Wednesday, November 4, 2015


There is power in what you love.

Everything that interests you has meaning. Every topic, theme, design, colour, material, TV show, genre - everything you find yourself returning to again and again holds a very special, very specific place in your life. All of these things, these ideas that we can’t seem to tear ourselves away from, or things that we love desperately, are what make up our own unique creative DNA. And if you can uncover these things, if you can find the strings connecting all of them, there comes a deeper understanding of who we are, what makes us tick, and where to focus our energy.

I’ve heard this referred to as our ‘vein of gold’, our ‘magna carta’ or manifesto, our creative DNA - whatever you call it, it’s the fabric that makes up how we create, however we create. It’s the reason we find ourselves drawn to books about religious icons in the pre-1400s, or constantly reading news stories about world politics. It’s the reason we love expressionist art, and can’t seem to ‘get’ sci-fi. It’s the reason we’re drawn to the colour yellow, and can’t stop staring at the night sky. And when we look closely at all these seemingly seperate things, we can see the underlying currents that draw our attention. Perhaps the interest in early religious icons and global politics hints at a deep-rooted interest in times of change in civilizations. Or perhaps your love of the stars and expressionist art hints at your love for the infinite.

When we begin to draw these connections, we can guide our energy, we can adjust our focus, we can align our lives with the things that we love.


First thing to do is sit down with a big piece of paper, or a new word document open, and just start writing. Start listing everything that you love. Try and dig deep, be specific, and try to cover every aspect of your life; That one chord that always gives you shivers. The colour gold, especially with pink. Anything with a cute face on it. Every studio ghibli movie ever. The smell after it rains. 

Also another resource: TV Tropes. Enter any specific book, show, movie, and browse through the different tropes in it. Sometimes the basic underlying structures in what we love are the real things we love. Give it a try.  

If you find yourself stuck, go through your senses, and the things you love with each of them:
Touch: fabrics you love, feelings you love, weather/seasons
Sight: Colours you love, artists you like, photographs and art styles you love
Sound: Bands you love, instruments you like, specific sounds
Smell: since smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, think of specific memories and what you love about them.
Taste: think savory food you love, desserts you’ve had, etc

And then you can go through each type of media. Start big, then narrow it down:
Book genres you love (fantasy, biographies, picture books)
Types of TV shows (crime shows, dramas, romance)
Movies you love (comedies, animated, tragedies)
News/ Blog stories you enjoy (world news, DIYs, self-help posts)
Music you listen to (rock, indie / piano-based, vocals)


Got a nice, long list? Great. Now look through the list and pay special attention to your body and your heart. Read each thing you’ve written, and notice when your heart seems to flutter out of your chest. The things that send your mind whirling in to deeper thoughts. The things that make your salivate, make your hunger, the things that light a fire within you. Highlight these things (or start a new document). Start to parse the list for repeats. 

Take only the things that make you glow inside.

As you look, you’ll probably realize that you’ve got a bunch of repeats along it, too. If you find yourself repeating a lot of things that don’t make your heart swell, try and figure out why they’re on your list so much. Is it something the people around you love? (Maybe you need to include that person, if there is a specific person’s interests that keep popping up). Is it a part of something bigger, or something smaller? Maybe you’ve written a lot of modern sci-fi titles on your list, but what you really love are books that examine human nature, or feature really cool ray guns. Try to flip and turn each thing so it catches the light differently.

Try to combine and refine all the mess in to the purest forms of what you love
We’re not looking for lists that say things like ‘anime, heavy metal, plants’. Dig deep, as deep as you can, to get to the real things you love. Anime might turn in to ‘animated Japanese myth’.

By the time you’re done this, you should have a list of hopefully at least 20 fire-starting things from your huge brainstorm. You should have a list that makes you feel like you’re flying, bring tears to your eyes, make you feel mega-inspired.


Take this list. Decorate it. Display it. Be inspired by it. Learn from it. 

Make a big ass image of it and put it somewhere you see it every day. Have it set on your phone. Carry it with you.

Be proud that you can understand yourself a bit more, and treasure the things you love. When we are guided by what we love, when we follow the trails our hearts send us out on, we are living our lives right (I mean, as long as your loves are legal and all that. Hurting people or things, in any way, isn’t gonna work out real well. But you know that).

I would love to see what you come up with - let me know if you make one.

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