Inch by Inch, Word by Word and a Dash of Fuck, Yes

Ten Things That Inspired Me This Week

Photo Credit: Me (Hunkering down for a week long snowstorm)

1. I took a digital vacation to the Kurdish region of Iraq.

I was in dire need of down time and an escape. I arrived at the bottom of the page feeling refreshed, enchanted by captivating scenery, stories of locals and impressed there was only one hate comment.

I invite you to virtually travel there as well. It’s about a ten minute trip and well worth the journey.

2. Duct tape

My new line of Duct tape accessories is set to go live on my Amazon Handmade shop next week. It’s been awesome to focus on something out of my every day ordinary comfort zone.

I’ve been motivated to step outside my creative boundaries and try new things. There’s this sensation of excitement attached to the possibility of failure. I’m in a phase where I’m riding the high.

It’s an indescribable feeling to see an idea transform into a finished project.

Photo Credit: Me (Rainbow handbag)

I’ve been doing a lot of sketching lately which is out of the norm for me too. Perhaps I’ll share on that next week. I’m still feeling a bit shy.

3. Martha Gellhorn

In my 2018 quest to read all the books I own before purchasing anymore I have come across quite a few gems. I’ve always been a fan of Martha Gellhorn. I’ve read, The Point of No Return, The Trouble I’ve Seen, Letters of Martha Gellhorn, The View from the Ground, The Arabs of Palestine in the 1961 edition of The Atlantic Monthly and I recently read The Face of War.

This week I began reading, Travels with Myself and Another. This has shifted Gellhorn’s writing abilities into a different spotlight for me as it’s the only travel writing I’ve read of hers. She wrote it in complete Martha Gellhorn fashion by focusing on the best of the worst places she’s ever traveled to, and wrote about her experiences there opposed to pleasantries and highlights.

Her adventures are inspirational and her words indirectly speak of her accomplishments during a period of time when women were not permitted to accomplish such things.

As I turn each page I find myself questioning why I’m not following through with all I’m capable of doing. I think in some sense people want to do amazing things that will be remembered forever. I believe she did amazing things with no intentions for recognition. It was a way of life for her. It was her calling and a giant, swift kick in the ass for me. I best get to writing.

Martha proves to me true journalism will never die. It will forever live inside the pages of her books.

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4. The Art Assignment

I say I’m not a fan of television but truth be told I get hooked on series just like the next guy. My latest addiction is, The Art Assignment presented by PBS and available to view for free on YouTube.

Sarah Green takes us all over the world and Art is used as a vast term. I’m a junkie when it comes to learning. It doesn’t seem to matter how old I get. There’s always so much more to learn. If art, literature, history, travel and culture are your thing as it is mine, I definitely recommend The Art Assignment.

5. This article written by Taryn De Vere

Taryn offers perspective on asking followers and fans to make a contribution for creative endeavors. No spoilers but it’s something I hadn’t put thought into before and I felt a bit more educated on the subject when I was done reading. It’s inspired me to try different angles and ideas in my pursuit of a living wage.

6. Blick Art in Iowa City

When I moved to Iowa the first two places I looked for was the library and art supply store. For me walking into an art supply store should instantly spark ideas and zap you with a burst of colorful motivation. When I walked into Blick for the first time I was zapped.

The library is my go to when I feel drained of story ideas. Blick does the same for art. Not all art stores are created equal. Blick offers more than just supplies. They offer workshops and a creative community too. It’s a bit of a trip from my house to the city but I found myself there this week, again.

I struggle to get out of the house so any place that motivates me to leave is with no doubt an inspiration. Blick is a super awesome and feel good hangout spot.

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7. The ArT FoR LuNcH membership concept

I’m six months in and my Patreon has gained very little traction. This week I was inspired to dig deep into research and see what changes I could make. When it was all said and done I came up with a few new ideas and transformed, “support,” into, “membership.”

For as little as $1, $5 or $10 a month you can look forward to weekly exclusive stories, freebies, monthly themes, community engagement and join me behind the scenes as I document my work with notes, shitty first drafts, photos and videos.

You can read more about it here:

8. Medium’s new featured stories

I feel inspired by this because I don’t think I’m the kind of writer who could ever expect to find one of my stories in Medium’s new click bait Featured section of stories on the same topics over and over again.

There is talented writing to be found on the homepage but there is very little originality. Medium is starting to look like all the other online publications I was trying to avoid when I became a member.

I think most people wouldn’t feel good about not being on the front page but I feel good knowing my writing style is not meant to be there.

9. Snow, snow and more snow

For some reason snowstorms really inspire me. I think it’s because snow brings calmness and the opportunity to experience the escape from every day life. It’s been snowing most of the week here in Iowa and it sure is beautiful.

I spend more time reading, writing and creating. I run outside like a five year old dressed safe and snug in my snowsuit, subzero boots, hat, gloves and enjoy the quiet as my footprints are the first to sink into the fresh snow.

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(*side note: I’ve discovered I greatly dislike shoveling snow. It is not at all inspiring. I’m not even sure why people do it. Stop doing it.)

10. I was cleaning out my OneDrive when I found this photo:

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Fuck, yes.

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Erika Sauter is a writer and artist. She currently lives in Small Town, Iowa with her husband, children and eight cats. Her hobbies include excessive reading, eating her feelings, and shamelessly adding self-promo links in her bio. She feels awkward writing about herself in third person. You can follow her creative endeavors on Medium.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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