When I just feel like i want to create something and, for whatever reason, i can’t seem to get anything to inspire me, nor can I muster the will to just power through, I’ve found that it pays for me to fall back on something simple and reliable to do.

I am going to admit it. I am an adult who takes pleasure in coloring.  I’ve graduated from basic coloring books to more complex designs, but I still like to rip into a brand new box of Crayolas with as many colors available as possible. The familiar tang of wax fills the air and I think about the first color I’m going to choose, that first spot I’m going to fill.

I rediscovered coloring in high school.  Put a bunch of small town kids in a gymnasium with nothing to do while they’re between rounds of a speech and debate meet and, usually, they don’t cause a whole lot of trouble.  Some of them will play cards. Some of them will have deep philosophical discussions.  Some of them will trade books back and forth, and some of them will sneak off to see a significant other they haven’t seen since the last speech meet.  Somewhere, somehow, someone started bringing crayons and coloring books.  I have no idea how it started. All I know was that for a couple of years, you’d walk into the common area designated for kids to congregate between rounds and you’d see several teenagers, many of them dressed up for competition, hunched over coloring books busily laying down vibrant colors on the page.

No one ever gave anyone else grief about it, surprisingly.  Instead, we traded around coloring books and crayons so readily, I’m pretty sure that all of our Kindergarten teachers would have beamed with pride.  It was calming and relaxing in a way that nothing else was during those nerve-wracking moments where you had nothing else to do but contemplate whether you’d practiced your speech enough, if you’d finally get through that tricky bit of it without stumbling, if you’d go up against that kid that was pretty much professional caliber already.  Instead, you could focus on that tiny little space on that one single page and consume your world with transforming it into a bright splotch of color.

These days, instead of coloring books, I signed up for the e-mail newsletter from Dover Publications (www.doverpublications.com).  Every week, I get free coloring pages e-mailed to me.  They have some great, intricate designs for coloring, including some eyeball bending geometric ones. 

Kaleidoscopia also has some gorgeous books.  There are free coloring pages to download for you to try out on their website (http://kaleidoscopiacoloringbooks.com/) as well.  I don’t recommend using those if you’ve got a headache or are taking painkillers, though. They will not help.

Sometimes, I really just want to make something beautiful but can’t seem to gather the wherewithal to actually do it.  It may be a lack of coordination or a misfire in inspiration or just a simple case of not being able to figure out exactly what it is I want to create.  Setting crayon to paper and making a line drawing come alive more often than not helps me resolve that brief hiccup in creativity.  There have been times when I’ve even had pieces of a project fall right into place while I’m coloring because I stopped worrying it so hard. 

So, yes, I am an adult.  I color.  I am not ashamed.  It seems to be pretty good for me.

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