Thank you to The Joy of Museums for insights into Claude Monet’s mastery of the subject of water lilies.
“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet shows a water-lily pond, from Monet’s garden in Giverny, with the sky, clouds and light reflecting on the lily pond. Monet attempted to capture the continually changing qualities of light, colour, water, sky and lilies by dissolving all the elements in what he expressed as:
“the refuge of peaceful meditation in the centre of a flowering aquarium.”
Claude Monet painted nearly 250 painting in his series of “Water Lilies”. The paintings depict Monet’s flower garden at his home in Giverny which was the primary focus of Monet’s artistic endeavours during the last thirty years of his life. Monet painted many of his later works while suffering from cataracts.
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It’s a common experience across the Blogosphere: you’ve made a commitment to your readers that you’ll post consistently on certain days, but, every once in a while, as the day approaches, you can’t think of a topic to write about; or your post is boring, even to you. What should you do?
What to do:
- Give yourself permission to miss one post a year. But unless you’re experiencing a life-crisis (like a death in the family, a birth, a move, a fire, surgery, prolonged illness, a flood), you only get one pass a year. Work on the following tips starting today, so you won’t become a habitual slacker.
- Keep a notebook where you jot down your brilliant ideas. I know from personal experience that no matter how vivid my ideas are, if I don’t actually write them down, they dissolve into the ether. Elizabeth Gilbert says something to the effect that if you don’t diligently take the idea and do something with it, it will go away and find someone else to birth it.
- Don’t have any ideas? Brainstorm. On a blank page, write down any idea that comes to you (even if it’s stupid) and let it suggest other ideas, along the same lines or totally unrelated. Make it a game to come up with at least twenty, then chose the five best to craft into posts (and you’re allowed to fine-tune them as you work).
- Your blog probably has a focus. Mine is the arts and the creative process. What aspects of your focus have neglected? Certainly you haven’t exhausted every possible angle. Or if you feel you have, think up something totally unrelated for a change. For example, I might write about garden tools (though it wouldn’t be hard to make that into an art or design article). Or take an outlandish position on something and work it into a humor piece.
- Interview somebody. It can be someone connected with the focus of your blog, someone you know or someone you’ve never met. Ask her. She might say no, but she might say yes. You can interview her in person, by phone, or by email.
- Tell about your life. I follow about 100 blogs, and I think I know these bloggers as well as I know my friends. Then they’ll post about something that happened to them and I realize I don’t know them at all. I’m honored when they share their private lives with me. You can tell your readers about an incident from your past, or what you’re going through right now, or come up with a list of interesting factoids about yourself (like your major in college, your first job, what cities you’ve lived in, your hobbies).
Being stuck for a blog post idea isn’t fatal. You can take steps to prevent yourself from running out of ideas, or you can inspire yourself to come up with an engaging topic.
Is there something you do that I didn’t mention that helps you keep going in your blogging life? Please share in the comments below.
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A year ago I went to Hole in the Rock, an interesting sandstone formation in Papago Park. That was when I was still suffering from arthritis pain (before my hip replacement) and was unable to climb to the top.
Now that I’m bionic and healed and going hiking once a week, I decided to go back and try again.
This is considered rather an easy trail, but it was still challenging for me. You walk around the back side of the mountain. Steps are built into the path and edged with rock. There were quite a few people there. Children scampered past me. So did parents carrying toddlers.
From the back, this is what the mountain looks like:
When I look at the steepness of it, I can’t believe I climbed up there. When I got to the opening, though, I couldn’t make myself descend the little stairs cut into the rock that lead into the chamber. Look for yourself–see them at the lower right corner of the picture below? I think part of my problem was that just out of sight on the left was a group of people enjoying the view and I didn’t want them to see me tumble down. (Although, if you’re going to fall on a hike like this, you want to do it when there are people around to help you.) Another consideration was that I had an expensive camera around my neck that I didn’t want to bang up.
Here’s what the view from the top looks like through the hole:
And here’s the view looking out from the back side, Camelback Mountain in the distance:
Someday I’m going back with a little more experience and without my camera so that I can really experience Hole in the Rock the way the Native Americans did.