Décor & Home, Life

Cultivating a Creative Life

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This post's subject is kind of a correlation/causation quandary. How's THAT for an opening sentence? Bahaha.

What I mean is that it's kind of hard to tell if I've been more creative because I changed my environment, or my environment changed because I've been more creative... Regardless, there's no doubt they go hand in hand like two peas in a pod with a big bucket of clichés. My creative journey over the past year has been a practical and, so far, quite affordable one, and I decided now's the time to share a bit of what I've learned and done to improve my artistic flow and general lifestyle.

1. MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD.

Cooking is its own form of art. It requires risks (hopefully none that result in a mad dash to the bathroom...), experimentation, a pinch of passion, and a heaping spoonful of determination. I've subjected the household to some weird, well-intentioned goop, but that's gradually led to, I think, a decent grasp on the culinary. I make practically everything from scratch now and rarely use anything pre-made or canned. Sure, it takes more time, but I've exercised that "Go Forth and Be BOLD" muscle enough in the safety of my own kitchen that it's applying more and more to other aspects of life (like art)! It's also simply more rewarding in the end.

A personal favorite: angel hair pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh chopped basil. Om to the nom.
A personal favorite: angel hair pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh chopped basil. Om to the nom.

I highly recommend researching some recipes for the stuff you usually see pre-made, like creamed soups, sauces, and egg noodles. Some are really fun to make on your own! In the long run, it's cheaper and healthier. Win win!

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P.S. Recipes might be an eventual goal for this blog... Just a heads up.

2. ATTACK YOUR WARDROBE.

Hello, I'm Lynn, and I used to be a clothes hoarder. No joke. I would traipse over to any thrift shop/retail store and insist that I had to buy something to actually be accomplished. I distinctly remember these horrific denim and faux wood platform shoes I found at Goodwill when I was 15. I NEVER wear platform shoes or heels in general. But, guys, I bought those shoes. You know that song by Mackelmore? I was the living embodiment of "But {censored}, it was ninety-nine CENTS!!!!" Those shoes sat dolefully in my closet - never worn - until I got rid of them about 5 years later. 90% of my wardrobe was utter rubbish I secretly hated (those shoes are just a vivid example). Then, about two years ago, I discovered how FUN it is to purge my clothes! And, as an added bonus, I've given a ton of my friends my old clothing that they truly like, which makes it significantly easier to say goodbye (to the clothes. Not the friends).

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That's my closet as of 3:00 this afternoon. It's not the most remarkable picture that ever graced Blogdom, but this is the BEST my closet has looked. Ever. I only have things I truly love and make me feel like myself (I'm gazing fondly at you, cream and charcoal chevron knit hoodie down there...). Oh, how that has made my life so much easier and free. I'm also not spending $3.99 about five hundred times throughout the year anymore. #yourewelcomewallet

3. DECORATE YOUR WALLS (WITH YOUR OWN WORK IF YOU CAN!)

There are approximately six million online tutorials on making your own abstract art. If you're not super confident in your artwork, check them out. Get some visual interest in your home!

Cats also offer a certain artistic ambience.
Cats also offer a certain artistic ambience.

Above was a canvas I finger painted on the living room floor while watching Pride and Prejudice. The obvious advantage is that I could make it fit in with the rest of the décor!

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This piece (which is available in the print shop, FYI #shamelessplug) brightens up our rather dull breakfast nook/dining corner.

4. MAKE YOURSELF PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.

I had to get over my self-consciousness and nervousness and march down to the local coffee shop with my paintings to request they hang them up. I was ridiculously anxious about this! My friend came along for emotional support and decided to secretly take pictures of me talking with the manager. So flattering.

Side note: I need better posture. Shoulders back, Lynn!
Side note: I need better posture. Shoulders back, Lynn!

Spoiler: they hung my stuff. This makes it seem more "real," if that makes sense. I felt like Pinocchio after he gets turned into a real boy. I had to take the initiative to put my work out there and now I feel like I have this new accountability to the community to keep painting. That's motivation.

On an equally scary note, this website, my Facebook page, and my print shop were all steps I forced myself to take. Each one was, technically, very simple and cheap to execute, but the return has been BEYOND what I imagined. I haven't made a living off of these things (yet! Ha!), but the fact that I am now responsible for how I express/promote myself has been an immensely important step toward my goal of full-time painting. Pre-Website Lynn was a lot more adrift than Current Lynn.

5. COMMUNITY!

This is a big one. I'll make it quick, though: if you want to get pumped about your craft/hobby/business, join some Facebook groups. Get on those hashtags and whatnot. I joined some entrepreneur groups on Facebook and followed a ton of artists I admired, then I started commenting on stuff. I've made some connections with people I aspire to be, and that's got me all kinds of jazzed for my own career! I don't know how I functioned before this.

6. INVEST IN YOUR CREATIVE CORNER

My office/studio is the tiny spare bedroom. It's not glamorous, but I've worked to make it into a space I can feel energized in. I need simple and bright to feel focused, as well as a Netflix machine somewhere within eyeshot.

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This room got a huge overhaul a couple months ago. Like my closet, it was full of stuff I just had. Not stuff I liked. It doesn't require much adding to make a space creative; more often than not, it requires subtracting. 

Overall, the takeaway might be that devoting more time to simplicity, finding community, and finding your inner boldness will jump-start your creative life more than you'd expect! I'm so excited for what lies ahead! Maybe an original painting shop? Hmmm... ;)

Happy creating!