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Elin Loow + Katy McCullough will share a step-by-step guide for kicking of a new creative project this summer. Make Summer 2017 a creative one. Sign up now!

It’s Time to Make Something New

In case you missed it, on Thursday, June 22nd at 1 PM CDT / 8 PM CEST, I am co-hosting a FREE workshop with Elin Loow (you can find out more about her here) on kicking off a summer creative project. Here’s your chance to make Summer 2017 a creative one! (Even if you can’t make it to the live workshop, by signing up you will be emailed the replay).

In this Summer Creativity Kick-Off Workshop, Elin + I will help you choose, plan and get started on a creative summer project!

You will…

1. Find an exciting creative project that fits with your summer.
2. Figure out what resources you need to make it happen.
3. Make a plan that you’ll be able to stick with.
4. Kick-off your wonderfully creative summer!

**please note – by signing for to the workshop, you will be subscribed to both my and Elin’s email lists. We are both dedicated to helping you in your creative journey and will do our best to delight your inbox!
Elin Loow + Katy McCullough will share a step-by-step guide for kicking of a new creative project this summer. Make Summer 2017 a creative one. Sign up now!
Here’s the story.
Enough talking about creativity – it’s time to make some new shit.

Sorry, I lied – a little more talking first.

Exploring a new creative practice for the summer is all about expanding your horizons. You already know you’re creative. So, how about trying a new creative activity for the summer?

Another way of looking at it is – It’s time to make some new shit this summer.

Have you ever been in a spot creatively where you find something that works so you just keep doing it over and over? Makes sense, right? Why reinvent the wheel?

In college, for many (many) people’s birthdays I made this really cute card (in my opinion) out a cardstock that had a spot in the back for me to include a cd that I burned just for the recipient. I’m cringing because there are probably way too many of you reading this that are thinking – hey, I thought that was special just for me…sorry!

I thought it was pretty great because the craft supplies I was working with in my dorm room were a couple of pieces of cardstock and a few markers. Anyway, I made so many of these and they were great, but then came a time when I needed to explore my creativity a little more. I got bored making the same thing over and over – I needed to make some new shit.

My upcoming workshop (co-hosted with Elin Loow) will take you through the steps to do just that.

As I have previously mentioned, I have been writing a lot over the past year. Every single day to be exact (or pretty much, I don’t really pay attention to it anymore because it is ingrained – it’s just something that I do at this point). While I will still continue to write and practice that particular creative muscle, it’s also time for me to try something else. I’m using the summer to explore my creativity further.

I’m going to embrace my fear, make myself uncomfortable, and so something that I (currently) suck at. I’m going to paint.

There you have it, the new creative practice I am trying out for the summer will be abstract painting. Eh.

My goals are to play with color and to make something that doesn’t look like crap so that I can hang it in my house. These are not lofty goals. Don’t be afraid to set your sights a little higher. I just say this to be clear that I am not planning on selling my paintings or teaching others how to do it. I just want to make some cool, colorful stuff for my house. Much to my chagrin, I will share my work throughout the process – which makes me feel a little nauseous to put such ugliness out into the world. But, you have to start somewhere. 

I hope you’ll join in the fun and kick-off the summer with a new creative practice. Click here to sign-up for the free workshop and get all of the details.

Let’s go make some new shit.

Elin Loow + Katy McCullough will share a step-by-step guide for kicking of a new creative project this summer. Make Summer 2017 a creative one. Sign up now!

 

Kick-Off a New Creative Practice

On Thursday, June 22nd at 1 PM CDT / 8 PM CEST, I am co-hosting a FREE workshop with Elin Loow (you can find out more about her here) on kicking off a summer creative project. Here’s your chance to make Summer 2017 a creative one! (Even if you can’t make it to the live workshop, by signing up you will be emailed the replay).

In this Summer Creativity Kick-Off Workshop, Elin + I will help you choose, plan and get started on a creative summer project!

You will…

1. Find an exciting creative project that fits with your summer.
2. Figure out what resources you need to make it happen.
3. Make a plan that you’ll be able to stick with.
4. Kick-off your wonderfully creative summer!

**please note – by signing for to the workshop, you will be subscribed to both my and Elin’s email lists. We are both dedicated to helping you in your creative journey and will do our best to delight your inbox!

Elin Loow + Katy McCullough will share a step-by-step guide for kicking of a new creative project this summer. Make Summer 2017 a creative one. Sign up now!

Here’s the story.

There always seems to be more time in the summer. Whether you are a student or teacher and you actually have more time, or if you are just someone who feels inspired by more hours of daylight – this is for you.

Kick-Off a New Creative Practice This Summer

Why Start A New Creative Practice This Summer?

  1. Expand your creativity by increasing your skill-set.
  2. Make yourself uncomfortable.
  3. Focus your creativity in order to build your creative confidence.
  4. Why not?

Expand Your Creativity By Increasing Your Skillset

Here’s the deal. You don’t have to just be a painter, knitter, writer, etc. By all means you should explore various aspects of your creativity. However, it’s hard to get better at any one craft if you only return to it once every 6 months or so. So, in the Summer Creativity Kick-Off workshop, we are challenging you to choose one creative practice to focus on this summer. A creative practice that is different than your current go-to creative practice. So for example, I currently have a daily writing practice and I have for the past year or so. This is not going to be the focus for my summer creative hobby.

**One caveat this does not mean you can’t do anything else – that would be insane. It just means maybe don’t start a bunch of new creative hobbies at once. I’m going to be painting, but I’m also going to weaving and writing quite a bit as well.

For me, creativity goes hand in hand with learning.  The more skills I learn or acquire, the more creative I can be. At times, I have had flashes of inspiration, but did not necessarily possess the skills to execute my ideas. Therefore, by learning and then practicing new skills, my creativity has expanded.  I believe creativity is a skill, and like other skills, it must be practiced in order to improve.

Make Yourself Uncomfortable

I challenge you to make yourself uncomfortable. Like, really really uncomfortable. Like when you are stuck between two people having the most awkward conversation ever and you have no way out – that kind of uncomfortable.

Why make yourself uncomfortable? You will face a fear. You will force yourself to try something you had previously told yourself you could not or would not do. You most likely will learn something new about yourself, whether it is the fact that you can face your fear and still survive, or even just a new skill that you learn.

Trying something new is scary as shit, but if you ACTUALLY do it, what an amazing high. Think about how you will feel at the end if you

Focus Your Creativity In Order to Build Your Creative Confidence

How do you build your creative confidence?

Practice, Practice, practice. Whether you are just starting out or have been at it for some time, there is no way around it. You can’t be confident without putting in the time. Well, technically you can be, but nobody likes those people. The more you practice, the more confident you will become. It’s as easy as that. But, truthfully, it isn’t easy. It’s not easy to make your creativity a priority daily or weekly, but if you want to see the results, then it’s the only way.

Practice until there is nothing else you can say besides I am good enough. “My creative is good enough.” Practice until that’s the only answer left.

Why Not?

Why not start a new creative practice this summer? What else do you have going on that is better? What’s the worst that could happen? You practice your creativity? You gain confidence in a new creative practice? Sounds good to me! Sign up for the workshop using the form below.

Elin Loow + Katy McCullough will share a step-by-step guide for kicking of a new creative project this summer. Make Summer 2017 a creative one. Sign up now!

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Chunking a Creative Project.

Creativity in 10: Chunking a Creative Project

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Break Your Creative Project Into Digestible Chunks.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Chunking a Creative Project.

Here’s the story. 

So all of this practicing your creativity in 10 minutes or less stuff is great, but what happens when you are feeling confident and you’re ready to stop practicing the ideas I gave you? What happens when you are ready to do your own thing?

Awesome. Go for it.

However, chances are that whatever creative project you start working on may not be as simple as the ways I have shared on practicing your creativity in only 10 minutes a day. If you jump head first into a huge project without any prior planning, it’s likely that you will not get the outcome you hoped for.

So, today, as the last (at least for awhile) in the Creativity in 10 series, I’m sharing how you can break your creative project into digestible chunks so you can still only practice for 10 minutes a day (or 20 minutes or an hour – whatever amount of time you have to work with).

As I am writing this, I just recently finished a few projects that I had been procrastinating on for awhile (knitting a scarf, sewing kitchen towels, and a large scale piece of script art). They are all cool and/or useful projects so I am not sure why I was procrastinating so much other than the fact that I was in the middle of so many projects at once and instead of breaking them down and finishing each bit by bit, I felt overwhelmed and did nothing. Which is absolutely ridiculous because these are creative projects we are talking about – not serious life issues. However, I would bet than many people have done something similar.

My next big creative undertaking is learning to weave – specifically to learn how to create woven hall hangings. I have been drooling over wall weavings for about a year. I keep telling myself that I am going to start, but I didn’t want to start until I finished my other projects. Now that I finished those, I’m ready to go.

Learning a new craft and completing the first project to go with it can be a big undertaking (but also fun!). I am going to break it down step by step so that I can actually accomplish something each day.  

Number 1 – Inspiration

Decide what you want to do. This might take awhile and it’s okay to look through inspiration for awhile if you have a goal. Just looking at an endless rotation of inspiration will not serve you in the end. If you are trying to figure out what to make, go for it. I started seeing wall weavings pop up on Pinterest and Instagram and I absolutely love the colors and fibers used. Then, when I started to see tutorials and DIY’s for making your own loom a lot, I made a Pinterest board called Learning to Weave so that I had a place to store all of these great ideas and inspiration.

Number 2 – Gathering Materials

Since this is a brand new creative venture for me, I had to do a little research to figure out what materials were absolutely necessary for a beginner. With any creative endeavor, of course you can buy ALL of the stuff, but there is really no need, especially at the beginning when you are not even sure if you are going to like it. So rather than just diving in credit card first, I figured out what materials I absolutely needed to start. In this case, a loom and yarn would suffice to start.

Number 3 – Gather Learning Materials

If this was a project that didn’t require you to learn anything new – then you could skip this step. But for, me I’m a complete newbie when it comes to weaving, so I got a book from my library and went back to my Learning to Weave Pinterest board so that I could find a few tutorials that I pinned.

Number 4 – Actually Learn

This step will be different for everyone depending on how much you need to learn (e.g. learning how to weave vs. learning one weaving technique). Either way it’s your best bet to chunk your learning. So for me, that might look something like this:

Day 1: learn how to warp my loom

Day 2: learn a weaving technique

Day 3: learn another weaving technique

Day 4: learn one more weaving technique

By only committing to learning a little bit each day, I won’t get overwhelmed and give up after a few days or a week.

Number 5 – Decide on a Project

Once starting a project, it’s easy to go all out at first and then lose steam and not pick it up again for months. Instead, if you plan on only doing a little bit each day (or however often you practice your creativity), you won’t feel overwhelmed or “behind” where you had planned on being. So for me, that might look something like this:

Day 1: Warp my loom

Day 2: Complete 3 rows

Day 3: Complete 4 rows (as I practice more, I assume I will become more efficient)

Day 4: Complete 5 rows

Your Turn. Take a few minutes and decide what your next creative project will be. Then start planning how to break it down into manageable chunks. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Chunking a Creative Project.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Practice Visual Thinking

Creativity in 10: Practice Visual Thinking

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Practicing Visual Thinking.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Practice Visual Thinking

Here’s the story.

When it comes to visual thinking, many people immediately get hung up on the idea that it is drawing – it’s not. Well…it might be a tiny bit, but the emphasis is on communicating your ideas, not drawing. You might just have to draw some very basic creations in order to communicate your ideas.

Trust me, I wouldn’t use visual thinking so much if the emphasis was on drawing.

What is Visual Thinking Anyway?

Visual thinking is using pictures (visuals) to process what you are thinking/learning and to communicate that information.  — there are a lot more complicated definitions of visual thinking out there, but I like this one because it gets straight to the point.

You use visuals to communicate ideas.

Why Use Visual Thinking?

It can benefit both you and others.

Number 1

If you are taking notes from a book or a speech, when you practice visual thinking you are not simply copying down word for word what the author or speaker says, rather you are interpreting their words into your own visuals. As a result, you are more likely to remember and understand the information because you are actively engaging with it rather than just passively copying it down.

Number 2

If you are trying to communicate an idea with someone else, sometimes words are not enough.  Visuals can provide more clarity to what you are trying to share than just words can. Visuals + words = even better.  (As a middle school teacher, I see this notion proven on a daily basis.)

Visual thinking can be used :

  • to brainstorm ideas
  • to communicate your ideas
  • to problem solve
  • to tell a story
  • For a coach to demonstrate how a play would work
  • To take notes
  • To learn

Visual thinking is awesome because anyone can do it; you most definitely do not need to be an artist. Anything can be made clearer with a picture – this is why we look at maps, why we have illustrated how to directions, etc. Visual thinking applies to everything.

What do we do when we are trying to explain something when words don’t seem to be working? We draw it.

Getting Started With Visual Thinking

3 Steps to visual thinking:

  1. Identify
  2. Imagine
  3. Illustrate

Identify – identify your problem or what you want to do. For example: I want to figure out how to make this table. Or, I want to create an Elmo-themed party for a 2 year old.

Imagine – Imagine the possibilities, generate ideas, and brainstorm solutions.

Illustrate – Put pencil to paper, stylus to tablet, marker to – you get the idea. Just start.

So what if you think you can’t draw. I know you can do this. Visual thinking is not about drawing intricate works of art, it is about expressing your ideas in a way that is easier to communicate with others. If you want to sketch something and you don’t know how, Google “__________________ (insert whatever it is you want to draw here) icon.” After hitting enter, click on Images. You will get something that is much easier to sketch and that anyone can replicate. I do this weekly, maybe even daily :). You just have to start somewhere – even if that somewhere is not very good.

Then, you make it better.

Here’s a couple of ideas for getting started with visual thinking in less than 10 minutes. Choose any of these ideas, identify your problem, imagine it, and then start illustrating it.

Ideas for getting started. Choose one.

    • Recipe
    • A Ted Talk – there are many let are less than 6 minutes
    • Your To-Do list
    • An episode of your favorite podcast
    • Episode of a tv show
    • Sportcenter’s Top Ten List
    • Your Own Top Ten List
    • Places You Want to Travel
    • Your Grocery List
    • A Trip You Have Previously Taken

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Practice Visual Thinking

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Start A Drawing Habit.

Creativity in 10: Start a Drawing Habit

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Start A Drawing Habit.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Start A Drawing Habit.

Here’s the story.

For many of you, the immediate reaction to seeing this headline is “hell no, I can’t draw.” I’m right there with you. If you have been around here for any amount of time, or are currently following me on Instagram you will have seen my little drawings (I usually refer to them as visual thinking).

To put it nicely they are rough. I can say with absolute certainty that when it comes to drawing – I am the worst 🙂  So I decided that if I was going to share the idea of starting a drawing habit as a simple and quick way to practice your creativity, I needed to put my money where my mouth is and try it too.

So I did it. I set a timer for ten minutes and started drawing. I decided to use a pen so that I couldn’t second guess myself and try to make everything perfect. At first, I was just going to try and cover the page in different drawings, but after drawing the same flower and circle design I have been doodling since 5th grade, I decided to start over. I got a new piece of paper and just starting drawing the door in front of my desk. It was mostly straight lines so it couldn’t be too bad, right?

I worked on it for about ten minutes. I was very happy when the 10 minutes was up. Although, if I am being truthful, I was looking forward to trying it again. Drawing made me stretch my creative muscles in a way that I haven’t tried in awhile. Like I said, I’m the worst at drawing. Give me a craft like sewing or knitting any day. But, combining my lack of skill and practice with my desire to always continue to learn – a part of me definitely wants to work on my drawing more.

I don’t know what I was expecting, there is no way it was going to look good – I haven’t practiced drawing in forever. But, it was a little freeing to try something I know I’m going to be bad at and just do it anyway.

Enough about me. Your turn.

Like all of the other exercises in the Creativity in 10 series (photo, writing, ideas), starting a drawing habit is quick and simple. You only need a pen/pencil and paper. Once again, you have several options.

  • Set a timer and go for a certain amount of time.
  • Or get a piece of paper and draw until you have covered the paper entirely.
  • You can attempt to draw something you see, or just whatever you can see in your imagination.
  • Start by drawing lines and shapes. See where it takes you.

Give it a try – you won’t regret it!

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Start A Drawing Habit.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Creating a Photography Practice.

Creativity in 10: Create a Photography Practice

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Creating a Photography Practice.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Creating a Photography Practice.

Here’s the story.

With Creativity in 10, we are once again exploring possibilities for practicing your creativity in 10 minutes or less each day. This is not to say that these ideas (photography, an ideas journal, a writing habit) will be the only way you will ever practice your creativity. Rather, they are ideas for helping you get back into the practice of practicing your creativity. Then, once you are feeling more confident, you can explore your own creative path.

Why Create a Photography Practice?

First, I should point out that when I say “photography” is sounds all haughty and what I really mean is: you are going to take some pictures on your phone.

Okay, back to the “why.”

Many of us already love taking photos – love documenting awesome experiences we have and love recording histories of our loved ones. So we already do it. Now we are just going to put a little thought behind it and exercise those creative muscles some more.

By creating a photography practice you will become more confident in your skills in order to feel more comfortable sharing your photographs. You will also practice the art of storytelling with the photographs you take.

And it’s easy. Many people carry their smartphones around with them anyway – you don’t need any other equipment.

And most importantly, it’s fun.

How To Create a Photography Practice

This doesn’t need to be difficult. If you are on Instagram, as you scroll through your feed, notice the subjects of interest for various people. For example, my sister Becky only takes photos of beautiful places. There may or may not be people in there as well, but they are secondary to the landscape.

Many people have a singular focus such as this. Think about the people you follow on Instagram? Do they only post photos of hand-lettering, pottery, or woven wall hangings?

Or, there are the people who take + share photos of their daily life, or just whatever captures their interest in that moment. Their Instagram feeds are more diverse, yet still serving a single purpose.

Now think about how you take photos, or how you want to take photos? Remember your answer to that question as we get into the next part of this.

There are two ways to create a photography habit (of course there are more ways, but I can only think of two – if you can think of one, you do it another way):

Number 1

Choose a theme. Possible theme ideas:

  • Kids
  • Pets
  • Nature
  • Patterns
  • Black + White

Capture as many photographs as possible that fit into your theme. Aim for at least 20+ for the week or set a daily goal for yourself.

Number 2

Take a photo at the same time everyday for a set amount of time (a week, a month, etc.). Take a photograph each day this week at the same time. Before you get started, there are a few factors to take into consideration.

  • What time of day will you take your photographs? Choose a time that is convenient for you and that you will realistically be able to take photos all week at that same time.
  • Will you photograph the same thing everyday or whatever you see at that time each day? For example, will I photograph my dog on our walk each night, or will I photograph something new I see each night when I am out walking my dog? How many to take? Will you take just 1 photograph and live with it? Or, will you shoot a bunch and choose the best?

Set an alarm or reminder on your phone so you don’t forget to take those photos!

You will notice that as you start to take more photos, your photography will improve. You will start thinking about the light, the background, etc. even if you really do not know anything about these. By trial and error (practice) you will improve your creativity.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Creating a Photography Practice.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today - Starting an ideas journal.

Creativity in 10: Start an Ideas Journal

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Starting an ideas journal.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today - Starting an ideas journal.

Here’s the story.

If you missed it, last week I started a new series called Creativity in 10. The idea is to provide you with simple ways to practice your creativity in 10 minutes or less a day. Check out last week’s post about forming a writing habit here.

Most people like the idea of being creative and practicing their creativity, but aren’t sure where to start or feel overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. So here is another simple way to practice your creativity – start an ideas journal.

You can go about this a couple of different ways. On one hand, an ideas journal is just somewhere you write down your ideas when you have them – a little notebook you keep in your pocket or purse, a Google Doc you return to online, or even just sending yourself an email with your ideas. It’s a spot to collect and organize your ideas so that you can return to them later and iterate on them.

Even more than that, this is the practice of writing down ideas. It’s very difficult to come up with good ideas on demand, especially if you are not practicing it regularly.

Getting Started With an Ideas Journal

Each day, Set the timer for 10 minutes and come up with as many ideas as possible in that time. Anything you want to focus on – whether it’s ideas for how to keep your house clean, how to save more money, your next sewing project, the novel you want to write – it doesn’t matter what your ideas are about.

You are either going to set a timer and come up with as many ideas as possible. Write down every idea that comes to mind. Do not edit yourself. Do not decide if they are good ideas, bad ideas, etc. Just write everything down.

Or, you can set an ideas goal. This is where you keep going until you hit a certain number of ideas per day (5, 10, or whatever). Once again, do not edit. Chances are that most of your ideas will be crap. Utter garbage. But, you don’t need that many good ideas, just one or a few. If you actually do this everyday, amongst all this garbage will be a few pieces of gold.

So how do you do it? Easier said than done, right?

Set an alarm on your phone for a time when you know you can work on this – first thing in the morning, during your lunch hour, right before bed. When that alarm goes off, you are Pavlov’s dog. You hear the alarm, you write your ideas down.

Or, you can just put it on your calendar as a repeating event for the next 30 days. So everyday you see it and know it is something you need to accomplish.

Figure out which of these options works for you and start practicing your creativity today!

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today - Starting an ideas journal.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today - Forming a Writing Habit.

Creativity in 10: Form a Writing Habit

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today – Forming a Writing Habit.

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today - Forming a Writing Habit.

Here’s the story.

A few days ago I realized that I am writing so much more than any other creative activity. Which is crazy. About a year ago I shared something that basically said I didn’t even like writing. So why the change?

When I said that I didn’t like to write it’s because I was not actually writing much at that time – therefore I definitely wasn’t any good at it. This is not too say that I am the best writer now, but writing is coming so much easier to me now because I practice it EVERY SINGLE DAY. I committed to write every day and I followed through with it (i.e. I practiced it.). It’s not a concept that is difficult to understand – it actually could not be any simpler. I wanted to be better at something so I practiced and as a result I improved.

Then why do we struggle with it so much? (Myself included.) Why do we struggle to start new creative practices knowing that all we have to do to improve is commit some time and energy to it.

Since November or December my creativity has shifted and morphed and it’s been pretty interesting to witness. I am about ¾ of the way through the first draft of a non-fiction book I am writing and I have so many ideas for a novel I want to write. Now truthfully, all of my ideas + writing could be total garbage, but that’s not really the point.

A few months back I might have told that you that I had no desire to ever write a book – that was true at the time. Now I am really enjoying the process. So what changed? I did. I committed to a writing practice and that coincided with me having an idea for a book that I thought was a pretty good one. I have been able to get so much done because I write every single day. Now let me be clear, I have never sat down and written for hours at a time, I don’t think I have ever even sat down and written for more than 15 minutes at a time. At this current point in my life, I don’t have that kind of time. I have been writing in 5 or ten minute chunks.

I share this because often we hesitate to start a new project/hobby because we are going to be bad at it at first. Our work won’t look like work of the people that inspire us. We can’t see a few months into the future of how consistent practice can change that, we are too focused on the right here and right now. So this is my reminder to you that things can change with practice. So go practice already.

Here’s one easy, quick way to start today.

Creativity in 10

This will be a recurring series where I share an idea for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less. Even though ten minutes (or less) is not a significant amount of time, when you add it up over weeks, months, or even years – you will see progress in your creative practices. 

Form a Writing Habit

To form a writing habit you just have to commit to writing however often you choose for a certain amount of time o a certain amount of words/pages. If you are someone who likes to write, then obviously this is a great way for you to practice your creativity. At the same time, if you are not someone who traditionally loves to write, it’s a great way for you to improve your writing. And finally, if you are someone who doesn’t have strong feelings about it one way or another, it’s a way to continually generate new ideas and to think through the ideas that you already have. Remember, no one has to see your writing if you don’t want them to.

Here’s how to get started:

Decide where you are going to store your writing: a journal, on your computer, etc. I have a Google Doc labeled 250 Words that is currently about 60 pages long. I write there everyday.

Decide how often you are going to write: daily, weekly, only on weekends, only on weekdays. As always, you truly need to figure out what works for you, but if you will allow me to get on my soapbox for a quick minute: I think you should make it a daily practice. The only way to form a habit is to do it EVERY SINGLE DAY. In addition, if your writing practice is only on the weekends and you miss a day, that’s half of your writing for the week, whereas if you have a daily practice and you miss a day, it’s not a big deal. I’m getting down off my soapbox.

Decide what your daily writing goal is going to be: a specific number of words, a specific amount of time, etc. Do whatever works for you, but my daily goal is 250 words (which is not very much at all).

Decide how to remind yourself to write: add it to your calendar or set an alarm on your phone. You can set an alarm on your phone for a time when you know you can write – first thing in the morning, during your lunch hour, right before bed – whatever. When that alarm goes off, you are Pavlov’s dog. You hear the alarm, you start writing and don’t stop until you hit your goal. Or, you can add it to your calendar as a repeating event for the next 30 days. So everyday you see it and know it is something you need to accomplish.

How to actually get started: Once you have decide everything I mentioned above, it’s time to actually write. When you first start it can be difficult. So if you don’t already have something in mind for what you want to write about, just write whatever pops into your head – even if it is very stupid or it looks something like this:

I have to write 250 words today, so I am going to write until I get to 250 words. I am writing in a Google Doc. It is raining outside.

So obviously that is total garbage, but some days it will look like that and some days even though your goal is to write 250 words, you might easily write a thousand. Either way you have to show up and get it down each day so that you can see progress.

Start writing!

Creativity in 10 is a recurring series sharing ideas for how you can practice your creativity in ten minutes or less a day. Up today - Forming a Writing Habit.

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From Inspiration Hoarder to Maker

Today’s the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There’s just a few steps to get started. 

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started.

Here’s the story.

Today you are going to transform from an inspiration hoarder to a maker.

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You love finding inspiration – whether it is on Pinterest, blogs, magazines or somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if it is craft projects, DIY projects, or something else entirely. You are constantly coming across totally awesome stuff you want to make. But, after awhile you start to notice that you have collected hoards of inspiration but have yet to do anything with it.

Today that changes.

Today you go from inspiration hoarder to maker.

Maybe you collect all kinds of ideas because you like them – great, you should continue to do that – but you have a hard time getting started with them because you don’t necessarily have the skills to do it, or the project materials might be expensive, or maybe you don’t have the time right now to commit to completing the project. Any one of these reasons could be what is keeping you from getting started.

So you don’t do that project – then you don’t do any project.

Your goal today is going to be to find a project that you can complete. Keep it small, minimal, somewhat simple. You want to get an easy win on this one and transform your mindset from someone who collects inspiration but does not follow through into that of that into a maker – someone who see an idea or finds inspiration + actually creates something.

If you want to be a maker, you actually have to do that work – you have to make stuff.

The first thing to decide is what you want to make. This should be easy because you already have so much inspiration saved up. Head over to wherever it is that you collect your inspiration – Pinterest, a journal, a notebook, a bulletin board, a folder on your desktop, etc. Go through it. Pick something simple. You are looking for something that will take an hour or less of your time. Also, choose a project where you already have the materials or you can easily find them at a local store. Choose a project that will allow you to get started right away.

If you’ve got a big long list of inspiration, go through and cross off the ones that are going to take you too much time. Then cross off all of the ones that you need to learn a new skill for. (One point – I’m not saying cross them off forever, just for now until you get started with a creative habit). Cross all the ones that require materials that are too expensive.

Here’s my example. Here is my DIY board on Pinterest. These are all things that I think are awesome, pretty, or in some cases totally awesome. I want to make them all!

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started.

Now here is my board with projects crossed off that I thought would be too difficult, too time consuming or too expensive for my first one. Here’s the project I am going to do first.

 

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started. I picked my project – something easy with only a few materials and hard to mess up – the project that is going to help me go from inspiration hoarder to maker.

Next, I am going to figure out what resources/materials I need to complete this project. I’ll make a list and gather them.

Then, if I think about my time – when can I actually do this? During my kids’ nap time? After work + dinner? A chunk of time on the weekend? If you are actually going to do this, you need to prepare so that when you have that chunk of time, you actually execute – you make something! Instead of saying that I only have an hour and I need to decide what I want to do, go to the store, learn a new skill, etc. Not going to happen that way!

Set yourself up for success by doing the preparations first. 

Finally, Is there anything you need to learn before trying? If I I want to hand-letter, should I watch some Youtube videos, or should I just start making. Decide now.

Go make.

Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. One very important point I need to make.

Your first go round is probably going to suck. Most likely it won’t look just like that pin from Pinterest. It’s not going to look just like that Instagram post. You are probably going to feel bad about that, it’s natural. But, then stop and think. Whoever made the source of inspiration probably made it a few times to get it to look perfect. Or, they practice their creativity all the time, so it is going to look amazing. Whereas this is the first time you have tried it, so of course it is not going to look the same. Understand that as you shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset, you are probably going to create some total garbage at first. But you have to do that in order to get to the good stuff. You might even throw away some of the stuff you make – that’s okay. You are putting in the practice so that you can increase your skills.

Okay, back to it – go make something!

You did it? Awesome some sauce.

Okay, here is the deal. Going from inspiration hoarder to maker is not a one time transition unless you actually make a practice habit out of it.

Here are some links to making a creative practice habit. Here and here.

Get started!

Today's the day to make the shift from inspiration hoarder mode to a maker mindset. There's just a few steps to get started.

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How To Focus Your Creativity When You Have Too Many Interests

If your personal brand of creativity is a variety of hobbies/crafts/activities, how do you practice them all? How do you stay up to date on them all? How do you not let some of them fall by the wayside?

If your personal brand of creativity is a variety of hobbies/crafts/activities, how do you practice them all? How do you stay up to date on them all? How do you not let some of them fall by the wayside?Here’s the story.

The following assumes that you have identified your personal brand of creativity – you know how you are creative. If you are not to that point yet, click here for help.

So you know your personal brand of creativity – you know that you ARE creative and you know HOW you are creative. Awesome.

One problem – Your personal brand of creativity is a variety of activities/hobbies/ventures/whatever you want to call it. You went through the entire process of identifying your personal brand of creativity and realized you are not just:

  • A carpenter
  • A baker
  • A knitter
  • A painter
  • A juggler

Instead, you’ve got a whole heap of creative interests.  They are not anything and everything, but there is still a variety of interests there.

For example:

Maybe the creative pursuits that make up your personal brand of creativity are all “crafts” such as knitting, sewing, crocheting, etc.

Or maybe your creative pursuits are not connected in any way other than the fact that you enjoy all of them. That still works.

It’s even okay if your personal brand of creativity is a bit of a hot mess like this: A lit bit of photography, some hand-lettering, and you want to get around to learning how to paint. Also, you have a bunch of hobbies you are interested in and love to make stuff for your house and others. You occasionally you try your hand at various fiber crafts or crafty crafts like a wreath for each season. But then you are also learning how to use your camera well enough to take photos of your kids each season/year. You love to bake + cook. You aren’t amazing but you love trying out new recipes and foods. Yes, a bit of a hot mess. THIS IS STILL PERFECT. And in reality, this is probably the most realistic for each of us.

Your personal brand of creativity is a variety of things and that is 100% okay.

One Problem.

How do you practice them all? How do you stay up to date on them all? How do you not let some of them fall by the wayside?

The beauty of having a personal brand of creativity such as this is that it doesn’t have to be perfectly laid out in front of you. You know you like a variety of creative activities. Some of them you already know how to do, but you also might learn a few new things each year. Whether it is something quick + easy like a few new recipes for cookies at the holidays, or a larger undertaking like learning to knit. The beauty of your personal brand of creativity is that it is not regimented. It grows + changes with you.

Back to the problem – how do you practice all aspects of your personal brand of creativity?

When your personal brand of creativity is a number of different hobbies/activities/ventures, your practice plan is not going to be like:

Monday – knitting

Tuesday – photography

Thursday – sewing

And so on. Unless you prefer your crafts like days of the week underwear.

It needs to be more of whatever is inspiring you at the time, or whatever season of your life you are in at the time + you decide what you feel like doing/making/creating. Otherwise it becomes a chore. If I were you, I would create a list of all the things I love to do. My list would look something like this:

  • Knit
  • Sew
  • Scrapbook
  • Photography
  • Visual thinking
  • Coding
  • Website design
  • Design priniciples
  • Hand letter
  • Some of these I already know and some I want to learn

Post that list somewhere you can see it. So when you are feeling uninspired or when you don’t know what I want to work on, all you have to do is take a look at the list for some options. Then you know exactly what you have to work with. If I’m in the middle of a knitting project, I can pick up right in the middle of that. Or I can go check out my sewing board on Pinterest to see what I want to sew next. It’s a sneaky little way of being inspired by yourself.

In addition to deciding WHAT to practice, you are need to develop your practice habits.

You need to figure out:

  • How much time do I have to practice my creativity?
  • How often am I going to practice?
  • What’s the best way to go about this?

Do you put on your calendar: creative time is MWF from 8:30 – 9:00. That is my me time, my creative time. Depending on your personality, you can decide that day or at the beginning of the week. I’d encourage you to think about it a little bit ahead of time so that you don’t waste your creative time trying to decide what to do or realizing that you don’t have the necessary materials on hand.

Like any other personal brand of creativity, you will just see where this take you. It might be that after a few months of trying this out regularly, you might decide that you love hand-lettering so much, so you are going to focus on that for three – four months or so. Maybe even a year. Or you do it for 3 – 4 months, then feel like oh man I have so many great ideas for sewing, I need to get back into that. It might be that you pop back and forth from creative ventures or that you wear different creative hats for different time periods. It’s up to you to determine how to execute, but the idea is to develop the creative habit, it doesn’t matter how you practice it OR what you do to practice it, just that you are making time for yourself and your creativity and that you are happy with it.

If your personal brand of creativity is a variety of hobbies/crafts/activities, how do you practice them all? How do you stay up to date on them all? How do you not let some of them fall by the wayside?