Posts Tagged With: creativity

August 30th Already? When Did That Happen?

In January, I wrote “So, welcome to 2014, the year of creative immersion” and then promptly was derailed by all of the non-creative bits of my life. If you’re a person who, like me, thrives on creative activities, then you know the tune and how disheartening it can be.  I know I’d been away from it for too long when simply inventorying the products for Harvest Moon Designs felt like a vacation.  Normally, inventorying is about as far from fun as I can stand to be.  Yet, it was nice just to see things that I’d made and be reminded of the creative process.

It’s time to get back on track again.  My Etsy shop has been growing cobwebs in my absence, so I’m trying to give it a little TLC and get it restocked in time for holiday shopping (hence the reason for inventorying).   I’m also attempting to get back into a daily creative practice, even if it’s only a few minutes at a time. 

I’m re-posting my list of 2014 creative goals as a reminder to myself what I’ve done and where I need to focus (while simultaneously attempting to cure insomnia in my readers).

  • Write at least 200,000 words – 100,000 each of fiction/poetry and non-fiction  – As of right now, the count is approximately 27,000 fiction and 10,800 non-fiction. After January, I fell off the writing wagon and haven’t really been able to climb back on.  I do plan to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year and if successful, will at least get my fiction word count closer to goal.
  • Quilt or crochet at least 4 new blankets for charity – One down
  • Create 24 new paintings or drawings – Two sketches down.
  • Make at least 10 new pieces of jewelry – No progress on this one.
  • Create a new batch of wands for my Etsy shop – I have approximately fifty wands in various states of completion.  This is my big push right now, as I want to get these up in time for Halloween shopping.
  • Take at least 50 decent photos to share – If pictures of my cats count, I’m almost there.
  • Finish at least 5 items from the Abandoned Projects Pile – Let’s just say they’re still abandoned at the moment.
    • Crocheted vest
    • Blue patch-work throw
    • Photo pendants for the shop
    • Woodland Santa cross-stitch
    • Autumn themed full-sized quilt

That’s where things are at the moment. With any luck, I’ll have at least one creative project to post about in the next few weeks. 

Hope you’re all finding time to feed the creative fires.

Chris Signature

 

Categories: Craft Projects, Miscellaneous Ramblings | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Resolutions – Progress Report

A few updates on that goal list I posted at the beginning of January:

  • Write at least 200,000 words – 100,000 each of fiction/poetry and non-fiction –   My total January word count is right around 31,000, which is approximately ten times what I expected it to be.  At this rate, I should be able to meet my goals without a problem. 
  • Quilt or crochet at least 4 new blankets for charity – One spiral afghan is in progress and should be finished by the end of February.
  • Finish at least 5 items from the Abandoned Projects Pile including:
    • Blue patch-work throw (from 2011 or 12) – The blocks have been assembled and seams pressed.  I’ve given myself a deadline of the first day of spring to have this one finished.
    • Autumn themed full-sized quilt (fabrics purchased in 2012/early 2013) – The bulk of the piecing has been completed on this one, but I still need to assemble everything for the top.  Another one that I want to finish by the end of the winter.

We’ll see how February goes.  Hopefully more words and lots of quilting progress.

Chris Signature

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2014 Creative Resolutions

A new year has begun and with it comes the inevitable resolutions.  Forget the usual thoughts of losing weight, saving money, and all of those practical and healthy ideas that sound so good on January 1st. This year’s resolution ignores all of the traditional goals in favor of this: Get back into a regular habit of being creative.

The past year lacked the usual myriad of creative projects that I normally have going on at any given moment.  Sadly, my biggest creative accomplishment of 2013 was finishing NaNoWriMo.  Unfortunately, the novel that resulted was pretty awful and will likely be destined for the rubbish bin if I don’t come up with a clever re-write very soon.  Other projects seemed to be half-hearted attempts as well and there are still several projects that I started in 2012 that remain unfinished.

So, welcome to 2014, the year of creative immersion. Here are my creative goals for the year:

  • Write at least 200,000 words – 100,000 each of fiction/poetry and non-fiction
  • Quilt or crochet at least 4 new blankets for charity
  • Create 24 new paintings or drawings
  • Make at least 10 new pieces of jewelry
  • Create a new batch of wands for my Etsy shop
  • Take at least 50 decent photos to share
  • Finish at least 5 items from the Abandoned Projects Pile including:
    • Crocheted vest (started last spring)
    • Blue patch-work throw (from 2011 or 12)
    • Photo pendants for the shop (from 2012)
    • Woodland Santa cross-stitch (started so long ago that I can’t remember what year it was)
    • Autumn themed full-sized quilt (fabrics purchased in 2012/early 2013)

No problem, right?  Let the creativity begin!

Chris Signature

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Recognition of One’s Work is….

…weird.

Yes, I do realize that I should be saying something to the effect of “Recognition of one’s work is an outstanding personal achievement” or “It is a sign that one’s vision inspires another person” or “It is an indication that your work speaks to others.”  Sure, there’s all that, but it’s still weird.

I’m not talking about the kind of recognition given by one’s family that garners a drawing a place of honor on the refrigerator door, nor the type that comes from one’s customers when we peddle our creations to the public.  Although these kinds of praise do often make my day, I have in mind those experiences when you find your work publicly being recommended or when your creation is chosen as best over the competition.

For me, it’s a really weird feeling when someone takes note of something I’ve created. While I strive to have my work recognized, simultaneously thrilling and terrifying feelings fill me on those occasions.  Rationally I know that judgement has already been passed by someone else,  but I find myself looking for flaws in my work, all the reasons why it is not fit for public consumption.  Lines from Anne Bradstreet’s ‘An Author to Her Book’ often bounce through my head at these moments.   I can’t imagine how I’d react to large scale recognition when small nods of appreciation send butterflies fluttering through both brain and stomach.  I can only hope that I might be so cursed to find out someday.

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A Moment in the Life – An Exercise in Creative Thinking

Since this blog is all about creativity, I thought it might be fun to lay down a challenge to my readers to move from passively reading about creativity to actively being creatively. So here’s a creative challenge for you. In 500 words or less, create a description of a moment in the life. This can be a moment from your own life, the life you wish you lived, or a life that exists only in your imagination.

The catch is that you have to use the following 25 random words in your composition:

  1. affect
  2. farmer
  3. swearing
  4. shoe
  5. outraged
  6. ordered
  7. trial
  8. home
  9. irrational
  10. milk
  11. balm
  12. shopped
  13. mature
  14. faint
  15. absolutely
  16. cuckoo
  17. quiver
  18. livid
  19. gravity
  20. merging
  21. void
  22. problem
  23. impulse
  24. suppression
  25. seventh

If you want to share your efforts, post a comment with a link to where you’ve posted it.

Here’s my effort, just under 500 words. Obviously, this is not my life nor is it based on anyone I know. Sorry in advance for the slightly depressing nature of it, but sometimes stories ask to be told.

“October seventh two-thousand nine. That’s what’s going to be carved into my tombstone. RIP pal, you managed to live to the mature age of 41 only to die in a stupid way a million miles from home. I shouldn’t let myself ponder it, but being in a fiery crash tends to affect the way one thinks. For example, I never had an irrational fear of dying until I thought it was actually happening to me.

What stupid impulse made me decide to take a motorcycle trip up the Vietnamese coast? Ten hours from flying home to my pregnant wife, it sounded like a good way to end this journey. I had finished the photo-journalism assignment of documenting a day in the life of a peasant farmer. Not just an peasant farmer, but a man named An who had lost his family in a bombing when he was six, a gift from the land of milk, honey, and napalm. His only English statement to me was about survival: “You win. You lose. You still you.” I’ve lost, An, but am I still me?

If I were at home in Chicago, an ambulance would have arrived by now and some kind of lovely drugs for pain suppression would be flowing through my veins. I’m pretty sure that the overall effect of merging gravity with a fireball of twisted metal was to take most of the flesh from one leg. For better or worse, most of my body is void of any sensation at all.

For better or worse… oh God, Becca I’m sorry. My dear wife who has been my life for the last six years, how will you take the news? Will you faint? Will you be outraged and livid at my idiocy? Will you just face it in that mature, stoic, quiet way of yours? You who kept a straight face at the wedding reception when opening the garish cuckoo clock that was my aunt’s gift to us, you who ordered the flowers for your father’s funeral without even a quiver in your voice, you who shopped for a coffin to bury our first child while I wept, you who face every problem and trial with courage and bravery. I don’t want to be the person who breaks you, Becca. God, please help her through this, give her strength. I love her, let that be a balm to her now.

I can hear a voice but can’t seem to focus my vision beyond the shoe that has appeared next to my head. I think he’s swearing, probably cursing the dumb American who discourteously has marred the highway with flesh and blood. I’m sorry… so sorry for the end to this story. If I could, I’d take a different picture of the end, one in which I ride off into a Vietnamese sunset, journeying home to the life that should have been mine.”

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