Spring Clean Your Inner Artist!

Every one of us is creative. Every one of us has an inner artist (I’m going to call him Art for the sake of brevity) but we don’t all take the time to nurture Art. It’s hard work nurturing a creative child with a mind of its own, and it can be frustrating —painful even, especially if we haven’t picked up a paint set since second grade.

But there are ways to rediscover the creative, uninhibited Art you were as a child. One of those ways is what I call spring cleaning. No, not actual cleaning, although I’ve had excellent ideas come to me while vacuuming! I mean using nature; the return of buds and blossoms and the birth of creatures as a return to the artist that’s lying dormant inside you.

You may think your artist is non-existent, but it’s simply living inside you, waiting for you to  bring it out of hibernation. My Art likes to go to sleep, too, especially after a busy period like I’ve just completed (I just published my fifth poetry collection and spoke at a journalism conference).

So how does spring cleaning work? It’s much more fun than actual cleaning. If you have a car, get in the car, and drive. If you don’t have a car, put on your running shoes, and go for a walk. Anywhere is good, except in heavy traffic! That will put you in a rotten mood and block poor Art, who just wants to run around outside, like the free-spirited child he is.

Bring along a voice recorder and record ideas that pop into your mind the minute you have them. Don’t be shy —this exercise is to shake loose the ideas lying dormant inside your mind. Let them loose! No one ever has to hear what you record but you.

If you have a camera, take that along, too. Stop the car or stop walking and snap photos or go explore anything that grabs your attention — this is Art telling you to take a few moments for him.

Just as with real spring cleaning, there are distractions that can stop you from getting anything accomplished when you spring clean with Art. These include feeling you simply don’t have the time to go play with a camera and a tape recorder, embarrassment, and feeling you need to obey rules.

You’ll have to dig deep and find the self-discipline required to simply not listen to those blocks if you really want to spring clean. Time? Yes. As technology increases the speed and ease of communication, employers are putting increasingly ridiculous expectations on us as employees. And there’s more: Early to rise, late to bed, families to care for, aging parents to look after. Where does that leave time for Art?

Make five minutes at first. That’s my Five Minutes First rule for anyone who thinks they aren’t creative, and don’t have the time to find out that they are. It takes five minutes to snap a photo, draw a picture with bright pencil crayons, cut some flowers and arrange them in a vase. I guarantee, once you find five minutes for your creative self one day, you’ll want to set aside 15 the next. Art is like that. He’s one persistent dude.

And what’s so embarrassing about standing with a camera by the side of the road at sunset? It’s far better than fuming about your day while stuck inside a car, like those passing by. As for rules, okay, please don’t get put in jail, but if you need to park in a stranger’s driveway so you can walk down their residential road and get a good shot of the river at the end of the street, go for it. You may want to knock on their door and ask for permission, but my bet is if they find out what you’re up to they’ll start telling you how they used to love photography, and how they wish they had more time for Art.

You may end up inspiring someone else to do some spring cleaning of their own. This is another trick Art loves. Once one artist is inspired to create, their whole community can be inspired.

Have fun spring cleaning!

Capturing the return of this flock of Canadian geese was my spring cleaning exercise this morning. In turn, the act of photographing the geese while thinking about all the actual spring cleaning I have to do stirred my inner artist to write this blog post!
Capturing the return of this flock of Canadian geese was my spring cleaning exercise this morning. In turn, the act of photographing the geese while thinking about all the actual spring cleaning I have to do stirred my inner artist to write this blog post!

5 responses to “Spring Clean Your Inner Artist!”

  1. Hey Heather, when I have some extra money I will definitely buy the books called Where Did the Butterflies Go and Come Dancing. I just love poetry. I do have some poetry books that Mom gave me which is hers and going to start reading them. My Mom loves them too. She is in a care home due some dementia and doing very well in her new place. My father her husband of 54 years died last year of a massive heart attack. Laughter and joy is slowly coming back. My mom loves to read so will do that with her. Janet K.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, but poetry does have such healing power. Thanks so much for your notes Janet!

  2. Hi Heather, I got your response from Arianna. Thanks so much for the advice on writing and read your article it is so good. I re read and gave me excellent ideas for what to do with my 5 Minute Rule. I just want to enjoy the experience in a positive way. I will touch base with you in a few days.

  3. I really like your article,,,it’s an inspiration for me to get up and at it. I can get so bogged down in cheering everyone else on that I don’t have time for my own work. Not that I mind that kind of “bogged down” because I love to read other people’s work,,,it often helps to move my muse as your article has done today.,,,,Thanks for sharing your “spring cleaning” with us. A beautiful phto too, so happy that spring is near,,,

    1. Thanks for commenting, and do start with five minutes first and see how that works! It’s important to inspire others, but you
      can’t do that if you’ve exhausted your own creative energy! Thanks so much for reading.

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