my big creative year : the importance of no and what I love about collage

the importance of no

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”

I say yes when I should say no. I think it’s most often to please or to avoid immediate discomfort, sometimes to avoid taking the time to make a truly thoughtful decision or sometimes for fear of lack. Firm, thoughtful, timely NO and carefully considered YES are things I need to work on.

What I do with my time is defined by what I say yes to – say yes to too much of the wrong stuff and the right stuff – the things I really love doing get squeezed out. Halfway through MY Big Creative Year there is still so much, so many ideas and things I want to experiment with waiting on the back burner for me to be less busy with my busyness.

I came across two great articles about creativity, time and NO I hope you’ll check out:

Creative People Say No
by Kevin Ashton

If You Don’t Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will
by Greg McKeown

A note on the collage:

It was a good thing to say yes to. Collage is something I love playing with but hardly ever make time for. Time experimenting with mood and pallet, accepting and rejecting ideas,  trying things on,  it lends itself to “what if” thinking and can draw me out of my worn in grooves. My reason for starting was because I needed an illustration for this post and I intended to be efficient about it. As soon as I began it became clear that somebody just really wanted to make a collage. I got lost in it, spent too much time and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

no quote


  1. Responding to your questions about the holidays…I was thinking what I would like to see for decorations…have you tried making cardinal birds? Ones that would sit on a Christmas tree would be pretty neat – or maybe stand among evergreen branches on a mantel? And then my mind went to miniature ships – wouldn’t that be cool, a whole tree decorated with a flotilla of little ships…maybe like the paper mache ones I’ve tried from your site in the past, only smaller? Of course, owls can wear seasonal clothing too – nice on mantels for autumn and maybe sporting a red or green waistcoat for the Christmas season?

    I believe if one is going to make decorations for Christmas, it’s good to start early, but I don’t really think about Christmas projects until the weather gets a bit cooler, and the leaves have fallen. So if the pictures are there to tantalize by mid October, I might actually get creating by November!

    I’ll be interested to see what you come up with!

  2. Ann: did you do that collage in photoshop? I love it! Fantastic! XXOO Cat

  3. Denise L.

    “…spent too much time and thoroughly enjoyed myself.” Now that is what I love to hear!

  4. Ann,

    I just want to thank you for the links to the articles about saying no. It was very affirming because I so often feel the same way. seeing that others do too was incredibly helpful.

  5. Ruth Hoefert

    Collage is my favorite thing. It is putting a puzzle together from scratch. It is the one thing I work on all the time, it doesn’t matter what the season is. I am trying to repurpose containers. I need to do the ship yet, finish the horse I made and do more of those. On to a creative New Year!

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