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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Rediscovering Creativity with Linda Neas

Have you ever felt stuck?

The feeling of “stuck” can grab you in any area of your life from writer’s block and lack of inspiration to stress cycles or financial burdens. In essence, you need a doorway into a new experience—a new way of approaching the situation. But where do you begin?

Please welcome today’s guest, Linda Rhinehart Neas. Linda is an author, poet, educator, healer, and compassionate soul who is here sharing her wisdom …and a gift! Yes, a free gift! We’ll come back to that. First, Linda has a few words to share on being creative.

Linda Neas You ARE Creative:  Rediscovering Creativity

by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

When I began giving workshops on Rediscovering Creativity, I began the first session with this wonderful reading From On Wings of Light: Meditations for Awakening to the Source by Joan Borysenko, PhD and Joan Drescher.

“Once upon a time love erupted with a mighty roar. A ball of living, breathing light exploded into a universe of fire and ice, suns and moons, plants and animals, you and me. Since that first moment, love has known itself and expanded itself through us. Our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, our dissolution in night’s soft womb and re-creation in the morning’s song are reflections of the divine love that plays its infinite melodies on the tender strings of our hearts. The notes of anguish, exultation and anger delight, pain and grace unite in a sacred harmony when we remember that behind all appearances beyond the illusion of separateness…We are One!

“In that remembering we can rejoice in our divine birthright as children of loves’ first light. Come and let us remember together…”

Let us remember! You see, we are and always have been creative beings, especially women. However, somewhere along the line in our lives, we have been told that we didn’t do it good enough, or that creating things was a waste of time, or we weren’t smart enough, or even the most popular statement, we should get a real job. All of these comments, whether said in an off-handed manner or as a direct command, crippled our ability to see ourselves as creative.

The good news is that we can still create. We don’t have to be gifted, or rich or anything else. We simply must want to make something. But, where to begin?

In my workshop, I have students look at all the aspects of their lives. I explain that there are hundreds of ways to be creative each day. Usually, as we go through the list, participants realize that they had been creative all along; they just didn’t recognize their creative selves.

Once students have reviewed the various aspects of their lives, I encourage them to pick one aspect and try something new. For instance, if they want to work on their emotional self, they might decide to keep a journal. By writing something every day, even if it is only one word to describe how you feel, a journal helps to heal and focus our emotions.

The workbook that I created, which you are able to download as a free PDF, will help you find where YOU are creative. I would suggest reading it slowly, taking time to reflect on each aspect of your life.

Remember, we are our own worst critics. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to fail. If something doesn’t work, think of something different or try doing whatever it is you are doing a different way. I couldn’t learn to crochet holding the needle the “traditional” way–between your thumb and pointer. I taught myself, finally, holding the needle in my fist. Looks strange, but I can crochet for hours.

May you find your creative self and may you be filled with the joy of creating! Namasté!

About Linda: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas is an educator/writer/poet. She has two books, Winter of the Soul, (2008) and Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland, (2010). On January 1, 2013, her story, “The Angel in the Bright Green Jacket,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. She teaches English as a Second language, writing and poetry throughout New England. Ms. Neas lives in an enchanted cottage with her beloved husband, where she gains great insight and inspiration from her four daughters and six grandchildren. Visit her blog at: Words from the Heart.

Free Gift! Whole Person Creativity Model book

Every person leaving a comment on this post will receive Linda’s free downloadable 13-page Wellness Workbook: Whole Person Creativity. This workbook is a “tool to stimulate your creative spirit” by guiding you in balancing the various aspects of your life.

To receive your copy, simply comment on this post by May 15, 2013  Enjoy!