Living the Life…Today

Now that you’ve determined your creative calling, and given yourself permission to heed that call, it’s time to start living the life…today. You don’t have to have published a book to be a writer, or have a book of poetry on the shelf at the bookstore to be a poet, or a show in a major gallery to be an artist. You are who you are, and it’s time to start living like it.

It’ll take a little reminding in the beginning if you’re not used to referring to yourself as such. I suggest starting when you wake up in the morning. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll use poet as the example. The first thing you say to yourself every day: “I’m a poet, and I’m going to live like one and think like one today.”

Now I’m not advocating quitting your day job to be a strolling bard, as we all like living indoors and being able to feed ourselves. What I am saying is that you can still be yourself, whatever you have to do to earn a living. That’s only 40 or so hours a week, which leaves 128 hours. If you’re fortunate enough to have a job you like, or that incorporates your creativity, that’s even better.

Getting yourself out of your comfort zone, away from your home, and around other people with similar interests are all great ways to ignite some creative sparks. Find yourself a French cafe, have a cafe au lait, and write, or sketch everything and everyone around you. Have a beer at an English pub, a bottle of wine at an Italian ristorante, or a cafe con leche at a Cuban cafe. Get out of your house, and out of your regular routine.

Joining a writer’s group, taking an art class, going to poetry readings, hanging out in the library…are all great ways to meet other people who can join you on your sojourns if you’d rather have company. Do some research online to see what’s available in your area.

You can also find great character studies at airports, bus stations, train stations, and hotel lobbies. Or go to the park, the beach, the woods, and use nature, the world’s greatest artwork, as your muse. Have a notebook or sketchbook with you every minute of the day, and challenge yourself to fill it as quickly as you can, then another, then another.

The key to living the life is to get out of your regular routine and your comfort zone. Start living a life of exploration and discovery; what’s around you, and what’s inside you.

And remember, when you’re at work, and a customer just got finished chewing you out, or the boss dumped a huge pile of someone else’s work in your inbox, remind yourself, “I’M A POET, DAMMIT.” Consider it suffering for your art. Could be worse.

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