I’ve been blogging since my oldest son was a baby. It’s strange; I never realized how having children marked time in different ways. I started using Instagram a few years later when I was pregnant with my now-seven-year-old. Somewhere, that long ago, I started following two of my favorite people on the internet; over the years, I’ve become a “superfan” of them both. My autocorrect wanted to change that to “superman,” but I really only mean that I’ve bought almost everything my two favorite follows have made. Come along; you’ll see.
The first one is Elise Cripe. She blogs-when she feels like it. Her Instagram feed is cheerful and full of projects she made herself. She has had a podcast on and off for years. She makes the planner that I’ve used faithfully for the past five or six years. She has a book on goal-setting. She has a newsletter that you should subscribe to. This past year, she embarked on the Make36 Project, where she made and sold a different project each month in batches of 36 or 360.
She’s taught me how to take pictures and how to frame out projects to make repeated work easier. She’s taught me to try new things and learn as I go. I don’t sew; I never intend to sew, but even her enjoyment over sewing reminds me to enjoy the things that I love to do. Her family is moving to a new house later this year and honestly, I’d probably watch a live-feed of her painting her walls.
The second is Austin Kleon who describes himself as “a writer who draws.” He has a weekly newsletter that I subscribe to and also a substack that you can pay for. He does blackout poetry (I did one once; my husband said it was dark.) He’s written a trilogy of books on creativity; they are my favorite to recommend and go through one more time. Occasionally he does podcast interviews and I always listen, even if he’s just talking about his favorite pens. I write in pencil 90% of the time, y’all.
He’s taught me to think about my process, what to share and what not to share yet. He showed me to note what’s interesting and then trace back what was interesting to those makers. He’s taught me to put the work out there and make an online space a portfolio. Also, to have a newsletter. He documents the owl that (sometimes) lives in his backyard, games he is playing with his boys, and his analog desk.
Even though much of my work looks markedly different from both Elise’s and Austin’s, they have helped form me and the way I work. Years ago, I started the hashtag #personalgradschool because of their influence. It started as art projects and then reading/writing and I would never have been ready for seminary if I hadn’t started there. It was vital for me to learn how to stick to my own deadlines. That has paid off time and again in my life. This also makes me remember how much I miss drawing. I’m not sure how to stick it back in my schedule but I’m going to try.
I’m grateful for how both of them make the internet a great place to spend a little bit of time. But just a little, because we should all be enjoying our own lives. Maybe writing it down and documenting it with photos too.