Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Year of Living More Creatively...

Birthdays are great times to start massive, monumental projects.  Like New Year’s resolutions, there is something about beginning another year of your life that makes you incredibly reflective.  Birthdays are often excuses to do something selfish, frivolous or indulgent.  I have had lots of practice in that area!  Four years ago, to celebrate turning 40, I painted myself green.  To clarify, I entered the costume contest at DragonCon in Atlanta as She-Hulk after a whole summer of lifting weights and eating clean... but that was a whole other blog.
This adventure began  as I searched for something to make my 44th year of life on this planet more interesting.  Last year, I learned how to knit socks.  44 is somehow less exciting than milestones like 40, 45 or 50.  I wanted something a bit more substantial than picking up a new skill.  Something that would last for a full 365 days until I celebrated my 45th, but that would also make me far more aware of each day’s potential.  My grandmother said that time raced much faster the older you got and I now believe her!  I wanted something ... some adventure... some challenge that could take a whole year to tackle... which is why you are now reading these words.
Welcome to a way of living more Creatively each and every day. This blog is going to be all about discovering and befriending the creative essence that lives inside each one of us.  Creativity is nurtured rather than learned, practiced rather than acquired.  It is already inside us human beings struggling to get out, begging to be born in work, image, song, craft, cooking, dance etc.  If we are honest with ourselves and our inner nature, Creativity isn’t something we can live without.  Just as I believe we are all born with it, I know that it is as essential to our daily existence as breathing.  So... time to put this into practice.
Just like breathing, every daily meditation I am going to explore will have 2 components, 2 parts, 2 movements; inhale and exhale.  Inhalations are about inspiration, things to take in and ponder.  Exhalations are about trying to put that idea or aspect of being Creative into practice in a tangible way.  The best of these will be shared on this blog and by the end of the year, I will have spent a full year of my life trying to live more creatively in everything I do. 
INHALE:  Take a deep breath.  It’s ok to feel a bit scared and intimidated when you start something new, but putting it off doesn’t really solve anything.  A blank page can stare at you forever.  Take a leap of faith and realize that every creative act begins with a single flash point of inspiration or insanity, passion or possibility.  You cannot knit anything until you cast on, you cannot quilt until you cut and stitch, you cannot draw until you make the first mark and you cannot sing until you take a deep breath and then let it out again.  It is time to begin.
EXHALE:  As an illustrator, I tend to want to draw pictures and doodle to explore things, so I have bought myself a big black sketchbook in which to record things during this 365 day adventure.  A log book of sorts to keep a record of my journeying through this creative landscape.  Yours doesn’t have to be a sketchbook. It could be a notebook, a coil bound scribbler or anything that grabs your fancy, but it will probably be helpful to have one place in which to write your thoughts and ideas if you decide to explore along with me.  Don’t worry about making things perfect, just give yourself permission to get messy and make mistakes.  No one ever has to see what you create unless you want to share.  I think I may eventually go on a hunt for a box of some kind as well. Creative Exploration will probably involve the 3rd dimension, but that will be a challenge for another day. I am trying to take things one breath at a time!
Once you have found a book in which to begin, open it to write your name and address on the inside cover in your favourite colour of pen or pencil.  Write your address too in case your log book ever wanders away from you on one of your creative adventures so that someone can help it find its way home. 
You don’t have to write, draw or create anything else today unless you want to.  Today’s challenge was all about just getting started on the journey.  I can’t wait to see how this unfolds!


  1. Great idea! I'll be following your progress and hopefully will learn lots along with you. Have a fantastic journey, Jen!


  2. What a great way to celebrate a birthday !
    I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures in creativity.