How do your creative seeds grow? Is it a lush garden or have you been pulling at weeds lately? Are you meandering down the path looking for something to catch your eye? Imagine making a job of being creative. Imagine having to plan your day with being creative at the top of the list. Top priority! Welcome to Boot Camp!
I recently mentioned the lovely group of women in my October creativity camp. Artists, one better than the next. Writers and poets, painters and sketchers. Bloggers and photographers, knitters and embroiderers. A stunning motley crew of wonder. Each one stretching the idea of what it means to be creative: Gathering elements from the outdoors to create a “living” painting. Drawing dozens and dozens of circles to create a butterfly. Verse flowing from deep inside to touch even the tightest drum. Discussion about it all! A salon of sorts. Thirty-one days of unveiling old and new projects and ideas with anxious bystanders waiting to extol praise. The bravest unfurling their battered and beautiful souls for all to see. (Thank you, thank you, Jane for pulling this all together and creating something without boundaries that fit so many.)
I found myself looking for the extraordinary in my everyday, ordinary excursions. Think of the same walk you make every day or every week. Has it become mundane? Think of taking someone who has never been to your town or city along on this walk. What might they find interesting? What might they find appealing? What haven’t you been looking at lately? My group became my muse! Suddenly I was looking for places and things that my new friends would enjoy. It is New York City, after all. My eyes began to see the city in a new and exciting light. After 18 years, I found new joy in photographing my surroundings! Then the words began to flow. I wanted to bring joy to all of them. I wanted to take them with me and show them my wonders, what makes me hum.
When I started this blog a few years ago, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with it. I hear a lot of bloggers say that and over and over people advise to just keep at it, the inspiration will flow and your true self will show. The people who like what you have to say will be there. Just wait. I often try to explain social media to people who aren’t familiar with it like this: If you like certain things, you’ll find people out there with similar interests. All of a sudden you will find a bunch of people like yourself! You like to blog about porcupines? Guess what? There are fifty other people who already do! (I’m just guessing there…!)
In the beginning it can be tiring to keep putting material out there with little return but bit by bit it will grow. At the beginning of the year I did a blog revamp and lost my mojo along the way. Things got a bit complicated and I fell out of my routine so I asked myself if I was still happy with where the blog was heading. Maybe it was time to make some changes. I took a sabbatical to see if I wanted to move in a different direction, I figured I would let it come to me. I joined the boot camp in an effort to kick start something inside me — in the beginning I wasn’t sure how this might happen but I was open to it. Ah! Step one. I watched and read and absorbed all that positivity. These ladies weren’t kidding around! Such kindness and it started to feel right: Writing and photographing again. Putting myself out there again. And then I had a tiny epiphany.
Before the blog revamp I had a tag line just below my title: food • wine • photography • travel • joy
I had been writing about all the other things but this new column, Cultivate Joy, is the JOY! I was forgetting the part about the joy! I love when things come together! All the other things are wonderful but they don’t work unless you add the joy. Last September I traveled to Ireland and spent three weeks traversing that gorgeous island. I began to feel the joy in travel and food and people and decided to launch the new column when I returned. This boot camp, the encouragement and the love it professed has allowed me to understand how I need to Cultivate Joy. (Thank you, thank you ladies. You helped put the joy back in creating for me!)
While October may be over, a new month and our tribe is on the rise! Go create something!