Marilag Lubag's Blog

Break Time

February 11, 2016
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Every artist needs a break. It would be a grave mistake if he or she locks himself or herself in a room painting or writing day in and day out without taking any break. I guarantee that it would be a major cause of artistic block. Unless he or she is a major procrastinator, he or she had no reason to lock himself or herself away from civilization without coming into contact with humanity and nature.

An artist needs to give himself or herself some time to let the things in his or her mind process things in order to create something new. Sometimes, he or she needs to doodle and to write crazy things on paper. Then, he or she needs to give it time to settle down so that the brain could process things and to create something worthwhile.

An example would be writing this blog. The night I wrote this, I decided to write as much as I could in order to have a good idea for the blog posts during the week. I had plenty of idea for Monday’s post but I was lacking topics for Tuesday until Friday. Nevertheless, I wrote a few paragraphs for each of the remaining days even if I didn’t have anything to say then I went to sleep. The next day, my mind was coming up with a ton of ideas for the blog posts. I was able to come up with topics for the rest of the week including this post.

If you find yourself not wanting to work but you’ve been working nonstop for days, maybe it’s time for a break. Go to Starbucks. Do your chores. Go to the park. For a day or two, do something else other than writing. You can even watch a movie. Then, come back and work. You’ll notice that you have more ideas.

Every artist needs a break. It’s a way to recharge and to generate more ideas.


Starting Small

February 9, 2016
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As an artist, our vision often doesn’t match how our creation would come out. Often, our brains come up with visions of grandeur but the rest of our skills had not caught up.

In an episode of Super Girl, Kara’s boss Cat Grant told her that if Super Girl really wants to become a superhero of Superman’s quality, she needs to start small and work her way up. Her boss’ point was that Super Girl is making a lot of mistakes and the city was paying for it. Kara defended her tactics by saying that even Super Man did make his mistakes. Kara’s boss explained that starting small means that someone won’t cause a lot of damage while they improve their superhero skills.

Supergirl 021016 post

Even superheroes have to start small. Check out the show at CBS.

There was wisdom to Cat Grant’s words. After all, it would mean that if you are learning how to use a particular medium, it would mean that you would have a lot less materials to waste if you would start small. However, I myself am a very impatient person. I prefer to make a ton of mistakes, not caring if I waste a lot of materials or not, especially since my preferred medium costs me little. When it comes to yarn, all I needed to do was to unravel and I could reuse it again. When it comes to singing, I could sing all I want and only my entire family would hear if I’m singing out of tune. They’re used to hearing me sing that they don’t even care if I mess up. And writing? It doesn’t even cost anything so I write all I want even if it’s horrible.

Now, for those who had to use a more expensive medium, Cat Grant’s advice is essential. After all, oil paint costs hundreds of dollars. Playing with paint is even more costly on canvas than with strong white paper.

Nobody should bite on more than he or she could chew. For example, if one wants to write a novel, it requires determination and perseverance to finish one. It’s like making a crocheted blanket—a very daunting task. If you or someone you know plan to write a novel, you need to pace yourself and write even when you don’t feel like writing at all. Like blogging, it’s easier to fix words on a page than starting with an empty space.

It is your choice whether you prefer the Cat Grant method or the Superman method. Both would make you a hero but the damage would be very little if you do the Cat Grant method. Meanwhile, the Superman method meant that it would be a very expensive method in terms of time and money while you learn your skills.

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Bruges Lace

February 8, 2016
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Bruges Lace Gym Bag

My first Bruges Lace design: a gym bag for my clothes.

Lately, I have been obsessed with making Bruges lace. For the uninitiated, crocheted Bruges Lace was an imitation of the real thing. It involves creating straight tape made of double crochet in a straight line. You can then form it into any shape you want.

The best explanation of Bruges lace was what I found in Crochet Master’s Workshop. That was where I learned more details about its origin and how crochet was able to recreate it but was a much faster and cheaper method.

The first time I crocheted a Bruges Lace, I followed a pattern and made a scarf. Afterwards, I tried to design my own Bruges Lace design. It’s not as good as I hoped it would be but it serves a purpose. I’ve created a Bruges Lace bag. This would serve as my gym bag as the one I currently was using is beginning to be too small.

I wish it would look prettier. However, none of my first attempts in anything ever looked pretty. My first attempts usually look flawed. However, it taught me a lot about Bruges lace and on how to make them look more beautiful the next time I attempt to create another Bruges lace project.

When learning something new, it wasn’t important to make things look pretty. What’s important is to finish the project to develop the skill involved in creating it. With practice, my Bruges Lace design would improve. For now I am satisfied that I managed to create something that would hold my workout clothes using Bruges Lace.

Similarly, you have to allow yourself to create lousy projects. I’m sure that there were other people who could do better Bruges Lace design than me. I had two goals when I made this bag: to build something functional and to use the Bruges Lace design. What’s necessary is for me to finish a Bruges Lace bag. The design is secondary. After this, I plan to craft a much smaller one so that I could have somewhere to place my makeup on. That one would look much better than my gym bag since I’ve had more practice.

 

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Quality vs Quantity

February 3, 2016
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As artists, we all have to pay our dues. That being said, there was an age-old debate. What is better? Quality or quantity?

To me, quantity is better than quality. The more things you create, the more you get to practice your craft. The more you practice, the better you get. Quantity is better than quality because quantity leads to quality.

For example, if you want to become a novelist, you should write your story even if it is a total trash. Your first goal should be to finish your novel at the shortest time possible. Once you’re done with your story, you set it aside and start a new one. When you’re finally done with your second story, you go back to your first one and you edit it.

I’m good at crochet not because I was born with the talent but because I worked nonstop on my craft from the time I was nine. Everyday after school, I would get my hook and my thread, trying to get things right, making sure that everything is tight, not realizing that it’s better to do loose stitches than tight.

It took me years until I was finally able to do things well. By the time I was in junior high, I was able to show my classmates what the teacher was talking about in terms of crochet. Because of my years of practice, I learned what works and what doesn’t in terms of crochet.

If you want to be a good artist, you should create things as much as you want without worrying about the quality. Learn what works and what doesn’t, filing everything in your ever growing knowledge of your craft. Read the books about your particular craft. If you like a technique you read, use it over and over just because you like it. You have to enjoy the creative process and forget about the quality. Eventually, because you have practiced a lot, quality would follow.

If you want to be a professional writer, I encourage you to write a novel and self-publish it in sites such as Amazon or Smashwords. Be sure to self-publish it for free. I doubt that your work would have a lot of buyers. People don’t know your enough to buy from you. That’s the way it was to first time self-published authors. My fanfiction stories are just started to get traction even though I stopped publishing fanfiction four years ago. Meanwhile, since your work is not picking up the traction, keep working on other stories and improve your writing skills.

Having no one buy from you early on your writing stage is actually a blessing in disguise. That means there won’t be a lot of harsh critics wasting their time pointing out every single flaw you have as an artist. Review your work from time to time and edit it. The goal is for you to be prolific because quality follows quantity.

To me, it’s important for artists to be prolific. It’s a way for an artist to practice on their crafts and learn from their mistakes. Eventually, the artist would be so good at their crafts that people would actually buy their products not because there are too many of them but because they are good artists.

And for those who would criticize me regarding my stance? The goal of my blog is to unlock your creativity and not to improve your craft. To do that, you need to allow yourself to produce crappy work. I am well aware that other people would criticize me for my view. However, the only way to improve your craft is to practice. The more work you produce, the better you’ll get.

 

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Welcome!

Finishing


The War between Mess and Cleanliness

February 1, 2016
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People often stereotype artists for being messy and unreliable. Like other artistic stereotypes, it’s an exaggeration of how artists really are. It’s the sliver of truth among the mountain of lies. An artist needs mess in his or her life because creativity thrives in chaos. Often, there are hidden treasures hidden in the cesspool of mess. An artist could see the association—like a spark that could create the fire. As long as there’s mess, an artist could organize it to his or her advantage, creating something entirely new.

Artists thrives in the mess, either in their lives or in the way they organize their materials. That isn’t to say that an artist won’t benefit from being organized. It would simplify their lives. Last week, I was trying to remember the steps I took in order to create my dad’s beanie. However, I had forgotten the color of the yarn I used. I had to go to the yarn’s website in order to get the color of the yarn. Needless to say, it taught me to become more organized. That afternoon, I spent the entire time cataloging my yarn collection.

Having an extremely ordered environment kills creativity. For some reason, I find myself experiencing writer’s block if I had to do an outline. That being said, when I’m writing a story, I let my mind wander and let myself sort through the mess that was my mind’s vomit after I step away from my story. New ideas occur more frequently when it is between cleanliness and chaos. If an artist is extremely organized, I would have to wonder if the person is truly an artist. I understand if a painter is organized in terms of their paint or their brushes. However, if they don’t make a mess while they’re working, I often wonder if they’re using their right side of the brain—their creative mind. On the other hand, it would make things harder to find if people are extremely disorganized. Instead of making a quick edit, it would take a writer two hours just to find the special pen they use for that particular job.

An artist needs to find a balance between the two—they need to be messy enough so that they could be creative but organized enough to find the things they needed to find quickly. Finding the balance is the key to creating the project they were making in a unique and timely manner.


Welcome!

February 1, 2016
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My name is Marilag Lubag and welcome to my new blog. If you’re looking for something that would teach you how to be a better writer, you’re in the wrong blog. My focus is about how to become more creative, using my different artistic affinities as a way to explain my point.

As a singer, poet, someone who’s adept in needlecrafts, an aspiring novelist, and an aspiring crochet designer, I consider myself an artist. I have a thing or two to share about being creative. First and foremost, I understand how creative minds work. All I need to do is to look into my own self and see the things that inspire me. There are times in my life when I want to create more things. There were times when I couldn’t create anything. Then there were also times when I want to burn or destroy my recent creation. Every artist experiences these things. Part of the process is figuring out how to channel utilize all of these phases so that I could work as a consistent artist.

This blog is about my reflection on my creative process—what had worked for me in the past and what didn’t. That way, you can try it and see for yourself if they’re as effective for you as they are for me.

My blog will be divided into three topics. First, this blog would talk about how to unleash that block that is preventing people from being creative.  Second would be crochet—one of my fortes. I would talk about how crochet inspires me about my own creative process, some patterns I created, and what I learned about crochet that reflects on my creative life in general. My third topic would be coming soon. It would be a corner for my latest work-in-progress stories, which I hope to turn into novels.

I’m glad that you checked out my blog. See you next time!

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Quality vs. Quantity


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