For the love of paper

Bella Grace magazine |
The very first time my name was mentioned in a newspaper was 1988. I was 15 and had won first place in a local painting competition. Seeing my name — and photo! — in the local paper was thrilling, and also a little embarrassing. But mostly thrilling.

The next time my name appeared was as a byline attached to an article in a national Sunday newspaper. I was 26-year-old mature student in the final year of a journalism degree, working as an intern for no money but a lot of experience. That first piece spun out into a regular weekly column and heralded the beginning of my short-lived but much appreciated career as a journalist.

Between then and now there have been many published articles in newspapers, magazines and websites. The loveliest thing is seeing my name in print never gets old — it’s always as thrilling as it was that first time. Obviously these days I mostly write here and I truly love the freedom to share whatever’s in my head or heart — I am the ruler of my own virtual queendom here and I like it! But there’s also a beautiful new magazine on the block and I’m thrilled — there’s that word again — to be a part of it.

Bella Grace is Stampington’s newest baby, a gorgeously tactile cross between a magazine and a journal. Imagine your favourites bits of the creative blogosphere mixed together with dreamy photography and inspiring words. As the internet takes over the world I’m glad there are still publishers creating magazines I can hold in my hand. I love my Kindle but I prefer paper books, and I adore Pinterest but I’d still rather collage images cut out of magazines. Bella Grace is now sitting in my pile of favourites, alongside Cereal, Kinfolk, Frankie and Flow. She’s a beauty :)


To celebrate the magazine’s launch I have a copy of the premiere issue to giveaway PLUS I’m adding THREE places in the September session of Journal Your Life which starts on Monday. So that’s 4 winners in total!

To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question: what’s your favourite way to get creatively inspired?

I’ll update this post with the winners’ names on Sunday and will be in touch by email to get your deets — good luck! xo

* And the winners are! Heather, Michelle, Francine and Danielle — emails coming shortly x

245 responses
  1. Linda

    I live on the lakefront in Chicago….where a lovely park complete with bike/walking paths, gorgeous wise old trees, beautiful flowers and several urban garden plots…is what separates my apartment building from the lake. A nice long walk through the park down to the lake always fills me with inspiration. Have I mentioned the squirrels and bunnies or butterflies and dragonflies that come out to greet and entertain me? I love to take this walk, rain or shine; and am always excited to see what comes up! ?

  2. kELLY

    I am never without my notebook so I’m constantly taking inspiration from everything I encounter daily. Sometimes it could be a book, a piece of art, a person walking down the street or something I see on the Internet! But if I have my notebook with me I know that whatever I see I will be able to record and remember.

  3. Mary Norris

    Wonderful writers like you are inspiring of course! But I find ideas flow most for me when I allow myself down time from distractions – books, tv, Internet, conversation – so waiting for a flight, taking a slow walk with a sniff-every-blade-of-grass dog, sitting in the car until the kids get out of class, these are when my brain can move from list-making and problem-solving to more free-form connecting. Then of course I need to write it down before I forget!

  4. Ana

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to take a walk in a new part of town. Never fails!

  5. Ashley brooks

    Walk over to the beach, camera in hand, and start snapping shots. It’s like an instant mood booster every time.

  6. Shandi

    I’m inspired by the beach, especially when it’s not crowded. The combination of the sound of the waves and the smell on the breeze is at once relaxing and invigorating.

    I ‘d love to be a part of this September’s Journal Your Life.

  7. nathalieso

    Usually, I like to be around other people and exchange about what they do, this inspires me to do my best as well, as I want to be as inspiring to them as they are to me. Sadly, I haven’t been creatively inspired in a while. I decided to stop my journaling practice in the last month as I realized it was filled with negativity and the same things over and over again. However I still like using my little Instax from time to time.

  8. Carolynn

    My favourite way to get creatively inspired is to simply be present, to notice my environment and be open to whatever whisperings the Universe has for me.

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this giveaway. Like you, I enjoy magazines and books I can hold in my hand. This one sounds likes something I’d enjoy very much.

    I’ve also been enjoying the augustbreak2014 prompts. They’ve been a source of creative inspiration for me this past month, as well.


  9. Tanya

    I find magic in old libraries & used bookstores, the ocean, stones & crystals, the words in Virginia Woolf’s essays, and images of hula & ballet . The latter is explained by my obsession as a child but only having been able to take a few classes because my family couldn’t afford it. I get chills and moments of breathlessness when I see images of worn pointe shoes and images of hula by Kim Taylor Reese.

  10. Carolyn

    My favourite way to get inspired is to read: books, magazines, blogs, journalism pieces or short stories. Best if done while relaxing in a gorgeous bit of the outdoors when weather permits.

  11. Suzanne

    A little alone time whether it be when I am out for a walk or at a movie or driving in my car…music does it for me!

    PS I bought Bella Grace and it’s coming with me to NH for the weekend <3 the journaling course however : )

  12. Jo Liv

    Time on my own; be it a walk, a run or sitting in a cafe.. Just the feeling of having as much time as I want for my thoughts to flow without interruption. I love interiors magazines and Instagram too, and browsing bookshops.

  13. Nadja

    The beat way for me is to do some arts and crafts with my daughter. Watching her eyes light up and seeing her excitement and creativity gets my creative juices going to. I once said that when I grow up, I want to be three again. That was after I watched her paint the simplest, most beautiful piece of art by a three year old. I still stand by that.

  14. gINA

    To get my creativity flowing there are a few things that I love to do. The beach is one of those places that I often go when I need to reconnect. Finding seashells and stones often give me inspiration on how to “color” the world around me. I also love heading out to the east end of Long Island, there are so many beautiful places out there to take in everything. When I can’t do those things, the internet really helps me or looking through beautiful magazines.

  15. Aveen

    I’m a doodler. On work papers, newspapers, paper tablecloths, whatever, with any pen or pencil or bit of chalk I have to hand. Sometimes it turns into something and sometimes it doesn’t but most anything I’ve created that I’ve been proud of has started as a doodle. I really need to start keeping a sketchbook again.

  16. Nicole

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to get outside. Fresh air, the beauty of nature, and moving around is the best. xoxo

  17. ashley

    I love to be inspired by nature… The colors, sounds, beauty. And then there is always pinterest to help me find new ideas! Thanks for the giveaway!!

  18. Jay

    I light candles & incense, put some music on & flick through my collage books & art journals. ;)

  19. bethany

    I find I usually need the opposite of whatever I think will help… Most often, time and space in nature or exercising or something that really gets me out of my head for a bit…

  20. Liz

    I am most creatively inspired by nature and the exploration of new places, in fact I even try to carry artifacts from the places I have visited to continue inspiring me long after the adventure has ended. Thank you for hosting this giveaway, I am keeping everything crossed since I could really use this course during a time of great transition and attempted growth. Thank you again.

  21. Addie

    My favorite way to get creativity inspired is by watching my son – by seeing his imagination and watching his vibrance for life.

  22. lisa

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is most definitely to find some quiet time. It rarely takes any more than that, and it works nearly every time.

    I picked up a copy of Bella Grace yesterday, but I would love a chance to win one of the spots in Journal Your Life!

  23. Cathy H.

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to flip through my inspiration notebook that is full of thoughts, quotes, project ideas, pictures, and prompts. Thanks for the chance to enter!

  24. susanna

    Being in nature, exploring Pinterest and visiting art galleries & museums are just a few of the many things that spark my creativity…

  25. marsha.

    Oh, that new magazine sounds promising! There are lots of ways I can get creatively inspired… Magazines are always inspiring, but a walk around the block can be too if you pay attention! If I have to choose a favourite way it would have to be a visit to a new city… Or maybe a museum… Or a Wes Anderson film… Or… :-D.

  26. Sarah Huizenga

    I love going through old e-course material, since as artists we are constantly evolving, what I gained from the material a year ago is completely different when I go through it now. I love the new thoughts and ideas I have due to growth and a little inspirational reading.

  27. Kirsten

    First, thank you so much for the opportunity to win Bella Grace AND your journalling workshop. So exciting!

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is dancing. Something about stepping into the flow of physical movement in a non-competitive way gets my juices going for all sorts of other creative energy.

    Best, Kirsten

  28. Queen Mary

    lay on my back in the grass/leaves/snow among the trees and look at the sky and clouds.

  29. Jennie vincent

    I’ve absolutely loved being part of #augustbreak2014, it’s inspired me to become more creative. But what inspires creativity is spending time with my daughter, who is all the encouragement I need to be creative.

  30. Carol Cassara

    Iwish I had something unique to add but all the magic happens in my brain, which is chugging along 24/7. Oh, the middle of the night in bed.Yeah. That. and who WOULDN’T want a copy? and to give it to friends? How, where?

  31. Sharon wharton

    Reading poetry gets me inspired to create images, like Mary Oliver saying “have you ever tried to enter the long blank branches of other lives? -tried to imagine what the crisp fingers, full of honey, hanging from the branches of the young locust trees in early morning, feel like?”

  32. Susan Cadley

    Nature always inspires me and opens up the door to my creativity. Ideas drift in and through me when I’m outside, regaining my footing in the natural world. Nature welcomes me home each and every time.

  33. Susan mcdonnell

    I love visualising how I imagine something will be and then I can create it to match the fantasy in my head.another way is to open my heart wide through meditation which makes things very simple for me. Tge ego is put aside and true creativity flows. I find other people’s work inspirational, one comment or photo can trigger creativity in me. Asking ‘how can I serve?’ helps me to think of what I can create without worrying about what people think. Thank you Susannah

  34. Floor

    My favourite way to get creatively inspired is to stroll through the city to the photography museum, wander past the newest exhibition and afterwards sit in the cafe of the museum with a latte and my journal. Inspiration guaranteed!

  35. Kathryn S.

    True confession: my favourite way to get creatively inspired is to look at my previous work. For a long time, this embarrassed me. I thought it made my self-centered and snobby and all sorts of other negative things that I didn’t want to be. Slowly and with lots of gentleness towards myself, I’ve come to realize that appreciating myself and my creativity and my accomplishments is not only healthy and wonderful, but helps me to better appreciate others too and be inspired by (rather than intimidated by) others’ creative works. By looking at my own past projects, I find myself (1) with a boost of confidence that I can do things, (2) with excitement to see what I will create next, and (3) with a joy at sharing life’s path with like-minded creative people across history and around the globe.

  36. Deborah

    I take my sketchbook everywhere I go to get and stay inspired. I stop and really look at things, smell them, touch them and then draw them. I love leafing through and tearing images out of magazines. I also get my best creative ideS while rising my bike or making soap!

  37. Emma

    Pinterest! Plus youtube for how to videos and getting some head space outside somewhere calm (or somewhere nousy and vibrant) and writing down ideas.

  38. Karla



  39. Alandis johnson

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to go for a walk. Simply being outside in nature and taking in the scenery is enough to get my creative juju going! :)

  40. deb

    daily walks through the woods and water’s edge with my Labrador always result in creative inspiration. found treasures, be it feathers, rocks, twigs, or leaves find their way into my pockets as we roam and inevitably end up on my art table.
    thank you for this wonderful, generous giveaway Susannah.
    have a blessed weekend.

  41. Miriam

    Going for walks, going to a lake or the ocean, and reading poetry.

  42. anne

    stillness, silence, walking in nature

  43. Viv Halliwell

    I love looking through magazines like Flow and mail order catalogues, like the wonderful Gudrun Sjoden.

  44. CJ

    I love to go for a country walk or go to the coast. Space and time to think are crucial.

  45. tracey

    Recipe for Creative Inspiration:
    Tell my made up bedtime stories to my kids.
    Go for long lazy drives to my Magic places and say Hi to my favourite trees and deer.
    Have coffee with my mom and sister in the park.
    Lazy snuggles and cuddles with my hubby.

  46. Alicia

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to look at magazine images and than pull out supplies and see where it all takes me.

  47. Samantha

    I have a number of ways…Going antiquing and thrifting always makes me look at things with fresh eyes for re-purposing…love going to art shows/galleries seeing another’s perspective lights me up…walking in nature really clears my cobwebs…and finally just participating in #augustbreak has has made me look at everything more intentionally which is causing more creativity to flow. Thank you. For August break and this chance.

  48. Kate hubert

    I am a visual person so I love to look at magazines, photos, FB, Pinterest and Instagram to inspire my creativity. Just this week I have seen three raffia hats that have given me great ideas. Meditation stills my busy mind so I can focus on one project at a time.

  49. Stephanie

    my favorite way to get creatively inspired is to sit by my window at my desk, with watercolors and my journal and just fill the page, with swirls, with thoughts, just putting pen or brush to paper and letting it all go.

  50. Kate

    Magazines, photos, Instagram , Pinterest, FB all inspire my creativity as I am a visual person. Just this week I have seen three raffia hats that have given me great ideas. Meditation stills my busy mind so I can focus on one project at a time.

  51. Angee robertson

    I get inspiration through Instagram and magazines. Beautiful images on the web are so inspiring.

  52. Paula

    Other photographers, pinterest, surfing the web, books, magazines. All of it feeds my creativity and ideas.

  53. leah W

    Being outside, in my own version of the sacred alone… I might walk slowly, collecting objects that cross my path, or I might sit and watch the world go by. When the weather is nasty, a cup of tea and some good tunes and a daydream will get my creative juices cooking.

  54. Heather

    I’m a knitting addict, so I can while away many pleasant hours on Ravelry, being inspired by new patterns, friends’ projects, luxury yarns and new techniques from all over the world. Doesn’t take much to fire up my creative juices this way! Thank you for an awesome contest. :)

  55. Danielle

    I just picked up a copy of Bella last weekend & can’t wait to dive into it. Thx for the chance to win a spot in your class. My favorite way to get creatively inspired is actually by looking at scrapbooking bloggers, IG feeds, magazines and going into my own studio to look at my crafty stuff and my old projects.

  56. Sharni

    Pinterest!! So many ideas to collate, and I actually use them.

  57. Ruth dawkins

    Always a walk, wherever I am. It doesn’t matter if it’s a walk on the beach, or on city streets, getting outside wakes my senses up and gets the ideas flowing.

  58. Traci

    Reading magazines and blogs and taking in great photos which remind me that what I envision for my blog can be successfully done and appreciated.

  59. Victoria vreeken

    I LOVE the inspiration I get from all the people that sign up for Susannah’s courses,I could scroll through the blog rolls for hours,new Pinterest boards to follow plus connecting to people from their stories and comments on the private Facebook page is inspiring in itself x

  60. Kristine

    My favorite way to get inspired is to head down to our local pond with my camera and journal, in hand. There, I can clear my mind, sit in solitude & start thinking of a new blog post, or journal entry etc …

  61. Lisa

    My favorite way to get inspired comes from spending time in the mountains…I feel such energy and direction there.

  62. Susan Wasmer

    My favorite way to get inspired is to sit in a coffee shop and read a magazine from Stampington and Company. I buy at least one every month, if not three. I always find something to inspire me. I follow your blog and I was so excited to see you are contributing to Bella Grace.

  63. Bec

    Walking on grass, looking up at trees and clouds. Sitting quietly long enough to really notice all the details :)

  64. Alana

    Hi Susannah! My creative inspiration always appears first thing when I wake up. I grab my journal straight away and scribble down whatever words fall out. Sometimes it is just random words from my dreams , sometimes it’s my next blog post, and sometimes it’s a creative solution to a problem in my life.
    I also love to grab my journal and head outside. There is something about writing with my feet on the ground and the wind on my face that creates magic.

  65. Ariane Cagle

    Some ways I get creatively inspired is go to an art gallery or museum, look at arts-related magazines or books, and to read some of my favorite blogs (and look at the beautiful photos) like yours.

  66. Beven

    For me, spending time with my mom inspires creativity. She’s 80+ years old, and has more creativity in her little finger than I could ever hope to possess.

  67. NAOMI

    A long walk by the ocean is my favourite way to get inspired. There’s nothing like that combination of fresh air, calm and the tranquil trance of walking to free up my mind. Love it!

  68. kira Elliott

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is journal. This gives me space to roam around my interior and encounter what is going on in my heart and mind. When I am full of lots of anxiety, I have to move my body first, that means yoga, going for a walk or bike ride. And if that does not get me going, taking my camera out for walk to see the world in a new way. Some days it takes all three. Love your work and look forward to reading your article in Bella.

  69. Carly

    My favourite way to get creatively inspired is to listen film scores. The instrumental from Jane Eyre and City of Angels are absolutely beautiful and I find myself imagining so many things ??

  70. Lauren BURKITT

    I like to go for a walk or dance. Get fresh air and move my body.

  71. Sherry Galey

    My way is to slow way, way down and then look around me with new eyes and see what thrills me – it could be a certain slant of light, a fascinating shape or texture, an arresting colour or a simple moment — and then try to capture its essence with my camera.

  72. ~Christy

    My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to light some candles, turn on some music, clear off the island in the kitchen and pull out a huge piece of paper. Then anything goes…paints, pictures, collage, writing, what have you. Open space and time. Paradise…

  73. karen

    hmm “what’s your favourite way to get creatively inspired?” mine is to start creating. when i sit at the table and actually do some art, i always feel inspired :)

  74. Avni Trivedi

    To get present to my body sensations, emotions and to what’s going on around me. Finding a space to settle into, dropping in, helps me to find more energy and inspiration.

  75. Heather

    Oooh so lovely and adore that pic! My favorite way to get creatively inspired is to journal, read and snap pics with my iPhone so in essence to notice what is tugging at my soul!

  76. Sarah Lauren

    To develop a balance between my past experiences and the vision I have of my future. I have so many gorgeous memories and photographs from my past that inspire me to keep moving forward towards bigger and better things, and that serve as creative and inspirational fuel for my present and the future I am building.

  77. Joy

    My favorite way of sparking my creative inspiration is to connect with divine energy – and the way I choose to connect is dependent upon my mood and energy that day. But, it’s all about centering into divine connection – whether that is eating a delicious, juicy pluot and appreciating everything about it (including it’s temporary placement – they are seasonal here) or laughing with my children or walking at ocean’s edge at sunrise/sunset/moonrise…..or a few yoga stretches with deep cleansing breaths, or simply saying thank you and looking around the space I am in, allowing that gratitude to open me to flow…

  78. Jillian

    Reading beautiful words. Books, blogs, journals. The words just flow and the channels open.

  79. AG

    Hanging out with some of my favorite doodles/kiddos/littles is the best and fastest way to find spark and inspiration. When they are not available to play then a long ramble on the beach, through the woods or pounding the pavement of the urban jungle of NYC will do the trick always with my camera and cuppa to go…

  80. lindsay

    sitting at my desk, looking at old photos, listening to records, surrounded by others’ art and words…

  81. shon't

    I have a conversation with the thoughts, situations, scenarios and ideas that float randomly through my mind. I simply join in the banter, and invariably, without effort or warning, Creativity and Direction show up and contribute to the dialogue. :-)

  82. Rachel

    Watching the sunrise in the beach and breathing in the new day.

  83. Sooz

    My favourite way to get creatively inspired would be getting outside with my camera, walking around the village where I live and the surrounding countryside. Getting the blood moving around my body reinvigorates me, and the thoughts and connections begin to flow.

    However, by best ideas seem to reliably come when I’m in the shower! I need to invest in a waterproof notebook and pen…

  84. Zsófi jeney-domingues

    I eat, drink, breath, comsume and collect pictures. Pictures, pictures, pictures inspire me.

  85. Annika

    My favorite way to become inspired and get creative is listening to podcasts like Jen Lee’s interview / conversation series.

  86. Emmy

    My favorite way to get inspired is to see or read the fruits of creative work of others (for instance the short stories of Johannes Urzidil)

  87. Cheryl

    I have three favourite sources of inspiration:

    – climb to the top of a hill or walk deep in a forest. It re-sources me and clears my head.
    – take a long train journey with a journal and favourite pen. Ideas find me, fellow passengers become characters in my stories, the anticipation of arriving at my destination fills me with wonder.
    – buy 3 magazines I am unfamiliar with (preferably with good photographic content and in another language).

  88. ferah haddrell

    It looks like an interesting publication,there’s still something thrilling about turning real pages. I get inspired by travel,within the UK&abroad,it requires me to pay more attention to my surroundings. The same goes for visiting art galleries,beautiful buildings,parks,people watching. It all feeds me&encourages me to get creative.

    Many thanks,xx

  89. Angela

    For inspiration, my process is always the same.
    Look on the outside; books, blogs, nature. Then look on the inside; thoughts, feelings, sensations. Combine the findings of the outside AND the inside. There’s always something at the end of that process that sparks the burning fire of being inspired.

  90. Gem

    I pack up my flask of tea/hot chocolate my journal,notebook and pen strap them to the back of my bike and off i go……
    I cycle down to my favourite spot sit by the water and write to my Hearts content,whether it be poetry or in my journal.

  91. Courtney

    To be completely honest I am so inspired by Pinterest and beautiful blogs like yours! In addition, I like to sit down with a journal and make myself a list of what’s possible.

  92. Lisa

    Going outside for a hike on the trails near my home is the best way for me to get creatively inspired. My other trick is just to start…often it is the act of beginning to create that brings on the inspiration. Thanks Susannah!

  93. Chris

    I go for a walk…no matter the season, time of day, etc., there is something that I will encounter that enriches my life and creativity.

  94. Kim McM

    I go outside. Fresh air and nature have a way or clearing my head and recharging my batteries.

  95. Barb

    I take a break and go for a walk with my camera or phone and just look for the simple, beautiful things to photograph …

  96. JAMIE d.

    My favorite thing to do is to spend time at the library looking through all the creative books that are available. But honestly, a clean house inspires me most. I can’t do anything creative until I clean up.

  97. Julie

    I get creatively inspired when I walk through a craft store and see supplies, and, paints, and stickers and paper all waiting to be taken home and made into someone’s art, I get lots of ideas just browsing, and then I go home and work in my art journal.

  98. Charline

    Water and silence which often lack with 4 kids :)

  99. Stephanie

    Getting quiet, journaling in the early morning, reading, running through the woods and reconnecting with nature…these are the things that pump my creativity. And sometimes just rearranging a room to get a new perspective.

  100. Isabelle

    I’m inspired by the books I read. By the descriptions that allow my mind to create it’s own vision of the atmosphere. Books, more than movies, and I agree, nothing beats the feeling of the real thing.

Comments are closed.