Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stay Creative Every Day Tip #10: Don't Leave Home Without Your Journal

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest  

It's been a long time since I've traveled by train, and I don't know if my journals can qualify as "sensational," but Wilde certainly had it right in my opinion. Which is why I believe so strongly in Stay Creative Every Day Tip #10, Always carry a journal, sketchbook, pens, etc. with you wherever you go.

Now that my Big Move to apartment living is in full pack-up-and-go mode, having a notebook of some sort close by has never been more important to me. Not only can I jot down immediate "to do" notes (transfer the power bill; buy more boxes), I can also be working on a WIP or sketching the last views of my backyard while I'm waiting for things to happen (this current move seems to involve a lot of waiting-for-things-to-happen for some inexplicable reason).

However, even when I'm in my new home, settled and back to my normal routine, I'll be sure to follow some of my favorite creativity-starters:
  • Always have a dedicated "art and writing" tote ready to go at all times. For me this is a small canvas bag with a journal, a sketchbook, and a pouch with pens, pencils (graphite and watercolor), X-acto knife, eraser, and a waterbrush or two. Lately I've started carrying around a small watercolor set, too. 
  • Waterbrushes! Wow, I love waterbrushes so much I have to mention them again. They have all the ease and versatility of a pen and can fit into your purse if necessary. I only discovered these tools about a year ago; now I can't imagine how I coped without them.
  • I like to have various sizes and styles of journals, etc. going at the same time, but when I'm out of the house I stick to 9"x12" or smaller.
  • It's also fun to have themed journals and sketchbooks just for on-the-go. For instance, in the past I've carried around a journal that was just for freewriting at bookstores, and a sketchbook that was just for trees, leaves, and flowers.
  • Sometimes I paste pictures and writing prompts on my blank pages before I leave home. It's amazing how well these "random thoughts" can match the mood of wherever I am, starting a new stream of creativity I wasn't expecting.
  • Which gives me a full "idea book" without even trying.
  • Drawing or writing out of your usual office or studio space can give you an entirely new appreciation of your surroundings, and a whole new way to approach your work. Whether it's the muzak playing in a crowded shopping mall or the eerie peacefulness of an empty parking lot, the altered atmosphere can't help but change your perspective.
  • Artist Date! I've always been a big fan of Julia Cameron and her books, especially The Artist's Way, but too often I couldn't figure out how to keep up with her advice on having an artist's date once a week. Taking my "creativity bag" out for the morning or afternoon is an excellent way to follow this exercise.
  • Vacations. We all need them, and recording your experiences with more than just your camera is a super way to make travel anywhere special. I recently purchased a wonderful book, The Art of Travel With a Sketchbook by Marie LeGlatin Keis, that I can't wait to use this summer while I go on (yes!) vacation.

Tip of the Day: If you're anything like me, you probably spend an awful lot of time waiting. Whether it's waiting in line at the post office; waiting for a hair, doctor, or dental appointment; waiting in the car while my husband shops at the auto supply store. . .  Honestly, if I didn't have my journal or sketchbook I'd be bored to tears with all that waiting. I'd also be wasting some very valuable time. One trick I've found to utilize that time to the best advantage is to go to appointments or meetings just a little bit early, even by just an extra 15 minutes. (I've heard this works really well for parents who need to pick up their children from school every day.) So next time you're out on the road, don't forget to take your journal!


Charlotte Fairchild said...

My yard has become too full. So I have been having people come to dig things in my yard. I have given away a lot of things, and some of the strangers who come to my yard are the creative types. I am going to receive a piece of art for the yard and then I am going to give everyone as many plants as I can, with the last plant the "chocolate mint" in the front yard. Many times people return and they always leave with more chocolate mint. I feel like a grandmother when they do that! I so hope your new dwelling becomes homey and comfortable to you soon, Valerie!

Crowing Crone Joss said...

great post. never thought about having a writing and art tote ready to go but makes great sense.

LadyD Piano said...

Great post and a lovely blog! I'd like to give you the Liebster Blog Award. Congrats!