{a NEW mini-series: “How I live a creative life,” featuring five personal tips from Gussy // tip #3}

this is week #2 of my creative life mini-series.

last week the focus was on five guest bloggers + their tips on living a creative life: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ~ and this week the focus is on sharing five different applications i currently use to live a creative life and how they’ve transformed my mindset into something incredibly inspiring and freeing.

on monday i talked about tip #1: cooking delicious meals and yesterday i talked about tip #2: having a defined “end of work” day. if you haven’t read them yet, click over! and be sure to read the comments below, they’re almost as good as the blog post content ;D

* * *

tip #3: never stop learning + exploring

in january of this year it felt appropriate to share a list of my favorite books {see photo above} while sharing the importance of becoming an expert in your field. or fields :) — it’s always fun to start the year off positively, right?! — it doesn’t take any money to do this, you can reserve pretty much any book you want from your public library — but what it does take a lot of is determination. you’ll need a large dose of it to make it through the challenging times, but that’s when your passion for this field of study picks you up and carries you through. whenever i find myself in a creative lull i go back to my tried + true method of learning. i believe you can learn something from everything. that one word ~ learning, will treat you well if you let it.

are you in a creative lull? do you need to be learning? remember i said learning, not lusting. don’t lust after something that’s not yours: a blog you don’t write or a shop you don’t own. when you find yourself in a creative lull, how do you get yourself out of it? do you turn to education, or do you turn to commiseration?

if you answered, A — my eyes are twinkling with happiness for you.

if you answered, B — my hands {with painted blue fingernails, –wink!} are reaching out to squeeze your shoulders with encouragement. don’t go there, don’t trade an uplifted spirit for a discouraged spirit.

so how do you keep learning + exploring? take time to learn more about your field, the one you’re going to become an expert it, by being present in real life. you could read a book, like i mentioned above, to learn more. you could study your field by going on a day trip and exploring the industry. a few weeks ago i left the house in the afternoon, fully intending on visiting my favorite fabric supplier for some color inspiration. but once i got there i was so sure of what i wanted that instead of just looking at this inspiration i brought it home so we could sew it into pretty, ruffly gussies! my learning turned into an exploration of happiness! you could map out what your plan of action looks like by making notes in your planner how you’ll schedule each task. and then once you’ve spent some time learning, go to your favorite cafe and sip a refreshing drink. like me here, sippin’ a Coca Cola ;D

to live a creative life you have to be your own unique person. take time to craft who that person is by reading and learning and finding favorites in life. never stop learning + exploring. never stop treating yourself well.

take the determination you had at the beginning of the year and use it to refocus your spirit. when your blog or your shop presents you with challenges, feed your creative self with the words from a book.

SHARE WITH US: what are your thoughts — how are you feeling? feel free to leave an anonymous comment and really be real with yourself and us. when you find yourself in a creative lull are you spending more time learning or are you spending more time commiserating {are you educating yourself so you can get out or are you fueling the nasty feeling}? xo.

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  1. 1


    Great topic to touch on Gussy. :) This really makes a person think. There is two different areas I do this with. One – is writing. I finished my first book {getting ready to send it off woot woot} and I’ve heard the term writer’s block a lot and I have even somewhat experienced it – but I push past it. I keep writing until the juices start flowing again because I believe you have to work through things like that and if just strictly writing through it doesn’t work – I throw myself into research about what I’m writing about to get the juices flowing. One of those two things work.

    With my shop – when I get stumped with crocheting – I challenge myself. I find a pattern or create one in my head that I know isn’t the usual and finish it – that usually helps to get back int he zone! If that isn’t working I will set my work down and do something else. Clean, play with the boys, go on a walk with them, anything fun and creative and when I sit down to crochet again – I’m good to go. :)

    I am really loving this series. You are so great Gussy!

  2. 3


    Awesome series, and a very wise tip. A lot of us just wallow in our lack of creative umph at times, but we have to talk ourselves out of it and keep moving forward. Learning is a perfect way to do that by empowering yourself.

  3. 4


    I literally checked all of those books out of the library (except for Tribes, which I’m waiting for a library across the state to send to my local library! I’m 1 or 1 holds though, so it’ll be here soon!)

    I was like “if Gussy says they’d be a good read, then I should read them.” And so I am!

    • 5


      awww — so sweet of you to write that! :) YES they are fabulous reads, you’ll love them! take notes on what you read that speaks to your creative spirit, too!

  4. 7


    Hi Gussy!
    Such an uplifting website you have here. I used to read a lot and have always loved to learn, but I feel like I have been busy for the past few years and haven’t read many books! Lately, I have been exploring books again. Yay! The books in your pile look quite intriguing, especially “Normal Gets You Nowhere”. Lol.

    • 8


      oh yes — that was me a few months ago :) i hope you can find some time to read again, even if that means letting go of something that really shouldn’t be taking up your time anyway ;)

  5. 9


    You know I never thought about learning as a way out of a creative rut. I suppose I’ve been instinctually drawn to learning to help me cope with a rut – and I’m so grateful that I was lucky enough to find that path! But it’s a challenge sometimes!
    Typically, I’m in a rut because I’m feeling overwhelmed. I get the mantra, “I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough time,” stuck in my head. At that point it’s very hard for me to take the time to sit down with a book or leave the house to go on a trip like you suggested.
    But you know, I’ve been guilty of a bit too much commiserating lately. I don’t think I’ve put enough mental energy into *choosing* my thoughts. So now my mantra will be, “I have enough time for the things that must be done.” And oh yes, one of the things that must be done is to learn something every single day.

    • 10


      i think taking some time to write out what we do during the day can help us to see what is a waste of a time and what’s really a good use of our time. sometimes i think i have no time, too — but when i re-evaluate what my morning schedule is like i often find “more” time by removing something that’s a waste of time :)

      so glad you commended!

    • 11


      “I don’t think I’ve put enough mental energy into *choosing* my thoughts. So now my mantra will be, “I have enough time for the things that must be done.'” YES, Kasey. I love this. We can choose what we think. So simple, really!

  6. 14


    These posts have been so fantastic and inspiring! I’m so bad for just letting this fall to the wayside when I get in a creative funk. I’ll be bookmarking these tips to go over next time I need to kick myself back into gear. Thank you!

  7. 16


    I have three of your most-loved books. I absolutely love learning! But I’ve been guilty of self-pity. Stepping away for a bit to think really helps me. Whether that’s in a bubble bath, the front porch, taking a walk or reading an inspiring book; I find thinking things through before I come back to life helps me return grateful for who I am and what I have.
    Catherine Denton

  8. 17


    Guilty Commiserator over here… I honestly never thought to use learning as a way to overcome a creative rut. Typically, I pout for a bit and then I remove myself completely from the craft: watch a movie with my hubbs, play with the pups, do some chores- anything to get my mind focused on something else. Then I think about past projects, what I liked and didn’t like, and this usually triggers some of those ideas that flit through my brain that I didn’t take the time to jot down. Next time- I will try the learning + exploring method. I have a couple of untouched sewing books that I’ve been meaning to take the time to read. This is another great tip, Gussy! I feel like I’m getting a free sneak peek in an eBook or something. This series has been so great! :)

  9. 18


    I really do both love an appreciate this series that you are sharing with us. I really do look forward to reading these posts because they seem to be super helpful! Right now, being in the Army and deployed, it puts a damper or a…. restriction… on my creative life, it seems to me. The military is sometimes very demanding, especially in my company and I don’t always have time or the ability to do certain things. Like I can’t just go walking around looking for inspiration or new adventures because all I have around me is a bunch of rocks and dust. I can’t seem to find other creative people to share with. I can’t just go to a library and look for new books like that, because unfortunately we don’t have a lot of work. This all sometimes puts me in a creative rut, waiting on things I ordered from the internet or just waiting on the impossibly slow internet to even work.
    Reading your posts helps though, because through you and other crafters like you, I find a bit of inspiration and motivation to keep going, despite being in Afghanistan. I can’t wait until I am back stateside and take all of your advice or tips and use them properly with better results.
    For now though, thank you for sharing!!!!
    <3 Jenn

    • 19


      did you know you can read kindle books through your library? you can download them right to your kindle and you have like 3 weeks to read it, then it is taken off.

      i wonder — do you have an iPad? would you be able to read books through that? even if you bought them online through amazon?


      • 20


        I do have an iPad and I love it. I actually bought one of your cases and use it as an iPad case. I downloaded the kindle app before I left the States, the only problem is trying to get wifi around here. Haha. Most of the time I just have to read my books on my computer until I can find me some wifi.

  10. 21


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