About a year and a half ago, I became obsessed with nail art. It was a season in my life where I was stressed in every area. I couldn’t escape it at work, I couldn’t escape it at home, and worst of all, I couldn’t escape it in my writing. If it hadn’t happened that I loathed the story I was writing at the time, writing would have likely been the only outlet I needed. I should have given up the novel I was working on, but since it was my MFA manuscript, I felt that I needed to continue. (Since then, I’ve made a huge change and rewritten most of it. I love it again.)
So, I needed a way to keep the creativity flowing, while providing me a place to go mentally that was not adding stress. Enter nail art. What started as a fun thing to try from Pinterest became a desperate need. I even started a nail blog, which ended up being great because it taught me a lot about blogging and marketing and making connections. Nowadays, things have settled in my life and I’ve turned my focus back to writing (where it should be). I have no less love for nail art, I just have less time. You’ll still see my manicure pics on social media a few times a month.
There are many places to get inspiration. For writers, most times that means reading your favorite books and authors, reading poetry, taking a walk, gazing at nature–that sort of thing. But writers are creative thinkers and that can lead to unusual forms of inspiration. I find that sometimes, I need to create something more tangible or create in a more physical way than writing allows.
Finding other creative outlets gets the juices flowing because you’re using different parts of your mind. And sometimes, stepping away from your writing is the best thing you can do for your writing.
A magical thing happens when you love and dedicate your life to something. In childhood, it emerged for me as an intense love for reading that caused me to never be caught without a book and to win awards for the amount of reading I did. As an adult, my tinkerings with writing became a passion, then I realized it was my calling. My love for books took a step up. Now, writing is such a huge part of my life, it pretty much is my life, and everything else falls into place around it. My love for books is now at the point where I physically feel better in their presence.
Just the other day, I was feeling frustrated and a little angry. It happened that I had to stop at the library to grab a book I’d put on hold that came in. The few minutes that I was there, in the midst of the books, relaxed me. The fact that I picked up 3 awesome finds for $2.12 in the used book section made it even better. I will not leave Walmart without at least a quick stroll through the book aisle. It’s the same lift I get from chocolate :)
With the addition of Pinterest, my love of books has taken a new turn. It’s not just about ingesting and collecting. It’s about surrounding myself with words in every way possible. I have become obsessed with book art. I have a whole pin board just for it. Everything from sculptures carved out of books to books cut into plant holders. I especially love to cover things in book pages. So much so that I even started an Etsy store selling my creations, called Bookish Imaginings.
(I’ve even been known to dress up a bit to go to movies when they’re made from books.)
But in all these things—a book-related hobby and one not—I find inspiration and meet new people. I have a friend I met nail blogging who also happens to love books and writing. My writer friends get a big kick out of my book-inspired nail art. And everyone seems to love stuff made from books. When my worlds connect, it gives me fresh avenues for creativity and ways to meet people I may not have otherwise.
The other part of this whole thing is that it gives you a great niche to fall into. One of my good writer friends started selling makeup recently (her eye shadow is artwork) and posts a lot about her cat. Another writer friend has a blog about her weight loss journey in addition to her writing blog and another still has a blog about polygamy and her former lifestyle. We all love writing, but it’s not the only thing in our worlds (even if it’s most of it). These are just a few ways that we keep the inspiration flowing.
What other means of inspiration do you have? Are you turning your hobbies into a niche to find new connections?