Pencil Dancing Chapter 1

Someone asked me the other day how I was feeling. As I quickly pondered how to answer that question, I realized that I’m not really feeling kick-my-shoes-off-and-dance better, nor am I feeling in-the-depths-of-despair bad either. I’ve kinda reached a happy medium where I have good days and bad days. I’m on a strict diet and learning the hard lessons of only doing what I can do today.

With that in mind, I’m going to try to do some slaying of two birds with one stone. I’m reading a book called Pencil Dancing by Mari Messer right now. It is intended to help a writer be more creative, but at the beginning of the book she says that her lessons of creativity can be applied to any setting including that of the homemaker. This caught me off guard. I’m used to being creative. I’m a writer after all. But, do I think of my homemaking and my home in a creative way?? I’ve decided to read this book only with a heart for homemaking and not for writing at all. I’ve already found it inspiring. I have lived too long in the shadow of thinking of my writing as creative and my homemaking as my work. I hope to step into the light loving all that I do with the help of this book.

What about those two birds that need to be slain?

Pencil Dancing has some journaling questions at the end of each chapter and I’m going to do that journaling here. See? Blog post and using my book! Two Birds! 🙂

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New Cork Board! Fabric is from the hem of my curtains. Pray Request sign is the inside of a tea box. Fall pictures are from a tissue box. 🙂

Question from Chapter 1: Raffia in the Doorway

What “barnacles,” imposed from outside yourself or from within, are the most stubborn obstacles to your creative expression? What ideas do you have for reducing or eliminating some of them? What do you most want to let go of? Write your thoughts.

When it comes to creativity in my home I’m most impeded by three things: courage, fatalism, and budget. I have always found it hard to do something creative with my home without overspending on the budget. This makes me want to not be creative at all. It’s just too expensive. I hope to reduce this fear by looking at what I already have in my home. I want to learn how to look at trash differently. For example, I used the inside of a tea box on my cork board. I just cut it up, and wrote a quote on the pretty print inside instead of throwing the empty tea box out. I want to balance this with not being cluttered. I hate clutter. So throw away, but don’t throw away everything. Look beyond something’s intended use, but don’t believe everything has a use.

I tend to be very happy with things the way they are, to the point of being fatalistic. I’m not a driven person except in a few areas. This can really hurt me in my home and even in relationships. I tend to not want to worry about new flooring. The flooring we have is fine . . . right? My oven that never cooks the same way twice is fine . . . or it’s easier to be content with it than it is to go research what oven I might like to replace it with. Put that with the budget fear and I will sit on my hands while my appliances slowly die. I hope to get over this, honestly, by sheer determination and maybe scheduled ‘research’ time. Having a set time to research would probably be the most helpful thing to me.

My husband enjoys a very streamlined, modern styled home. I tend to be very eclectic, and while I don’t like clutter, I do like stuff and books. I like books. I love the homey feeling of books, books, books. I also like throw pillows. I would buy new throw pillows every week if the budget allowed. I tend to want to haphazardly mix all the things I love together whether they match or not. Early on in our marriage finding a happy medium between our two taste was almost impossible. I think, through no fault of my husbands, that I still feel like he’ll hate everything I do in the house.

Now, as a stay at home wife focused solely on her home, and my husband really wanting and encouraging me to make the home mine, I’m a little afraid I’ll overdo it. I don’t trust myself. (If you heard some of the ideas I’ve come up with, you wouldn’t trust me either.) This greatly inhibits me. The solution to this problem is to give ideas time while not being afraid of controlled experimenting. I need to be brave enough to try out new colors. But first I need to think about it, and then maybe try it in the laundry room before I make a commitment to a whole wall in the living room. I need to find small ways to experiment before tackling big things.

What to do all these problems have in common: fear. You’d think I was a woman or something. It’s amazing what I fear in this life sometimes. I think there is also a fear of failure. What I need to do is find ways to be creative in each step and each room without being crazy.

Do you struggle with these same types of fears? What obstacles keep you from creative expression in your own home?

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14 thoughts on “Pencil Dancing Chapter 1

  1. I am so excited about this! I have already been fighting the defeatist attitude in terms of my upcoming move to a new house. If my book wasn’t packed somewhere I would start reading along with you.

  2. Abby,

    You know if you have to think about how you feel, then it cant be too bad. Glad you are improving.

    Now lets talk about creativity and house keeping. Have fun with it and if you get too far out of line for your husband, he will tell you. Until then, shake it up and explore the limits of what is possible.

  3. We certainly ARE family. I very strongly relate to this post. Particularly the fear of failure, and of everything not being perfect. I want my family to like everything as much as I do, and sometimes that just won’t happen! I’m going to look for this book, and I’m very excited about seeing your future posts from it. Oh, and also, I can vouch for the value of having scheduled research time. There are always things I want to look up and research for the home or garden, and either I don’t make the time, or else I spend four hours on one topic. Hope you continue enjoying this book! 🙂

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