Resolutions and Inspiration

Happy New Year! And no, this won’t be another post about new year’s resolutions. There may be some inspiring words in it though.

It has been some time since I have attempted a post, and for this I apologise. There is certainly a bit of irony in the fact that Two Hands Paperie promotes the ancient arts of writing with a pen on paper, making books, sending letters, and general tactile creativity, and the fact that we now communicate with so many through the new medium of the Internet. In these past few months, whenever I sat down to write- and I have done this plenty of times over the last few months- that fact has given me license to not write a blog post. “I’d rather do things with paper and my hands- the blog can wait,” was my justification, shunning the digital for the analog.  Call it a lame excuse if you will, but it was enough to put off the writing for some time.

I think the time has come to stop putting it off, to address the need for inspiration in our lives, and for directing that inspiration towards our artistic endeavors. We have endless responsibilities in our lives- we take out the trash, clean the house, rake leaves, go to work, etc. and so on, ad infinitum. We also have  a responsibility to the artist within to create. This personal responsibility often (usually?) gets pushed aside, relegated to the very bottom of the list, even below taking out the trash. I think it’s time to move it to the top of the list. Call it a new year’s resolution if you will, but I have decided that this year I will write at least 5 days a week. There, I’ve said it. The world now knows.

And this is one of the recommendations that Judy Reeves makes in her incredibly inspiring book A Writer’s Book of Days. When we let others know of our intentions, we are then held accountable. If we are held accountable, we are more likely to follow through- this is the logic behind the idea. This is a good place to begin. State your intentions, and show up to write. Reeves’ book is filled with tips, quotes, exercises, and trivia by and about famous writers. My favorite tip is from the very first pages- just sit down and write, keep the pen moving, don’t stop, reread, or think about puctuation. Among the interesting trivia, Reeves notes how Mark Twain could smoke 40 cigars a day while writing, how Annie Dillard writes in a room with no view, and how D.H. Lawrence wrote nude.

Another inspirational title for writers is Hal Zina Bennett’s Write Starts. Like Reeves’ book, Bennett’s is full of exercises for “jumpstarting your creativity”, as the book’s subtitle goes. And like Reeves, Bennett discusses places to write, tools for writing, and offers quotes by famous authors. Bennett’s exercises will help you develop characters, create scenes, and capture details in your own stories.

Finally there is Danny Gregory’s Illustrated Life. I was introduced to this book by Cynthia Morris, local artist, coach, and teacher of  the class called “Journal Juju”. She has lectured, and taught this class at Two Hands Paperie and will be teaching it again in the spring (our spring class schedule will be up by the first of February).  Gregory’s book presents a graphic approach to journaling and contains the most inspirational collection of sketches I’ve seen in one place. The book is full of color, filled with perfect lines and images that are presented in a format that lets you know you can achieve them (or at least something close, in my case). Just opening the book leaves you with the desire to grab a pencil and sketch!

If you made a resolution for the new year to be the artist you know you are, good for you! If you haven’t yet done so, now is the time to see your ideas materialise on paper! Whether you are making books by hand, journaling, writing a novel, sketching scenes at your local cafe, or filling a sketchbook with intricate drawings, the new year is the perfect time to make it happen.