Remember about a month ago, when I introduced the undisputed-queen-of-creative-inspiration, Keri Smith? And I listed 10 ways to make yourself miserable as an artist? No?
… [it’s] a wonderful compendium of 59 ideas for how to get creatively unstuck by engaging with everyday objects and your surroundings in novel ways. … [T]hese playful and poetic micro-projects aren’t just a simple creativity booster — they’re potent training for what Buddhism would call “living from presence” and inhabiting your life more fully.
Excited by the prospect of boosting my creativity and my zen, I jumped into the exercises …
… and liked them so much that I decided to buy two more copies of the book and give them away.
More on that in a second. But first, I want to tell you about one of the curious creative side-effects this book unleashed.
One of the first instructions was to “Never leave home without a notebook and pen.” I understood the rationale — but as an avowed minimalist, I chafed at having to carry One More Thing. Still, I didn’t want to miss a potential creative breakthrough.
I grudgingly decided I would carry a notebook, on four conditions. It must:
1. fit in my camera bag,
2. be very light — but also tough,
3. be inexpensive, and
4. be refillable.
And guess what? I found the perfect solution not only for taking field notes — but also for storing my photo-release forms, holding my iCal printouts, keeping my endless lists, and, yes, stashing the bits of leaves and twine and squirrel bones I sometimes collect on my walks.
Better yet, it was cheap and easy. I started with the Circa Junior-sized sample kit … and then I printed my own ruled paper, calendar, and photo-release forms.
Still, although I was smitten with my creation I fully expected to forget about it within a week. But to my surprise, I’ve actually been looking for excuses to write in it. I think it’s because the pages are easy to remove or rearrange, so there’s no risk of having to live permanently with a dumb idea or a silly drawing. Maybe that’s why I’ve suddenly started writing fiction again — and why I’m suddenly also brimming with blog ideas.
Anyway, I guess it’s just one example of how setting out to stoke your creativity in one way can send wonderful and unexpected ripple effects into other areas of your life.
So … would you like a copy of Keri Smith’s book, or maybe your very own Circa journal? For the former, please leave me a comment with the word “Explorer,” and for the latter just write “Journal.” My lovely assistant Esteban will do a random drawing next weekend, and then I’ll mail three lucky winners their prize, anywhere in the world, for free.
As always, thanks for reading.