Creating a Creative Routine

Thursday, November 6, 2014 0 No tags

creating-a-creative-routine

I can’t technically say that I am working from home, because I think that implies I am earning a salary. But, I am currently working from home (unpaid) as I work on a few projects that will hopefully allow me to work from home (paid) in the future! That makes perfect sense, right?

For the past couple of months, I have been trying to figure out a good work-from-home routine. And it has been challenging. But, after a lot of reading and listening and experimentation, there are a few things I have found to work for me so far. I am still doing a lot of tweaking. But it’s progress.

1) Listening to podcasts

I work better when I have other people around me to bounce ideas off with. While I enjoy solitude for certain types of work (editing, for example), other times I would prefer noise and voices around me. To counteract the silence of my home during the day, I started listening to podcasts. Specifically, podcasts about creativity, writing, and blogging. It is such a jump start for me and always gets ideas flowing in my brain. Two of my favorites right now are How They Blog and The Accidental Creative.

Listening to interviews with all kinds of people on all kinds of topics is helpful for me. Even if someone just says one thing that you can grab onto and glean inspiration from. It is helpful for me to feel like I am surrounded by chatty, creative people.

I also try to use the listening time to work on sketches for blog posts. Podcast time feels so productive! When my sisters and I were younger, we would sprawl out on the floor and draw for hours while listening to cassette tapes. It was so therapeutic, I wanted to incorporate it into my adult life. I find listening to pod casts the perfect time to sketch mindlessly. In fact, I drew the illustration above while listening to a podcast. There is something about listening and drawing that removes the pressure of perfection. I think listening helps remove the distractions of the left side of the brain (logic and reason) and allows creativity to flow freely.

2) Utilizing the time of day to my advantage

I am usually tempted to do easy work when I first open my laptop in the morning: final editing, responding to emails, or responding to blog comments. But some of the best advice I have read from people who work at home is to know when you are most creative, and use that knowledge to your advantage.

For me, I am a morning person, and do my best creative work first thing in the morning. I do my best editing in the afternoon/early evening. I am toast late at night. I know that about myself, so I fight the urge to reply to emails first thing in the morning (even though that feels so productive!), and save it for when I need a little bit of a mental break. I have learned that if I save my hardest creative work (writing, for example) for later in the day, I lose my momentum pretty early on.

3) Setting a timer

You have probably heard this tip: for the work that feels overwhelming, that you are dreading, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can get done. Tell yourself that all you have to do is work for 15 minutes! That’s it!

Setting a timer is something I need to do more often. It is a perfect method for me. I tend to put off things that overwhelm me, because I just know they are going to take up so much of my precious time. That stupid 15 minute timer has proven to me that my internal thoughts are all lies. It’s pretty humbling, that stupid little timer. Do you know how much you can get done in 15 minutes? A lot. And do you know how much you can get done after the timer goes off, and you ride with the momentum? Even more.

If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it.

4) Making lists

In order to avoid getting lost in an internet rabbit hole of things that are most likely interesting but entirely irrelevant, I have to make lists to stay on task. Even if it is just a short, broad list of the main things I want to accomplish that day.

I keep a little moleskine notebook full of daily lists, so I can look back on my previous lists and remember that I do actually accomplish things. I also keep another notebook near by for writing down ideas that I don’t want to forget, but could potentially be distracting if I focused on them in that moment.

5) Taking breaks

I am really good at getting distracted, but not so good at deliberately taking breaks. I can easily work for four hours straight without realizing I haven’t eaten or moved my muscles. I try to take frequent breaks now, and have made it a habit to shut down all work when I feel burnt out. And if I am still going strong by the time Eric gets home, I make myself put it all away. I need those evening hours to reboot and get away from the screen.

So those are the five things I am learning right now. I am still getting the hang of everything, and there is room for improvement of course, but I think I am off to a good start.

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What about you? Do you work from home? Or at least, set aside time for creative work outside of your “real” job? How do you stay productive and inspired? What works for you? What podcasts do you love? Please share!

Fashion Sketchpad: designs on the go

Monday, October 13, 2014 0 No tags

(This post includes Amazon affiliate links. Which just means that if I am going to talk about a product I love, I might as well link to it because if you use the link, you are helping to support Jeneric Generation. Yay!)

Happy Monday! It has been storming here since last night. I do love a good Oklahoma storm, especially when no threat of a tornado exists.

I wanted to thank you all for your comments on my post about our little announcement the other day! We are beyond excited, with a touch of terrified. But mostly excited. I’m sure I’ll be posting a few more baby updates before he/she is born, but I don’t plan on turning this blog into my baby update platform. But if you do want to talk baby stuff, send me an email!

fashion-sketchpad-jenericgeneration When I was growing up, I wanted to be many things. I wanted to be a magazine editor, a journalist/writer, greeting card illustrator, a professional chef, a professional ballet dancer, fashion designer, and the owner of a large orphanage. Among other things.

I don’t have aspirations of designing clothing professionally anymore, but I would love to learn how to make my own clothes one day! I still love sketching outfits for my own personal inspiration, so when I received the Pocket Fashion Sketchpad (here) for Christmas last year, I was ecstatic that the templates would give my designs an added touch of professionalism.

Isn’t it fun? I really like the fact that the models are drawn so lightly that their outline disappears once you draw over it; so it serves more as a guide than anything, and the end result looks like your own creation. It’s basically a coloring book for adults. In the best way possible. fashion-sketchpad-2 I have a larger sketchpad with models whose body types are more realistic (whaaaat?), which is great for real-life planning. The Pocket Fashion Sketchpad is smaller, and easier to carry around for quick design ideas. I haven’t done it yet, but I thought it would be fun to illustrate my ideal capsule wardrobe as I work toward my goal of having fewer, quality pieces.

If you want to buy it for all your creative friends (or for yourself), click on the image below. Happy designing!

 

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What fall item are you most excited about this season? I am on the hunt for a basic black dress my belly can grow into. But I could always be talked into a metallic loafer.

 P.S. Follow my fashion boards on pinterest: here and here.

Florals for spring: groundbreaking

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 0 , , , ,

While the promise of Spring couldn’t be coming at a more perfect time, Spring remains my least favorite season to dress for. As the season is so short and temperamental, I just don’t feel strongly committed to it, sartorially speaking. Therefore, I don’t have a lot of spring clothing I am excited to wear year after year. But even if spring is short, it does occur every year. So logically, I do have reason to be kind of committed.

I’m working on it.

While spring provides a gentle nudge for me to clean things up around the apartment, write bad poetry, and try new things, I had to scour the internet for inspiration in the clothing department. Thankfully, it would seem that most people are faithfully committed to spring dressing, and I am able to benefit from their ideas. 

Here are a few looks that are helping me get my creative juices flowing:

1. Over the past few years my love of polka dots has slowly evolved from anti, to obsession. I love the cropped pants, blue and white, and nude heels. I am all about nude heels. image source

2. This color combination is so fresh and springy. Her whole outfit reminds me of a breath mint, in the best way possible. I want to try wearing slight variations in colors in darker and lighter shades this season. image source

3. I love how French this look is! A mini skirt, classic white T, and a charming neck scarf. I’m stealing this look, if I can pull it off without looking like a flight attendant. image source

4. Stripes and an A-line skirt. I want to be more adventurous with A-line skirts. I can’t always get the look to work for me (something about a tucked in shirt with this silhouette is tricky for my body type), but I am determined to exhaust every option before I give up. image source

5. I love the look of a tucked in shirt to a flowy skirt, with a cardigan. It is so 1940s-esque. image source

6. I will always love florals, for all year round. image source

And now let us pause for a moment to reflect on one of my favorite moments from one of my favorite movies:


7. The most perfect of perfect dresses. Too bad it is sold out on etsy. But, I will be on the hunt for this style until I find it. I am imagining this with wedge sandals and a brown leather purse with a long strap, sitting on one shoulder, 1990s style. image source

Are you feeling inspired to switch things up lately? Do you like dressing for Spring? What are your tips for dressing for warmer weather so abruptly? Do you want to talk about how much you love The Devil Wear’s Prada? Okay.

From the archives:
Are you being hard on yourself today? Feeling down? Here are some reasons why you are awesome.

phases of our lives

Thursday, February 6, 2014 0 , , , ,

 


“Hi, I’m Jenny and I will be your server this evening. Can I start you off with something to drink?” That’s how I started off a lot of my interactions with people in college. It felt like I would be saying that line forever. I had no concrete plans after graduation and thus the future was as foggy as the iced tea I had just placed in front of a customer, suddenly destroyed by the contents of five packs of a sugar substitute. As they stirred and looked over the menu, I dreamt of the day when I got to come home from work not covered in the scent of Italian food. Or Chinese food, depending on the year.

I’ve always been a dreamer–sitting in a coffee shop early in the morning, doodling on my notebook before I delved into the final hour of studying before a test. But I am still fighting that temptation. The future is always tugging at me, trying to convince me that it is the ultimate. My life now, in this moment, is good. There are things I hope change one day, but many things I don’t want to change, that probably will change.

Because, all the cliches: it’s the little things, be present, focus on the here and now, tomorrow will never get here, the future is not a guarantee…they are cliches because the future is not a destination. We will never, ever get there. I’ll be thinking about that.

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More about right now