How often do you listen to your intuition? Mine’s been telling me something’s missing for a while now. There’s been a nagging feeling at the back of my mind. Something I’m not doing.
I recently came across Zig Ziglar’s Wheel Of Life. As followers of this blog will know, I’ve been attempting to improve my ability to create – and stick to – goals this year.
The Wheel Of Life breaks down into the different aspects of your life, all the things you care about and which collectively, make you, you:
- Your personal and social life
- Your work and career
- Your family life
- Your spiritual life
- Your finances
- Physical wellbeing and health
I took some time and started noting down what I wanted to achieve under each area and the one thing which came up under all of them was: read more books. I read all the time but I don’t make time to read books. I used to. As a child I devoured them. Until recently I read them in my spare time. These days, however, although I buy books, I very rarely pick one up and read it. I have set myself a new goal to read more regularly, by which I mean, setting aside time every week and blogging about what I’ve read on here.
At the point when I was coming to this realisation, I picked up Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. If you’ve ever felt that you can’t write or paint or create something, whether it’s starting a business or a hobby, because you don’t think you’re original enough, or that you’re lacking ideas, you need to read this book.
It resonated with me because as I was thinking about why I wanted to read, and my need for more inspiration and to explore others’ work, this book was giving me the same message. Not reading means I am lacking fuel for my own creativity.
I’ve written about how I’m falling out of love with my phone. Now I’m starting to feel the same about screens in general. (Update on the smartphone detox: I didn’t get on with the app. I removed the Facebook app instead and the constant distractions disappeared. Problem solved.)
When I read about Kleon having two desks, one for hands-on creative work and the other for his computer, I almost shouted with glee. Writing doesn’t sound like a hands-on activity. What’s the difference between pen and paper and a word processor? Surely the second is more efficient? Well it is and it isn’t. I’ve written on computer for nearly 30 years now. I was an immediate convert. But over time, particularly since I left newspapers and lost the tactile feeling of newsprint, I’ve started to feel that I’m missing something.
Screens are intangible. You can’t touch or smell what you’ve written – or what someone else has. E-readers are useful when you don’t want to lug books around in your backpack but the feeling is not the same as holding a book, savouring the words and ideas, letting them fizz around your brain and having the opportunity to go back and re-read a passage which jumped out at you.
Kleon has lots of practical advice for how to unleash your creativity and make use of the materials you are immersing yourself in. He wrote the book based on notes he put on cue cards. (I love this idea!) At the end of the book he has some suggestions for what you can do next: take a walk, buy a notebook, start a blog, create a swipe file (somewhere to keep all the ideas you’ve picked up from other people), create a log book. This blog post is my next step and I have a fab new notebook.
What will you do next?
If you have any book recommendations, please leave them in the comments.