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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

We’ve had several conversations on this blog about goal setting, the importance of writing your goals down and breaking those goals into quarterly/monthly/weekly/daily tasks.

We’ve also talked about ‘checking off’ those daily tasks and crossing items off ToDo lists.

And while I love crossing items off a list, or putting a check next to a “big goal”, I’ve found great value in other visuals, too.

For instance, for exercise – I give myself a star or a smiley face or a “great job” sticker on a day that I have at least 30 minutes of exercise. I have 12 small months taped to a kitchen door, so I can easily see how many days I’ve exercised throughout the year whenever I want. It’s quite inspiring.

Race bibs from 2012

Race bibs from 2012

Last year, I completed 2 races – a 5K and a triathlon. I tacked the race bibs to my bulletin board (as well as giving myself those stickies for exercising those days!)

I stopped exercising all together after the triathlon since I didn’t have any other races in mind. At year’s end, I knew I had to make 2013 better.

I decided that if I had (about) a race a month, I’d have to keep moving. My goal is to complete at least 12 races. (I’m new to running, so don’t feel I need to win, place, or show — just complete a race and focus on improving.)

Race bibs from 2013

Race bibs from 2013

This year, to date, I’ve completed 11 races, including a triathlon and a 5K obstacle course. When I look at the wall of all my bibs, I can’t help but smile, be proud of myself, and be motivated to keep exercising so my next race will be even better.

I’m currently registered for 2 more races, so will hit 13 total. I’m not superstitious about ’13′ at all, but I may try for 14.

1-Mile Pace listed on index card

1-Mile Pace listed on index card

Another visual I have is  an index card list of my “1-mile pace” numbers. I had my fastest pace yesterday!

Visuals make an impression!

I’m absolutely motivated to increase my fitness goals for next year.

For writing goals, I tape up class certificates, awards, as well as kudo notes and emails. And I track business/income submissions on green index cards, so at a glance at my corkboard I know how many projects I’ve completed that have generated income.

Posting visuals of any achievement is a great idea. Remember having grade school papers put on the refrigerator door? First drawings being proudly displayed on some wall in the house? How about those pencil marks on a door jam that showed how much we grew in a year? Did they motivate you to do more? Weren’t you curious to see how far/tall you could grow? (How far can you grow now as a writer?)

Let your inner child out a bit.

Show off your accomplishments, even if only to yourself  – every time you look at the wall where you’ve taped them, hung them, pinned them, or trapped them with a magnet – you’ll smile and feel proud.

Good idea?

Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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writer mind

dummy soundcloud writers mind

Writers are like aliens. We explore and dissect, question and document. We study the ways of the human heart and soul with a probing and unflinching eye. The writer’s mind is a many-faceted marvel that defies logic in order to create magic, all within the constraints of twenty-six letters and a few punctuation marks.

The writer’s mind is prone to wandering. Writers do not live life the same way non-writers do. We are more of the world and yet always slightly apart from it. We exist simultaneously in multiple worlds – the “Real World,” the world as we see it, and worlds of our own devising. It’s no wonder then, what with our minds being in two or more places at once, that we sometimes appear distracted or a bit dotty.

The writer’s mind is full of wonder. We are endlessly curious about everything and everyone. We are avid people watchers, stealing bits of dialog, mannerisms, and expressions. We collect the world piece by piece, tucking places, objects, and ideas away in the labyrinthine corridors of our brains. Most of all, we ask, “What if?” We question the truth and ponder the possibilities. We expand the universe with our thoughts and our words.

The writer’s mind is a working mind. It rarely sleeps, and even in slumber continues its efforts through dreams. Our minds perform their amazing feats of creation while balanced on the line between craft and imagination, practice and inspiration. Half artist, half linguistic scientist, we filter the world and all our experiences through the context of story – sifting and separating the details so we can see how the puzzle pieces fit together.

The writer’s mind is full of worry. It circles again and again around the same fears and doubts like a hunger-lean tiger, pacing and pacing, wearing a track in the floor. Will I ever have another idea? Will anyone understand? Will anyone care?  Am I good enough? We chew relentlessly on our anxieties and insecurities even though we know they offer no sustenance. The foreboding never goes away, no matter the scope or height of our success.

The writer’s mind is wily. When we don’t feel up to the task of writing, our minds are happy to offer all manner of distractions and diversions. We are masters of procrastination, being able to justify almost any activity (or inactivity) as “research” or “part of the process.” Left to their own devices, our writers’ minds might very well weasel their way out of finishing anything.

But, at the end of the day, the writer’s mind is wonderful. It is the source of our inspiration and the tool of our craft. Sometimes partially insane and always partly magic, our minds are home and haven to the wonder of our hearts and the wanderings of our intellect. Our writers’ minds hum busily in the background even when we are performing the most mundane tasks – clearing the table, waiting in line at the bank, mowing the lawn. Though we perceive sudden moments of insight as epiphany, they are really just the hard won fruits of our minds’ ceaseless labors.

The writer’s mind may lead us down rabbit holes and into dark corners. It may confound us with questions that have no answers and deceive us with doubts. It may taunt and torture us in the predawn hours as we wrestle with questions of plot and character, story arc and structure. But I don’t know a single writer who would trade her curious, creative, renegade writer’s mind for anything in the world.

I know I wouldn’t.

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

Image  Credit: Cover from Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer (affiliate link)

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My week carried me away recently. I knew my calendar was packed and I had writing to do, but I didn’t realize I’d gotten overwhelmed until I was out on one of my walks.

Notice the path

Notice the path

I try to walk 45 to 60 minutes a day to (somewhat) balance all the sitting in front of the screen that I do. While out on one walk last week I caught myself having some heavy sighs — those sighs, or exhales that accompany a sound.

My first thought was the humidity was causing me to breath heavy. Then I thought I was walking too fast (if that’s possible). But then the “ah ha’ hit me, as I had another loud exhale, that my mind wasn’t focused. Thoughts were flying all over the place and I wasn’t even paying attention to my route, nevermind to my breathing or anything in the world around me. My body was physically in one place and my mind in another.

So I stopped where I was and took some purposeful deep breaths until I ‘noticed’ my breathing… and then birds chirping… the slight breeze … the scent of flowers … and so on.

Stop to smell the flowers

Stop to smell the flowers

It’s so easy to let life’s tasks overwhelm us at times, isn’t it?

I’d like to suggest something, for all of us who have these moments. Tomorrow, before starting the craziness that our days entail, let’s stop, take a breath, and appreciate the beauty of the moment we’re in.

Enjoy the morning cup of (iced) coffee, tea, or glass of milk instead of inhaling it on the go. Step outside and take a stroll around the house, through the garden, or down the driveway instead of doing a chore.

Savor every drop of the morning beverage and be aware of each step taken. Take the time to ‘see’ every single thing we can possibly take in with our eyes. Touch what we can, listen to the birds, stop and smell the flowers.

Let’s appreciate each and every moment for what it brings into our morning. Enjoy what flows into our bodies through all your senses. Keep taking those deep, fulfilling breaths.

Then, when we feel refreshed (and wide awake), then we can sit at the keyboard to type, or notepad to write, and turn a similar focus to what we’re writing, letting go of all thoughts of any other things we need or hope to do.

Soon enough, I know we’ll find words flowing. It will be as if time doesn’t exist. We’ll write and write and write. We’ll be in sync with our muses, and it’s quite possible that when we look up, we’ll find more time has passed than what we expect.

That’s what it’s like to live in the moment. I’ve done it before, and it’s an unsurpassed feeling. I’m going to strive to get that back in my mornings this week.

What do you do to get refocus on what’s important?

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is a self-employed writer and editor. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Biznik.

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I’m adding another ‘thank you‘ to Jamie’s to those of you who participated in the recent NHWN poll. Great feedback.

Onward! In April, I wrote about a 24-hour short story contest I find to be fun, stressful, inspiring, challenging, entertaining, and a great exercise for my muse. Do you see the ups and downs in that last sentence? I have a lot of emotions when writing for a contest, assignment, or a client. And I like that. If I didn’t have a mix of emotions, then I’d take that as a sign I’m too comfortable. Growth comes from pushing into the ‘uncomfy zone,’ not from the same ol’ same ol’.

With the next rendition of the contest coming this Saturday, and based on survey feedback, I thought I’d delve into some tips for writing a story or article with a deadline of a day or less.

These tips can also be applied to blog posts, interviews, and more.

  1. Know the assignment. If it’s a contest, be familiar with the rules. If it’s a client project, make sure you’re clear on the deliverable. If it’s an article, blog post, or interview, know the key points to be covered.

    Brainstorm on the screen or on paper

    Brainstorm on the screen or on paper

  2. Write out initial thoughts – brainstorm. Turn off your internal editor (easier said than done sometimes, I know) and start freewriting ideas. Make lists, mindmap, scribble, draw, whatever it takes to get initial ideas downloaded from your brain. Use a timer, or write until you run dry, whatever works best. For me, a timer keeps the internal editor from speaking too loudly.
  3. Step away. Turn the paper over, minimize the window, close the laptop, walk away from your desk, or close your eyes. I find it helpful to change gears completely and go for a walk, have a snack, listen to music, read e-mail, or anything that doesn’t relate to the project. The mind is still turning ideas over, and likes to do so when you aren’t paying close attention.
  4. Come back with fresh eyes. Read through your notes. Highlight the items from your brainstorming that catch your eye and cross off the ideas that are too typical. What else leaps to mind now? What strikes you as interesting, original, or fun? Shift perspectives — if you’re the reader, which of the items, which focus/approach, would be most interesting or refreshing?
  5. Pick one idea. Yes, just one. Which one floats to the top of the list? Start with that one. (You can always go back to the list later if you need to.)
  6. Free write.  Write on that one topic you’ve just chosen without worrying about what you don’t have. Assignments can need research, quotes, pictures, or other background material. Don’t worry about that now. Write your story/article/blog post with what you know at the moment. You’ll know where you need to insert details later. Leave a blank line, capital letters (XXX), or symbols (???), if you need to. Most important, is that you write without worrying about spelling or word count.
  7. Repeat step 3.
  8. Write your second draft. You know the topic now; your muse is partnering with you to get the story written. Fill in the blanks.
  9. Repeat step 3. A great time for a treat because you’re almost done.

    Deliciously cool key lime pie

    A treat — Deliciously cool key lime pie

  10. Read with an editor’s eye. Clean up the grammar and punctuation. Get within your word count. Give your story / article / assignment a nice polish.
  11. Sleep on it. Similar to step 3, but, it’s the final stretch. The words are on the page and fulfill the guidelines. You have time to relax and let the piece simmer.
  12. Make final revisions and submit before your deadline.

And my favorite step — 13. Celebrate the milestone. I do the “whoot whoot” and fist pump the air and/or do a happy dance. It’s a great feeling knowing a task / assignment / contest entry / what-have-you has been completed and submitted.

It’s like using the fine china or crystal today instead of waiting for “a special event”. Celebrate the moment, the accomplishment. The piece didn’t exist in any form 24 hours (or less) ago, and now it’s done, dusted, and submitted.

Now for the next project!

If you have specific questions, please ask.

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is a self-employed writer and editor. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to network with writing professionals on a weekly basis. You can connect with her on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn, and Biznik.

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Here’s a guest post written by my friend and colleague, Sylvie Kurtz. Enjoy!

Writers often rue the fickleness of the muse. I think of her like a child with ADD. I picture her a bit like Tinkerbell, bright and bouncy, flitting here and there, her attention diverted by anything that catches her attention.

My critic, on the other hand, looks like a pasty white blob poured into a throne-like chair. He wears a purple robe adorned with silver stars and, given half a chance, will expound on (and on, and on) any topic with enviable certainty.

Both the muse and the critic have their function when it comes to writing a story. But they tend not to play well together. If the muse shows up first and spills her vast reserves of glittery energy, that gives the critic something to work with. The trick is giving the muse a chance to do her thing before the critic tries to create order out of her chaos.

So how do you invite the muse out to play? Show up, open up, listen up, and follow up.

1. Show Up. Like an ADD child, the muse thrives on structure. If you make a play date at a specific time and place, she’s more likely to show up. And if you keep that date regular, it becomes habit, and she might already be waiting for you when you sit down.

You may want to create a ritual that allows you to quiet down and get into the present. The muse doesn’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. She’s all about the now. I have a salt lamp I turn on to let my muse know I’m here and I’m ready.

2. Open Up. The muse wants to play. Play is what she’s all about. But to engage her to play with you, you have to let her know that you want to play, too. So start writing. Doesn’t matter what you write; just write. Keep the pen (or fingers on the keyboard) moving.

When I first started writing, my confidence level bordered on the non-existent. I set a timer for fifteen minutes and forced myself to write. For the longest time, all I could do was write things like, “This is stupid. I can’t write. Who do I think I am?” But eventually, the critic got bored and took a nap. That’s when the muse started whispering, “If you were to write a real story . . .”

3. Listen Up. Like any kid, the muse wants to know someone’s listening to her. My son used to come home from school, flop into the rocking chair in my office and spill his day. This was a time I loved, but sometimes, especially when I was on deadline, I tried to multi-task—one ear on the conversation, the other on the work. And even though I could repeat what he’d told me, he’d sigh and say, “Mom, you’re not listening.” He needed eye contact to feel heard.

Transcribe what the muse gifts you, even if it doesn’t make sense. Write fast. The muse loves speed. Forget the “rules” of good writing. Forget proper punctuation. Feel the emotions she brings up. Ask her questions and let her answer. Feeling listened to will thrill her and make her want to play more often.

4. Follow Up. To make the muse feel as if you appreciate her, she wants you to do something with her gift. She doesn’t like to see her pearls lying unused. In the mess of words on the page, you’ll unearth gems.

And this is where she won’t mind the critic stepping in. Because patience and organization skill are the critic’s strong points, he can string those pearls into a satisfying whole.

The muse wants to play. All she’s waiting for is an invitation.

How do you invite your muse to play?

Sylvie_KurtzSylvie Kurtz writes adventures that explore the complexity of the human mind and the thrill of suspense. She likes dark chocolate, soft wool, and sappy movies. For more information, check out sylviekurtz.com. You can follow her @sylviekurtz on Twitter.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon is a part-time writer who is grateful to learn from more experienced writers like Sylvie!

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Word Play

At Toastmasters meetings, we usually have a “Word of the Day.” The word is introduced at the beginning of the meeting and everyone at the meeting is challenged to use the word whenever they get up to speak.

Recently, the word was “swivet.” I like to think I have a good vocabulary, but I’d never heard this word before. We were given the definition of the word and it was used in a sentence so we all knew how to use the word correctly. At the end of the meeting, the person who’d given us the word of the day said that we’d used the word “swivet” 15 times during the two hour meeting.

I was impressed. People who had prepared speeches ahead of time figured out a way to incorporate this new word into their speeches, but many others also used the word as they were fulfilling their roles during the meeting.

It got me thinking about playing with words, which I love to do, and also about the fun of playing with words with other people.

Once, when my stepchildren were still in high school, we had a conversation at the breakfast table about our favorite words. Mine’s “balaclava.” I told them I was going to use the word “balaclava” three times that day. They didn’t believe I could do it because it was May and I was seeing patients all day. But you can bet they asked me about it when I saw them that evening! And, no, I didn’t use it three times—but I did use it twice (once in a conversation with a patient about hiking in the White Mountains and once when I mentioned to the women I shared my office with that  the air conditioning was on so high I was going to need a balaclava to get warm!)

Playing with words is a fun way to pass the time or boost our moods, but it also enhances our creativity. If play is essential to creativity, it makes sense that playing with words would be good for a writer’s creativity.

Dr. Stuart Brown, the author of the book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, has been studying play for years. He says that play is, by definition, purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. Purposeless in the moment, but purposeful as far as our long-term health and well-being. Dr. Brown believes that play is a biological drive as important to our health as sleep or nutrition.

He also states that “we are designed by nature to flourish through play.”

So next time you think you are wasting time playing word games, think again.

How do you like to play with words?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I’m a mother, life coach, and writer. I’m working on rediscovering what kind of play I love best, aside from playing with my son, who is teaching me a lot about play. I had so many examples of playing with words when I thought about this blog post, but we each have our own favorites. I’d love to hear yours!

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Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Have any of your stories been inspired by a piece of visual or performing art – a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, a dance, or vocal performance? What struck you about the piece and inspired you to write? 

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: In so many ways! I run a service organization (StageSource) for the New England theater community, so I see a lot of theater, and talk to a lot of theater folk. Since storytelling is in the DNA, that inspires me. And the dramatic structure of plays is the same for mysteries, so there’s that. Also, using Scrivener, I often take a photograph or a painting and use them as reference points to describe a place, or an emotion. And music is frequently a mood setter for me, though I can’t write with music in the background. Artist dates are my creative food–I am pushing myself to explore new (to me) art forms. Sorry that there aren’t specifics, but I love that my life is full and inspired by art and creativity, and I know it makes me a better writer.

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson: Absolutely. I have many short stories whose inspiration came from photos I’ve come across (or taken on my own). I’m always inspired by B&W drawings or photos – something about the lack of color and the different shades of gray pulls me in and gets the muse extremely excited and creative.

I’ve been watching a lot of Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes via Hulu and although pulled in by the mystery, the b&w filming also pulls me in as I wonder about all the colors that I can’t see. It’s a fun creative exercise to wonder what the set was really like – did they care about having complementary colors? Or just use whatever was on hand since it would only convert to a shade of gray, anyway?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I can’t think of a specific type of art that has inspired my writing other than poetry and literature. Over the years I’ve written sonnets after reading some of Shakespeare’s, haiku’s after discovering the form in a book of Eastern poetry, and I’ve even written my version of an epic journey after reading The Odyssey. While some might not consider this art, I’ve even written about an eventful day as a Star Trek episode. The limitation of different forms somehow boosts my creativity–and it’s really fun..

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Deborah Lee Luskin: Absolutely! Classical music – especially chamber music – was a huge influence and became an important theme in Into the Wilderness. Music is the common language for Rose and Percy, who have no other way to communicate when they first meet. Percy (the leading male) even learns how to play the piano in the course of the story. Landscape and fashion are key elements of Elegy for a Girl, the novel currently with my agent. And I’m now writing Ellen, a story about a character who is hugely influenced by nineteenth century British fiction.

headshot_jw_thumbnailmermaidJamie Wallace: All. The. Time. The quantity and diversity of artworks that have sparked my writer’s mind are nearly impossible to measure. A beautiful bracelet gave me the idea to write a series of linked short stories about the bracelet’s many owners. This painting of a mermaid (which I coveted for years and which my parents gave to me as a Christmas gift last year) made me want to write a story about this beautiful and fierce merwoman. I wanted to find her story and explore her world under the sea. My daughter takes dance classes at a local dance studio that is well known for its modern choreography and gorgeous aerial work. Each time I watch one of these abstract, wordless shows, I can sense a story coursing along just below the music – reaching out through the dancers’ moves. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually write any of these stories, but they stick with me and I feel like even as time passes, they continue to percolate in the back of my mind – slowly brewing themselves into something more tangible than an ephemeral breath from the muse.

Take this song by Sting – a track off his 1999 album, Brand New Day. This song has been rattling around in my head for fourteen years.

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PRAISEIf Living with Praise is hard, writing with praise is even harder. This is counter-intuitive to be sure – and a sure sign that we all need more praise in our lives generally, and in our writing lives in particular.

Writing with Praise is also something I do every Tuesday Night at Salon, the brain-child of author and book shaman Suzanne D. Kingsbury, the founder of Wild Words, and a creative force who fosters positive energy and great writing.

Salon is a place for writers to assemble in creativity, leaving our solitude and day jobs to write together and with abandon. Suzanne gives us a prompt, which we can follow – or not – and then we write for an hour. No matter whether I’m stuck in my novel or writing well, attending Salon is always a blast of creative energy that boosts me to new, unexpected twists of discovery. There’s a powerful synergy that develops just from ten people writing together in the same room.

meridiansAfter writing, we read our new work, and we listen to each other with kindness and awe. We say what we like about the work – and that’s all we say. This is the gift: to hear the strength of our words echoed back. So, when Suzanne sent out an invitation for an all day Salon-Style Retreat, combining writing prompts, praise and body work, I signed up.

In the spirit of full disclosure, it wasn’t really that easy. My monkey mind chattered away why I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t spend a MONKEYSunday sixty miles from home writing with strangers while having energy-attuning body work to help overcome resistance. It took too much time, it was too expensive, and I was writing well on my own, thank you very much.

I’ve been writing long enough to recognize this kind of resistance as a sure sign that this was something I needed to do.

So it was no surprise that the day after signing up for the workshop, I saw a whole new way to tell the story I’ve been working on forever. Part of me wanted to resist starting over yet again, and another part of me knew that I had to. By the time I arrived at the lovely workshop venue, I was eager to write. I knew that in such a supportive atmosphere I could willingly take the necessary risks to start over.

As promised, the workshop allowed me to tap into the intuitive center of my brain – that mysterious place where fiction is born – and to shut down BRAINthat part of my brain where resistance and criticism abide, allowing me to give voice to my story in a riff of surprising improvisation.

It may be true that we are programmed to pay more attention to criticism as a means of survival. But what if we want to go beyond mere survival? What if we want to soar? If my recent experience is any indication, negative self-talk hampers creativity, while writing with praise allows for braver attempts at more creative storytelling. Hallelujah!

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Deborah Lee Luskin is the author of Into the Wilderness, an award-winning novel set in Vermont in 1964.

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I’ve been thinking about creativity lately, especially creative writing.

I just finished reading Brene Brown’s books. Dr. Brown describes herself as a qualitative researcher and a storyteller. She interviews people and listens to their stories and analyzes what they tell her about specific topics and then comes up with different theories based on that analysis.

I love reading the results of her studies and I love reading about the studies themselves.

Recently I heard Dr. Brown speak and she backed up every claim she made with evidence from her research. I so admire that.

But, it’s hard to be creative when you’re trying to back up everything you write with evidence.

Maybe that’s why I’m so much more comfortable with writing nonfiction.

Yet I have a longing to write fiction. It’s been with me since I was a child and I want to honor that longing—I know it’s not going away.

And Brene Brown’s research shows that creativity is a necessary part of a “Wholehearted” life.

One of the things Brene found in her research (from The Gifts of Imperfection) was that there’s no such thing as “creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

I found this very encouraging. My creativity is there, I’m just not used to using it all the time—and I can practice!

The other statement that came out of Brene’s research on creativity that I found compelling was this one: “If we want to make meaning, we need to make art.”

I want to make meaning, we all do. So it’s okay to create art (not just nonfiction.)

After reading all this research, I’m now giving myself permission to take my time finding a new creative writing project. Since I finished and submitted my short story at the end of April, I’ve been floundering, feeling like I’m wasting time because I didn’t immediately dive into a new project.

“Wasting time” is only one way of looking at it. “Feeding the muse” is another way to look at it. Or, “preparing the ground,” as it’s gardening season.

Some ways I’m trying to develop my creativity:

  • By using writing prompts daily,
  • By writing “Shi***y First Draft” at the top of every new document (on the advice of Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird),
  • By writing with an audience in mind made up only of people who love me and love whatever I write. (It really takes the pressure off.)
  • By doing other creative projects that have nothing to do with writing (like calligraphy, which is technically writing, but you know what I mean!)

In just a couple of weeks, I feel more creative than I have in a long time. I’m waking up in the middle of the night to write down ideas and phrases that seem to come out of nowhere.

What do you do to develop your creativity?

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I enjoy writer/illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi‘s site, Inkygirl blog, and cartoons she contributes to Writer Unboxed.  I wanted to introduce you to Debbie and share 3 of my favorite cartoons. Maybe she’ll inspire you, too!

A Reader's Dilemma Credit: http://inkygirl.com/

A Reader’s Dilemma
Credit: http://inkygirl.com/

I’ve suffered from this – there’s no unseeing what has been seen!

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NaNoIdMoAdMo Credit: http://inkygirl.com/

NaNoIdMoAdMo
Credit: http://inkygirl.com/

Writing challenges are great, but let’s be careful!

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Why we keep notepad and pen by the bed! Credit: http://inkygirl.com/

Why we keep notepad and pen by the bed! Credit: http://inkygirl.com/

The voices never stop talking to us.

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Lisa J. Jackson loves working with words in her own work and with businesses. She also loves New Hampshire and is focused on completing several 5Ks in 2013 as a way to get off the couch consistently. You can connect with her on LinkedInBiznikFacebook, and Twitter

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