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Posts tagged ‘social media’

Crimson: How Social Media Reignited My Creative Fire

Crimson BonerEditor’s Note: Crimson Boner (at right) is a stay-at-home mum of two boys, ages 5 and 2. She writes: “I used to paint big oil paintings, but since I’ve had kids I’ve had to find a creative solution to making art, which, it turns out, is pretty essential for my well-being. So here is a blog I wrote about how I used social media to get around the time and cash restrictions of motherhood to keep making work.” Crimson’s inspiring post, which originally appeared at Brighton Mums, is reprinted here by permission. Enjoy!

It was 9 pm and my boys had just given in to sleep after seemingly endless stories. I had barely managed to resist sleep myself but was determined to have some “Me Time.” You may ask what value “Me Time” has when all you really need is sleep — and yep, there’s the rub.

I sat on the stairs in the half-dark, enjoying the solitude and the stillness. I was delaying going downstairs to the apocalyptic vision of flung toys, teetering dishes, and mounds of dirty clothes. Was the ever-elusive “Me Time” just making me feel resentful?

Intervention : Artists book collaboration , the books , photo courtesy of Lucy Sharpe You see, a creative valve had opened with the birth of my second child — but the ideas that kept flowing were just withering at the roadside whilst I whizzed by in the unstoppable motherhood machine: picking things up off the floor, buttering toast, doing the school run, football club, kissing grazes, grilling fish fingers, singing nursery rhymes, shopping, reluctant baths, stories….

Not that the motherhood machine was without joy, but it was relentless. This idea of “Me Time” seemed to promise something that might bring balance. But how?

There on the stair in half dark and comforting silence of sleeping children I flicked through Facebook on my phone. And PING! I saw a way to work around my time restrictions, to reach out to a wider community, and to get back to making art.

Crimson Boner art

“Me and my Mum” by Crimson Boner for the book “Mother in Stead”

I immediately posted it on Facebook: I was going to start an artists’ book collaboration. It was to be called Intervention, because that is what I needed to get me making artwork again. Within minutes of posting this project I had people asking to join. It just took off.

So when I finally made it to the bottom of the stairs to face the aftermath of the day, I had been injected with energy and enthusiasm! I thrashed those malevolent dishes and malingering clothes! I didn’t even wince, much, when I trod on the Stickle Bricks barefoot.

We’ve been collaborating for nearly a year now. There are 20 of us and many of us are mothers, but not all. We are working on 20 books, each with its own theme, and every 3 weeks we mail that book on, and the next artist adds work to it. Some of us are artists, some musicians, a few writers, some professionals some just starting out, some dabbling. But we have all have found an outlet and a community. These books and our ideas are traveling all around the world ( just like I used to, before the boys).

Collaborators meeting for the first time at BAC photo courtesy of Lucy SharpeWe met in person for the first recently at my old workplace, Battersea Arts Centre. How incredible to revisit the vibrancy and buzz of a place that I used to be a part of. And how exciting to return there with my own project and a group of brilliant collaborators, with so much to share.

I keep in contact with all collaborators through Facebook on my phone. Ironically, in the media there is often discussion about how mums spend too much time looking at their phones. But thanks to my little phone I’ve managed to give a crucial part of myself an outlet that fits around my motherly duties. I’ve also managed to sell a few prints that came out of the project, which you can see on my Etsy page.

So, if you see me in the playground looking at my phone, just withhold judgement for a moment; it’s my “Me Time” and it helps the mothering machine to run a little smoother, with all on board benefiting.

(A big thank you to Lucy Sharpe for allowing me to use her photographs in this post.)

Some of the other members of this group include Nina Rodin, Moyra Scott, Lisa WrightSophie Passmore, Rebekah Tyler, Mercedes Gil, and Mary Trunk. You can also connect with Crimson at her Facebook page. Wonderfully inspiring work, ladies!

Intervention An Artists Book Collaboration, our books, photos by Lucy Sharpe


Distracted? Frustrated? Wasting Your Time?

The importance of goalsLast month, I came across this quote by the writer Robert Heinlein: “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”

These words resonated deeply.

I was frustrated at the time. I’d become overwhelmingly “busy” with things that didn’t really matter to me. Unrewarding projects were taking too long; I was working inefficiently. The lure of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and Words With Friends had become almost irresistible. What had happened? I used to be good at keeping distractions in a box. I’d long ago learned not to check e-mail outside of the workday; why was I suddenly having so much trouble with these other distractions?

The quote reminded me of what I already knew, a few layers down. I’d drifted away from some of my big-picture goals. My daily writing practice had been disrupted. My planning system was in flux and not yet fully supporting my focus. In the absence of my goals, trivia had become my master. I had enslaved myself to things I didn’t care about.

Naming the situation for what it was had an almost immediate effect. I reconnected with my self-discipline and created boundaries where I needed them. I started rewiring the bad habits I’d developed.

If you too find yourself “procrastinating” more than seems reasonable, ask yourself: Do I know what I really want to be doing right now? What is it that I’d planned to accomplish this year? What can I do to move toward my big-picture goals before the calendar flips to 2014?

Robert Heinlein, the author of this quote, was an American science fiction writer. According to Wikipedia, Heinlein was “often called the ‘dean of science fiction.’ He was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre in his time. He set a standard for scientific and engineering plausibility, and helped to raise the genre’s standards of literary quality.”

Heinlein had quite a few smart things to say. A few of my favorites:

  • Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.
  • Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.

But lest I take up more of your time with delightful quotes, step away from the trivia, and spend your hours where they count.


More trivia, if you’re still reading: It appears that Heinlein’s original quote had an errant hyphen between “clearly” and “defined.” Compound adjectives are hyphenated (the green-eyed monster), but adverbs combined with adjectives do not create a compound. Adverbs are inherently modifiers, so their meaning in a series is clear without the hyphen. I took editorial license (as is permissible) and corrected Heinlein’s quote in this post, and went so far as to correct the meme above too (the source of which I am unable to credit). Oh, you didn’t know that my editorial business fills the bulk of my non-coaching daytime hours? (And you wonder why I’m so easily distracted!)


Meme of the Week

How to be an artist

As seen at Gwarlingo.

Happy Friday.


Meme of the Week

Eckhart Tolle quote

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Meme of the Week

Inspiring creativity

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Meme of the Week

The Creative Process

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Meme of the Week


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