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Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up first in Week 1 is wiping that slate clean. Let's get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity: Wipe the Slate Clean

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up first in Week 1 is wiping that slate clean. 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 first in Week 1 is wiping the slate clean. Let's get to it!

Here’s the story.

I often advocate that you can figure out how you are creative now (and how you want to be creative now) by taking a look at your creative past. However, for some people that doesn’t work out because they get too hung up on their creative shortcomings in the past.

If you are a part of our Facebook group (you can click here to join) you may have noticed a few months back, I changed the name of our group. It is now – Clean Slate Creativity! The name change came from the idea: what if you could start over with your creative life? Go back to whenever it was when you were younger when you went down one path creatively. At that time most of us were not aware that we were making decisions that could affect the rest of our lives!

Now, as adults, we deserve to start fresh with our creativity and not get hung up on anything from the past (I’m not creative, I can’t draw, I never took any art classes, yada yada yada). 

Today we are wiping the slate clean and starting fresh!

If I asked you to reflect on your creative past – when you were still a kid, most people would have the similar reflections:

I was creative and I practiced it in a variety of way – drawing, coloring, imaginary play, singing, etc.

If I asked you to reflect on your creative past from somewhere around the ages of 10 – 16 – this would be the point where everyone’s stories would diverge down different paths. Yet, many of your stories (and mine) could fall into 1 of 3 categories.

  1. You were creative and you practiced your creativity in a variety of ways until someone made you and your creativity feel less than. Since then you have been hesitant to practice your creativity + even more shy about sharing it.
  2. You were creative and everyone knew it. Your creativity was on display 24/7 in your activities, the way you acted, and what you wore.
  3. You were creative when you were younger but now you just simply choose to spend time on other interests – friends, sports, school, etc.

Back to the present –  think about where you are today with your creativity.

  • Do you know you are creative and practice your creativity regularly?
  • Do you know you could be creative, but aren’t sure where/how to start?
  • Do you have so many creative activities that you don’t know where or how to focus your attention?
  • Do you think you aren’t creative?

It doesn’t matter which option you chose. It’s time to wipe the slate clean. We are going to get rid of your creative past + start fresh.  Let go all your past creative experiences  – GOOD + BAD! We are starting anew.

When we pick up again next week, each of you will start with a clean slate when it comes to your creativity. 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 first in Week 1 is wiping the slate clean. Let's get to 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 – 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.

Inspiration + tutorials are great, but your creativity can’t be wrapped up in someone else's creativity. It’s time for you to get out from the masses of inspiration + ideas your creativity is buried under and identify how you are creative.

Social Media is Stifling Your Creativity

It’s time for you to get out from the masses of inspiration + ideas your creativity is buried under and identify how you are creative.

Inspiration + tutorials are great, but your creativity can’t be wrapped up in someone else's creativity. It’s time for you to get out from the masses of inspiration + ideas your creativity is buried under and identify how you are creative.

 

Here’s the story.

I love craft blogs. LOVE THEM. Obsessed with them. But, they can also be my creative downfall. I went through a period of a year (give or take a couple of months) where I read/skimmed through about 15 – 20 of them daily. Everyone was DIY’ing or crafting such cool shit and I planned on making it all. I also was so in love with craft blogs that I wanted to start one of my own. I have no good reason for why I didn’t except that deep down I probably knew it wasn’t exactly right for me.

So despite the fact that I love love craft/DIY blogs dearly, why do I think they are also holding many people back?

For awhile, I made myself stop reading DIY/craft blogs all together. I even unfollowed most of them on social media. I stopped reading them because every single day I would discover some new amazing project that someone share and that I just “had” to make. I would plan on making it, but before I could ever get around to executing, I would discover some other project that was absolutely amazing and I just “had” to make. This cycle would continue and although I was constantly inspired, I never actually made anything and therefore wasn’t practicing my creativity at all.

The problem is not with the blogs, Pinterest, or even social media in general, but with how audiences react to them. There are so many craft, DIY, and lifestyle blogs out there that are ridiculously gorgeous. They are so pretty to look at, and even better, they share such creative ideas that we can constantly turn to for inspiration. And the best part, they often include detailed tutorials so that we can copy them!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ragging on these, because I love them. I also love Pinterest and love Instagram. Daily, I am inspired by something I see/read on one of these outlets. But, other people’s ideas and tutorials can’t be the sole focus of YOUR CREATIVITY. If it is, you really don’t know yourself as a creative person.

The problem lies in people pinning every tutorial or project they see on Pinterest, but never actually making any of it. Making all kinds of plans, but not executing anything. Or, ONLY copying the work. Making stuff you see online is great (recipes, decorating your house, holiday cards, etc.), but at some point you have to learn what makes YOU creative.

Inspiration + tutorials are awesome, but your creativity can’t be wrapped up in someone else’s creativity.

It’s time for you to get out from the masses of inspiration + ideas your creativity is buried under and identify how you are creative.

To summarize, don’t quit going on Pinterest or other social media and reading blogs (unless of course you want to), but take some time to learn how YOU are creative and start practicing it today.

p.s. Need some help with figuring out how you are creative? Click here for my free five day email course: Find Your Creativity Adventure.

Inspiration + tutorials are great, but your creativity can’t be wrapped up in someone else's creativity. It’s time for you to get out from the masses of inspiration + ideas your creativity is buried under and identify how you are creative.

Flip Your Problems Into Creative Inspiration.

Flip Your Problems Into Creative Inspiration

 

Flip Your Problems Into Creative Inspiration.Inspiration can come from even the most unlikely sources…like from your problems.

Wait, what?

Yep, it’s true. My problem?

Easy. I have always had creative envy.

I think I have always been jealous of anyone with artistic talent – designers, artists, photographers, musicians – the list goes on. When I was in grade school, I even remember seeing another girl’s handwriting and wishing mine was as pretty as hers. I loved the way she wrote her lowercase a’s and I started to copy her. So creative envy is not a new problem for me.

Fast forward to me in my early 30’s and not much has changed. A few years ago, I started reading a lot of blogs, mainly DIY and craft type blogs. Many of them were not only inspiring and helpful, but I also loved reading the posts because the writers were fantastic storytellers. I couldn’t get enough ideas and creative inspiration, but after awhile I made myself stop reading almost all of them.

Crazy, I know.

Why would I stop if I found them inspiring?

Because in addition to finding them inspiring, I was also jealous of them. I would read a post and think I could have done this.

Great – that’s awesome. I could have, but I didn’t. So I would get mad/annoyed. Then I would make all kinds of plans to start a blog. Perhaps even create one or two or three. But, then I didn’t do anything with it/them. I never took it any further.

My problem: I had some serious creative envy (not really a problem), and I didn’t do anything about it (the problem). After much research and reflection, I was able to pinpoint that I was not challenging myself creatively. This is not to say that all creativity and creative activities were gone from my life, but I needed more than what was currently there. For example, as a 7th grade history teacher, my job challenges me creatively each and everyday.  However, that creativity does not serve me, it is for and about my students. I wanted to focus more on me.

I took some time to reflect and had a few realizations:

  1. I did want to start a blog/website.
  1. I did not want to start a craft/DIY blog. This one surprised me! I like – no LOVE – craft and DIY blogs, but I actually did not want one myself. The reason I was having so much trouble getting started with one was because I wasn’t as excited about it as I should be.
  1. The only way to get over my creative envy? Do something about it.  It took me awhile to launch Greens & Blues Co. It was an idea formulating in my head (and in the countless emails I sent myself) for about two years before I launched my website in July 2015. In that time, it underwent many changes but all the while creativity + teaching were at the heart of it. A few of my previous ideas were: 
  • teaching adults technology in in person classes.
  • opening a physical location that provided creative, maker type opportunities for adults and children
  • launching a DIY/craft type blog
  • I can’t remember the rest….

My solution: I will probably always have some kind of creative envy – that just means I am inspired by others – but seeing others do awesome and inspiring work will no longer make me feel bad about myself, because I have pushed myself to try something new.

So my solution was to “do something about it.” I registered the domain www.greensandblues.co, set it up and started my website/blog. I got to work developing content, building relationships, and creating courses.

Whether or not Greens & Blues Co. is successful is not the point (obviously I would much rather have it be successful though). Since I have been working on this, I have learned so many new things (how to set-up a website), have fed my curiosities (the amount of books I have read on creativity is kind of gross), have pushed myself to take risks (put myself out there in a way that feels more like me than anything else I have done – scary stuff), and have been taking time to congratulate myself, even for minor accomplishments (figuring out html and css to make something look “just right”).

Where will this take me? I honestly have no idea. But, I’m more fulfilled and definitely happier for having realized this and then done something about it.

Your Turn

Pinpoint your problem. What’s holding you back creatively?

Is it confidence?

Fear?

Not sure you are creative?

You don’t know where to start?

Figure out what your problem is. That’s the first step.

Then, flip your problem. You can read more here about the process of flipping your problem into an opportunity.  

Find Your People - How + Why to Find a Community of Like-Minded People.

Find Your People

Find Your People - How + Why to Find a Community of Like-Minded People.Thanks to those of you who responded to my survey a few weeks ago. Overwhelmingly many of you made it clear that you would like to find a community of like-minded people who share your creative interests.  So, here ya go!

You have acknowledged that you are creative.

You have identified your personal brand of creativity.

You have started (and continued) to practice.

So far so good. It’s more likely that you will continue your creative practice if you are not alone. Finding a group of people that share your interests will help you.

It’s great to follow people on Pinterest, Instagram, or other social media who post about your creative interests, but how does that really help you? How does that help you expand your skill-set? It’s great for inspiration but it doesn’t help drive your creativity forward.

Finding + joining a community of like-minded people doesn’t necessarily mean you are teaming up with someone, or even collaborating with them (it could though). Instead the purpose is to have some kind of a community (in-person or online) to meet like minded people, to be inspired by others, to learn from others, to get tips + ideas for resources, to continue your learning, and much more.

Before you learn HOW to find a community, let’s figure out what type of community you want to join.  Online or in-person?

Online Communities

There are way too many to list, but a good place to start is Facebook Groups. There are Facebook Groups for anything you could possible imagine.

In-person Communities

Depending on your current location, you will have different options for meeting like-minded people in person. If you live in a big city, likely you will have more opportunities. If you live in a rural area, you may need to either travel far to meet with people or find people to meet online.

Why would someone join a community?

Join a community because you are a social person.

Join because you want to learn from others.

Join because you want access to resources and ideas.

Join because “hanging” with like-minded people is fun.

Join a community even if you aren’t a social person. Just because you join some community doesn’t mean you have to go all in and be everyone’s new best friend. You can still reap many of the benefits. Or maybe you have a hard time meeting people and making news friends (it is difficult as an adult), joining a community is a great way to do that as you know you will already have something in common and therefore something to talk about.

What is the goal of joining a community?

There are obviously endless possibilities but a few realistic goals might include:

  • Being exposed to inspiration + resources
  • Continuing to learn your craft
  • Meeting people with your same interests
  • Finding someone to collaborate with
  • Forming a creative habit aided by the inspiration + encouragement of people you are interacting with

How to go about finding communities?

Depending on your creative interests, finding a group might be an easy task that takes a minute, or it could require a little more research for those of you who have more unique creative interests. For a popular, well-known example such as sewing, this is very easy. I started to google “sewing groups” and before I even hit enter, Google auto-filled for me several possibilities such as:

  • Sewing groups near me
  • Sewing groups on facebook
  • Sewing groups online
  • Sewing club

This example as it turns out was very easy aided by our friend Google. Let’s see if some other less popular ideas are as easy to navigate as well. Moving on to woodwork.

I was wrong again, just as easy.

It seems as though if you are looking for a community online, Facebook groups are the easiest to find. If you are a non-Facebook user you can always just google _______________ groups online and see where that takes you.

If you are looking for places to join a community online, trying googling ________________ groups near me. Or using the website Meetup.com. I found an upcoming hand-lettering event 2 miles from my house in a few weeks. How random and awesome!

In addition, if you enroll in a course (online or in person) often there are communities built right into the course.

Once you are a part of a community, what responsibility do you have to that community? Is it enough to just show up and read what other people write + share?

Your responsibilities:

If you you are going to take (take ideas, take inspiration, learn from others, take feedback, etc,), you need to be willing to provide for other people as well. Share resources, share inspiration, share ideas, provide feedback for others.

If you are unsure about how to get started being a part of the community, start with something simple like asking a question. You are asking a question which is going to be helpful for you, but it can also be helpful for other people. It is also not quite as scary as sharing something you created and soliciting feedback for it yet.

Your Turn: 

Take 5 minutes and find yourself a community of like-minded people!

Leave me a comment and tell me what kind of community you are looking for and if you were able to find one based on the instructions in this post.

 

Your Creativity is Not Just for Personal Use. How can you use your unique creative talents to help others?

Your Creativity is Not Just for Personal Use

Your Creativity is Not Just for Personal Use. How can you use your unique creative talents to help others?Don’t be selfish with your creativity.

What? This is pretty much the exact opposite of everything I have told you in the past.

I have rambled on and on about how you should totally be selfish with your creativity, but truthfully, there are also times when you should be incredibly unselfish with it.

I’m the first to admit, I don’t do enough for other people. Like most of us, I like the idea, but don’t often follow through on ideas I have for helping other people. If you think about it, this is true for most things in our lives: we have great ideas but fail to execute them. Why? Well, in most cases, in order for us to follow through on something, we have to be passionate about it.

The same is true for helping others or committing charitable acts. While there is no one right way to help out other people, there are definitely ways that are better for us than others. Ways that inspire us more. Ways that we are more excited about. Ways that we are more passionate about. And like anything else, this will look different for each of us.

Like most people, I have participated in a variety of charitable activities throughout my life. Some of my own choosing, and some because parents, school, or coaches forced me too. Whatever the impetus for getting me to do the work, the outcome has always been the same – positive.

Positive because I receive a reminder to be grateful for what I have been given. Positive because I am reminded that I should complete charitable acts more often because not only I am doing good for others, but I also feel good after. Despite all of this, I do not currently – with any regularity – volunteer my time, efforts, or talents. And I believe that it goes back to the necessity of finding something that I am passionate about.

For example, the charitable act that I most consistently returned to and was excited about doing was teaching adults to read and/or speak English at my local library. I joined a program that paired me up with a local adult who could not read or speak English and it was my job to teach him or her. A totally awesome responsibility! As a huge nerd/book lover, the idea of not being able to read is devastating to me. In addition, as a teacher, I believe an education can transform someone’s life. So this opportunity was perfect!

I truly enjoyed going each week. It combined my talents (teaching) with something I am passionate about (reading). In addition, it was a realistic amount of time for me to dedicate to other people each week (about 2 hours).

As I brainstorm ideas for what I can do currently, an easy answer would be that I should try the same thing again, but no, it would not work for me anymore. At the time I didn’t have kids. At this point, I’m not willing to give up my time with my kids for anyone else. I already work full-time and do not see them all day. Maybe that makes me selfish, but I’ll be honest, I don’t care. It’s important to know where to draw the line. I could say that 2 hours a week isn’t a big deal, but it is to me and I probably wouldn’t end up following through.

In addition, while I had my teaching degree, I did not yet have a full-time teaching job. Now that I have been teaching all day (and have been for 8 years), the idea of teaching someone in the evening isn’t as appealing as it used to be. At the time, I just wanted a teaching job so badly that the idea of going out of my way to teach someone for free sounded completely fine.

So where does that leave me? Take a look below at this quick chart I drew to brainstorm some potential ideas. In the first column, I made a list of a few skills I have. In the middle column I got a little more specific and thought of a few ways those skills could potentially help others. In the column all the way to the right, I shared whether those ideas were actually realistic or not. If I can find a charity where I can knit hats + gloves from home and send them in, then yes, that is totally realistic for me. In that case, I can help others and continue to improve my knitting skills. A win-win. In the case of potentially teaching some kind of class, it sounds good but not so realistic as I would have to go somewhere and that is time I am not currently willing to spend.

Your Creativity is Not Just for Personal Use. How can you use your unique creative talents to help others?

Take a few minutes and make a chart like this for yourself. See what you come up with.

***One more note, Using your creativity to help others doesn’t just have to be charity. It can be helping a friend, family member, neighbor, etc. Most often this is where our creativity really shines. Bake a neighbor cookies, make a co-worker with a new baby a meal, make a family member a handmade gift, donate to an auction, talk to someone, build houses, fundraise for a cause that is close to your heart… there are so many possibilities for you to share your creativity with others – big ways and little ways, with people you know and people you don’t know.

Share your creativity with one person today, I’m sure you will make their day.

I’m off to figure out a charity that I can start knitting for.

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Exercise Your Creativity at Work. Instead of a typical New Year's Resolution, choose one aspect of your creativity to practice in order to exercise it at work. Find out the three easy steps to trying this out!

Exercise Your Creativity at Work

Exercise Your Creativity at Work. Instead of a typical New Year's Resolution, choose one aspect of your creativity to practice in order to exercise it at work. Find out the three easy steps to trying this out!With the year starting to wind down, we automatically start looking forward to next year. Whether you are a resolutions person or not, it’s difficult NOT to think about the upcoming year, what you want to accomplish and any changes you want to make to any aspect of your life.

As always around here, I try to look at everything through the lens of creativity. In lieu of reflecting back on the year or even making your typical resolutions, I challenge you to try something different this year. Try something out of your creative norm.

As a way to kick off the new year, I challenge you to to practice an aspect of your creativity that you can exercise at work.

Why? Chances are you have spent time and energy practicing your creativity. You probably even have a pretty good handle on what makes YOU creative. However, many of us then go to our jobs, and then practice no aspect of our creativity ALL DAY LONG. It can be defeating and draining. Instead of complaining about it and thinking you want to quit, try this one exercise to change your perspective: practice an aspect of your creativity that you can exercise at work.

I most often practice my creativity by sewing, knitting or some other craft.

To challenge myself creatively, I am going to focus on writing. I’m not making some big resolution and declaring that I am going to do this for the entire year, or that I am going to write my first book, or anything like that. Instead, I am going focus my creativity on writing from now and probably through the end of January. I am going to start by learning, then practicing, and finally exercising that creativity in my work.

I write a lot. Between writing posts and course content for Greens & Blues Co., and the writing I do throughout my day as a teacher – there is no shortage of it. Practicing it isn’t my problem (to be fair, I’m not sure I have an actual problem, I just think I could be better). This is a matter of quality vs. quantity. There is enough quantity to go around. And sometimes I do think it is good quality. But, it isn’t always. And it’s been a long long time since I have done anything about it.

I have not spent time learning anything new about the practice of writing since maybe high school or my freshman year of college (I’m thinking back to specific writing classes).

So I got a book that looks interesting. Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Non-fiction by Jack Hart – thrilling stuff!

While I write a lot, I do not, nor have I ever, considered myself a “writer.” I have always been good at writing academically, but not necessarily the most captivating storyteller ever. So despite the fact that I practice it a lot, writing is outside my creative wheelhouse.

Use the following 3 steps to challenge yourself to practice an aspect of your creativity in order to exercise it at work.

Exercise Your Creativity at Work. Instead of a typical New Year's Resolution, choose one aspect of your creativity to practice in order to exercise it at work. Find out the three easy steps to trying this out!

I will be practicing my writing by first reading Storycraft by Jack Hart. While I am reading, I will be keeping up with a daily writing practiced based on what I learn in the book. The most important step is then to figure out how to take this aspect of my creativity (writing) and exercise it at work.

As I said, I write a lot, so here is how I can use increased writing skills at work:

  • Greens & Blues Co.
    • Successfully submitting work to other websites, organizations, etc.
    • Increase my audience reach as a result of captivating storytelling
  • Middle School Teacher
    • Better model for my students the styles of writing I wish for them to work on
    • Submit articles for professional publications

To be fair, writing is a fairly easy example of how I can exercise my creativity at work. It’s straightforward. Let’s say that you practice your creativity by making beautiful dining room tables. It might be more difficult to figure out how to bring some aspect of that creativity to your job as an accountant. It might be more difficult, but not impossible. So you can’t use that as an excuse!

It’s your turn. Get to work choosing an aspect of your creativity you are going to try exercising at work.

Then, leave me a comment and tell me all about it.