October 23, 2015

about inspiration, creativity & tips, PART II of VII

welcome at the second part of this series of seven in total (that's what I counted including the first two when deviding what was left after this). Can you imagine that all those 7 parts were originally just one post? And you'll understand why I had to devide it into parts, each of them still being very long :D.
If you missed it, you can go to PART I by clicking the link and the first and second part will also be in a tab 'Inspiration' I added above. All 7 parts will be there in time for easy finding.

so this is where I hope things get a bit inspirational ;). This part is mostly for anyone of you who can feel insecure about your abilities and/or creative side
, something I've read numerous times on different blogs. Hopefully my view on a few things can make those of you feel more confident. In following parts I will give tips on how to improve things if that's what you feel you need or would like.

first of all I'd like to say that I think everyone is always more creative than they usually think. Focussing on what they think they should be able to, they don't realise how creative they are in other ways. I've seen that often. Please see your strengths, everyone has them and they're always there, trust me.

'all' you maybe have to do is see what others see, but you somehow overlook. For example by accentuating your negatives, your insecurities or whatever. Try to turn that around if that's what you do. What do you like about your work, your ideas? Where is your strength and what always makes you feel proud and enthousiastic? Or what do others comment on about your work or have complimented you with, whatever it was? Also even a strength totally unrelated can help you with miniatures and creating.

in The Netherlands we have the tradition of Sinterklaas, the saint Santa Claus is derived from. In our family - as in many Dutch families - for his birthday on the 5th of December we always made 'a surprise', for one of the others. A crafted something resembling a part or a situation regarding the person you make it for, accompanied by a poem and (a) present(s).

My mother
was always quite apologetic about her surprises, while I always thought they were clever and fun!

She saw the lack of crafting skill,
I saw the great or fun idea and how smart (creatively) she achieved the result

even more so because she had to do it without the crafting or with little of it. I may have been the crafter in the family, but every single one of my familymembers have always had great ideas and things they were very strong at, making them creative. Being the idea itself, something that made it (un)intentionally very funny and/or a great poem or something else. Each of their work unmistakingly theirs at the same time.

It makes sense too, because despite the most common association,
creativity is of course about so much more than crafting!
And crafting has so many more aspects of creativity than usually thought as well

also important to take from this I think: don't compare with others, look at (or feel) what makes you YOU. What makes you unique, try to see - and focus on - your strengths. And to be clear: I DON'T mean with this you have to give up something you like to do but aren't very good at (yet). Not at all. Always keep doing what you love to do, no matter what. And in addition to that: I've often focussed on what I was NOT so good at, YET! Not by focussing on THAT or WHY it wasn't good, but by getting better at it using my strengths!

I think all kinds of strengths in the end with most of us are even more important than talent! As you've also seen in PART I with my first attempts at miniatures ;). I think it's always about finding a way to use your strengths to do what you like to do, ulizing them to get better at what you like so much! And strengths that are related to miniatures can be anything too, like ideas for miniatures, designs, the use of materials, the use of style, the use of stories, the use of humor, an eye for staging or scenes, imagination, being good with certain materials, like wood, or fimo, or whatever of maybe with certain tools, etc, etc.

in addition I think it's important to realize that when it comes to what we want and like to be able to achieve - in miniatures or otherwise - I know not everything is always possible for any of us. No matter how much we want it to be or how hard we try.

so don't (ever) feel bad about that!

this can be for whatever reason, like (lack of) finances for certain materials or tools, time/RL, fysical limitations, lack of certain innate skills etc. Something we'll have to accept even if we don't like it and focus on what we can do. Or if possible, finding ways to work around them! I will however never say the kind of popular 'anything is possible if you just really want to'.

I think that's a way too simplistic view of life and it actually suggests that everything you can't achieve has to be your fault, even when it truly isn't

like a man who really really wants to be pregnant and deliver a baby and would do anything for it. Which is a bit of an obvious kind of an example and maybe a silly one (where I can think of countless ones that are more common), but because of it's obviousness, it illustrates my point best I think.

I AM a firm believer however of possibilities

to illustrate how firmly I believe this and more importantly live by it in ways you could not possibly understand without this info: I am and have been bedridden for the bigger part of many years, not being able to take care of myself, not able to go outside, needing help with and for everything big and small, also to the bathroom or even getting in my wheelchair or in bed, dressing, drinks, food, etc, sometimes even needed to be fed. Brushing my teeth is a luxury I rarely have and having a shower has not been a day-to-day thing at all for all those years (not even with help) and I haven't even been able to be showered at all anymore by caretakes for fifteen months now. All that's possible (and not always even that) is a bath once a week with the help of my mother, who also washes my hair etc and once a week being washed in bed by a caretaker.

almost all of my days are about the absolute bare basics: managing to eat 3 times a day (using clever ways and just heating up (pre-cooked by family)-meals) and being able to get in my electric wheelchair to get to the bathroom all day long and back in my bed. That's it, being a great challenge as it is often enough or not even possible. Going outside is a rarity and at those rare days a few times a year, for just a 'moment', that's it. Having visitors or contact with my family and loved ones is not as rare as going outside, but still very little possible. Because talking requires too much strength (and sometimes I can't even talk at all and the more I talk, the more often and longer that is the case and also makes me very sick) and energy and causes for unbelievable problems on many levels. No matter how much I would love to, like everything else in life.

and the list goes on, it's very hard to believe how I've had to live for so long now and even with this info you cannot imagine what else I have to do without, that is part of the most basic things in life. Especially when looking at this blog, which makes me immensly proud. The very very few (not even most loved ones) that know are quite shocked by it. I needed to describe my livingsituation a little bit for you to understand how it's been the looking at - and believing in - possibilities, where there seem to be none, that I've been able to do anything the past years.

and most weeks/months absolutely nothing at all despite that believe and always looking at ways, as I'm just too sick and just surviving. But even then: every moment I'm not too sick for it, I'm still thinking miniatures and thinking up ideas and work things out in my head!! Where I can tackle quite some problems I don't have to for real when I finally get to make it. And when I can do a little something - as you may understand - it's something that requires clever thinking, clever ways and mostly just very little and sometimes ridiculously small steps at a time. Like just cutting a small part on one day, another part the next day or a few days later, glueing something days or weeks later etc. Or if nothing of that type, then writing on a blogpost. Most often way ahead of something being ready, sometimes even years. But if it's something I can do, than I enjoy it, and every little thing towards something is a step closer to an overal result right?

all this makes the choice for what to make very limited as well, and is almost never a real choice, but simply choosing the tiny and certain kind of opportunity there IS as opposed to nothing at all. Because that's more important to me than choice between two or more, simply because I don't have that luxury. Some periods it can be a bit more and a few even more rare periods the past few years from experimental treatments has made things go a bit faster than usual and at those times I've even been able to do a few things that I really wanted to do (like the entrance and the alarmclock for example).

but litterally every tiny step I take in miniatures,
it's by always looking at possibilities, even at times
there's (finally) just an almost negligible one and use it

furthermore it's determination and the love for LIFE & miniatures, focussing on what makes me happy, that I've done what I've done. You have no idea - and couldn't have, not even with the above (and still very limited) info - how unbelievable that fact is and by using several not obvious ways and decisions to even ever create at all.

didn't want to add all that, but reluctantly decided to do so, because maybe this adds a little weight to what I'm saying about believing in possibilities. I believe that anyone - yes you too ;) - can do more, and sometimes much more, than they - usually - think or might be obvious. They just often overlook what they're very good at due to focussing on parts they feel they 'fail'. Or don't always know how to or where that ability is tucked away or how to get to it. Which I can hopefully help with a little bit with these series. And too many people are also - unrightfully so and sadly - led to believe by others they can't - or shouldn't - do certain things. Or for whatever reason have convinced themselves. There's NO reason, besides maybe practical ones, anyone shouldn't enjoy a hobby or be creative! Don't ever let anyone tell you can't or shouldn't!

I've told some loved ones in the past otherwise, where they truly believed they couldn't do something. And with some persuasion to try, support and advise, I was proven right and the person in question very proud of themselves. Maybe I can do the same for anyone who can use it by writing all this.

I think it's important to say that I think what you do and 'should' do is - obviously - very much about choices, preferences and what's important to you. Since, as with so many things in life, it's kind of personal ;). What makes one person happy might not mean anything to someone else.

it's not about results persé either, to me it's just as much about the process:

doing what we like to do, gives mental energy,
makes us feel alive and what suits us best

whatever that is. And as a result being happy and proud of the result! Even if that result isn't always what you hoped for, it's still always a steppingstone to something else. A part of your development leading to better results and growing in your skills.

creativity, as life, is about learning, evolving, making mistakes and sometimes looking back and frown upon or laugh about the first - or inbetween - wobbly steps we took. Like those when being a toddler and learning to walk, or later when learning how to read, riding a bike etc.

those wobbly first steps and mistakes (and many thereafter) 
were and are an essential part of anyones development.
you can't get anywhere without them

and have you ever seen any small child walk or run with stability for the first time and run a marathon soon after? Ever see someone get on a bike for the first time(s) and ride like they've never done anything else and cycle a Tour de France within weeks or months? I haven't heard of that :D. Not ever.

sure, we have different startingpoints and develop in a different pace and in different ways, but not even the most talented people in this world go through life without the wobbliness. They too fail and start over, learn and grow and get better at what they do in the process.

I think it's much more about what someone does 
and decide they can, or at least try 

with or without innate talent for what it is they do, just because they want to. A certain result or learning a skill, whatever the reason. And always getting up after falling down. As us 'normal' folks have to do too ;). It makes us who we are.

and I know I tell nothing new here. 
but sometimes it's about remembering what we already know
and to apply it to something we forget it's part of too

and just in case it might help: one of my 'secrets' when it comes to miniatures* is I've never been 'intimidated' (can't find a better word) by great skills or achievements of others. And so they've never made me feel bad - or less - about my own. Something I've read a few times from others and I think is sad, because no one should feel less than someone else, ever. Now you can say there's no reason for me anyway because my results are fine, which may be true to a point, now. But believe me there was quite a long time I could very well have felt that way. Because my results weren't that great.

but I didn't. It wasn't important, I didn't even compare. What I did and do is what I do, what others do, is theirs. To me they had and have nothing to do with each other. I was just proud of what I did. Like the child who is so proud of his or her first unstable steps, even when falling down most of the time. And come to think of it: a child doesn't compare with an adult either, who walks - and even runs - without thought.

I did always admire other peoples work and still enjoy that greatly. And of course I can wish I can do something myself, but I don't think about it further and it certainly doesn't make me feel less about myself or what I do. I do use the level of other peoples skills to improve myself, get myself to a higher level. Of course, but I then just think of how I can do that.

and is it that someone has more possibilities that make that person think they can do better and therefore they achieve more?
OR is it believing they can, simply trying and therefore creating possibilities that make them able to achieve more?

Chicken or egg right? That's something to think about for ya ;)

that's nice Monique, all those words in another - very, VERY yawn :D - lengthy post, but is there anything we can take from this, as in concrete tips? Well yes my dear readers, and applause for you if you're still with me ;), I think there is. In part III I'll show some things that can hopefully help you in a way.


*I make the distinction because quite some years way befóre miniatures I was hesitant to start painting, not knowing I'd be any good at it. Still not because of comparing to others, but just felt I might not 'succeed' and had no idea how to start, what to do etc. I did start with it eventually because I thougt it was quite silly to not try it just because I might suck at it :D and not knowing what to do. And if I would suck, then I just have to try until I wouldn't anymore, haha! And I liked painting só much ánd I was good at it too, after having quite some difficulties figuring out what to do and how to get a result I wanted. Wanting to throw one of the first ones I did out of the window numerous times, but never did and just kept trying until I got a result I was incredibly proud of!

like I had done several years before: I have always been good at drawing, but I 'sucked' at drawing faces. Yes they resembled a face, but not very good or realistic. So I decided to focus on that trying to get it right, and I did!


  1. Hi Monique,
    I'm reading your post over my lunch hour and it has both uplifted my spirits and made me sad at the same time. Sad, because it is so easy to take everything for granted without considering just how lucky I am compared with others. Thank you for reminding me that what I live everyday is a gift. I also feel uplifted just thinking of your amazing strength; to face each day with excitement and positivity. You are an amazing Lady and if this post doesn't inspire everyone to try, then I don't think anything will. Everything you say is true. Don't compare yourself to others - do what you enjoy - don't be afraid to make mistakes - try...
    I have to go back to work now with a lump in my throat. HUGE hug, love and respect to you for this post X

    1. wow Pepper, you are so sweet and this means so, SO much to me, you have no idea! I'm so moved by your wonderful and kind words that I'm litterally crying. THANK YOU! It was without that part for a very long time, it was just this morning that I decided to add it, because I suddenly thought it might mean more that way and maybe more inspirational. I guess you agree :D. It was so personal to share, that I wasn't sure at all, but now I know it was right to do so. Thank you again for words that I will cherish forever! Big hug back to you my dear!

  2. Thank you for this post. Thank you for sharing a little personal wisdom. I agree with Pepper that this makes me happy and sad at the same time. You are an amazing person with determination. You are right. .. just keep at it. Your post reminds me of how good things are not just in my own personal life but in other people as well. I appreciate you.

    1. Thank you so much for your warm and kind comment! Of course it wasn't meant to be about me, but it does add to the inspirational part more than without I guess, and as it was meant to inspirational, that's my goal and as long as it does that, I'm happy! What you say means a lot to me, thank you!

  3. "To me for example half of the fun of miniatures is to get something as realistic as possible. The problemsolving that goes with it is a big part of why I love this hobby so much and I can't even help it. It's what I do and what gets me (very) excited". Deze woorden bleven bij mij hangen na het lezen van jouw indrukwekkende relaas, Monique, kom ik zo op terug. Ik ben het op heel veel punten volkomen met je eens: iedereen IS in aanleg creatief, alleen moet je het willen/zien en anders gewoon doorzetten om het te doen/uitproberen..... Inderdaad vergelijk jezelf nooit met een ander, want jij bent die ander niet ;)!
    Het spijt mij dat miniaturen maken voor jou, gezien jouw gezondheid, niet altijd/zeer zelden meer mogelijk is.
    Dank voor het delen van jouw wijsheid, dat elke dag een kadootje is, je doorzettingsvermogen moet tonen en voor het delen van een stukje van je persoonlijke omstandigheden. Zó zijn er inderdaad zo veel mensen, die niet alleen staan met hun problemen (op welk gebied dan ook, inclusief ikzelf).
    Voor mij geldt overigens hetzelfde: de kick voor mij aan miniaturen maken is om door eenvoudig materiaalonderzoek en met de simpelste middelen iets moois/leuks in miniatuur te kunnen creëren. Iets wat ik heb overgehouden uit een jeugd, waarin ik de enige creatieveling in het gezin was en er in die jaren bovendien gewoon de middelen er niet waren om iets creatiefs te kunnen doen ;). Dát wakkert je creativiteit wél aan, hoor LOL :D!
    Nou, Monique, vóór dat ik hier óók een relaas ga schrijven LOL :D......wens ik jou een heel fijn weekend toe.
    Lieve groetjes, Ilona

    1. Dat verbaast me niets Ilona, ik herken dat ook bij jou, die drang naar zoveel mogelijk realisme en het kijken naar manieren om dat voor elkaar te krijgen!
      Miniaturen zijn eigenlijk datgene dat door mijn gezondheid is ontstaan, waar ik jaren letterlijk helemaal niets heb gekund en de enige vorm van creativiteit die ik kon toepassen het maken van chapters was op onze hd-recorder wanneer ik series keek en ik een mooi gezicht, met mooie lichtval etc zag. Met het idee om die dan ooit te gaan schilderen, wat helaas nooit mogelijk is geweest. Miniaturen is toen het wat beter ging een oplossing geweest omdat schilderen al die jaren nog steeds niet mogelijk was of zou zijn geweest en miniaturen kun je zelfs wanneer je niets kunt toch mee bezig zijn op een 'constructieve' manier, wat denken erover al is.
      En ik ben het helemaal met je eens, omstandigheden, welke ook, wakkeren creativiteit zeker aan! Jij ook fijn weekend!

    2. en sorry trouwens voor je eigen gezondheidsproblemen, had ik inderdaad al eens begrepen, maar wist niet dat het ook zo heftig was. Ik weet nl. heel goed dat ik niet de enige ben met gezondheidsproblemen, het is alleen niet vaak dat anderen ook zo jong ook al jaren afhankelijk zijn voor letterlijk alles, niets zelf aan persoonlijke verzorging kunnen doen of zelfs vaak niet zelf in (elektr.) rolstoel kunnen komen, niet eens naar buiten kunnen, niet eens gedoucht kunnen worden door thuiszorg, zeer beperkt en vaak niet eens in staat te praten etc etc. Dan hebben ze het bij jou ook zeker ook al eens gehad over opname in een verpleeghuis, daar komen artsen bij mij al heel lang mee, wat ik natuurlijk liever niet wil, ik ben verdorie een dertiger, maar dit heeft natuurlijk ook niets met leven te maken. Sterkte jij dan ook.

  4. Thanks for sharing and I agree with many of what you have shared. All of us should do more of what we love...it's just that simple. Naturally, things evolve and who knows what other doors will open as you move along. :) I hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you! And it is that simple, I agree, but people can be mean and I've heard about people being told they were crazy or stupid making 'childs' things, because they are into dollshouses and miniatures. I wouldn't mind and laugh at it, but some have been bullied all their lives and when someone already is very insecure, this will make them not do what they love. I hope you have a great weekend too!

  5. My mom does this. She says she doesn't know where my creativity comes from because she "doesn't have a creative bone in her body." But, she makes the most wonderful knitted items and I can't knit...I've tried but my hands cramp something awful. I wear her scarves and people always ask where I got them. She also taught me to sew and has a great eye for how things should look. She is very creative but in different ways from me.

    I cannot begin to imagine the things you go through, but I have so much admiration for your spirit and drive. I think minis and thinking about minis have to help you in some way. It is our loss that you cannot do more in the way of making minis, because your work is so inspired and wonderful.

    1. Thank you for sharing that Brae, haha seriously? It's so 'funny' of her to do that, but actually it's a real shame she really doesn't realize how creative she is. People often have such a limited view on it, it sometimes baffles me. She sounds like a very creative woman (you tell her I said so! :D) and it's wonderful you both have passions you're so good at. Each in your own 'fields' and even within them you have your own style and mark.

      Thank you so much for your sweet and kind words, it means a lot that you say that, especially your last sentence is so wonderful to read, thank you!!! It does, thinking about miniatures helps tremendously, they help me focus on something fun and positive and they make me very happy! Thanks again!

  6. Dear Monique, you are an amazingly Strong and brave woman! To deal with the challenges you have, with such a deep and patient faith in progress, no matter how small.... it is Inspiring to read! All of us have moments of weakness.... and often so little reason to quit.... yet we let the demon of comparison overcome our own confidence. To read of the huge physical challenges you have and are overcoming on a daily basis, is humbling to say the least. And you are right to encourage everyone to look for their own strengths and at the same time not be afraid to Try to become better... to Try to learn something new.... to Try to make a dream into a reality.... even if only a tiny step at a time!!! I think you are Amazing... not only in what you make, but in the obstacles you overcome!!! Your faith and your Generosity of Spirit to share this and so much more with all of us.... well, it's like a Beacon in the dark! Blessed reminders that we have so much to be thankful for.... not the least the gift of every day! Keep up your Amazing Spirit!!!

    1. Thank you so so much sweet Betsy, your words really touch me..! It means a lot to me and I'll cherish all your wonderful words. You are all wonderful friends in your heartfelt support that make my days so much brighter, thank you!!!

  7. How true - thank you, Monique
    Best wishes

  8. Wonderfully insightful blogpost Monique! Your incredibly positive outlook on life is truly inspirational. Although it is impossible for me to fully comprehend what your life is like, I think you were right to include a description of the struggles you face on a daily basis, as it brings to light even more how important it is to stay positive and focussed.
    I agree with most things you have said. I think part of being able to create beautiful things is to be focussed, to really zoom in on the thing you want to do or create. To put your heart in it. To love what you do. That's what shows in what people make. I have seen miniatures which were technically perfectly made, but lacking 'soul'. On the other hand I have seen (and bought) miniatures which were by no means perfectly made, but which instantly grabbed me for their 'soul'.
    As you rightly said there is a difference between crafting and being creative. I also think there is a difference between being creative and being artistic. I immediately thought of my father. He had a brilliantly creative mind, he came up with so many fantastic solutions to problems and was a master at making and repairing things with minimal resources. But he didn't have an artistic bone in his body. Not one. But incredibly creative none the less.
    I like how you focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't. And that the process is just as important as the end result. The same goes for me. It's the whole creative process which I enjoy, the research, the discovery, the ideas, all the techniques, the journey of making it, the learning.
    I raise my virtual glass or cup of tea in my case)...To you! To life! To miniatures!

    1. Thank you so much Josje! There is definately a difference between creativity and artisticness, and it's funny that I think several artists or works of art lack any form of creativity (also by experts, so it's not just my opinion, which in the case of art is a very subjective field of course when it comes to taste and maybe also when it comes to creativity, but I think that's much easier to differentiate). Your father sounds like a remarkable man and from the use of your words I understand he is no longer alive, which must be quite a loss.. And thanks I raise my mug of tea with you!! :D

  9. Every lines in this post are golden lines. I hope everyone should read this for the perfect inspiration. There are many a post like this one. But You are master in putting the cherry in the cake. People who think of today they can't should think like today is their last and you have to make your last day successful with no regrets later. We have to see the other side of the things which we portray them as bad always. Normally we take much time in judging things, but we are unaware about its negative aspects. Anyway, thank you for such an inspirational post. Motivation Tips.

    1. Thank you so much Eric for your wonderful compliment!