can be let go.  I’ve read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, afterwards I binged my entire closet. It was a double wall closet, so gutting it gathered fourteen trash bags of clothes. I don’t remember any of them specifically, so what did I really value in each t-shirt, each left sandal?

This new mission starts with something small and simple.  My friend Christine recently wrote in her blog, Better Than Never, about changing small things to lead to big successes. She uses this epic habit tracker that I downloaded thanks to her, you can read more about it on her blog. My small change is to style a 10×10 wardrobe for my ten-day trip to Europe, in a week. I learned about the 10 x 10 challenge from two blogs: Un-Fancy by Caroline and Style Bee by Lee.  I’ve endlessly scrolled through the tags on Instagram, and explored Pinterest’s endless attics to find inspiration.  I think I’m ready to follow the crowd, and with that, learn how to minimize my closet to pieces that I can literally track their journey and creation.

Here’s what I’ve chosen for this jump start:

tips fortidyingyourcloset

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This is my journal for planning what I’m packing to Europe, but it definitely helped me narrow my luggage.