Creative Caddy #sol22 21/31

I almost don’t want to say this out loud for fear of scaring it away or bringing some new doom down on all our heads, but I’m feeling hopeful this month. A creative energy that I could only muster for a few days in 2021 seems to have returned. It’s small but steady. For the first time since early in the pandemic, I have been able to think about creative projects. I feel my ambition to learn finally returning. I have been able to read books about teaching and books about writing again. Last year, it was all I could do to make it through slicing in March. This year, I’m already thinking about what project I might tackle in April.

In her most recent Isolation Journal, Suleika Jaouad and a friend prepare for 100-Day Projects they will start April 1. I completed my first 100-Day Project (making a daily zine) in 2020. I haven’t thought about that project in many months, but reading her newsletter made me remember and wonder whether I’m ready for another 100-Day Project. Maybe Morning Pages. Maybe another zine project (here’s a neat one I found on Instagram that uses photography as well as drawing.) or a photo-a-day. Maybe a blackout poem or a Zentangle. Maybe Lynda Barry’s Four Minute Diary.

Photo by Monstera on

Jaouad suggests that rather than dreaming of an “ideal creative space,” we focus on creating a toolkit that we can bring with us wherever we are. She asks, “What rituals, objects, or tools inspire you to create?”

Here are a few things that help me create:

A spark, a mentor text, a mentor. My creativity is often in conversation with someone else. Some trusted guides I can always count on to get me writing: Austin Kleon’s blog and newsletter; any interview with Jason Reynolds (here’s a recent favorite); Kim Stafford’s book, The Muses Among Us; Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones; Penny Kittle’s conversations with Kelly Gallagher (a new month just started!); Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Keeping a Notebook videos.

The right tools. My trusty unlined spiral Cachet notebook. Pilot Precise V5s in blue. Uniball Visions in black. Maybe a new package of InkJoys. Watercolor colored pencils. Watercolor paper. Construction paper. Glue sticks. Mechanical pencils.

A coffee shop. The bright conversations, the wake-up smell of coffee, the examples of others deeply immersed in some kind of work.

A walk. It’s rare that I walk alone and without using my phone for anything except taking photos, but when I do, I always think about something to write.

A window with something happening on the other side. People, animals, nature. Something to write about when I feel uninspired.

What would be in your toolkit?


My theme for Slice of Life 2022 is finding inspiration in the writing of others. Each day I plan to find my slice in someone else’s words or forms. Today’s slice is borrowed from Amy at The Way I See It. Be sure to check out what’s in her creative caddy.

15 responses to “Creative Caddy #sol22 21/31”

  1. First, congrats on having your rambling bio highlighted. It had already inspired me to do a spin-off. Second, thanks for all of these great suggestions. I, too, have been inspired by Jason Reynolds interviews. This reminds me to return to my journal and trusty pen. I’ve been relying on the laptop and comic sans a bit too much lately. Now I’m off for a walk.

  2. Thanks for all the inspiration in this post. I too, feel a bit of hope creeping back in and love the idea of celebrating through creativity. I’ll have to start putting together my toolkit!

  3. I understand your reluctance to “say it out loud.” I sometimes feel the outloudness of a project stifles it. I wish I were feeling as creatively gung ho as you are. It’s all I can do to write a slice a day, and even that is not going so well. Thanks for all the resources you highlighted in this post.

  4. I LOVE this post- thank you for sharing where you are finding inspiration lately- I have saved this post for myself and the fifth graders that will be slicing next month. Is the top pictures yours? I spy Faber-Castells, the only pencils I like, and Pigma Microns- what I use for #inktober. I look forward to exploring all your links!

  5. There is joy in feeling this little spark. I really enjoyed reading the mentor text this morning.

  6. This post is chock-full of useful goodies! I am saving this one so I can explore all of your links. I’ve been toying with Morning Pages…I’m just such a non-morning person! I love Austin Kleon’s work too. I’m with you on the pens…a good pen makes all the difference! But what the heck are watercolor pencils? I’ve gotta look those up. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. I have had a similar experience as you have. I have felt more creative juices this month than I have in a really long time.

    My daughter and I did a 100 day challenge a little while ago. She sketched. I did a 4 minute diary (Lynda Barry is THE best)

  8. I like that you have window in your toolkit. Such a simple thing and easy to find. You show that we don’t need big and fancy and many to be creative. I am happy for you that you are on creative wave again.

  9. There is so much here I’m saving it to come back to. I want to do a 100 day project ! I’m almost back. My prof ssional reading is still lagging.

  10. I like the idea of a creative caddy. It is always ready to go and provide inspiration. I think I would also throw a cat in mine since they are so often a source of entertainment and inspiration.

  11. It’s such a wonderful feeling to get that spark back. I’m so glad that you found yours because it will bring you so much joy! I’m a big fan of walking and finding inspiration

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