Tag Archives: aside

Time, and the Economics of Posting

So, it has become clear to me that I really can’t commit to a daily update at this point… just too much going on. I had decided to relaunch this blog during a relatively slower week at work – I work at a college and it was Spring Break, so things were uncharacteristically quiet. As soon as things picked back up again, I found I was not as free to think about this as I’d hoped.

Rather than give up the idea again, though, I am going to just be realistic and start small. Maybe posting once a week is a good start… I could pick a particular day of the week and try to commit to at least one blog post on that day, and anything above that is great but not necessary. In that post I will note and discuss all of the creative things I did over the preceding week, including photos.

Plus, I was thinking about how if there is something bombarding a persons inbox or facebook wall every day, eventually that person will start to think “eh, I’m too busy today” or “ugh, again?” – yes, I say this from experience because I have had those thoughts myself! It’s supply and demand, really. If there is less supply then the demand may increase, and the value of the item (posts in this case) might increase as well – depending on the perceived value of the posts to begin with, of course. Yes, I am justifying my decision using economics! =P

For my blogging friends – what is your process? How have you set up your goals so that you can keep up with blogging and remain consistent, yet engaging?

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What is “something” exactly?

So far, I think I am most interested in moving into the realm of just making “something” every day. Not a specific medium or theme, just – something. Anything. But what does that mean, exactly? There have to be some kind of parameters in place, or else this just won’t work. So, I am going to define “something” as one of the following creative acts:

  • Working on a knitting, crocheting, sewing or needlepoint project
  • Creating a sketch/drawing/painting using pencil, charcoal, pen, colored pencil, pastel, paint, etc.
  • Working on writing of some kind – even if it’s just coming up with ideas and outlines – such as fictional stories or poetry
  • Taking a creatively framed photograph, or series of photographs
  • Designing using graphic design software or tools (such as using my Wacom tablet or Adobe software)
  • Creating a recipe of my own design when cooking or baking
  • Writing and/or recording original music using sheet music, the keyboard, or computer software
  • Writing a blog post about something other than one of these other items (that’s right, blogging itself will be considered a creative act, if it contains my original thoughts about a topic)

Of course, there may be other ways in which I am creative on a given day that don’t fall into this list, and I will be open to finding new ways to expand my horizons and discover new formats, so this is not an exhaustive list. I just wanted to start with something, a list of ideas to get my creative juices flowing. When I feel stuck, I will have somewhere to look to say “just do one of these things” and not have an excuse to skip a day.

On that note, I decided to set up a “Creativity Bag” that would contain the tools for some of these kinds of this – kind of like how I keep a gym bag in my car so that I can’t really get away with not going to the gym, seeing as I have everything I need easily available to me. It’s the same concept – I have a bunch of tools for creating in one place so that all I have to do is grab it and decide which item(s) to use. Currently, my bag contains: the scarf I am knitting (and related items), a sketchbook, a box of pencils/charcoal/erasers etc., a notebook for writing stories and poetry, and one of my favorite pens.

What do you do to get creative? How do you stay focused and motivated? These are obviously topics for posts unto themselves, but I am just wondering what some of the basic tools are that others use to get started and keep themselves going.

One year later… (considering a blog relaunch)

I keep randomly thinking about how I want to draw something. Nothing in particular, just something. In fact, I keep having random memories from the time that I took that Saturday morning drawing/charcoal class at MassArt a few years back, and wanting something like that again. It was helpful because it was 4 hours long – where are you going to go? You just have to stay there and do it!

But, life being what it is, I find that I tend to let the creative ventures fall by the wayside instead of being a priority. I have to work, go to the gym, food shop, cook, do laundry, take a shower, a number of other chores and responsibilities (shit, I still have to finish my taxes! arghhh) and by the time I actually sit down at the end of the night – well, I just don’t want to do a damn thing except watch something on Netflix and cuddle my kitties. So even the things I have to do are hard to squeeze in, let alone things I simply want to do. And the weekends? Well, that’s my time to spend with my partner and my friends, or else be completely lazy. I might get some creativity in then, but not always. I know, I know, I’m just full of excuses. But when being creative neither pays the bills nor gets the chores done…

So, what kinds of things would I do with time set aside to be creative?

  • Sketching, with pencil or charcoal
  • Knitting & crocheting
  • Bookbinding
  • Playing piano
  • Writing

What this leads me to is that I think I may attempt to revive this blog (almost exactly a year since my last post, ha), because it might help give me the impetus to actually make that time in my day to do something creative… The question is, do I make it open-ended (just do something everyday, no matter what it is) or more specific – like a particular medium (charcoal, knitting, etc), or a theme, like the guy that does a skull everyday in some form or another?

Please share your thoughts and ideas! I am going to ponder of this myself for the next few days. I have a number of other things I am trying to achieve aside from this project, but I think that if I commit to doing something creative, no matter how small, every day – I will be better off for it and it will help me in other areas of my life.

Link

I Could be More Creative, If Only…

 

I Could be More Creative, If Only…

I wanted to share this link, which was sent to me by Emily, about struggling with creativity. I would say I am personally going through a bit of a creativity crisis right now. She and I had some long talks this weekend when she came out to Boston to visit me, about the concerns that I have about being in school and whether I feel that I am on the right path. I’ve definitely been overwhelmed, so at the very least I am going to take the summer off from the program so that I don’t get completely burnt out. Where I will go from there, I am not sure yet…

Blast from the Past

Hey everyone! I know, I kind of lapsed with my blog here and disappeared. To be honest, that is one thing about me that I don’t plan to do but seems to always happen. You can ask my closest friends, I tend to go away now and then – but I always come back! A character flaw, I guess, but I’m working on it.

I am now in my Spring semester and I’ve already had like 6 or 7 weeks of classes, so I have some things to post but I need to work on them some more first. We have off this week for Spring break, so I am trying to catch up and finalize some work but I’ve been having a lot of trouble concentrating. I guess part of it is that working full-time and then trying to switch gears into creative mode when you get home at night is a struggle. Also, I have a lot of other things I want to do that compete for my time.

This actually came up during a recent class because we were discussing “How To Steal Like An Artist” (I’ll include a link for those of you who haven’t read it yet). One of the items on the list is “Be Boring (it’s the only way to get work done)” and I know that it’s true but it’s hard to say no to spending time with people that I care about. It’s all about the balance I guess.

How do *you* do it? How do you strike a balance between accomplishing your goals and finding time to relax and strengthen the all-important social ties that keep us healthy and motivated?

Ok, here’s the link that I mentioned – enjoy!  How To Steal Like An Artist

 

Back to School

The new semester is starting for me tonight at MassArt! I am really psyched about this class – it’s the Painting: Powers of Observation one. The professor, Catherine Kehoe, actually has a blog about/for this class – as well as her own website. So, I’ll be posting my paintings up here again as I go.

Also, I called to see why my grade for last Springs drawing course was “H” (it was a pass/fail class) and was told that it stands for Honors and that means I did “really, really well.” That’s so exciting!! And, my grade for my Typography class over the summer was A- which I am very happy about as well. Yesss! =)

Always know where your towel is…

I know, I know. I started off all gung-ho about this blog and then *poof* I disappear for 5 days. I have been dealing with something personal, so I did get side-tracked, but now I’m back! I do have to get caught up, however, and will do so asap. On a positive note, tonight is the first class of my new program at MassArt! I am sure that will stoke the creative fire in me again.

In the meantime, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Towel Day! I am so off-kilter that I actually don’t have a towel on me… further proof that I need to get back on track, clearly. And I just passed my 42-day mark… *tsk tsk*

I hope you all know where your towel is, you hoopy froods.

Happy Towel Day!! Happy Towel Day from us here at Awesome Sauce, everybody! Today (May 25th), we celebrate the life and legacy of Douglas Adams, author of the famed book series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Fans of Adams and his literary work celebrate this day by carrying a towel with them at all times. “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it ar … Read More

via Awesome Sauce

On Blogging

I haven’t really posted any of my “asides” lately, and just focused on posting my sketches. There is actually a reason for that, and one that I have been rolling around in my mind for about a week – letting it settle into my subconscious until some kind of solution or decision is formed for me. I guess writing this post means that has finally happened.

I gave my blog URL to my professor at MassArt, and then… I panicked. This was maybe a week or two into the project and if you’ve been with me that long you might remember that my sketches in those first few weeks were *ahem* less than ideal. But it was a good decision, because it forced me to think in terms of “if my professor could see this, would it embarrass me?” No, seriously, I think that is a good thing! It’s the accountability aspect of this project that will keep me going. If I were trying to do this in the privacy of my own home, just for myself, then I would most likely have stopped by now. I don’t like to admit that about myself, but there it is. So, having a blog where I publicly post my sketches and, more importantly, having an audience that expects decent work from me, is crucial.

When I saw my professor the following week, she commented that it seemed like I was spending more time writing than drawing. She didn’t say it in a negative way but matter-of-fact, and said that maybe that was something to think about (which it has been). She was totally right, and when I looked at my work I could see it was glaringly obvious. So the question became, do I stop writing and focus only on the sketches?

I’ve decided that answer is no – but, I should make sure that my sketches are the priority and that the majority of my time should be focused on that. So, I will still write sometimes, because to be honest I really love it. I didn’t expect to, but I’ve missed it in the past week. I will start writing my occasional asides again, but keep it in my mind that they are second fiddle to the drawing. If I want to write an especially long post, I will just have to spend more time drawing that week!

The thing that finally pushed me to write about this was a post by another new blogger, which was recently chosen to be featured on the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress. In it, she talks about what she has learned and I (along with a couple hundred other new bloggers!) found that I related to it. And it seemed timely, considering I was questioning what I wanted out of this experience. Rather than sum it up here, I’ll just link to it so that you can read it in it’s original form:

3 Things I've Learned From a Month of Blogging Today marks one month since I started this blog, so I decided to take a minute and reflect on what I’ve learned in the past month.  I’ve posted every week day since I started, which I find amazing.  Quite a few people read what I write, which I find even more amazing.  And some even share what I write with their friends, which I find amazingly amazing.  Mostly, I’m shocked at how easily I’ve fallen into this process and how much I value it. But I … Read More

via Dendrochronology

The Ambition/Reality Gap

Like everyone else, I sometimes feel discouraged when I look at my work (here and elsewhere). I’ll think “this is crap, you’re never going to go anywhere in design.” Now before you say anything, let me say: I know, this is normal, I am at the very beginning of a long journey. If I work hard, every day, I can get somewhere. Maybe not fast, but that’s ok. It’s about the journey, not the destination! I really do believe that, it’s just that sometimes I have to remind myself of it.

The professor of my Saturday class at MassArt told us last week that this drawing class was just the equivalent of sticking your big toe into a lake. While that might seem overwhelming to some, I was encouraged because it meant that I had lots of time and experiences ahead of me to develop skills and find my place. I didn’t have to feel like I was supposed to know a whole slew of things already. And I feel like I’ve done pretty well with my first toe-dip.

When I was in high school, the coach of my swim team used to call us the “pop-tart generation” because we expected to see immediate results. He tried to instill in us some patience and persistence, slowly chipping away at our personal goals, measured in less-than-seconds.

I think about that term a lot, actually, because it really does sum up a lot about us. We start our days with pop-tarts and breakfast bars, not a sit-down meal of eggs, bacon, toast, juice, etc. (or whatever else – doesn’t have to be meat and dairy!), and likewise we expect everything else to be so easy. Our news and information is instant, accessible almost constantly via smart-phones and computers. I’m not even going to come up with more examples,  because I know your brain is already coming up with more for you… it’s a mindset that permeates our lives.

So it seems to me that when many people start something new that takes a lot of practice and practice and practice and…. practice, there is a temptation to say “to hell with it” and find something easier to do. I am willing to bet that you can think of either an example of that in your own life, or the life of someone you know.

We all look at someone that has mastered something and think “wow, they must be very talented,” and maybe they are, but they have spent countless hours of practice either way. I think most of us can achieve just about any skill if we just took the time to understand how it works and…. to practice.

I am going to be the first to say that that (practice) has never been my forte. I am unequivocally a standard model for the “pop-tart generation,” and I struggle with the starting and stopping of projects all the time (the ADD doesn’t help). That is what I think I am feeling I am up against when I think about the lake I am just dipping my toe into, that I plan to swim in one day. I have no choice but to commit myself to some kind of discipline, over an extended period of time, if I don’t want to sink.

On some level, is that really the challenge to myself that I am posing here?

For a really good reminder/reassurance that it is ok to be “crap” in the beginning, check out this article (which is what put this whole post topic in my head): It’s Normal to Take A While Before Your Work Is as Good as Your Ambitions.

Hipster PDA Tips for People Obsessed With Productivity Pr0n But Bad At Actual Productivity (via Slow Burn Productions)

I just discovered, on 43 Folders, the amazing concept of the “Hipster PDA“. (I don’t believe the name is referring to the hipster subculture, but rather the size/portability of the item.) What is this craziness, you ask? Here is what the “Benefits” section has to say in the 43 Folders Wiki article:

“There are a number of benefits to a Hipster PDA over a digital PDA:

  • Cards can be arbitrarily resequenced, given away, and writing by hand is freeform and unrestricted
  • Card size encourages concise notes
  • Can be put into a pocket
  • Won’t run out of batteries
  • More durable: won’t be destroyed by water, coffee, dropping on floor, etc.
  • Cheaper: cents per card compared to hundreds of dollars…
  • Environmentally sound: Use recycled cards, recycle them when you’re done, keep batteries/worn out electronics out of landfills
  • Information doesn’t get lost in there; when something’s no longer relevant, you throw it away

The Hipster is also cheaper and smaller than the traditional planner, making it easier to carry and easier to keep stocked.

A Hipster even has geek value: when everyone whips out their digital PDA, watch what happens when you whip out your Hipster PDA…”

Hmm… Kind of intriguing. If you know me even fairly well, you know that I am quite a technophile, so you might be thinking “um, Kara, are you feeling ok?” I assure you, however, that despite my deep love and passion for gadgets, there is still a part of me that loves to do things the old-fashioned way. As I’ve mentioned before, I love journals and fancy pens! There is definitely a certain appeal to trying out this idea. So, I bought myself some index cards and I’m giving it a whirl.

I was poking around, trying to find some ideas for how to begin, and there are lots of great sites and resources. One in particular caught my attention, though, because a) it includes a list of most of the resources I’ve found already and b) the author made me laugh and, at points, think “hey! that’s me!” So I am re-blogging that post here, in case this has intrigued you at all. Be sure to let me know if you plan to try it out as well!

So, I went a little crazy with my Hipster PDA. I have 7, count ’em, 7 different types and sizes of index cards, and I’ve experimented with all the different mods, color combinations, templates and tricks you can imagine. Below is a list of Hipster PDA resources as well as a summary of what I’ve learned.  … Read More

via Slow Burn Productions

P.S. Here’s a sneak peek at the one I’ve got in the works so far: