Contemporary Expression


Without Art, Writing Would be Pretty Lame
January 29, 2010, 6:00 am
Filed under: Balance, Guest Blog Post, Living An Artful Life

This is a guest post from Matt Cheuvront and is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

I am a true believer that inspiration can come in many different forms – in fact, it really hold no limits – anything and everything around you can provide you with a spark. A good song, a photograph, a line from a movie – I do everything I can to surround myself with these things – making an effort to live a more “artful” life that provides me with those “Aha!” moment of inspiration.

Since writers block is, well, a writers worst enemy – I thought I would present a few things that I do to find inspiration – things that get those creative juices flowing when all hope seems lost – the things I do RIGHT before I close the laptop and put away my Moleskine and call it a day – those moments of resurgence and creative clarity that can be found in the simplest of things. Here are three ways to live a more artful life and find inspiration in the world around you.

Get out of the house

Seriously, working from home can be extremely stifling to your creativity. There’s something about the Seinfeld reruns and comfy couch that inspires me to do nothing more than curl up with my dog and take a nap. This is all fine and well, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m trying to actually – you know – get things done, sitting around the house is the death of me…So get out, head to your local coffee shop, put yourself in an environment with limited distractions. There’s something about the atmosphere of a cozy coffee shop or comfy library chair that just works – there’s like a creative aura floating around that you can’t help but tune into. Changing up your environment can do wonders for inspiring new thoughts and ideas.

Browse Flickr

If you frequent my blog – you know that I am big on visualization – I couple simple and clean design with white space and bold images. Honestly, and this probably isn’t such a good thing from an efficiency standpoint, I probably spend more time looking for the “perfect” photo to go with at blog post than writing the post itself. But I find SO much inspiration in photography – even in the simplest things – I’m a very visual person and I understand that most blog readers connect with a “visual aid” to drive their attention through the rest of the post. Anytime I struggle with my writing, I browse around FlickR or other art websites (Wordboner is another great one) and find all the answers I’m looking for (and more).

Make killer playlists

Music is inspirational…but you already knew that. Every month I take a couple hours and I make a “playlist for the month” – The playlist usually reflects the season, my mood, new artists I’ve discovered, etc. And I use this playlist as the soundtrack for my life. Music is, hands down, the biggest source of inspiration for me. And there’s something to be said for that “perfect playlist”. You’ll find yourself struggling to find the right words and then that epic Arcade Fire song will kick in and all the sudden you’re ready to rock and roll. Devote a little time to putting together some monthly playlists of your own – and opt for the IPod over the TV in the background when you sit down to write.

This is only the tip of the iceberg – but hopefully will give you a little inspiration to get out there and find your own source of inspiration (have you been counting the number of times I’ve said “inspiration” in this post? Yeah, me neither). Think outside the box and never be afraid to use other mediums to inspire your own creativity.

Where do you find inspiration? Do you have a “routine” when you sit down to write?

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks Matt for the guest post. I’ve learned during my unemployment that getting out of the house and working where there are creative people around helps a lot. Strange how many creative people are working in coffee shops these days ….

Comment by nvanreece

YOGA is the biggest theme creator for me, surprisingly enough. The one time I’m supposed to be completely relaxed, letting all my thoughts dissipate, they all come flooding! Music sometimes helps, but that helped more when I was an adolescent. Often, I’ll have an idea when I’m sitting in the metro staring off into space or it will spawn off of a conversation with someone.

You’re absolutely right though Matt, you need to walk away from the topic for awhile if you’re having a block. It comes back eventually!

Comment by Lindsey

I’ve found Tai Chi extremely helpful, Lindsey. We all need to remember to just breath sometimes. Just breath.

Comment by nvanreece

I offer this friendly amendment. It is not just writers that need to feed the imagination. People in leadership roles do, too. Maxine Greene wrote this terrific book called Releasing the Imagination and I encourage people in business to avoid business books like the plague and to instead look at novels, biograpgy, poetry, and movies. Leaders need to be able to “connect the dots” and that does not happen when all you read is rehashed drivel!

Comment by DrJohnDrozdal

Your first point is soooo important. Working in your PJs from home is often the dream of many cubicle dwellers, but honestly, being in your home office day after day gets old really quick.

As you said, it starts to stifle your creativity. I’ve found that simply walking to Target and feeling the fresh air and sunshine makes a WORLD of a difference.

And I completely agree with you about the atmosphere of a coffee shop or other environment. Having the ambience around helps my creativity so much.

Comment by Tim Jahn

Hello Tim -If you haven’t yet you should visit the book The Artist Way by Julie Cameron. The importance of a walk every day to an artist is a truth that has been proven over and over again.

Comment by nvanreece




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