Guest Post: When You Can’t Wait for Inspiration by Michelle Mach

Today I welcome Michelle Mach to Museiddity. Michelle is one of my favorite craft artists. I first met her while scheduling stops for a book tour; it was her work that inspired me to combine my writing and crafting. Please enjoy this guest post by Michelle Mach.

Beads & BooksWhen You Can’t Wait for Inspiration
by Michelle Mach

I get irritated when artists and writers talk about drifting dreamily around the house waiting for the magical burst of inspiration that will send them to the studio. I’ll admit I’m jealous. As someone who creates for a living, I don’t have that luxury. This weekend, for example, I need to come up with three original project designs–one home decor item and two pieces of jewelry–for a client. I have a deadline less than two weeks away, not to mention a host of other activities, including fulfilling a large wholesale order for a home decor store and editing three forthcoming jewelry books. I won’t be employed for long if I come up empty-handed and blame my uncooperative Muse.

You may not design craft projects for a living, but I bet there are times when you want to create something without a specific idea in mind. Here are three tricks I employ to jump start inspiration:

Examine Your Materials
I get many ideas from new materials such as an unusually shaped bead or a color I haven’t seen in awhile. The materials don’t even have to be new. Sometimes I’ll go “shopping” in my own stash of craft supplies, finding materials that I haven’t used for awhile. If I’m writing, my “material” might be notes in my journal or maybe books that I’m reading. If your own materials have you stumped, ask a friend for help. I’ve written stories prompted by one-word suggestions from friends and designed jewelry with beads that I did not choose.

Keep a Sketchbook or Journal
I keep a couple of different notebooks for drawings of project ideas or jotted notes for stories. Some of these sketches do turn into finished projects, but most don’t. Instead, my journal serves as my security blanket. I know that if I’m absolutely stuck for an idea, I can flip through my notebook and find one. (Whatever you do, make sure your notes are complete. I have a mysterious note about “chicken coffee bark” in an old notebook that I don’t think I’ll ever decode.)

Try Something New
It doesn’t have to be anything related to your craft. A new dessert recipe, a walk through a new-to-you park, or a book in an unfamiliar genre can wake up your imagination. The experiences don’t even have to be positive ones. I once sold a humorous essay about my new, hideously bad haircut.

Treasure those bursts of inspiration where ideas collide in your head and produce spectacular fireworks. But remember you don’t need to wait for those times. You can create any day, every day.

Michelle MachBio
Michelle Mach is a writer, editor, and jewelry designer in Colorado. Her jewelry designs have appeared in numerous magazines, including Stringing, Bead Trends, Easy Wire, and many others. Her essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in nearly a dozen anthologies, including The Ultimate Teacher and Classic Christmas. Visit her blog at http://www.michellemach.com/blog and her Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/michellemach

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Creative Spotlight: Destiny Allison, Artist and Author–Guest Post and Book Launch Announcement

Destinyl__3964Today I welcome metal sculpture artist and author Destiny Allison. I first “met” Destiny while managing a WOW Blog Tour for her memoir, Shaping Destiny. Her book, and her sculptures, connected with me in a deep way. Destiny has recently finished her first novel, Pipe Dreams. I’ll share more about that in a minute.

Destiny possesses a compelling “voice”; I find it strong, intelligent and poetic. To give you a taste of her writing I’ve invited her to share an essay about her own creative “awakening”.

Destiny Allison on embracing her creative spirit…

After I discovered my voice, I was quiet. No shout of joy or cartwheel whoop issued from my pressed lips. Hands on hips, eyes narrowed, I contemplated the tiny, regal figure who had freed me. Her brown skin, slick with my sweat, glistened in the morning light. She did not meet my eyes, care for my interest, or notice me at all. Instead, her gaze was to the horizon, focused on something I couldn’t see.

I hungered after her, oblivious to the demands of happy children sticky with juice. Ignoring dishes, spilled cheerios on the breakfast table, and the guttural snores of a sleeping husband, I stroked her hair with a fingertip, pushed my nail deep into the line between her lips, and cemented her expression. She did not mind the pain I inflicted or acknowledge the ache she had kindled in me. I added a bit of clay to her arm, defining and strengthening. Then she looked wrong, unbalanced, and artificial. I tweaked, smoothed, and adored until I destroyed her, my image of who I wanted to be.

I pushed her away, furious with myself, and turned my attention to my youngest. Runny nosed and crying, he had tripped chasing his brothers. I pulled him into my arms, rocking, and as I did my eyes drifted toward the horizon. It shimmered, taunting me with hope, possibility, and dreams.

When my child’s sobs ceased, I set him down and picked up my ruined sculpture. Somewhere in that soft, awkward form was my future. A tiny hand grabbed my leg, but I was intent. He tugged again, asking for a drink. I sighed, stepped into the kitchen, and handed him his cup. Then, for the first time and without regret, I said, “Go play, sweetheart. Mommy’s working.”

Coming June 3rd–Pipe Dreams, A novel by Destiny Allison Pipe_Dreams_preview.1

Destiny’s first novel is a fast-paced dystopian sci-fi made all the more horrifying by the feeling that this scenario could very well happen at any given time. If you like The Handmaid’s Tale you’ll love Pipe Dreams. Here is the author’s description:

Beneath the park bench, a young girl cries for help, her voice a cold hand on Vanessa’s throat. Bruised and ravaged, the naked girl is Vanessa’s mirror twin, but compassion for the Fallen won’t be forgiven. “Please,” the girl whispers. In the empty square, a piece of trash tumbles. A bird settles in a tree. Then there is silence. No voice, no wind, no movement. It’s as if the world is waiting.

Vanessa’s hesitation is her undoing. Unbeknownst to her, Lewis seeks his revenge. The virus, originally developed to save mankind from itself, will be his tool. Once airborne, it will create a slave race and retribution will be his. Vanessa is the symbol of everything he hates. She will be his unwitting pawn. Haunted by her thick, auburn hair, serious eyes, and mocking laughter, Lewis is determined to quiet her once and for all.

As his plan unfolds, Vanessa is forced to flee. Escaping through the sewer, she finds love, heartbreak, and the red beam of a gun sight dancing on the slick, black wall. In the deep dark of the foul pipe, Vanessa also discovers she has been betrayed. That’s when she learns Texas is real.

One reviewer stated, “Pipe Dreams is a dystopian novel set in the near future. If gene splicing could merge Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins, the resulting author might write this book.”

To download the first two parts FREE, and get updates on the full release, sign up for the mailing list.

TO PREORDER THE PAPERBACK VERSION OF PIPE DREAMS, CLICK HERE.

Destiny is “paying it forward” by donating 25% of her first month’s sales towards another artist’s goals. Visit her blog for more details.