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5 Tips: Living Creatively is Not About Being an Artist

1. Change out a routine — just try it — once. It will open up the pathways for more variety. Take a different route home from work or the gym or your mother’s house. Shop at a different grocery store. Read a different newspaper. Anything that feels a tad uncomfortable and out of your regular life routine.

2. Read out of your usual genre — Shake up your world by reading something completely different than what you usually gravitate towards. My library has displays of different book and author themes all over the place.  I had never even considered reading a graphic novel. Could that really qualify as reading?! But when I saw The Impostor’s Daughter on display, something about the cover and title grabbed me. And that’s how I discovered the hilarious and thought-nudging Laurie Sandell. Now I read her blog every day.

3. Shock your body — That’s right. If you’re a cerebral person, always in your head, give the limbs and core a good shake-up. Maybe there’s a dance-type class offered at your gym but you never gave it a thought because you think you don’t have rhythm and are blessed with two left feet. Maybe it’s yoga that’s held a bit of intrigue. Roller-blading? Ice skating? A friend of mine celebrated her 45th birthday by learning how to surf. In a bikini. Now that‘s courage!

4. Invest in the arts — My writing group celebrated with an annual/holiday lunch out this week. Because we enjoy each other’s company so much, we’re always looking for excuses that will legitimize more time together, so we added an “artist date” field trip to our lunch date. We were on our way to a local museum when we spotted a sign in a mill building window that said “Open Studios“. The next hour and a half was spent oohing and ahhing and comparing thoughts over watercolors, pastels, monoprints, handwovens, beaded jewelry and the unique workspace of each creater. I think it’s important to ‘pay it forward’ for other artists and made a modest purchase that included greeting cards offered by three of the artists. Not big bucks but a show of support.

5. Deflect toxic criticism — This is a tough one. The people closest to us are invested in things staying the same. I recently met a woman who had survived brain surgery. The impact on her life went beyond restoring her health — she wants to help others. She’s just not sure how. The people in her immediate “circle of influence” are not particularly supportive of this career shift and are trying to get her to settle down and opt for the most conventional route: nursing. Her heart is telling her that this is not the right fit for her, but until we’d talked, she hadn’t given herself permission to armorize herself against these well-meaning friends and relatives. I encouraged her to start surrounding herself with people who are knowledgeable in these new areas of interest of hers. She can learn from them and eventually make a more educated decision about her next career move.

So what’s the meaning of a photograph of my bed to illustrate this post? When I’m feeling overwhelmed with too many deadlines and my house has gone to ruin, the first thing I do to reclaim my sanity is make the bed. … You?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Baker January 2, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Hey Lisa,
    I really like how you structured this article. I agree that cleaning up my kitchen usually feels great afterwards and keeps me sane as well! The practice of feng shui also keeps the energies balanced in my house as well.

  • Carol December 24, 2009, 12:44 pm

    Cleaning the kitchen always restores my sanity when life feels out of control. Good therapy for those of us who would rather cook or do projects than clean. Great tips, but snydeen is right — “shock the body” is the hardest. Perhaps I can join you both for a Mine Falls Park stroll!

    • Lisa December 25, 2009, 2:19 pm

      Oh, a tidy and clean kitchen is certainly another one of those good feelings. You are absolutely welcome to join us for a walk in Mine Falls Park!

  • Beth December 23, 2009, 7:56 am

    Love this post, of course the photo makes me instantly smile and feel happy with a sense of peace. I agree my bedroom is my “little piece of sanity retreat” . Your last tip really hits home and is a good reminder for me for 2010.
    Hugs to you Lili, xoxo B

  • Lynda December 22, 2009, 5:25 pm

    Great tips, Lisa! It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut.

    Happy Holidays!


  • Trudie December 19, 2009, 9:30 am

    Lisa, another fabulous post! I keep looking at the list and suggestions. Surprise! Surprise! The one that feels more than ‘a tad uncomfortable’ is #3 Shock the Body.

    Thanks for the reminders. And the sharing of Artist Dates. So much creativity and possibility in our surroundings!

  • snydeen December 18, 2009, 5:25 pm

    I love your painting/print, quilt and cat. I have been trying some of these ideas out over the past year and they really do help to view things differently. I take a different route nearly every day that I drive my daughter to work and will occasionally meander on other common journeys as well. The entire list of books on the book club list are out of my comfort zone, I definitely try to invest in the arts (as much as I can afford reasonably – which ain’t much) and I have to say my most toxic criticism these days is probably internal. I’m working on that one. So that just leaves exercise. Here we might come to a parting of the ways… LOL Great post!!

    • myartfullife December 18, 2009, 7:55 pm

      Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and linking my post to yours! You make me laugh!!! Perhaps one day in warmer weather we can meet for a pleasantly-paced stroll in Mines Falls Park. It’s exercise and not hateful, not one single step!

  • sue west December 18, 2009, 4:09 pm

    I have a new approach. I’m going to take out one of my new, creative, beautifully inspiring Joy cards and give it to ME !! LOVE these.

    • myartfullife December 18, 2009, 7:50 pm

      This is so heartwarming! Love it, love it!