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Author: Katy McCullough

Practice Your Creativity - It doesn't have to be complicated, you just need to start! Click over to greens + blues co. for more ideas on practicing your creativity.

Practice Your Creativity

Sometimes such a simple idea can become way to complicated. Practicing your creativity is one these. What’s one easy way you can practice your creativity today?

Practice Your Creativity - It doesn't have to be complicated, you just need to start! Click over to greens + blues co. for more ideas on practicing your creativity.

Here’s the story.

Sometimes the biggest roadblock to getting started practicing your creativity is just deciding what to do. If this is something you struggle with – check out this graphic for ideas for practicing your creativity.

Practice Your Creativity - It doesn't have to be complicated, you just need to start! Click over to greens + blues co. for more ideas on practicing your creativity.

Sidenote – these are what came to my mind when I thought about practicing creativity – this is by no means an exhaustive list. You can, of course, practice your creativity in whatever format you want. Creativity is simply turning ideas into reality. So dream up an idea and start turning it into reality!

Practice your creativity. It doesn’t have to be complicated. For the past year or two I have written a post almost every single week (or every other week) about creativity. Most of them can be boiled down to the idea that you can practice your creativity any way you want. I made the above graphic for a couple of reasons.

  1. To share ways that anyone can get started (or continue) practicing their creativity. These aren’t mind-blowing but simple things that anyone can do.
  2. To demonstrate that there are a variety of ways to practice your creativity and there is definitely no right or wrong way to do it (the only wrong way is to not practice your creativity at all). You can practice your creativity in easy ways that are familiar to you (for me this could be writing) or you can try new creative practices that are uncomfortable because you are just getting started (definitely drawing for me).
  3. To challenge myself. I have shared that I’m determined to learn how to draw (or just not to be awful at it). One way that I keep challenging myself is to say that I’m going to create graphics like this to share. Basically I force myself to do it.

So let’s uncomplicate the whole process. What’s one easy thing you can do to practice your creativity today?

Practice Your Creativity - It doesn't have to be complicated, you just need to start! Click over to greens + blues co. for more ideas on practicing your creativity.

 

The part of the creative process many of us are guilty of rushing through? The brainstorming process. It's difficult to slow down when you are inspired but crucial that you do so! Click to read more on greens + blues co. about the brainstorming process.

Don’t Rush This Part of the Brainstorming Process

The part of the creative process many of us are guilty of rushing through? The brainstorming process. It’s difficult to slow down when you are inspired but crucial that you do so!

The part of the creative process many of us are guilty of rushing through? The brainstorming process. It's difficult to slow down when you are inspired but crucial that you do so! Click to read more on greens + blues co. about the brainstorming process.

Here’s the story.

I know how it is – you have a moment of inspiration and you are so excited to start something new, so you immediately dive in. We are all guilty of this, but brainstorming is a crucial part of the creative process and it shouldn’t be rushed.

Common Problem #1 With the Brainstorming Process

Waiting to do something (starting a new painting, write, etc.) until you have an idea.

I’d love to work on my next project but I don’t have an idea so I’m just going to wait to start until I have an idea.  

I don’t want to say that you are never going to have a flash of inspiration out of nowhere, but it’s not as likely to happen as it would if you put in the work. You want to set yourself up with the opportunity to have your next great idea.

So instead of telling yourself that you will start writing once you have an idea for your next story, just start writing. It can be complete garbage – that’s fine. As you write and put in the practice, you are more likely to figure out what it is you want to write about (this is true of any creative practice).

This might not be a “traditional” way to go about the brainstorming process but it is going to work in the same way that you are setting yourself up to come up with your next idea.

Common Problem #2 With the Brainstorming Process

As soon as you have an idea – your first idea – you go all in with it. You tell yourself this is my next great idea and you go out and buy everything, you sign up for everything, you just get so pumped up. Then, a couple of days later you realize, this isn’t quite for me. Or, maybe it’s not as great of an idea as I thought. Or, I’m just not as excited about it as I thought I would be.

Then, you don’t do anything. Then, next time you have your “big idea” the same thing happens, you get stuck in a cycle of this and never really figure out what you want to do, what you want to create, what you want to make, or what you want to design. You go all in or nothing.

Improve Your Brainstorming Process

Number 1 – Practice coming up with ideas. Make a habit of coming up with a certain amount of ideas everyday. Force yourself to come up with ideas. I know what you are thinking, when I force myself to come up with ideas, I’m never going to come up with good ideas that way and yes, that is true most of the time. But, you are putting in the practice so that eventually you have will have a great idea. It’s not going to come instantaneously and super easy, it’s going to take work like everything else. So basically you are creating a habit of coming up with ideas.

As you make a habit of brainstorming ideas, determine where you are going to collect those ideas. Will it be digitally (phone or computer)? Or will it be analog (journal, back of napkin)?

After you have ideas down, how do you organize them? Go back through ideas from time to time. Even if an idea wasn’t right for you when you had it, it might be right for you later or the idea will inspire a different idea. You can also look to see if you have had the same idea more than once – if so, it means something, take note.

Number 2 – So let’s say you put into practice the habit of coming up with ideas everyday. So after one day’s brainstorm you look at your ideas and think: okay, 3 of these are terrible, one is decent, and one could be good. Instead of just being like, okay that’s it, that’s my idea – let’s dive in – try sitting on that idea for awhile. Not a year or anything like that. But, maybe for a couple of days, or even a week. Remember, you first idea is not always going to be your best idea.

If you keep coming back around to that idea, then go for it. Start to explore it more. But, if in two or three days you have already moved on, you know you have done the right thing. So, basically, this is to extend the brainstorming process beyond just one sitting or one day. You are going to vet your ideas to ensure they are really good ideas.

By being patient with your ideas, you will find that you will come up with even better ones.

The part of the creative process many of us are guilty of rushing through? The brainstorming process. It's difficult to slow down when you are inspired but crucial that you do so! Click to read more on greens + blues co. about the brainstorming process.

 

It’s time to take your well-practiced creativity and stretch it further.

Stretch Your Creativity

It’s time to take your well-practiced creativity and stretch it further.

It’s time to take your well-practiced creativity and stretch it further.

Here’s the story.

**If this is the first time you are reading something from greens + blues co., first check out this five day email course – a guide to identifying how you are creative.

By now (assuming you have been around here for awhile), you should know how you are creative. Hopefully, you have been practicing your creativity as well. Awesome!

However, even though you went through the process of identifying how you are creative, it doesn’t mean that your creativity will remain exactly the same forever. It shouldn’t! As you continue to practice it more, you will grow + change and so will your creativity. Your interests may change, or you may grow more confident in your creativity and want to try something new.

Stretch Your Creativity

It’s time to take your well-practiced creativity and stretch it further. It’s time to try something that scares you, something where you need to learn something new, where you are out of your comfort zone. I know, I know – it’s not always fun to do this. You are putting yourself in a position where you are going to suck at first. You might even fail at first. But, in the end, you will thank me for giving you this kick in the butt to challenge yourself and stretch your creativity.

There’s two (at least) easy ways to go about stretching your creativity.

Number 1

You can learn a completely new creative activity – unrelated to other creative activities you have practiced in the past.

For example, let’s say I have always considered myself a writer, then in this case I would learn a completely new practice such as dancing, drawing, or sewing.

Number 2

You can learn a new skill in a current creative practice.

For example, maybe I have been knitting for a while but have always been hesitant to try knitting socks because it will require me to learn a few new skills – then this would be the perfect time to learn those new skills!

Let’s rewind for a minute.

Ever since I launched greens + blues co. a few years ago, practicing my creativity has become a part of my daily life. As with any skill that we commit time + energy to practicing regularly, my creativity has improved – it’s grown and even changed. When I first started out on my creative adventure a few years ago, my creativity looked one way. While it still looks similar now, it has in fact changed quite a bit. In some ways it has grown into areas I never thought it would (writing and drawing) and other ways it has filtered out activities that I used to enjoy (scrapbooking).

So how did it happen?

How did I stretch my creativity from what it used to look like to what it currently looks like now?

First and foremost, I committed to practicing my creativity daily (or a close to daily as possible). There is no way around this one.

Once you have established a habit of practicing your creativity, you will realize that it is actually quite easy to stretch your creativity. Sometimes, it may happen organically and you will not even consciously realize it is happening until you have started a new creative practice or acquired a new skill. Other times, you might realize that you are growing bored or uninspired by your current creative practice, and you make the decision to try something new. Even other times, you might see a creative practice that looks awesome and you can’t wait to try it – it can be as simple as that!

Your Turn:

Brainstorm a list of new creative practices you are interested in trying. Be sure to include both completely new creative practices and new skills in a current creative practice.

Once you have your list, don’t feel like you have to immediately narrow it down to one and get started on it. You can, or you can post the list somewhere you will see it often and over time filter out what doesn’t sound quite as interesting as it once did. Or, if one creative practice sounds exciting every time you look think of it – go for it!

How Am I Stretching My Creativity?

One way I’m currently stretching my creativity is by learning how to draw and making a daily habit of it. Because I’m such a newbie at it (and so bad), often I get stuck thinking what should I draw next? Something that has been providing me with non-stop  inspiration + resources is signing up for Skillshare. Skillshare has hundreds (maybe even thousands) of classes on a variety of creative topics. There are so many classes that are quick – it’s a great place to start if you aren’t sure what you want to do. This is a great place  to test the waters. If you sign up using this link you can get two month free (full disclosure I get a free month for everyone that signs up using that link.)

Leave me a comment and tell me how you are going to stretch your creativity!

It’s time to take your well-practiced creativity and stretch it further.

Keep track of your creative practices with this free tracker. Click here to download it now.

Track Your Creativity – Free Printable

I’ll make this short + sweet. I made this tracker for myself to organize my creative practices and to help myself focus on different creative practices each month. A few people asked me to share it – so here it is. You can click here to download it. Then get started tracking your creativity.

Keep track of your creative practices with this free tracker. Click here to download it now.

For the month of September, I wanted to focus on drawing (in addition to other creative practices such as writing that I already practice daily), so I used this handy dandy tracker to set a goal for the month – create a daily habit of either drawing for 10 minutes or drawing ten things. I then brainstormed how I would learn to draw and what I actually needed to do to reach this goal. Finally, I used the calendar on the left to actually keep track of what I have worked on each day. It has been super helpful – mainly because I use it as a constant reminder of what I’m working on this month. I hope you find it helpful as well. If you use it, let me know how it works out for you. Start practicing your creativity!

Check My Creativity - download this free printable tracker for practicing your creativity.

Take a minute to reflect on the creative practices that make up your own unique creativity. Learn how to use that information to challenge your creativity even more!

Your Unique Creativity

Take a minute to reflect on the creative practices that make up your own unique creativity. Learn how to use that information to challenge your creativity even more!

Take a minute to reflect on the creative practices that make up your own unique creativity. Learn how to use that information to challenge your creativity even more!

Here’s the story.

Too often we hear the word creativity and immediately equate it to art. Art is creative. But, not all creativity is necessarily art. This is good because we also often assume that one needs to be an artist to be creative. Nope, not even close to being the case.

As I have said many a time, creativity is turning ideas into reality. With that in mind, I started reflecting on my creativity. I was thinking through all the different aspects of my creativity and how they each have a different role and serve a different purpose that is unique to me and my creativity. For example, sewing. I rarely sew just because I feel like it or to learn a new skill. Instead, I usually have a specific project I want to make. I pull out my sewing machine, I sew it. It’s always more complicated than I think it will be. I get an immense feeling of satisfaction from finishing the project. Then, I think of 30 new projects I’m going to sew. I put my sewing machine away and don’t take it out for a few months again. This works for me for sewing but wouldn’t necessarily work me if it was writing. Writing plays a different role in my creativity.

This is an interesting one because when I was younger I always thought I would write books (novels), mainly because I loved reading so much that I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to create those stories myself. However, I can’t remember ever writing fiction on my own, for fun, past second grade. It’s hard to be good at something if you don’t ever do it (duh). However I was always a good student and a good academic writer – I know/knew how to write a paper to get an A on it. But, this also made me realize that I was a boring writer. So when I launched greens + blues co. a few years ago, at first I struggled to come up with content and worried that I was boring everyone. While I don’t claim to be an amazing storyteller now, I do know that I’m better than I was before. Why? Because I write every single day. Sometimes it’s crap, but sometimes it’s not. And even if it is crap, it’s at least a starting point – it can only get better from there. Now, because of my daily writing habit, I do know that I will write a book sometime in my life (I’m just about done with a first draft). Even if no one else ever reads it – it’s still a success to me.

One more example of my creativity before we get to yours.

Drawing and I have a complicated relationship. I have always wanted to be good at drawing, but have never really been willing to put in the work/practice to improve. I’m not really setting myself up for success there. I realized part of the problem was that my goal was always “to get better at drawing.” The problem with that (for me) is that it isn’t concrete enough. I like tangible goals. So my new goal. Draw well enough that I can include some basic illustrations in the book I’m writing. Based on that, I’ve come up with a more concrete action plan, part of which is to establish a daily drawing habit. So here I go!

Enough about me, it’s your turn. Start by making a three column chart like the one below. In the first column, brainstorm all the different aspects of your creativity or creative practices. In the second column you will reflect on how often you actually practice each one. In the third column write the purpose of you practicing that particular creative activity. Take a few minutes and fill out your chart now.

* For my example I just used three examples of how I practice my creativity. You may have more, you may have less.

Take a minute to reflect on the creative practices that make up your own unique creativity. Learn how to use that information to challenge your creativity even more!

So what’s the point? This is a great reflection activity, but what purpose does it serve beyond that?

Number 1

Your creativity is unique to you. It doesn’t look like anyone else’s but yours – nor should it! No matter how many people complete this exercise, no one’s table is going to be exactly the same. Embrace that uniqueness in your creativity.

Number 2

Now that you know how you practice your creativity and why you practice it in that way – what do you do with that information? Focus on an aspect of it that you enjoy but have been letting slide. Where could you take it next? How can you challenge yourself? For example, knitting. I thoroughly enjoy knitting. Even more, I love completing an awesome new hat or scarf for myself or someone I love. But, I’ve been content to stick to the same basic knitting skills for some time. So this is an area where I can challenge myself to learn just one new technique to push myself outside of scarves and hats.

Number 3

Or, you can focus on an aspect that surprises you. When I look at my creativity, I’m very surprised that I practice my creativity most often by writing. That was definitely not the case three years ago. So how did I make that change? By implementing a daily writing habit. So thinking about that, is there any other aspect of my creativity that could benefit from a daily habit? Now, realistically, I can’t practice all aspects of my creativity every single day (or every weekday which is what I actually do for writing). But I can for some. Writing is easy to make a daily habit of because it doesn’t take a long time and you don’t need many tools. Drawing is an area that I really want to be better at – so I decided I will also implement a daily habit for drawing. It doesn’t take much time – I will draw ten things or for ten minutes whichever I reach first. Simple enough. Take what you have learned about your creativity (whether it is positive or negative) and use that knowledge to improve another aspect of your creativity.

Number 4

As you look through your creative practices, is there anything you don’t want to do anymore? Remember, no one is making you. So stop forcing yourself to do something that you no longer enjoy. For me, this is scrapbooking. Now, I haven’t scrapbooked in almost two years, I have moved on from it. So in addition to stopping, I also gave away any extra scrapbooking materials I had so that I didn’t have that clutter or didn’t feel like I should continue it at some point.

I would love to hear back from you after completing this exercise. What did you learn about your creativity? What surprised you? Any realizations that you came to as a result of completing this exercise?

Take a minute to reflect on the creative practices that make up your own unique creativity. Learn how to use that information to challenge your creativity even more!

Creative prompts give you an opportunity to create without being responsible for coming up with the initial idea. You get to sit down and just starting creating without a lot of forethought.

Creative Prompt #1

Creative prompts give you an opportunity to create without being responsible for coming up with the initial idea. You get to sit down and just starting creating without a lot of forethought.

Creative prompts give you an opportunity to create without being responsible for coming up with the initial idea. You get to sit down and just starting creating without a lot of forethought.

Here’s the story.

I’ve had a few requests to occasionally receive creative prompts as a part of my newsletters. I know some people love creative prompts because it’s a great way to practice your creativity. Others hate them because they feel the pressure to create something when they aren’t necessarily feeling inspired. So if you are one of those who love them, this is for you. If you haven’t ever tried a creative prompt, keep reading below for a few tips to get started.

Why should you try creative prompts?

Creative prompts give you an opportunity to create without being responsible for coming up with the initial idea. You get to sit down and just starting creating without a lot of forethought. In addition with creative prompts there is no pressure to create the next big, amazing thing – the point is to get you mind moving and your creative juices flowing – the end product really isn’t all that important. Truthfully when you have completed a creative prompt, more often than not, you will never look at it again.

If you are someone who has already developed a solid habit of practicing your creativity (or are on your way to), creative prompts can still be useful once in awhile to change it up and get your mind working in a different direction.

So, without further ado, this week’s prompt:

Write a letter from one object to another and back. For example, a complaint letter from a nail to a hammer, then include the hammer’s response.

If you have an idea for a response to the prompt – go for it. I can’t wait to see what you make.

If you are someone who normally hates creative prompts because you don’t know where to start, keep reading!

How to get started: It definitely can be difficult to get started with a creative prompt. They are awesome because they are so open-ended, but they can be frustrating because they are so open-ended.

Let’s start by breaking it down:

  1. Choose any two objects. They can be objects that go together, like a hammer and nail, or objects that have nothing to do with each other, like an desk and a dishwasher. It’s totally up to you.
  2. Think about all the possible types of letters: love letters, complaint letters, form letters, sales inquiry letters, letters of recommendation, thank you notes, birthday cards, and many more.
  3. Which object is writing the first letter. In the case of my example, it makes sense (to me) to have the nail start by writing the complaint letter to the hammer. Then the hammer would respond.
  4. Start writing. Or drawing. Or doing whatever you want in order to respond to this prompt. The prompt said write a letter, but really it’s up to you to decide what to create with this prompt.
  5. That’s it – not too difficult!

I hope you enjoyed your first creative prompt from greens + blues co. As I said, I will occasionally share new prompts.

Creative prompts give you an opportunity to create without being responsible for coming up with the initial idea. You get to sit down and just starting creating without a lot of forethought.

Knowing Which Ideas to Pursue - Having lots of ideas is a great problem to have, but how can you differentiate between the good ones and the bad ones so not to waste your time and money?

Knowing Which Ideas to Pursue

Having lots of ideas is a great problem to have, but how can you differentiate between the good ones and the bad ones so not to waste your time and money?

Knowing Which Ideas to Pursue - Having lots of ideas is a great problem to have, but how can you differentiate between the good ones and the bad ones so not to waste your time and money?

Once you start practicing your creativity on a regular basis, you may find that you have a new problem. Instead of struggling to come up with new ideas, you have ALL OF THE IDEAS. This is an amazing problem to have, but it can still be a problem nonetheless.

Sidenote – when I use the word “ideas” in this post it really just applies to anything you think of that you want to do. So it could mean you had the idea that you want to start weaving. Or you came up with the idea that you want to build a table. Or you had an idea for how to solve the problem that’s been on your mind. Or you came up with an idea for a business venture. They are all ideas.

Okay, back to it then. Why can having so many ideas be a problem? It sounds crazy.

Because even if you are overflowing with ideas, not all of them are going to be good ones. Not all of them are worth pursuing. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but it’s true. Not every idea you have is going to be a great one. Sorry! But seriously, even if your “ideas” are more like:

  • I want to knit a scarf
  • I want to make a quilt
  • I want to hand-lettering
  • I want to learn to use power tools so I can make cool shit
  • I want to paint

That’s all awesome, but if you try to juggle all of those new ideas/practices at once, it might backfire. Likely you will be overwhelmed and end up doing nothing instead of making some cool.

So how do you do it? How do you figure out what ideas to pursue without wasting your time, without having a bunch of half-completed projects around your house, or way too many tools and materials that you will never use again? How can you differentiate between the good ideas and the bad ideas before diving straight into the deep end?

Number 1 – Don’t immediately start in on the idea the second you have it, especially if you are already in the middle of something else. Sleep on the idea. Write it down. If you keep coming back around to the same idea, it’s probably worth pursuing. If in two days you have already had a newer, better, more awesome idea, it’s probably not worth your time.

Number 2 – Write your ideas down. Not just on a random piece of paper, but have a specific place where you keep track of your ideas – it could be a Google Doc you name “Ideas” or a notebook you label “Ideas Journal.” It doesn’t matter where you keep track of your ideas, just that you do.  I keep a Google Doc for my ideas. There have been times that I go to record an idea and realize that I have already had this idea. That in it of itself tells you something: I have had this idea twice, so maybe it’s worth pursuing.

For more thoughts on what to do with your ideas, check out this post – it’s one of my favorites.

Knowing Which Ideas to Pursue - Having lots of ideas is a great problem to have, but how can you differentiate between the good ones and the bad ones so not to waste your time and money?

We all have a creative beast lurking inside of us, just waiting to be unleashed. Use these 5 exercises to help you unleash your creative beast.

5 Ways to Unleash Your Creative Beast

We all have a creative beast lurking inside of us, just waiting to be unleashed. Use these 5 exercises to help you unleash your creative beast. 

We all have a creative beast lurking inside of us, just waiting to be unleashed. Use these 5 exercises to help you unleash your creative beast.

Here’s the story.

Whether you believe you are a creative person or not (we can argue about that another day), within each of us is some untapped creativity. It’s time to let that creativity out. It’s time to unleash your creative beast. Easier said, than done, right?

Actually, no. It might not happen instantly, but if you start to practice your creativity, I promise you will see results.

If you start writing *everyday, you will become a better writer.

If you start knitting *everyday, you will become a better knitter.

If you start drawing *everyday, you will become a better artist/illustrator/other.

*You don’t actually have to do it everyday, but you need to practice with some regularity.

You get my point. If you want to think of yourself as creative person, you have to put in the practice. There’s no way around it – sorry!

But, getting started practicing your creativity can be a little intimidating, especially if you haven’t done it in awhile – or ever! So here are 5 quick ways you can use to get started practicing your creativity today. You probably won’t use these ideas forever, but it’s a good place to start. If you go through each of these, by end you will likely have come up with an idea of how you want to practice your creativity (writing, drawing, knitting, welding, jewelry-making, weaving, carpentry, painting, illustrating, card-making, photography, writing/playing music, singing, etc.)

Download your workbook here and get started with these 5 Ways to Unleash Your Creative Beast.

We all have a creative beast lurking inside of us, just waiting to be unleashed. Use these 5 exercises to help you unleash your creative beast.

 

Number 1 – PLAY WITH COLOR

Color is all around us, whether you find beauty in palette nature provides us with or if there is nothing more inspiring to you than opening a new box of colored pencils, this one’s for you.

Go on an adventure and hunt for colors. You get to make up the rules for this adventure: can they only be colors you find around your house? Colors found in nature? Colors you see as you take a walk around your block? You decide. Grab a camera or notebook and head outside. Let the world around you inspire you.

Now that you have colors on the mind, it’s time for your challenge.

Choose a group of people. It could be your friends, your family, or even your characters from your favorite book or TV show. Assign each person a color based on personality traits. Use what you know about this person to get it just right. Get creative – you don’t have to just use a basic color like “purple.” You can create your own specific names for a very specific shade of purple or combination of blue and purple. Try it now!

Number 2 – DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU

When it comes to creativity, many of us have felt the fear. It grips you and doesn’t let go until you decide to back away and not try that new creative practice. Or you decide to not share your work with the world. Or you decide not to stand up and say yes to an opportunity. Whatever the reason for it, it’s that fear that overcomes you, even if you are normally a confident person.

When I first started greens + blues co., I didn’t tell anybody besides my husband about it for a long time. It even took me a few months to share it with my best friend and my sisters. Why? Because I had never done anything like this before. What if they didn’t get it? Or they thought it was dumb? Or that I was bad at it? Specifically when I first started greens + blues co., I didn’t know really how to explain it or how to explain why I started it other than I wanted to and felt like I had to – it was calling me and I couldn’t escape. Also, I just felt stupid talking about creativity out loud because all of the previous conversations I had about it took place in my head.

Here’s the thing, I have never had a problem with confidence. But, launching greens + blues co. was so different than anything I have ever done before. It took me a long time before it got easier for me to talk about (almost two years, yeesh!)

Beyond just launching greens + blues co., every step I have taken a long that way was scary at some point – continually pushing my out of my comfort zone. However, I have not regretted any of it. Even when I have pitched people ideas and I get a no (or more often, no response). Every scary thing I have done has been beneficial for me.

Okay, enough about me. Back to you. What scares you when it comes to your creativity? That’s a great place to start!

Is it starting a new creative practice? Maybe you have always thought about painting, but as an adult it makes you feel so silly to take a beginner class or to just be bad at something.

Or does the possibility of sharing your work scare you? Maybe you have written story upon story upon story so you clearly have no problem practicing your creativity, but the idea of someone else reading any of it scares the shit out of you. In that case, you definitely need to share your work.

Or is it saying yes to a new opportunity that scares you? Maybe someone has asked you to collaborate on something outside of your comfort zone, or you have an opportunity to learn something new. Whatever it is – say yes and do it!

Your challenge is simple: write down what scares you and do it. It doesn’t have to be major like self-publish a book, but rather something you could do in the next five minutes, like email a friend a copy of a story you wrote. Or, Google “knitting classes near me” and sign up for one. Take the first step.

Number 3 – DO SOMETHING YOU ARE BAD AT 

When it comes to creativity (and in life in general), many of us are guilty of never stepping out of our comfort zones. We stick to things we are good at because it’s no fun to suck at anything. Who likes that? No one. However, it’s the only way to eventually get to a place where you can create/make awesome stuff, you have to start with the ugly.

This is why I have been putting off learning to draw for about 15 years. I have always known deep down that I want to be able to draw, and I have started to learn so many times, but I have found so many reasons to move on to other creative practices. The only real reason I have always moved on is because I am bad at drawing. Horrible. But, I should be! I never practice. I really have never learned how. So, now I am. I have no major plans for it currently except I want to get past the point where everything I draw is crap. Not too lofty.

What about you? Make a list of some creative practices that you are bad at. Then, go back and circle the ones you want to be good at. Choose one. Now you know where to start.

Number 4 – SEE IT THROUGH

I imagine most of us start a new project or creative practice in a similar manner. We are super excited and inspired, we are going to learn everything about it, and we just can’t wait to create something! We get started with it, work on it for a few days (maybe even a few weeks), but then something happens or life just gets in the way and we don’t think about it again for months.

Then we get a new idea for a project or creative practice and the process starts again. We seem to be stuck in a cycle of excitement and inspiration, followed by a little bit of work, and then nothing. So how do we do it? How do we push past the part when it first gets tough?

Unfortunately there is no life hack for this one. Your challenge this time is to simply see it through. Often we give up way too quickly. The second a project becomes a little more work than fun or it is no longer easy, we are out. Quit on something because it doesn’t interest you or inspire you, not because you are too lazy to keep working at it. (sorry for the tough talk).

Think about a creative project or practice you have quit on recently (that you are still interested in). Pick it back up and see it through. When you are finished, see where your creativity takes you next.

Number 5 – LISTEN TO THE MUSIC

Music is a creative activity that most of us participate in everyday. You don’t have to play music or write music in order to be inspired by it. Many of us do our best thinking as we listen to music and let our minds wander.

Your challenge is to do just that: listen to the music. But, this time, do it more thoughtfully. Choose a song that you have always loved but haven’t necessarily paid attention to the lyrics. Listen more closely this time. Actually think about the artist meant by the lyrics and what you want them to mean.

Try one of the following challenges:

  • Make up new lyrics to the song.
  • Or is drawing more your thing? Listen to the lyrics and illustrate them.

All right, if you haven’t downloaded the workbook for these 5 ideas, you can do that here. Then get going! Start creating. As I mentioned, this is just a starting point. Truthfully, these ideas might not interest you, but they are supposed to be a jumping off point for your creativity – one of the first steps to unleashing your creative beast.

p.s. If you are looking for more ways to practice your creativity, check out this post – 10 ways to Inject Creativity Into Your Daily Life.

p.p.s. I stole the phrase “unleash your creative beast” from my cousin Jim. He’s the best.

 

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 4 is figuring out what's next. Let’s get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity: What’s Next

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 4 is figuring out next steps. Let’s get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 4 is figuring out what's next. Let’s get to it!

Here’s the story. (In case you missed it, here’s week 1week 2, and week 3).

For the final week of Clean Slate Creativity, you are going to figure out your next steps using what you have learned about you + your creativity so far.

Truthfully, you already have your answer(s) for what is next for you and your creativity. Remember you are starting fresh with your creativity. So if you decided that you want to learn how to quilt, or draw, or figure skate, or use power tools – it doesn’t matter. You are a beginner and that is awesome. You most likely (unless you are a freak of nature) you are going to be bad at first – you are supposed to be. Embrace this time as a beginner. Think back to if you were 7 + 8, you sucked at drawing then but you did it anyway. You have to suck for awhile, it’s all part of the process.

Okay, so step 1 is to embrace the suck. Well, not really.

Step 1 is to look back at weeks 2 + 3 (mostly 3) and make a statement about where you want to go with your creativity next.

Fill in the blank: I want to ___________________________. Great. Now how are you going to do that?

How are you going to learn to sew? How are you going to draw? How are you going to learn to play the guitar? To take photos? To design a website?

Step 2: Gather Resources + Materials/Tools

Now that you know what you what to practice, it’s time to figure out the how.

If you are starting a new creative practice, most likely you are going to have to learn something new. Even if you are an expert knitter, but you haven’t picked up yarn and needles for the past ten years, you likely are going to need a little help brushing up your skills. Or the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe you are a complete novice and are looking to try something new – to flex your creative muscles a bit more. Either way, decide how you are going to learn: visit your local knit shop and sign up for a course, watch some Youtube videos, set-up a date with your neighbor who knits – whatever it is, make a decision about HOW you will learn.

**It’s also important to note here that you know yourself best and know what kind of learner you are. If you do not do well, or follow through, when you say you are going to learn on your own. Then don’t do it that way. Think about how you actually like to learn and how you are successful and make a plan based on that.

In addition, mostly likely you will need tools or materials of some kind. Figure out what they are (Google it, ask someone, etc.) and get them. Remember, when starting a new creative venture, it is not necessary to have every fancy tool. Just start with the basics. If you find that you enjoy this venture, you can always upgrade later. You don’t want to jump in credit card first into a new project without testing the waters first. That’s how you end up with a craft room, garage, basement, whatever full of creative projects you have started, but not followed through on. Keep it simple. You can always scale up if you enjoy it.

Number 3: Make a Plan

It’s awesome that you are starting a new creative venture, but when are you going to work on it? Just buying the tools and materials is not going to get you anywhere – except with a craft room full on projects you are “going to get to someday.”

It’s time to take action! Start living it! If you are realistically going to make a change in your life, you need to take an honest look at your days and see where you can make changes. Everyone is busy. I get it. But how busy are you with things that actually matter to you? What I mean, most likely you aren’t going to quit your job or starting ignoring your friends or kids, so where will you get the time to practice your creativity? You need to make room so you can live what you love.

What are some areas of your life you will need to minimize in order to devote quality time to your creative path? TV? Social media? What are you willing to give up – or at least cut back on? Think about when you say you are going to just watch tv for a half hour, or just look at Facebook for five minutes, how long does it really end up turning into? Is it possible that you could take some of that time and work on your creative spark for 30 minutes per day?

What areas of your life will you need to maximize in order to devote quality time to your creative path? Where can you find pockets of wasted time throughout your day? Do you have to wait while your kids are at a lesson or practice? Do you waste fifteen minutes waiting for someone to show up to a meeting or for an appointment? If you plan ahead each day, you can better utilize some of your normally wasted time.

How often can you realistically work on this new practice? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Be honest with yourself; be realistic with your time and your ability. As you are learning something new, everything is going to take longer than it will down the road. Add it to your calendar – be specific on your calendar. What time of day are you going to work on it and for how long. If you know it is going to be a stretch or even impossible for you to do it every single day, then don’t put that on your plan. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

Number 4: Start

Get started. Learn it. Make it. Create it. Design it. Build it. Whatever you are planning, do it. Start.

**One tip, tell people about it. It’s a good way to hold yourself accountable

Number 5: Reflect

After you have tried out your new creative venture, it is vital that you stop and reflect.

Are you enjoying yourself? Do you want to learn more/increase your skills? Is there a better way to spend your free time?

If you are enjoying yourself and happy, keep going with it! If you are not, do not be afraid to quit and try something new.

Remember, it’s going to be ugly at first.

Well that’s it folks. You made it through all 4 weeks of Clean Slate Creativity. If you need any help along the way, please email me at greensandbluesco AT gmail.com.

**If you are interested in joining the Clean Slate Creativity Facebook group, you can click here. It’s a great place for reminders to practice your creativity, inspiration + motivation.

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 4 is figuring out next steps. Let’s get to it!

 

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 3 is analyzing your responses. Let’s get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity: Your Responses

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 3 is analyzing your responses. Let’s get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 3 is analyzing your responses. Let’s get to it!

Here’s the story. (In case you missed it, here’s week 1 and week 2).

Welcome back to the Clean Slate Creativity Series. 

To recap, so far you have wiped the slate clean + started fresh with your creativity. Last week, I had you try 4 different exercises in order to look at your creativity with fresh eyes. Pull out those worksheets again.

Now, take a step back. Let’s play pretend for a minute here. Make up a fake person. My fake person is going to be Meghan. Meghan is struggling to figure out how she is creative and and asked for my help. So, if Meghan gave me these worksheets, what feedback would I give her?

It seems like a silly way of going about this, but for most of us, we are much nicer to other people than we are to ourselves. I’m sure (hopefully) that you would never give fake Meghan the feedback of, “you are horrible at drawing.” Or, “this doesn’t make any sense.” No. You would take the time to analyze and reflect on what Meghan said and what she didn’t say. Then you would provide her with some constructive feedback.

Let’s take a closer look at each exercise and you can determine what specific feedback you would give to your fake person.

Exercise #1

Look at your page for this exercise. To be perfectly honest, this one may or may not help. It is so open ended that it might not be related in anyway. Let’s take a look at Meghan’s (my) response to Exercise #1:

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 1.40.20 PM

Using the information from Meghan’s response, it would be simple to give her feedback: she has a number of creative practices she seems interested in. It’s not clear whether these are creative practices she already does or practices she is interested in learning more about + getting started with.

*When I wrote these responses I had creativity/creative practices on my mind, so my response is rather on point whereas your’s might have been on something completely different – like your grocery list. So no worries if you didn’t get a lot of great information from this first exercise. The other 3 will help!

Exercises #2 – 4

Read through your fake person’s response for each of these exercises. Do you see any patterns forming? Take a look at fake Meghan’s (my) responses for these exercises:

 

My feedback to Meghan is that she doesn’t seem to be lacking ideas for how to practice her creativity. That’s awesome. However, if she tries to focus on all of these at once, she will probably get overwhelmed and end up not doing any of it. Instead, she should write all of these ideas down on a list. Then go through the list and determine which one she is actually interested in learning + practicing now.

This is the point to actually think about time, cost, skills required, etc. Narrow the list down to one and that is where she should start practicing her creativity. But, she should hang that list somewhere she will see it often. That way, if she starts weaving but soon decides it’s not really for her, instead of starting this process over she can jump right into another creative practice!

Hopefully once you have provided yourself/your fake person with some feedback you will have an idea of how you WANT to practice your creativity. If you feel like you are stuck and can’t figure it out, there are two things you can try.

Number 1

Ask someone you trust to take a look the responses to the exercises and give you feedback.

Number 2

Email me your worksheets (greensandbluesco AT gmail.com) and I will give you my feedback!

One week left in our Clean Slate Creativity series. Next week, you put your creativity into practice! See you then.

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 3 is analyzing your responses. Let’s get to it!