Sometimes I get overwhelmed with ideas and “To Do” lists. My brain moves a hundred miles an hour and I just want to make all the things. I have stacks of patterns to try, books to read, art supplies to test, blog posts to research…. The list just grows and grows.
Every year around this time I have the same problem. What should I start on? I have extra time on my hands now that the holiday rush is over. I am not used to having any spare time to think. Because of this extra time I spent weeks analyzing, okay, over-analyzing my list of possible projects.
In December I managed to schedule an entire evening for myself. I met up with a friend to chat, bought some new compression gloves, and had a paint night with another good friend. It was amazing, and a much needed way to refresh before the holiday season craziness. I was in line at Fred Meyer getting my compression gloves when I noticed a small display of stocking stuffers. One of the items was a little box of inspiration squares. It was 50 different cards with inspirational quotes on them. I don’t know why I snagged them, but I felt like I’d need them later.
The little box got lost among the items that clutter up my workspace. I totally forgot about them. I had so many other things to get done by Christmas that I didn’t even remember that I had bought them.
To Many Ideas
Last week I was once again struggling to decide what to work on. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to crochet, read, write, or doodle. After spending 2 days lost in a rabbit hole of indecision and social media I decided to clean up my work area. I was hoping that by cleaning up my work area I’d get inspired or maybe stumble across a project that was already started. Instead I stumbled on the inspiration squares.
I really wasn’t thinking about anything in particular when I opened the little box and randomly grabbed one. Flipping it over I read “Begin Anywhere – John Cage” . It was just what I needed to hear. It didn’t matter what task on my list I started with, it only mattered that I started.
I took my list and made sure everything I needed to get done and wanted to do was written on it. Then in the spirit of John Cage, I closed my eyes and selected an item at random. Was it the “most important” task? Nope. Was it the “most creative” task? Also no. In reality it didn’t matter what task I picked, the act of picking the task was my beginning.
I ended up picking doodling as my “Begin Anywhere” task. With the help of my kids I turned those doodles into some cute coloring sheets. Coloring sheets you may or may not be seeing again soon (hint hint).
I didn’t keep the little inspiration square. I’ll admit, I was very tempted to keep it and tape it up in my work space. Instead I mailed it to a friend who would also appreciate the message behind it. The little box of inspiration squares is now prominently displayed with my yarn, I’ll always be able to find it when I need it.
I have 49 more opportunities to seize my inspiration, and I won’t be wasting any of them.
Long before I created A Fox In The Fabric, I was an aspiring trumpet player. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to play in an orchestra or teach music. Either way it required studying music, so I took many classes on music history. When I saw John Cage’s name on the inspiration square I recognized his name.
I have to admit that I couldn’t quite remember why I knew his name, so I did a little digging. If you’d like to learn more about John Cage and his incredible influence on the music industry, I recommend starting here. During my research I tried to locate the source and context of this quote. While many agreed it was talking about composing music, I couldn’t find the exact context. I did however, find a really well worded blog post of someone else who was inspired by this quote. You can find the post here. It makes a really good point, you can begin anywhere but once you have started, continue with intention.
If you enjoyed this, take a look at one of my earlier posts “Creativity In The Shadows Of Uncertainty“. I will also be writing up the story behind the rest of the inspiration squares as I read them.
I’d love to hear about any quotes or stories that have inspired you. Feel free to comment below!