inspiration here and there

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I find inspiration everywhere.

In listening to Coldplay CDs. In watching interviews of unknown to famous people. In hearing memorable quotes from the average people I know. In reading. In learning to cook. In driving down the interstate. In walking up and down stairs. In browsing through professional photographers’ websites. In cleaning out the junky drawers in my bedroom. In writing itself.

*Recent inspirations*

Quote // “The life in a graveyard is so beautiful.” – a friend of a friend

Slam poetry // Listener’s “Wooden Heart”

 

Phrase // “and so forth and so on”

Cause // Timestwo

Movie // The Book of Eli

challenge

Start a blog showcasing the small to big things that inspire you every day. It may be a list of words, your description of experiences, photographs, websites, movie clips, graphic images – anything, really.

possible blog names

InspirationStation

AspireInspired

TheOnePercent

InspiringThing

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just-for-fun art and illustrations

Wasn’t there some mystery about going to art class back in elementary school? It wasn’t as predictable as math, as mundane as history, as strict as spelling, or as embarassing as gym class. (Plus, you didn’t have to put on an awkward P.E. uniform complete with knee-length granny shorts. Sometimes you could ever wear a cool art vest thing and get messy on purpose!)

But the days of glory came to an end for all of us. (Well, I guess except for art majors. Lucky.) For me, the last art class I got to take was in my freshman year of high school. After that, it was over. Bring on Chorus and Home Ec, but no more Art.

So it’s been about seven years since I had any “formal” art training. I don’t pretend to be an artist or an illustrator. The closest I can claim is to being a photographer. But art still fascinates me, and I’ve tried my hand at it on and off.

It would be so cool to see a blog of just-for-fun art and illustrations The blog would inevitably document a development of the artist, showcase their experimentations, and hopefully even relate to things going on in their lives.

I have a few artifacts of my own from early to more recent attempts at art. I’ll share them just for fun.

I submitted this when I was thirteen to an illustration contest sponsored by my mom’s company. The theme was safety around the house, and all the top contestants were featured in their company calendar for the following year. Mine was selected as the September illustration, and I was so proud of it. It’s nothing fantastic, but it shows my lettering side a bit. When I was young, I would practice different ways of writing letters in all kinds of notes. Class notes. Notes to my friends. Notes to cute little boys in my third grade class. (It happened. What can I say?)

I must say the hair is very realistic.

The next two are more recent, and both relate to The Mountain Laurel, our school’s art and literary magazine. This one I drew for one side of a brochure we produced to hype up our edition initially focused on the theme of the fairy tale. I drew this with marker and then just played with the color on photobucket. I like the color scheme.

I like the blue horse in this one. The joy of art is saying, "I wonder ..." and then trying it.

This last one I drew not too long ago because even though I was on the staff of The Mountain Laurel for a year and a half, I didn’t know what the actual flower mountain laurel looks like. So I looked it up, and drew a single flower on a mountain. I like the symbolism of this one (although it’s lacking leaves and real mountain laurels grow in clusters, thus rendering it unrealistic) because our school is on a mountain, too. The symbolism is along the lines of “a light on a hill,” or this single statue of beauty standing out from its surroundings. Yet it’s still intentionally simplistic and imperfect.

Art is always imperfect, always a "working title." That's why I liked this little image to represent our art magazine.

 
Recommended blog: The Creative Panic

not everyone gardens and wears dresses (part 1)

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed it is a bit formulaic, in the sense that usually, my posts begin with the statement, “Someone should start a blog about __________ . . .” (Fill in the blank with whatever random idea I’ve dreamed up of recent, or more often than not, been inspired to write about by friends or fellow bloggers.). Well, this post, as you may have already gathered, deviates from that norm (and is lengthier, too).

As promised, I am embarking on the task to write a post about how to know when you’re ready to start a blog/how to know what you ought to blog about/how to name your blog/etc. So, here goes! (Begin needless disclaimer. Please remember, the views in this post are solely the views of one blogger, namely myself, and do not necessarily reflect the views of WordPress or the entire blogosphere. End needless disclaimer.)

1. Read blogs. Maybe it seems obvious, and you’re probably already reading blogs, or else you wouldn’t be reading this sentence! (At this moment, I feel kinda like an author who names the first chapter of her book “Read Books.”) But there’s a little bit more to be intentional about in reading blogs if you yourself are planning to start a blog. Take note of what kind of blogs you gravitate towards. Bookmark your favorites. There’s a good chance that if you always find yourself reading blogs that focus on travel photography, that you may want to start a blog about travel photography. That’s not always true, of course. I may enjoy reading all those blogs by moms with gardens who live out in the middle of nowhere and wear dresses every day (I really do believe that’s a genre in the blogging world.), but (a) I’m not a mom, (b) I don’t have a garden, (c) Well, okay, I do kinda live in the middle of nowhere, but (d) I only own one or two dresses, none of which look good with tennis shoes (My philosophy about shoes is that you should always be prepared to run.). But still, finding out what kind of blogs you like to read will help in the long run (See. It’s all about running.). Even if you don’t think you could write a blog on the subjects you tend to read about, bookmarking the ones you really enjoy will help you in the next steps.

Break the blogging mold! You don't have to be a gardener (although it's cool).

(It was very hard for me to decide if this next step should be step #1, #2, or #3, but there’s a reason it’s sandwiched between #1 and #3. I hope it will make sense soon.)

2. Write test blog posts. This is possibly the MOST important pre-blog step, and notice it is pre-blog. I strongly suggest that before you ever choose a domain name for a blog or post your first post that you write a few test blog posts. Type them up in a Word document so that they are as ready as if you were about to publish them on to a blog. What should they be about? Anything! Don’t limit yourself. You could possibly look back at some blogs you liked for inspiration, or some topic in the news, or something you recently read or heard that you really liked. Just write about something that you believe you would really blog about. The number of test blog posts isn’t set in stone. I believe five might be a good number, but how many ever you choose to write, you’ll want to have enough material to help you out for step #3.

3. Analyze that. Finding out what kind of blogs you like, bookmarking them, and then writing some of your own test posts allow you to have a body of resources to refer back to when you start considering what kind of subject, format, and style you’d like to have for your blog.

After bookmarking blogs for a week or so and then writing your determined number of test posts, look back at the blogs. What kind of similarities do they have? You might ask some of these questions: 

What are these posts about (subject matter)?

Do they have a similar genre?

Are posts one short paragraph, or the size of a novella?

Is the format fairly simple, or more complex?

Are there lots of pictures, or is there more of a focus on the text?

Do the posts tend to be more light-hearted, or more philosophical?

Is it fiction, or non-fiction?

What’s the purpose? To entertain, teach, criticize, tell jokes?

Once you see similarities of this nature in the posts you enjoy reading and writing, you may be able to tell what kind of blog you’d like to write. This is a question of subject matter, style, and genre.

These steps can help you in the long run.

These are only steps one through three, and wow, I didn’t know it would take this much space to say all that! I hope you’ll come back for part 2 where I’ll wrap up the practical aspects of starting a blog. Thanks for reading.