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

It’s Time to Make Something New

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

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

You will…

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

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

Sorry, I lied – a little more talking first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s go make some new shit.

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

 

Kick-Off a New Creative Practice

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

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

You will…

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

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

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

Here’s the story.

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

Kick-Off a New Creative Practice This Summer

Why Start A New Creative Practice This Summer?

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

Expand Your Creativity By Increasing Your Skillset

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

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

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

Make Yourself Uncomfortable

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

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

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

Focus Your Creativity In Order to Build Your Creative Confidence

How do you build your creative confidence?

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

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

Why Not?

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

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

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

Creativity in 10: Start an Ideas Journal

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

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

Here’s the story.

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

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

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

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

Getting Started With an Ideas Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

maker post header

From Inspiration Hoarder to Maker

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

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

Here’s the story.

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

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

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

Today that changes.

Today you go from inspiration hoarder to maker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Set yourself up for success by doing the preparations first. 

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

Go make.

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

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

Okay, back to it – go make something!

You did it? Awesome some sauce.

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

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

Get started!

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

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How To Focus Your Creativity When You Have Too Many Interests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

One Problem.

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

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

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

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

Monday – knitting

Tuesday – photography

Thursday – sewing

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

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

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

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

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

You need to figure out:

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

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

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

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

The Lazy Girl's (or Guy's) Guide to Practicing Your Creativity - Practicing your creativity doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. Just start be doing the smallest thing.

The Lazy Girl’s (or Guy’s) Guide to Practicing Your Creativity

Practicing your creativity doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. Just start be doing the smallest thing.

The Lazy Girl's (or Guy's) Guide to Practicing Your Creativity - Practicing your creativity doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. Just start be doing the smallest thing.

Here’s the story.

Who’s got two thumbs and thinks that a perfect day would be spent on the couching reading a book cover to cover while stuffing my face with trail mix? This girl.

I think in my heart of hearts I am a truly lazy person, I just try to fight it most days, but every once in awhile my lazy side wins out and I waste time binge-ing on an amazing show (or just a decent one) or reading a book start to finish without moving off the couch. Now, truthfully since having kids these kinds of days are few and far between but a girl can still dream, right?

But, that’s what my laziness looks like – back to yours.

Your laziness might show itself in any number of infinite ways. For that reason, this week I have got 9 ways to start practicing your creativity while putting forth the least amount of effort possible (Sidebar – a top ten list would have been better, but I couldn’t think of a 10th way so I figured a lazy person would just stop at #9). This is practicing your creativity – the lazy way.

Normally we consider someone to be lazy when they don’t want to put forth too much effort, spend too much time on something, or really just commit to anything they might consider “too much”. So how can you stick to those guidelines and still practice your creativity?

Easy.

Start by doing the smallest thing.

Often time we fail to follow through with new creative ventures, workouts, diets, etc. because in addition to other factors, we try to do to much at once. Instead of setting ourselves up for failure, let’s do the opposite today. What’s the smallest thing you can do to practice your creativity?

What does “doing the smallest thing” look like? I’m so glad you asked!

The Lazy Girl's (or Guy's) Guide to Practicing Your Creativity - Practicing your creativity doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. Just start be doing the smallest thing.

Number 1

Name a TV show that you absolutely cannot miss each week (or your favorite sports team that is currently in season). Now, I know there is no way you are going to skip it, so we will just have to work some creative practice into it. Every time a commercial break starts, start writing and don’t stop until the show/game comes back on. Next commercial break – repeat. **For those of you like myself who haven’t watched a commercial in like 4 years, get your writing in at the end of your favorite show. You saved yourself 15 minutes by not watching commercials. Use that time to write.

Number 2

Get out paper and some paints. Start painting and don’t stop until you have either used every color you have or completing covered the canvas/paper. You don’t need to think about it anymore that.

Number 3

Get out a piece of paper and start doodling. Don’t stop until you have covered the entire page. You are just doodling, don’t expect it to be a work of art. Let your mind wander and doodle whatever you feel like.

Number 4

Turn on the shower. Start singing. Don’t stop singing until you turn the water off. One caveat, you can only sing original songs – so you better make it up as you go.

Number 5

Write down every idea in your head until you get to ten ideas. Don’t edit as you. Most of them will be terrible ideas – write them down anyway. If you do this often enough, chances are there will be some good ideas in there somewhere.

Number 6

Listen to a podcast or audiobook. Learn something new. You might get inspired and have your next great idea. Take note, I’m not even asking you to put worth the effort to read – you can definitely listen to something while you drive, workout, cook, go for a walk, fold laundry, etc.

Number 7

Scroll through your camera roll choose 3 unrelated photos and make up a story about them. Tell someone that story. Don’t take new photos, just work with what you already have.

Number 8

Quit a project. If something no longer inspires you, quit it. . If it no longer inspires you and you don’t want to do, what’s the point?. It’s a waste of your time. Quit it and move on to something that you are excited about.

Maybe you have been holding off starting something new because you haven’t yet finished, X, Y, or Z. So quit it. Don’t let them be your excuse for not trying something new that you are excited about.

Number 9

Chunk a project down into smaller, realistic pieces. Are you excited + inspired to try something new, but at that same time overwhelmed by it? Break the project down into individual tasks that you can actually work on each day. For example, if you are knitting a new scarf, commit to working on one line a day. If you feel like working on it more than that, awesome, but you won’t feel like a failure for not living up to it if you overcommit yourself.

So to summarize, you should quit when it gets tough and not do anything that requires too much effort.

Kidding. Kind of.

These are ways to get STARTED practicing your creativity. As you continue, you will figure out exactly what you want to do and learn how to make it a part of your daily life.