photo by Alex Jones

It’s Time to Pivot Slow Down and Make Something with Your Hands

Laura Quilligan
4 min readJan 7, 2022


Happy New Year!
As we roll into 2022 we all are wide eyed with our intentions for a bright, fresh, new year. I hope we can get through the pandemic with patience, perseverance, and resilience.

Before the internet I used to do artwork more readily. Now I seem to get distracted much more instead of going to my art supplies. With all the distractions of the internet, social media and websites our attention spans become splintered and shattered.

At least this is the case for me.

Instagram is especially insidious. You can scroll and see lots of artwork, galleries and museums, which is interesting, but we become consumers of art information instead of creators of content or your own artistic expression. There’s also the problem of comparison on Instagram.

From the excellent book “Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Art-Making, by David Bayles and Ted Orland, they simply, insightfully and succinctly share this;

But the important point here is not that you have or don’t have what other artists have but rather that it doesn’t matter. Whatever they have is something needed to do their work- it wouldn’t help you in your work even if you had it. Their magic is theirs. You don’t lack it. You don’t need it. It has nothing to do with you. Period.
The above quote is applicable to most anything, not just in art.

Find the book here

We each have our own unique viewpoints, experiences, and ways we move throughout our day. When we get sidetracked by what other people are doing, we lose that very special space and connection to our inner being. Your inner voice, only unique to you, helps to protect, guide, and direct you to where you truly want to go.

Numerous studies have proven the positive results of working with one’s hands in art making. The hand, eye, and body connection of art making, gives our psyches a chance to pivot into the present moment, an important activity that relaxes our hearts and minds.

Read a report on the effects of art and the brain here

I have recently discovered some gems, in the writings of Cal Newport and Jeffrey Daivis. They are wise thought leaders for our times. Both these authors emphasize the importance of time away from the computer screen.

Surprisingly, Cal Newport is a professor of computer science at GeorgeTown University and wants us to get off the computer. In his book “Deep Work; Rules for Success in a Distracted World”, he explains the importance of finding serenity, calm, and creativity while engaging in deep and very focused non-distracted work.

Get it here You can also find him on itunes podcasts.

In Jeffrey Davis’s excellent book, “Tracking Wonder: Reclaiming a Life of Meaning and Possibility in a World Obsessed with Productivity”, he guides us through all the ways we can take time out to discover wonder. Noticing wonder is a means to embrace, slow down, relax and find joy in the ordinary. I was overjoyed when I discovered his work! And simply had to find out more, especially since my URL and creativity coaching business is

You can find his book here

From “Tracking Wonder”:
“When we bring wonder to the forefront of our daily business, and creative endeavors, it makes our fullest expression of creativity possible. It also enables fruitful connections. It is time for our culture to evolve beyond ane ideal of productivity that foregrounds control, efficiency, and discipline while ignoring what truly motivates us. Making this transformation requires that we develop a new set of skills and modes of perception, grounded in the infinite possibility of the present moment. This is Tracking Wonder.”

In aligning with his message and work, I feel delighted to know that he is sharing it with the world. You can find “Tracking Wonder” on itunes podcasts.

Sensing connection in the creative process, is the beginning of finding wonder. When one allows the spark, realization, and instance of wonder to occur, it opens the channels of our intuition, reduces stress, and supports our health. It’s the “aha” moment we all enjoy, and when you train in finding and tracking wonder, it’s available at any time.
If you have any interest in how to tap into your creativity, please get this book!

Jeffrey goes on to say:

“Wonder arrests our eyes from always hurting. We pause and take our break and let our senses receive part of the world’s surprising beauty”

As a practitioner of the expressive arts, finding and tracking wonder is integral to the practice. The practice for all of us, is a helpful way to work through our present day realities, which I still find very challenging, given our current geophysical and cultural climate especially in the US.

However, with skillful means and hope we can move forward with positive ways to engage with our present day realities.



Laura Quilligan

Artisan, certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach. Your creativity is a journey of courage and perseverance. I can help with your blocks.