Gary Bacon

Plan for Everything, Including Spontaneity

Are you getting comfortable?

Due to your brain loving efficiency, you are creating and relying on habits all the time. The Habit Loop. They can be good or bad. It’s great when you are building positive habits, and your brain goes on autopilot. This frees mental resources up to tackle deep work…except for when complacency sets in.

Give Me That Inspiration

What are you doing to feed your soul? When making our Art, we live off of inspiration. It’s what drives our work and keeps us improving.

A red flag when getting older is to let yourself get stuck, complacent and comfortable. Again, we must be mindful.

I loved this excerpt from Debbie Harry on punk, refusing to retire and sex at 69, in the Telegraph,

‘But there is also a mental element to aging, she says. If you stay creative, interested and open to new things, you won’t stagnate. “You have to look around, keep new influences coming in. A lot of people sort of pick a world to live in, and they’re comfortable in that – which can be disastrous.”

You have to keep pushing yourself. To make a ruckus. Shake things up. Break the routine every once and awhile.

Plan for Spontaneity

I have a journal that I keep for my “life experiences”. It’s a bullet list of moments that I want to remember, new experiences that I’ve had, and a great place to express gratitude. However, this documents events in the past.

Not having enough adventures? It’s time to make a second list. Be detailed!

Plan your adventures out.

While great to have, routines can often lead to being stuck in autopilot mode. It’s time to get those creative juices flowing and think of new ways to stretch yourself.

Example of an adventure list:

  • Visit MoMa in NYC
  • Make pickles for the first time
  • Visit a new state park and go hiking
  • Read a book from a genre you normally don’t read
  • Start a picture journal
  • Turn poetry into artwork

Let your mind go wild. Lean towards the unexpected, outside of your comfort zone, and ask friends for ideas. It’s time to shine a light on those blind spots and get inspired!

Scratch Pad

I keep three journals now.

  1. I have one for my day job. I use it to keep quick notes to myself and making quick sketches of wireframes in.
  2. I have another for a formal personal journal. This is where I condense all my scraps of information into a narrative that makes sense… mostly.
  3. I have a small red journal that I use as my scratch pad.

From the Creative Learning Spiral by Austin Kleon ( it’s like a quote, but an image… ),

Thinking more and more about the spiral, I remembered a drawing I drew for someone who asked me a question about how I balanced creating and consuming.

Documenting those quick “aha moments”, writing down notes from a book you’ve read, or even just jotting down ideas for later exploration is the perfect use for this little red notebook.

It gives you a quick, tangible, place to store ideas before they fly away.

By consistently reviewing your captured thoughts, you can turn those concepts into your Art.