Home » Blog » creativity

Tag: creativity

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

Your Unique Creativity

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

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

Here’s the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number 1

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

Number 2

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

Number 3

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

Number 4

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

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

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

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

5 Ways to Unleash Your Creative Beast

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

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

Here’s the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Number 1 – PLAY WITH COLOR

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

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

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

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

Number 2 – DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number 3 – DO SOMETHING YOU ARE BAD AT 

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

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

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

Number 4 – SEE IT THROUGH

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

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

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

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

Number 5 – LISTEN TO THE MUSIC

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

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

Try one of the following challenges:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Clean Slate Creativity: What’s Next

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Gather Resources + Materials/Tools

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

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

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

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

Number 3: Make a Plan

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

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

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

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

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

Number 4: Start

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

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

Number 5: Reflect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Clean Slate Creativity: Your Responses

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

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

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

Welcome back to the Clean Slate Creativity Series. 

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

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

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

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

Exercise #1

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

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 1.40.20 PM

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

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

Exercises #2 – 4

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

 

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

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

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

Number 1

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

Number 2

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

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

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

 

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 2 is starting fresh. Let’s get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity: Start Fresh

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 2 is starting fresh. Let’s get to it!

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 2 is starting fresh. Let’s get to it!

Here’s the story. (If you missed Week 1, you can find it here).

Now that you have wiped your creative slate clean, you are ready to start fresh.

How does a kid approach creativity?

Imagine if you entered a room with paper and a basket of markers on the table. If you were a kid, mostly likely you would simply uncap a marker and dive in. As an adult, more likely you might preface it with something like, “well I am not good at drawing, but…” or “I am a horrible artist.”

It’s like we expect everyone to judge every mark we make (I guess we get that from years in school). Anyway, clean slate creativity is about starting over.

Today, I’m not going to waste time convincing you that you are in fact creative. Since you wiped your creative slate clean, you are basically going back to childhood when everyone knows that they are creative. Instead, I’m going to prove to you that you are creative. I hope you’ll join me in completing a few simple exercises. Download your worksheets here if you haven’t already done so.

Get those worksheets filled out!

This is where we stop for week 2. I promised it wouldn’t be too much work at once:) Hold onto these worksheets for next week. You are going to analyze your response to each exercise. See you next week!

Clean Slate Creativity is a 4 week, step-by-step guide to help you wipe your creative slate clean and start fresh. Up in Week 2 is starting fresh. 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 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.