Blogging 101 Assignment: Write to your ideal reader

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.   – Pablo Picasso

I Once Was An Oceanic Conductor

I love the ocean. And the beach.

When I was young, my parents often took my siblings and me to Oceanside Beach. Back in the 1970’s, it was never crowded, and the sand was soft, white, and pristine. As my sisters and brother occupied themselves, I would sometimes walk up to the water’s edge, face the rising waves, breathe in the salty air, and imagine myself conducting an oceanic orchestra.

In my mind, I raised my arms, and the waves paid attention. The higher I rose my arms, the higher the waves. When I lowered my arms, the waves obeyed. I had the power to make the waves crash furiously or undulate calmly. Then I flicked my right wrist and a stampede of white horses appeared out of the surf and raced towards me as seafoam climbed my legs. I would close my eyes and feel the spray as they galloped past me. Then they would get smaller and disappear as the waves reached the shore. Meanwhile, seagulls would fly overhead in synchronized patterns as sandpipers scurried in line at my feet like little ballerinas crossing a stage. (Looking back, I probably saw Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and wanted to be Micky Mouse, who did the same thing but in a sorcerer’s castle.)

A child-like imagination fuels all creativity. But as I grew up and started what we adults call “real life”, a life of responsibility and planned success, I began to ignore this hidden source of energy, and that girl became a distant memory.

The Itch Arrives

Now at the halfway point of my life, I take an account, and my life is good. I love my husband, my family, my home, my friends, my community, and my work. But there’s an itch.

So you’ve got the itch to do something. Write a screenplay, start a painting, write a book, turn your recipe for fudge brownies into a proper business, whatever. You don’t know where the itch came from; it’s almost like it just arrived on your doorstop, uninvited. Until now you were quite happy holding down a real job, being a regular person…Until now.   – Hugh McLeod in his article “How To Be Creative”.

Yes, I’m itching. Like heck. It’s that little girl on the beach wanting to conduct again. I forgot about her, and the itching is not going away.

Finding My Way Back To Me

So how do I appease the girl and make this itching stop?

I have to find my way back to her. And my posts, visual and written, are my way of retracing my footprints to that beach of long ago. I can start to see the girl, who is happily conducting life as she imagines it.

So dear reader, my hope is that you follow the footprints left by you, back to that ideal world you once created, and then live in it today.

My other hope is that this itching will go away.

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The best advice for picking images

Years ago, I assisted a Creative Director in editing film. It was the first time I edited film, and I must have been slow and meticulous. Boxes of foot-long strips of 35mm film from a photo shoot were waiting for me, and people were waiting for the final shots. My picks were good, but I took too long. So the Creative Director pulled me aside. She wasn’t trying to rush me. She wanted me to focus on one thing.

“When you pick film, go by feeling first.”

What she meant was don’t focus on the technical yet. Focus on the connection. Don’t think. Just feel. The thinking can slow you down, and worse, you can lose the connection.

That advice has always stayed with me.

Why I blog

No one I know is a blogger. Some people I know think blogging is a waste of time. What do I, an expert at nothing in particular, have to contribute? And heck, I’m not a bona fide writer either. I’m a visual person, a graphic designer with a full-time job and a ninety-minute commute to and from work. I definitely don’t have time to blog.

Yet I am blogging anyways. Why?

I’ve struggled with this question for awhile. Then one day I came across a passage in Alan Webber’s book, Rules of Thumb: How to stay productive and inspired even in the most turbulent times.

The author writes:

Context is how we all add value. But how do you develop the practice to know what you know, to see how you see the world? The answer is that context comes to those who develop their way of seeing and making sense of the world. It comes to those who build their confidence and competence for expressing it.

This is the answer to my question.

So if you are discouraged or feeling silly about blogging—or creating art, it may be because you believe you aren’t creating great content right now. But know that you are cultivating context, both for yourself and others.