Every day our lives are saturated by outside sources of inspiration, motivation and influence; which is a fantastic and beautiful thing. I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for how easy it is to Google something when I need inspiration or ideas. When I’m working in my art journal it’s almost natural for me to look up Pinterest inspiration boards, when I need blog post ideas there’s about a thousand ways I can find them within seconds, and when I want to try a new makeup look, well, there’s a whole industry out there to influence me.
Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time. ~ Leonard Bernstein
This past month has seen me create more artwork, write more poetry, and take more photographs than I have in a long time. I have felt inspired and motivated, ready to take on so many different projects and goals. While you may think this is because I have opened up shop, started selling artwork and generally taking requests; it is actually the other way around. It is because of my inspiration that I have done these things. I seem to have tapped into a tiny, wonderful part of my brain responsible for giving me the drive I need. And while it almost certainly will not last forever, it is wonderful to have it for the time being.
So, how did I come by this? What am I doing? Perhaps I have a super fucking awesome Pinterest board which I’ll link you all to now? Okay I do have awesome Pinterest boards, but no. The answer is much simpler, yet harder I’m afraid.
I decided what I wanted to do, and I did it.
I know, life changing stuff huh? I’m pretty sure you’ve heard that before, but it’s okay, stick with me. I didn’t watch some amazing inspiration speech, I didn’t read a book that changed my outlook, I didn’t have some ‘Aha!’ moment while in the shower. I simply woke one morning and found that I weren’t completely happy with the day ahead. I knew that it wasn’t going to be The Best Day Ever; and knowing that kind of scared me. I’m not saying I was unhappy, just to be clear. I have the great pleasure of living with and sharing my life with a man who makes me feel deliriously filled with joy, I have friends who I love and a lot to be thankful for. But I still knew it wasn’t going to be particularly awesome that day, it would be ‘normal’.
I got thinking about normal, and what we accept as habit and day to day expectations. I wondered if I’d look back at my life in fifty years and regret this moment I’m living in right now. Maybe I’ll regret little things; not wearing my best clothes everyday, that make me feel awesome and colourful. Maybe I’ll regret bigger things like not travelling more and seeing the world. I was wondering what I would regret for each particular day actually, and one day I decided to stop wondering. I knew I had to let my heart make some more of my daily decisions, that way maybe I wouldn’t go as wrong and steer my life in a different direction.
So I wrote down what I wanted to do that day. I’m a To-Do list kinda girl at heart.
I wanted to cuddle Gary and laugh.
I wanted to do something creative.
I wanted to call my mum, and maybe check in with friends.
Nothing monumental happened that day; I started a small painting to pass some time, and it felt great. I believe Gary and I watched The Office (again), and laughed as we held hands and laid into each other. And I know I called my mum, and started a Snapchat war with a friend. All in all, a pretty basic day.
I went to bed very happy.
So when the next day came, I wrote down my list of things again. Not things that needed to be done, but things that I wanted from the day, and I’ve done it each day since.
Small changes have happened because of this tiny new way of approaching each day; I did not write a blog post when I didn’t feel like it, I changed my hair again and I filled up my art journal a little more. Big changes have happened around here too. I quit my full time job that I liked, and took up a part time one somewhere, so that I have the time and freedom to pursue something I love. I began taking professional approaches to things I wanted to do for my career. I gained two official clients. I have painted and drawn people for pleasure, and also sometimes for money as well; which, when you think about it, is pretty powerful. There are people willing to pay me to do something that keeps me up at 3am because I can’t bear to not be doing it.
I feel a little scared, and extremely hopeful.
I feel alive and a little more positive.
I feel in control too, which is hilarious because that’s just asking for trouble, right?
But all in all, I feel like fifty years from now I might not have as many regrets. I might actually make some pretty brilliant choices now. I might end up doing okay. I can’t say for sure, but I can say I’m less worried about it.
I’m still gonna read all the blog posts I can get my hands on about finding inspiration, and I’m gonna pin away anything that brings me motivation too.
But mostly, I’m going to stop looking for the world to bring something to me on a plate. I’m going to close my eyes, and let my mind see everything I need to see.
I’m going to be my own hero in this story.
Who will be the hero of your story?