Sunday, 7 December 2008

More on nurturing the artist within--the "top ten" list

A few posts back, I wrote about nurturing your artist self. It's not a difficult thing to do, but it does take time out of your day or week to do it. If you're not sure what to do, how about writing out a list of things you'd like to do but haven't?

Here are a few tips on creating a list you're more likely to follow:

_Keep it simple by assigning a number. If you only have to think of, say, 10 things to do, the mere thought of even creating the list won't overwhelm you.

_Time yourself. Give yourself 20 minutes or less to write out the things that first come to mind. This leaves you no time to judge the list.

_Don't judge the list. If you start judging, then you might let things like practicalities or finances get in the way. And we don't care about practicalities or finances when we're nurturing the artistic spirit. We get to pick freely, think freely, and write freely.

_Stay in the moment. Find a nice shady spot outdoors under a tree (See example in photo above; it's Arizona's state tree, the palo verde.), with a bench or bring your own chair. Bring your pad of paper and write. Write from the heart.

_Think of things you've always wanted to do but never have (probably because of time) art class, a visit to that obscure museum you heard about last year, a trip to a nearby arts community, tickets to a comedy show, yard sale shopping, etc. Think of things you know you'd like to do but thought you couldn't afford. Write them down, anyway (This doesn't mean you'll do them now, but you'll be more likely to fit them in later.). There's power in writing things down; that's why lists work.

_Not sure about what you'd like to do? Never thought much about this before? Go back to your childhood. What kinds of things brought you joy back then? Was it building things? Maybe you can add to your list that you'd like to visit your city's downtown and observe and take photographs of old buildings. Did you enjoy crafts? Perhaps you can add to your list something having to do with that, such as making a special greeting card for someone you love. Did you like, as I did, riding your bike? Maybe you can just jot down something about taking a bike ride to a nearby lake or body of water and people watch. You can make up stories about what they're doing there.

_Have fun with the list. Buy a special notebook or journal for your list-making. Use colorful pens or crayons or markers. Add stickers for fun, things like colorful stars or balloons in which you can write silly sayings (You'll find these at office and teacher supply stores as well as craft stores.).

_Be sure to post the list on a wall that you see daily.

_Cross off the things that you've done, and add to the list regularly.

This should give you more ideas about how you can nurture your artist within. Just remember, it's your list. No need to let others see it, as artist's dates are for you only. No one gets to object or agree with your list. It's all about you. And better yet, if you decide you don't like the list you came up with, you can re-do the whole thing. The important thing about this exercise is that you're learning a little more about yourself, what you like, what you don't, what you thought you might have but didn't after all.

Nurturing the artist within is a great way to develop your mental BIKE. With this exercise, you not only begin to hone in on your personal interests, but you begin to listen to yourself more clearly. You begin to recognize that while it's nice to gain input from others, their input isn't necessarily what's best for you. I bet you didn't realize the creative spirit could be that important.

If you wish to add your own thoughts about today's post, I'd love to hear from you.

All my best,

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