Keep Your Canvas Ready

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When I met with friends to work on journaling a few weeks ago, we discussed how important it is to have your canvas ready. This is a concept made popular by a book which I haven't read and now can't for the life of me find the name of . . . but (apparently) it basically states, in order to create great art, you've got to keep your canvas ready. 

If you have a canvas set up in the corner of your house, with paints ready, then you will paint. If you have to drag it all out of the closet, find a good spot, and then paint, you lose the moment of inspiration.

Same thing with writing. Or making music. Or sewing. Or photography. Or baking. Or any creative outlet. If you don't have your tools ready, you often say, "Oh, well. Forget it."

For writing, this translates into little notebooks everywhere. Not in a messy, chaotic sense - you know I can't stand disorder - but in an "always ready" sense. Our host that day gave each of us a journal and pencil to keep in our cars.

It's been a revelation.

I now keep one journal in my purse/car, one by my bed, and three with my Bible study stuff. I have other notebooks and post-its that float around. I have thrown caution to the wind - each journal is fair game for whatever thoughts need to be recorded in that space and in that moment. The one that floats between my purse and the car contains a prayer for my son, blog post ideas, Christmas gift ideas, and terrible first drafts. The one by my bed holds notes on a book I've been reading, records of the day's events ("It was unusually warm today. Had lunch with L." - makes me feel rather Farmers Almanacy to record the weather), and more terrible first drafts.

You get the idea. There are no rules.

I am so wild and crazy.

But here's the thing - with paper at the ready, I feel more inspired to write and I write, waaaaay more. Pencil to paper feels pure.  There are fewer distractions, and erasers are awesome. Writing in this "ready" way has been good for my soul, even though 99% of what I write will never be for public consumption. Getting it all out helps me remember that public consumption is never what a craft should be about - the "what will people think?" or "how will this sound?" - that's a distraction. Simply creating, and maybe discovering a bit more, who your Creator created YOU to be. That's art.
What's your canvas? How do you keep it ready?

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3 Responses to “Keep Your Canvas Ready”

  1. Love this! I do the same thing. I realized when I started blogging that God has things to say to me that He wants me to share. I also realized that He doesn't always beat me over the head with what He's saying. Thoughts are fleeting... I think I will remember it all. I don't. I put my thoughts on the little notes app on my phone and iPad. If I don't, I miss out on some great stuff.

  2. I think you mean the book A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. I'm just working my way through it now. And by that I mean I've started it and have yet to find time to finish it. ;) I think it's wonderful that you are inspired to write more - you write so beautifully and I am always encouraged when I stop over here!

  3. So glad I stopped over today! I find myself writing notes on my phone often. I also use my phone to take pictures while out walking or even just out running errands. Some of these have been wonderful starting points for my blog. A picture contains so many words and stories. Blessings to you today!