Thank you so much for the discussion of inspiration under my previous post. It inspired me even more 🙂 To be precise – to think about the places (and some other things) that bring a spark of inspiration in me (I just stopped to think of the word “spark”. While in English it means a small fiery particle, the same word means a “kick” in Norwegian. Which brings me to the words of Manja, in the same comment section, calling it a “kick-yourself-in-the-butt” attitude. Well, yes. While in other countries you can catch a perfect light, as an artist, in the North it is all about kicking yourself up to some action during these dark months :))
While we were talking in the comments about things and places that inspire us, I came to think of a practice from the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron (aka my favorite book on creativity). She called it the dates with your Inner Artist (also your Inner child). The book is made as a course of 12 weeks, with exercises for each week. But the dates should be done regularly, once a week. This may be anything that your inner artist would love, no other meaning to it. A stationary store, a museum, a walk in the nature – anything that brings you joy and playfulness.
the spring spirit
in the Nordic garden
To be honest, I forgot this practice a while ago. I was not so fantastic good at it while reading the book, and after the book was finished, I was no more reminded of it. But, luckily, I developed a habit of going to places that I like to feel that spark.
Here I want to share the list of places that make me feel inspired:
The bookstores. Especially, the big ones. There was this one in Oslo, which got its building from the cinema. There were comfy chairs and a free coffee machine (doing only black coffee, so I never tried it). There were rooms and rooms filled with books, and you could pick one, sit in the chair and look through its pages. I especially loved their books on arts. It felt almost like a library.
a public library. I particularly am fond of the main library of Oslo, great and old, with its murals and high shelves. It puts me into a special good mood to see people reading, studying, browsing through the books there. Maybe, since books were my best friends in childhood, I like this air of respect and seriousness 🙂
the concept stores. Those who sell clothes, some interior pieces, maybe, also skin care products and candles. It is kinda hip now – and I cannot stop myself from falling for it. Every time 🙂
the parks and even more – the botanical gardens. There is so many positive effects on my mind and soul, when I am there. The everchanging nature makes me keep my breath – and breathe deeper. It is my place of strength – the botanical garden.
Oslo botanical garden
Barcelona botanical garden
you may laugh, but I will go and name this one – Ikea. Yes, the Swedish furniture store makes me inspired. And I will tell you why. Because Ikea is not just about decoration and furniture – it is about ideas. It seems like some smart heads work there, and when they find some smart solutions – I cannot help but get excited. I love how they think of small things (of which others don’t seem to think), I love how they set up the rooms and decorate – I even love how they promote Sweden, writing “Hej!” at the entrance, names in Swedish in the food store, and in other small ways (I mean, as Norwegian I should not feel so enthusiastic about it, there is a bittersweet relationship with this neighbor – but, sorry, I do feel inspired in Ikea :))
And here are some other things that make me inspired:
the interior magazines. After looking through one closely, I cannot believe how many small pretty details I start seeing around me (and grabbing my camera to photograph them).
coffee. Yepp, this one is always a winner. Maybe, it is a caffeine high – but ooh, it lifts me up. A morning coffee and writing has been one of my favorite habits. And sometimes I would get out, grab a coffee to go or sip a cappuccino in my favorite hipster bar – and after that I feel more for life and creativity. So much more :))
some music. For example, the music of 90s when I was a teen. Makes me wanna sing and dance – and when I do neither, the creative energy needs to be channeled elsewhere (but sometimes I choose just to sing and dance :))
Movies about creative minds. The past two weeks I was lucky: I went to see “Colette” about the French writer and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (well, you know, about Queen). The stories of the artists in their making is such an inspiration. It makes me wanna shake myself up and say: “Get up and go. Walk your walk”.
Do you have your special places or activities that make you feel this spark? Let’s make this list even longer 🙂
At times I find it difficult to come in touch with my motivation and inspiration. Maybe, it’s the apathetic vibe of autumn, or maybe, I think too much. When I’d hear “you think too much”, I’d always smile (superiorly, of course) – but now I ask myself if this is not always such an advantage as I used to see it.
Sometimes I find myself in this philosophical mood when everything seems just a fuss, with no meaning. For example, when I say it would be good to do more blogging again, there is this voice in me that says: “And what is the meaning of it? Why do you want to do it? To get popular once? We have discarded this idea long time ago. To build a community? And what will it give you? Just to communicate? But there are other options to do it in real life – and you know, you would prefer it in real life”. And then the apathy crawls in, and I think: “Ah, whatever. Really, why bother?” Do you know this feeling?
The last week of summer is the perfect time for a coffee and a catch-up (in Norway it is called “late summer” but it really reminds more an early autumn). It’s been a while since the last time. Getting back to my favorite format: chatting about everything at once :))
If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I feel about blogging. I’ve been grinding many thoughts about it lately. My biggest revelation is that: I don’t want to work hard on blog because I already have my job. To be honest, when I just started this blog, I was playing with the idea of making it into my income source. I was tired of my career path, unsure where I wanted to move next (a bit burned out and out of motivation). I quit my job, walked into unemployment for several months – and at the same time I started this blog. Of course, I imagined myself being this cool blogger, sitting in some nice Italian inspired cafe, posting exciting content, building my platform (growing popular, oh yes).
With the time I realized there was more work to it than “just create awesome content” (which is the popular advice for new bloggers). First, how do you make it awesome especially when you are new? Second, it is not “just”. There is so much work to it. And I didn’t want to study a new profession and work hard on it (remember, I had just finished working hard and wanted a break). I wanted to play. Then my thoughts were crystallized when I read an Instagram post of a Ukrainian girl who has the following of 100k but doesn’t want to become a blogger. She said: “People say to me: “you have so many followers, why don’t you become a blogger?” But I already have a profession I love. And being a blogger is work, just like any other”. This is when I thought: bingo!
Some weeks ago we were walking through the woods – and I suddenly got the flashback of my adolescence. We were visiting friends outside of Oslo and took a walk to the beach. Through the woods which went up and down, with a little river and a bridge over it. This spot brought a vivid memory of a similar place in other woods – in the village where my grandmother lived. I walked there, some 14 years old, and that place seemed just charming to me. Why? Because I thought, it would look perfect in the photo. At that time my pictures could be taken by the old black-and-white analog camera, difficult in use. Why did I want those photos? Passion for photography at such a young age?
No, it was not the passion for art. It was a wish to show something to my classmates. And how did I get inspired? So, there was this popular girl in our class, Irina, and in the back of her day-book (an obligatory book where we noted our schedule, homework and the teacher put our marks into it) she had some chocolate wrapping papers and photos. Yes, we were showing each other the papers of sweets we ate. Asking each other: “Did you try Mars? Did you try Snickers?”
If we were having coffee. I have seen this tag once here on WordPress and forgot about it. Today I just felt the need to do a post that goes like a rant over coffee – about everything (while usually I try to streamline my blog and make it fit neatly into my categories, hehe). So, I recollected that somewhere in my feed I’ve seen posts with this title “If we were having coffee” – and a quick search on WP gave more posts like that. So let me go grab my coffee and share with you my mixed thoughts that didn’t fit neatly into my categories and content plan (like I have one ;)).
My blog has turned one year some days ago. It turns out it was created on the day when they celebrate Los Reyes (Three wise men) in Spain. The 6th of January. Which is also Christmas Eve in Orthodox countries like my own Ukraine. So I have to divide my attention between three celebrations now. Not a bad problem, really 😊
A month before this little anniversary I started thinking about what I will write. I’ve seen blog birthday posts in my feed celebrating number of followers. I wish I could write: “And suddenly there were 2.000 followers, thank you guys for your love”. But nope, not possible. No thousands. And writing: “Now I have totally 180 followers” would sound funny, but not everyone will get the irony of it. Second, I don’t connect love and numbers. I tended to get caught in the numbers game, but not anymore. Well, only while playing bingo. But I lost the connection between feeling good and getting numbers of followers and likes since I got off the Instagram. Instagram has even created a turn-off for numbers after I learned about mass-following: all those people who follow you so you will follow them back. There was a person who followed me three times. Wow, she really liked me! I wonder if the same things exists on WordPress. Do you think people follow you just to wake your interest for their blog? And those likes, omg, how I missed the like-button for years on Livejournal blogging platform! And now I feel like saying: “take it back! Turn it off!” The same reason: sometimes it seems to me that people hit the like-button even without seeing your post. Why otherwise can there be more likes than views of a post? Is there such thing like mass-liking here? Like you know, on Instagram you get likes from shops and other marketing platforms connected to your post.
Oh, I didn’t mean my anniversary post to be about numbers and blogging frustrations – but it looks like it becomes just about this. Lovely 😊
Is anyone else here in the same trouble? It looks like the summer has brought, with its warm breeze, longer days and vibrant greenery, a break on writing. As I go around in my summer businesses, drifting further from blogging, there is also a rising feeling of guilt about not keeping up with this project. And the longer I feel it, the more difficult it gets to sit down and write something.