(Making) Art Is Not For Free

Monday, December 08, 2014


via pinterest
I've been spending a lot of time and thought on success, lately, as my high school years wane and college decisions loom in the future like very large ghosts. I've found it's acutely simple to get wrapped up in "five-year-plans" and all that lot; while I'm racking my brain and bank account at the thought of college, the things I took true pride in a year ago are in shambles behind me.

It's not even that I don't have time: it is actually that my spare time is spent working for others so I'll be able to publish a book, so I'll be able to buy a friend's. Sometimes it feels like an unbreakable cycle, and as I said to my father the other night, you can't make art for free.

This is not a post to tell you about how I will dust off my bookcase, pick up my pen, and sharpen my eyeliner pencil; I would instead like to share the small ways I've sifted in art among the work, because like a conscience, when ignored for too long your creativity will also shut down.

1. Wake up early.
It's quoted all over Pinterest and Tumblr but there is truth in it; taking time to watch the sunrise puts yesterday's struggles and today's to-be-fought battles in the background and the graceful presense of God in the foreground.

2. Pray.
I cannot tell you how vital this is to success and to peace, for the artist who struggles to balance work and play. I know no other nor better way to refresh my palate than in the presence of my Savior.

3. Take timed Beauty Breaks.
At strategic intervals in the day I will allow myself enough time on Pinterest to repin 5 lovely things. Nothing negative, limited sarcasm (unless it's particularly humorous) and all beautiful; in this way, I feel constantly - if only very gently - inspired.

4. Dress nicely.
It's not the same as writing, but if you tell a story, share a concept, challenge your comfort-zone with what you wear, it tends to bring a little more creativity into the day. Dressing well takes time, and is understandably not always an option; still, make a habit of it and it will begin to come easier.

5. Everything is inspiration.
Last week, I found inspiration for Psithurism during an ACT Test-Prep class. If you look for it, I promise it's there. Just remember to document it, as well - a small note on your phone or a sticky note should do - and it's there to pull back out when you're lacking.

What keeps your creativity going?

2 comments

  1. It's not even that I don't have time: it is actually that my spare time is spent working for others so I'll be able to publish a book, so I'll be able to buy a friend's. Sometimes it feels like an unbreakable cycle, and as I said to my father the other night, you can't make art for free.

    ^^True, that. And very well spoken.

    I loved your list, Bree. To live intensely and beautifully whatever task you find yourself doing goes far to giving you the leaf mould you need to write well. Every experience lived to the fullest makes art possible. And the worship of God fills us up more than anything else.

    ~Schuyler

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    Replies
    1. Precisely. My best work always comes out of the most pressed times, because those are the times I'm praying most. I often slip into thinking I can't write if I'm "busy"; I know now I write better when I'm not sitting at home all day.

      Blessings!

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