Someone said at the 2010 Oscars, If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It’s not a waste of time. Julia Cameron said in her book, The Artist’s Way:

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.

I’m living in a community of creativity; galleries abound, Etsy is nearby, artists are everywhere showcasing their talents. Last November I attended a local Artists + Friends Potluck Dinner community event which not only hosted very abundant warm tasty food, but inspired me creatively as well. I learned what others were doing artistically, where they were on their journeys, and I learned about classes exploring art methods new to me to try. Connecting with other artists is especially important during the winter. Feeling isolated is what I frequently hear from artists and people in general during winter after the holidays. Seeing other artists as colleagues, not competitors also helps you stretch.

Connecting with other artists is especially important during the winter.

Winter is a slower paced time and a time for me to turn indoors more on creative projects not attended to during summer. Gardening, property management and more social obligations take much of my time away from creative projects during that season. While I enjoy certain aspects of summer, I always enjoy winter as well. After New Year’s I tend to take stock on what I did or didn’t achieve artistically during the prior year. Did I do enough? This is when I map out my creative goals for the coming year. Winter is not drab to me at all; I see the different colors of snow, the light shining through icicles hanging from my house, colors of birds at my bird feeders, the blue light changing at the end of an afternoon. Julie Cameron pointed out: “ Snowflakes, of course are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee. No two alike.” This winter has been lenient on us. When we have snow, looking at snowflakes and snow crystals perhaps catching them on a sheet of black paper, is a wonderment at their design.

Spotty Dog Books & Ale, 440 Warren St, Hudson, NY 12534 | Spotty’s top nine bestselling books of 2015!

Creativity paying off for you may mean many different things. Maybe it means being accepted into a group or solo gallery show, maybe it means sales from your writing, teaching, speaking or art, maybe it means finding your voice or belonging to a particular group, maybe it means being able to pay the mortgage with earnings from your creative work. Adam Westbrook recently posted from his video series on creativity, an inspiring video about the process of creativity during these modern times obsessed with popularity and social media. Westbrook uses Vincent Van Gogh as an example of an artist who had just his brother supportive of his work and who during his lifetime, sold very very little of his work. Van Gogh worked through such tremendous obstacles. In this video the concept of Autotelic is defined as a “self contained activity done for its own sake, done for the enjoyment of the activity itself; the experience is the reward.” Westbrook’s point of his video was for artists to keep creating even when it doesn’t seem like anyone is noticing or cares. Westbrook asks, “What if you knew your work was being seen by only one person. Would you keep going? What would you do? In a world obsessed with popularity, will we still make our art?”

What if you knew your work was being seen by only one person. Would you keep going? What would you do? In a world obsessed with popularity, will we still make our art?

One winter evening, I was pleased to see a posting on Facebook by Spotty Dog Books and Ale that one of my books had been in the top 6 best selling books of 2015 in their store. I was a little stunned, and had to let it sink in for a bit. I thought of all of the books, authors and topics of books in a bookstore. I thought of all of the visitors to that bookstore deciding to buy my book. Undoubtably these were local people as well as tourists. I wondered what their lives were like, if they bought the book for themselves or as a gift to give someone. I thought of how particularly difficult this book had been to complete, how long it had taken, how isolating the work was at times, all the while thinking to myself “I hope that one day this pays off.”

In that moment, it had paid off beyond what I would have imagined.

Lisa LaMonica
Lisa LaMonica is an 
author and illustrator in 
upstate New York who 
has received awards for 
her artwork. She was 
nominated for Artist of 
the Year in 2002 by the 
Columbia County Council 
on the Arts. Lisa also teaches 
art privately. Learn more about Lisa!