inspire yourself

January 19th, 2015

In interviews with artists, actors, and makers, the question that bothers me most is, “What inspires you?” For one thing, the question is a lazy question. It doesn’t involve any thought or research or insight. And even worse, the answers are always bullshit. They might not try to be bullshit, but they usually are. It’s like asking someone, “How do you love someone?” or “Why are you happy?” There might be answers to these questions, but they are never satisfying.

For the inaugural challenge of The Creativity Club we are not going to be inspired by long walks, or art exhibits, or perfectly staged pictures on pinterest. We’re going to be inspired by our own damn selves.


Recently I was reading a book by Werner Herzog. He is my absolute favorite director and this book was a kind of journal about one of his films. The book was impossible to read: stories about his dreams would be mixed up with costume deliveries would be mixed up heat stroke induced hallucinations would be mixed up with breakfast. Half way through the book I realized that he was writing down everything he thought. Every single thing. And he thought all his thoughts were important.

This was a rather a shocking discovery, because I sure as hell don’t think every single thing I think is important. But what if I did? What if I paid attention to what I thought and wrote it down? What if I tried to write down exactly the things I thought and not the things I thought I’m suppose to think? In other words, what if I was honest with myself about myself? What if I was then inspired by that honesty? Doesn’t that sound like a more meaningful way to find inspiration than link-link-linking on a laptop?

the creative club challenge on elsie marley

Get to the challenge already, sheesh.


The first challenge of The Creativity Club is to quote yourself and illustrate that quote. Pick something you thought or said and write it beautifully.

You are going to write down a bunch of things you think and pick something that strikes you as honest or insightful or meaningful. I used to make fun of middle age ladies who had mottos for the year. Well, now I am one of those middle age ladies and I think anything that helps you be a better version of yourself is worthwhile–no matter how hokey my 20-year-old self thinks it is.


You can write your quote in bubble letters, you can use gorgeous fonts on your computer, you can cut out every letter from different patterned paper. In this challenge, the making part is almost secondary. The paying attention to your thoughts, that is the creative part. But the making is the pretty part.

Oh and it can’t be just one word–that’s cheating.

the creative club challenge on elsie marley


That means next Monday, January 26. Tag your work with #thecreativityclub if you want us to see. This isn’t the easiest challenge, but being creative isn’t always easy. And besides, I know you can do it.


If you follow me on instagram, you probably remember how I feel about inspirational quotes. This is still true for most of the 900,000 illustrated quotes on pinterest. They either make me feel guilty (for not seizing the day), or are insincere, or are straight up stupid. Anything that resonates with you honestly is not going to be any of these things.



Posted in creativity.

15 Responses to inspire yourself

  1. albumine says:

    I love your idea of a creative club, but I must say that this first challenge is tough, especially for a non english speaker native. anyway, I’m going to try and please be kind if I sound a little bit cheesy ;)

  2. Amy says:

    Can’t wait to pay attention to thoughts deeper than “those kids better listen,” or “my hair looks like crap today,” or “my blog isn’t as pretty as xyz blog.” Thanks for the kick in the butt Meg!

  3. Sarah R says:

    Wow, getting straight into to the tough stuff! I’m excited to see where this goes.

  4. Nanna says:

    Erm, #thecreativityclub and not #thecreativeclub… right? Don’t mean to be rude!

  5. erin says:

    dude, this is hard. but good!

  6. Anna says:

    This is an inspirational blogpost (sorry, but it is to me)! I love it. I am guilty of asking people where they get their inspiration from (sorry ;) ). After reading your post, I am asking myself whether of not I agree with your message saying that inspiration comes from within, myself. My answer: yes! Eventually everything comes from within. Loving something of someone is ME loving it. Being inspired by something is ME being inspired. It triggers something that is inside me. Looking, listening to that instead of concentrating on the thing or person you love, is looking at the source. I agree, that is so much better than link link linking on my laptop.

    Oh, blabla, it looks like I am already started to write what I think!

  7. Jessica says:

    I wrote down what my almost-3-year-old said last night when she got in her crib after telling me her quilt is does magic at night: “See, there is magic in this house.” I write down my kids’ words a lot, but never really think to remember how I respond. Maybe I’ll ask my daughter to illustrate her quote, too, just for fun.

  8. iHanna says:

    Love this challenge! I love collecting quotes, but since I also write a lot I think I could quote myself more often in my blog posts. Thanks for the inspiration! ;)

  9. […] few people wrote to me saying that the first creative challenge this year was too difficult. I didn’t mean it to be hard, but I did want it to be a bit of a […]

  10. Jennifer says:

    Just to clarify, is this quote meant to be inspiring? To yourself? To others? Or just some something I said that I thought might make a nice poster all done up pretty? Please don’t revoke my membership if I’m getting too rule-bound within the club.

  11. Saskia says:

    Ha! I just realized that I’ve cheated by using just one word

  12. […] The Creativity Club assignment for January was to quote yourself – to listen to what I’ve been thinking and pull something out of that, and then to write it down (or make it somehow), in some lovely way. I thought of so many things over the week, but as it turns out, they were all to do with, […]