Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Musings

As we close out this year and usher in a new one, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before: a yearly wrap up!

This year has been a wonderful one here at Dose of CREATIVITY, and a big thank you goes out to all of you who made that possible by reading, commenting and sharing.

Here are my favorite 5 posts from the year:

1. My Everyday Creative series in which I spent an entire year following The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel to see if I could really become an everyday creative person.

2. The Five {5} Creative Questions series. It was exciting to introduce you to an amazing group of women and learn their creative secrets.

3. I had the honor of reviewing Dawn Devries Sokol’s book Doodle Diary, which was a great delight. The book brought out my inner doodler and so much more.

4. After creating my first list of favorite creativity blogs last year, I wrote another one and included even more fabulous reads.

5. Finally, I created and went on my own creative retreat. I had such an inspiring time I am already planning my next one!

  • Stay tuned for a super-creative 2011

Monday, December 27, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions With Melanie

When I started this interview series earlier this year, I envisioned getting a peak into the lives of some of the creative women I am surrounded by virtually.

And while I did this and shared them with you, I always thought about what my own answers would be. So here they are:

1. What does creativity mean to you?
What creativity means has changed and evolved for me over the years. When I first started thinking about creativity in high school and college, I assumed it was something I didn’t have. So I spent my time admiring it in others, also known as studying art history! It wasn’t until later, while working as an educator at a museum when my boss told me, “to just be creative,” on a project that it hit me. That statement stunted me, because I did not know what that was. After that, I began to really study creativity (mine and others).

So today, creativity means to me a connection of new ideas to make something that moves us forward somehow, whether it is spiritually, personally or professionally.

2. What is your creative process and what tools do you use to stimulate it?
Since I am an introvert, my creative process involves A LOT of internal musings. It usually starts with me being in a quiet place, which could be in nature, bed or even the shower. These are places where I do my best thinking. Once I get the initial idea to create, I usually run with it from there.

For instance, if I am designing something, it usually starts with an idea. Then I try to tie a theme or process to it. I am very big on connections and am always thinking about how things relate to one another.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Everyday Creative: Work

While I spent the month before in rapture with love, I spent this month – the last of my journey- buried in work. It only seems appropriate that that was the theme of this final month of the Creativity Book.

The first section encourages you to wake up working. With final tests and projects to be completed, it wasn’t a far stretch for me to wake up working. But really, Maisel wants you to go bed thinking of a question surrounding your work and wake up with the answer. I must admit I’ve tried this many times with little or no success so will have to continue working on this…

The next suggestion was to go directly to work. Another, not so difficult task for me. It seemed like that’s all I did for the month was work. Maisel encourages you to go to your work, even if you don’t feel like it. I know for me that there were days that I struggled to get up but knew the work wouldn’t wait. This, and deadlines, kept me going!

By the end of the month, one of my favorite suggestions was to create a plan and/or schedule for your work. This is an area where I need a lot of work. I tend to be good coming up with ideas but fail to deliver on most of them, because I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work involved. If I could create and stick to a stricter schedule, I am sure I would end up more successful.

And if I stick to my schedule, there is a helpful list of pick-me-ups that Maisel suggests. Here are a few that I might use:

1. Surrender to the feeling
2. Remember a success
3. Be of service
4. Consciously choose hope

Finally, after an exhilarating year of exploring my inner creative, it is time to create. And as a creator, Maisel explains that you will look at “everything through the lens of creativity.” I think I already do!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sketch Book Swoon

While I have always used sketch books as a way to chronicle my collages and work through compositions, I've recently fallen in love with the idea of the sketch book as a concept book.

One of the (many!) things I have learned being back in school is the importance of the concept book to the creator and designer. On the first day of one of my classes, the instructor mentioned how we should all be using concept books to sketch our ideas and document our creative process.

At first I was skeptical, but then I discovered a new passion for this type of creative process. It allows me to see my ideas and then execute them - a much easier way to create then straight from my head!

Since then, I have used my sketch book to design a poster, a visual story book, a single frame story and mini-book.

  • Start your own sketch book today!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Linda Naiman

I have long been a fan of Linda Naiman's work. So much so that I asked a mutual contact to introduce us last year. Linda and I have stayed in contact since then, and I am delighted  that she agreed to answer my questions on creativity this month.

Linda Naiman is a creativity and innovation consultant, coach, and speaker. She is founder of and co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work. She has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, and Canadian Business Magazine.

Linda has spoken about art, design and transformational leadership at US Navy Leadership Symposiums, The MIT Club Singapore, The Banff Centre, and at international business conferences. Organizations who have sought out Linda for her expertise include American Express, AstraZeneca, and Intel.

To find out more about coaching for creativity and innovation: visit Creativity at Work, follow Linda on Twitter @lindanaiman and @alchemize, and join the CreativityatWork fan page on Facebook.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
I define creativity as the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. If you have ideas, but don't act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Everyday Creative: Love

Last month found me delving into all that is love. Ok, well not all of the ideas covered in the "Be Love" chapter of The Creativity Book, but most of them anyway.

Love is such a strong emotion and one that I feel should be part of the creative process. I mean if you are creating something that you don't love then, really why bother. With that said, these last couple of months in design school, I have embraced how much I love creating.

Because I already realized this, I bypassed the first section on renewing your vows with your art and the act of creating, since I think I've pretty well lived this for the last several months. Everyday it seems when I start a new project or complete one, I am renewing the vow to create.

The next exercise to love logic AND intuition was one of my favorites. So often, we (me included) get caught up in being too logical or too intuitive when creating. This exercise asked you to love and embrace both of them, because creativity is about whole-brained thinking and equally relying on both of those skills. To create a balance, Maisel suggests the following :
Spend about a half an hour completing the sentence, "I love logic because...." and then the sentence "I love intuition because..."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Kathy Jordan

I am currently reading Dr. Kathy Jordan's latest book, Becoming a Life Change Artist: 7 Creative Skills to Reinvent Yourself at Any Stage of Life, and I am loving it. That's why I am thrilled to introduce Kathy to my readers.

Dr. Kathy Jordan is an innovative coach and Reiki energy healing teacher who integrates her expertise in creative skill-building and mind/body practices to help people create more meaningful and joyful lives.

She is also a corporate consultant highly regarded for her inventive and practical approaches to managing strategic change and enhancing bottom-line performance. And she provides writing and editorial guidance to help individuals and businesses craft compelling messages true to their voice and vision.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
My vision of creativity is that it is the energy of all things. It is the force which animates us. We’re all born with creative potential, and we all have the ability to develop our creative skills throughout our lifetime. For me, creativity and spirituality are intertwined. I think of creative energy and spiritual energy as the same. As much as possible I try to infuse my daily life with creativity. In my professional work as a writer and editor I am as selective as possible about which projects I take on, choosing work that allows me to “play”, to take ideas and shape them in ways that engage and inspire readers. I’ve learned the hard way that if I take on projects only for financial reasons, I may end up trapped in work that doesn’t allow me to express myself creatively.

It’s also important to me to express myself creatively through art. I do mixed media paintings, and in the last year started art journaling.

2. What is your creative process and what tools do you use to stimulate it?
Hmm. My creative process is a bit mysterious to me. But it always begins with a meditation drawn from the system of Reiki, a Japanese energy healing system. During the meditation I imagine creative energy moving inside me with each inward breath, and that same energy filling the world around me when I exhale. Sometimes I also chant, another way of connecting with the creative energy that I believe is the essence of who I am.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Everyday Creative: Ambition

Wrapping up the month of September has not been easy. Yes, I realize it is already the middle of October!

But September turned into one of the longest months in recent memory for me. As many of you know, I started (almost) full-time back to school, while continuing to work my day job.

This transition actually suited the theme of this month, which was "Be Ambitious." Undertaking such a task, as going back to school on  regular basis, definitely exemplifies ambition. The first exercise of the month is to write a letter about what you want and how you will achieve it. I actually wish I would have read this before I started school, because it might have served as a better map for my future.

A later topic and exercise in the book is contemplating a radical change. Another thing, I wish I would have thought out before setting out on this new journey. Maisel tells you to write out your creative autobiography then look at it closely to determine how to make a radical change. I think if I would have done this exercise earlier I might have made the same decision to go back to school. It's strange how this entire chapter seems to have been already done in my mind!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ingenuityfest: A Study in Contrasts

After almost 5 years of trying, I finally made it to the Ingenuity Festival, a three-day long extravaganza of technology and art held each year here in Cleveland.

I say, "trying," because I really have had good intentions of going to the fest the last several years.  Arriving back in Cleveland, shortly before the second year of Ingenuity, I signed up to be a volunteer, thinking it would be a cool and easy way to get a free ticket. Of course, I never actually ended up volunteering and for the next several years life seemed to get in the way during the annual weekend of Ingenuity.

This year seemed to be no different, with a planned trip to Pittsburgh falling on the same weekend as Ingenuity. When one of my instructors mentioned that we could receive 5 extra credit points for going and writing about what we saw, I knew that was the motivation I needed!

I arrived early on Sunday, the third and final day, and was instantly greeted with the contrast of the location: a bridge. Yes, that's right, a bridge. Actually, the fesitval is located on the obsolete trolley level of the bridge, while cars sped along the upper span. The bridge connects the east and west sides of the city above the Cuyahoga River. Yet, more contrast.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doodle Diary Not Just for Girls

Last week I introduced you to uber-creative Dawn Devries Sokol and this week I want you to meet her latest book, Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls. I am a twitter follower of Dawn's and when I saw this book was being released, I begged for a review copy. I guess I just knew that with a title like that it would be good and fit right into the theme of my blog.

Anyway, after receiving the book, I giddily flipped through it and quickly realized that not only is this book not just for girls (women of all ages will love it too!) but also it is the kind of book I wish I had had when I was growing up.

The introduction features a host of how-tos for getting started doodling, as well as tips for using the book and getting the most out of it. My favorite part includes a statement about how mistakes often make better art! If only, I had read that as a young artist, I wouldn't have had to learn it later in life, but I digress... Dawn also includes a list of tools, which include suggestions beyond a simple pencil. She mentions gel pens, sharpie pens, and crayons among others.

The rest of the book is filled with brightly colored and creatively laid out doodling prompts with plenty of extra space to well, just doodle. What I really like about the book is not only the emphasis on expanding creativity for girls but also the subtle messages of self-improvement aimed at a group that could probably use a boost of self-esteem.

With that said, I'd highly recommend this book to girls (of all ages) and even to boys. It's an overall magical book that everyone will glean a bit of creativity and inspiration from.
  • Sample prompt: 5 Things That Make Me Happy. Now get doodling!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Dawn D. Sokol

Dawn Devries Sokol is one creative (and busy) woman, so I am happy she took some time and answered my questions this month.

Dawn DeVries Sokol is the author of Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls (Gibbs Smith, 2010) and 1000 Artist Journal Pages (Quarry, 2008), a book designer, and an avid art journaler and doodler. She lives in Tempe, Arizona, with her husband T.J., and dog Lucy.

Her next book will be published by Gibbs Smith in 2011 and Interweave Press just released her workshop DVD titled "Art Journaling: Pages in Stages". She discusses art journaling and doodling on her blog. She also can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is constructing or inventing something and anyone can do it. We are all creative. We all have imagination. It's just how we access the imagination and what we make of it. Whether we paint, draw, make music, sing, dance, perform, craft, crochet, sew, doodle, or whatever...It's all creativity!

2. What is your creative process and what tools do you use to stimulate it?
I'm not really sure if I have a set process. If I feel inspired, I create. As a book designer, it can be difficult to feel inspired on a deadline, but I graduated with a degree in journalism, so deadlines tend to motivate me more than not. I sometimes go days without creating if I've been on a huge deadline or just completed a big creative project. You have to take a break.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Creativity is...Learning

This fall creativity is...learning. As many of you know, I've headed back to school. Yes, after a 10 year break and a BA and MA, I am currently working on an Associates degree. Strange, I know, but sometimes life is not linear!

Anyway, taking classes has made me think how creativity is...learning. As I've mentioned before, you simply can't create without moving forward. That's why creativity thrives on learning. Learning makes it possible to add new ideas and then merge them with what you already know to create something new.

For me, that means broadening my focus this fall and taking 2 technology classes and 2 design theory classes.
  • Take a class this fall and see what new ideas you create.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Everyday Creative: Connecting

I am not sure that this theme could have come at a better time for me. This month was all about connecting. I'd been thinking for some time about most of the issues covered in this chapter, so it was nice to actually have a space to explore them.

Connecting is something that I tend to do in spurts. I think it has something to do with being an introvert. Usually, I'll go on a spree where I am out and networking all the time and then I will retreat for a couple of months and then I'm back again. I am in the retreat mode now, so the first exercise was a little daunting. It required  me to try and create in public. Yes, I have taken art classes, but no, I haven't sat in the middle of an open area and created. Maybe, I'll try this one at a later date.

The second week seemed much easier for me to fathom to accomplish. This exercise asks you to find an art buddy. But first, you need to figure our your strengths and weaknesses and also the pros and cons of having and being an art buddy. It got me to thinking how isolated I am in my creating, so if anyone wants to art buddy up (or even create a group) and support one another then drop me a message!

By the third week, I was really catching on to this idea of connecting with other creatives. The exercise this time though required you to connect with a tradition, which I found fascinating. Yes, because I am an introvert and could retreat once again! But really, the concept was useful.
Try it yourself by looking through an art history text book or listening to a historical collection of music. Choose the images and or melodies that resonate with you. Once the list is compiled, see how they can inform your current work or inspire new work.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Michelle James

I am so honored to introduce Michelle James. I met Michelle over 5 years ago, shortly after I started exploring my own creativity while living in DC. Meeting her was a transformational experience for me in many ways, and I am grateful that we have stayed in contact since then.

Michelle James has been pioneering Applied Creativity and Applied Improvisation in business in the Washington, DC area since 1994. She is CEO of The Center for Creative Emergence and founder of the Capitol Creativity Network. Recently she was recognized for Visionary Leadership in Fast Company’s blog, Leading Change, for “her commitment to bring creative expression into the work environment in a very deep and meaningful way.” Michelle is a business creativity consultant, facilitator and coach who has designed and delivered hundreds of programs for entrepreneurs, leaders, and organizations. Her original programs have been featured on TV, the radio and in print. Michelle performs full-length improvised plays with Precipice Improv, is an abstract painting artist, and is a CoreSomatics Master Practitioner. In 2009, she put on DC’s first Creativity in Business Conference.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
Life, aliveness, life energy, life trajectory, the core, the source, the natural way of being, the driving force, the unique self, the essence of all living being and systems. It is that energy within all of us and all living things which animates, liberates, and generates. It is the same force that paradoxically expresses our absolute individual uniqueness and connects us in community. It unites things, people, ideas, frameworks, concepts that were previously divided. It is there, ever-flowing, for us all to engage it, shape it, form it, express it and apply it to anything - from expression to solution finding to new structure creating. For me, it is like asking someone to define the essence of life - there are as many different ways to define it as there are people. That is uncomfortable for people who like to think there is one right way. Creativity is not about the one right way.

In my work, I find that I use the definition that resonates most with a particular client or organization to meet them where they are. Once they experience the power of re-igniting their own creative wellspring, they will always be able to come up with their own definitions that are more relevant for them than anything I could come up with - because while creativity is ubiquitous and universal, is is also uniquely personal.

Creativity is living paradox. It contains a balance of left and right brain, cultivating and emergence, thinking and being, reflection and action, receptivity and generativity, improvisation and planning, heart and head, analysis and intuition, and structure and flow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Play like a Kid

I've written before about the importance of play for kids. But it wasn't until recently (after writing more about creativity and kids!) that I realized how integral play is for adults.

Reflecting on my own busy summer, I noticed how little of it I spent just playing. Remember when you were in school and you couldn't wait for summer so you could play outside all day and into the evening?

Then you grew up and your life became over scheduled and there was little time left for play, even in the summer!

There is still time to add a little play time into your life. Even as summer comes to an end, find ways to look at life like a child:

Get sidewalk chalk and color to your heart's content
Find a swing and soar to new heights
Spend an afternoon blowing bubbles
  • What will you do to play like a kid? 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Everyday Creative: Using Yourself

Of all the months so far doing this challenge, this one was the most difficult. The task was to "use yourself" and dig deep emotionally. I am the type that relies on research and expert opinions to motivate me, so using myself instead as a resource proved a daunting task!

The first week asked me to hire myself as a consultant. I tried and tried to think of all the the skills I possessed to help myself. Because I tend to wear many hats, it took awhile. It turned out to be a fun, almost existential experiment. By the end of the week, I was really getting into this concept and appreciated Maisel's suggestion of opening up a savings account. Of course, I already have a savings account at the bank, but this one was intended for use to pay yourself. It was such an obvious and brilliant suggestion. You pay experts to work for you so why shouldn't you pay yourself?

By the second week, I was asked to get passionate and ravenous, but because I was suffering from a mid-summer slump, I just couldn't find anything that exciting to get ravenous about. I'll have to come back to this exercise. The second part of the week was filled with a depression treatment plan, since Maisel seems to be convinced that all creatives also suffer emotional issues. The plan would be helpful to even people that haven't suffered depression because it contained practical solutions like challenge your negative thinking and focus on your positive achievements.

One of the most powerful exercises of the month was "Kill Maybe" in the third week. How often have you said, "maybe I'll start my masterpiece tomorrow.?" And how often have you actually started tomorrow or even the day after or the day after that? I know this is were my weak spot lies. I often put off until tomorrow what should have been done today. So with that, I told 'maybe' to die, and of course still planned to start that masterpiece tomorrow. Someday, I'll learn...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Outsmart the Unexpected

Earlier in the summer, Regina Pacelli sent me a message asking if I'd like to read her book, Outsmart the Unexpected: Grow Your Creativity the Edge-of-your-seat-Way.

Because I am always open to reading new books on creativity, I agreed.

From the beginning, I realized this wasn't your typical creativity book. You know the one I am referring too! The one that promises to hold all the secrets to being more creative. Well, this is not that book.

Regina has no secrets to share, in fact there is no academic research, no stories of uber-creatives and no exercises that guarantee you will be more creative. Instead, she presents you with a couple of dozen 'cliffhangers.'

These are short, almost impossible to believe stories that you have to figure out the ending to thus expanding your creative thinking skills.

The premise reminded me a of book that was out in the late 90s that my friends and I used to test each other with. It was a 'what if' style of book with really wild scenarios.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Diane D.M. Solis

I found our latest guest through her amazingly inspirational blog Creativity as a Way of Life.

Diane D.M. Solis is a scientific and creative writer/editor who designs interactive self-discovery projects, workshops, and retreats for individuals and groups to enhance personal development and creativity. Diane's formal titles have included: teacher (English, ethics, social justice, and art); organizational development and training specialist with an emphasis on work team and leadership development; senior corporate editor (technical publications, public communications, and proposal writing/editing); and spiritual director.

Over the years she has written two monthly columns in local, national, and international publications, as well as articles, stories and poetry. Diane also creates works of music and art in a variety of media and genres, and has practiced contemplative meditation for over twenty years.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is like breathing. It’s how I look at the world, and how I see it. It’s how I love the people in my life, and life itself. I realized some years ago that for me, as a creative individual, whatever I’m working on, creating is as critical to how I move through life as breathing. Creativity is as fundamental to my identity as faith, culture, my relationships, and my sexual identity. This is probably true for all serious artists to a significant degree, whatever their genre.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Setting Creative Goals

Last year, I wrote a post encouraging you to do a mid-year reflection of your goals. The post was so popular (and useful) that I thought I would try it again.

Find some quiet time and ponder the following questions:
  1. How am I feeling creatively? 
  2. What creative projects have I completed in the last 6 months, 3 months, 1 month?  
  3. What creative projects have I started that need to be put aside or completed? 
  4. What new inspiration have I found? Where? 
  5. Have I tried to create in a new medium? If not, what can I try?
My own reflections on these questions focused on my ongoing collage challenge success, school design projects, new found love of technology and old glass, and the altered book class I took last week.
  • How have you creatively grown in the past 6 months?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Everyday Creative: Going Deep

This month required me to “go deep” or what Eric Maisel describes in The Creativity Book as going below the surface to find profoundness in your work. Unlike last month, I had so much to ponder that I could have easily spent half a year working on these exercises. Yes, they were that helpful!

The first week laid out the theme for the month by asking you to dive deeper into the meaning of your work and subject. Buying bewilderment is the activity. It was quite a helpful one too, because you can’t really go deeper into your work until you realize there may be things you just don’t know about it. By reciting “I am prepared to work blind” and “It’s all right not to know,” you are truly opening yourself up to the unknown depth your work can extend.

By the second week, I was ready to continue to go deeper by throwing myself into my fears and unlearning everything school has taught me. Actually, one of the exercises was to physically shred an old textbook. But since I am still in school, I thought I’d skip that one considering how much text books cost nowadays.

Week three was one of my favorites and the most useful. Maisel asks you to put up a big idea to describe your current work whether it be color, peace, urban or whatever is the theme of your project. While I never could quite get a theme for my work, it was a great intellectual exercise. Try it yourself!

Monday, June 28, 2010

What’s Your Creativity Ritual?

Starting back to school earlier in the month has been a great learning experience but has also put a damper on my creative time. With classes, homework, work and other commitments, I am finding less and less time to create.

My latest collages are now being created on my bed spontaneously in the middle of getting ready for work in the morning!

I realize that this is not the ideal environment to be creating in, so I am making the best of it. I have never been a person who has a ritual to complete before creating but am thinking maybe now is the time to craft one. The thought of being able to shift my focus and to utterly concentrate on my creative work, even if just for a half an hour, sounds divine.

I am wondering what other people do to get in the creative mood when life just gets in the way.
  • Do you have a ritual that inspires your creativity?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions‏ with Leah Piken Kolidas

For this round of Five {5} Creative Questions we welcome Leah Piken Kolidas.

Leah is a mixed-media artist living near Boston, MA with her husband and their four fuzzy meows. She sells her art at Blue Tree Art Gallery and blogs and runs creative challenges at Creative Every Day.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
I think a lot of people relate creativity to some kind of art-making, and then think because they can't draw that they aren't creative. But the truth is, everyone is creative. We are already creative every day in the way we live our lives, the way we dress, the way we make that fantastic potato salad, and the way we doodle on our junk mail. I think creativity can be found everywhere and it only expands when we focus our energy on it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Favorite Creativity Books

I love reading lists, so after creating lists of my favorite creativity blogs here and here, I decided to try creating a list of my favorite creativity books. While the books I have chosen may not be considered classics, they have helped me in some form develop or further enhance my own creativity.

A Whole New Mind
by Daniel Pink

The first book I reviewed on my blog still holds a place in my heart. Pink makes creativity and innovation practical and challenges the reader to interact. Could be considered a contemporary classic.

Guerilla Art Kit
by Keri Smith

In addition to being the most interactive book on the list - she actually gives you ideas for getting out and expressing your creativity - this post is one of the most popular on my blog. A guide for anyone wanting to encourage creative thinking in a non-traditional way.

by Gregg Fraley

Since reading this book late in 2007, I've had the pleasure of meeting the author, Gregg Fraley, online. In Jack's Notebook, Fraley weaves a fictional tale using Creative Problem Solving (CPS). Truly a rare find among creativity books.

by Steven Pressfield

I learned about this book from a workshop I took many years ago. When I finally sat down to read it one winter, I was blown away. Such a simple concept but written so powerfully. Mandatory reading for anyone working on a creative venture.

The Creative Habit
by Twyla Tharp

Written by the acclaimed choreographer, the Creative Habit explores just that from a truly inspiring creator.
  • What's your favorite book on creativity? 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Everyday Creative: Exploring

Sometimes, I wonder where the months go. This month was one of those times. I had been doing so well with this challenge then all of the sudden it was June. Oh where did the entire month of May go, while I was supposed to be exploring?

Maybe it’s because I already explore everything on a daily basis that I let this month slip away. Nonetheless, here’s how my progress went.

I pretty much skipped all the tasks but did all the reading and pondering, so does that count for something?

In reality, I really did spend my days exploring new places and ideas. For instance, I had a new culinary experience at a French restaurant surrounded by international discussions. Then, I spent a day exploring 3 different beaches near my home and collecting beach specimens along the way, and finally I continued my collage challenge by delving into the forms of various flowers as a theme.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Creativity is…Taking a Leap

In a previous post, I mentioned the concept for a series on Creativity is… I even alluded to a future post I would write on this topic revealing something about my own future.

Well, now is the time to reveal that creativity is…taking a leap. So how did I come to this conclusion? Several months ago a good friend gave me the idea to go back to school to study interactive media and graphic design. The more I thought about it, the more I began thinking about it as taking a leap. I would be jumping back into school, a place I thought I’d left for good 10 years ago after earning my MA. Then, I began to consider that any great creative idea is also like taking a huge leap forward.

Think about it. How many creative ideas have been generated when someone just stood still and didn’t take in any new ideas, didn’t explore new places and made no new connections? I am guessing the number is pretty low if anything at all. That’s why creativity is…taking a leap.
  • What has been your biggest creative leap?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Liz Massey

I am honored to introduce our Five {5} Creative Questions guest this month, creative extraordinaire Liz Massey.

Liz Massey is a writer, editor, media producer and a creative agent provocateur. Experienced in artistic disciplines as diverse as music, photography, filmmaking and journalism, Liz has a deep hunger to understand how the creative process works. She began Creative Liberty in 2007 as a way to share what she’d learned about developing and maintaining creative momentum.

Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has worked as a magazine editor, a training content developer, a video producer and a publicist for a county library system, not to mention such “character-building” jobs as veterinary assistant, call center operator and bank correspondence proofreader. She lives in Peoria, Arizona, with her partner, thousands of books and a small, independent-minded dog.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
At its root, creativity is all about utilizing the present moment to bring something new into being — whether that is a work of art, a poem, a delicious lunch made with 3 ingredients or a new way home from work.

I mention the “present moment” part because every person must start from where they are, with the tools around them. We can certainly plan to purchase new tools, take classes to improve our technique, etc. – but in the end, getting into the habit of plunging in and making an attempt to create something NOW is more important than planning to “get it right” in some far off future that never arrives.

At my blog, Creative Liberty, I try to include news and tips from the art world, business innovators, inventors and social entrepreneurs who are trying to better our world, because all those fields demonstrate the creative process in action.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Everyday Creative: Being Mindful

This month, unlike last month, was really challenging for me to complete. The task this time was to be mindful. I must admit that while spring is usually a time for renewal and reflection, I’ve spent mine feeling completely out of sorts, which is why I was excited to focus on being mindful with the slight hope that it would bring some peace to the chaos I was feeling.

The first thing I needed to do was to rouse myself out of the dream sleep that so many of us are in. How many of us often feel like life is passing us by, without even a chance to stop and enjoy it? I know that’s how I’ve been feeling, so I relished the thought of delving into this further and finding ways out of it.

I began by being ever vigilant, as Maisel suggests, about being mindful. I am one of those people who stop every so often, while working to listen to my breath or glance out at the blue sky just to regain focus, but again this spring was different. I appreciated the exercise, which required me to do “brain surgery.” By that I mean, really listening to myself and when a worry arose I imagined taking it from my mind, tossing it in some container and sealing it up. I am visual person, so using that imagery really helped.

The next few weeks focused more on critical thinking and analytical skills. After completing graduate school, in a very theoretical discipline, I am pretty convinced that I’ve got those skills down. Although, I do tend to over-use them so thought this was a good time to analyze that!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More of My Favorite Creativity Blogs

Last year I created a compilation of the creativity blogs that I read and enjoy. Now, I’d like to share a few more blogs that I’ve discovered since that last post.

Creative Something
This blog is written for the creative person in all of us. Tanner Christensen covers a wide range of creative ideas and specializes in inspiration and motivation.

Creative Every Day
Leah Piken Kolidas is the creator of the Creative Every Day Challenge and Art Every Day Month Challenege. An artist, who inspires readers to live a more creative life, Leah encourages readers to join her in her Challenges.

A whimsical blog filled with tips, inspiration and motivation for anyone on a creative journey. Andrea Schroeder is a multi-talented artist with a passion for the spiritual side of creating.

The brain child behind this blog is innovator extraordinaire Mike Brown, who takes a practical approach to creativity, focusing on it from an implentation and strategic perspective.

Jamie Ridler Studios
A creative self-development coach based in Canada. Jamie Ridler’s blog is filled with creative inspiration. Also check out her amazing Creative Living podcasts.
  • What's your favorite blog on creativity? 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Shannon Kinney-Duh

The amazing Shannon Kinney-Duh is my guest this month answering Five {5} Creative Questions.

Shannon has been teaching yoga for 9 years, and has been actively exploring her own creative journey throughout her life. What she loves most is discovery and learning new things, and inspiring others to do the same. As she practices yoga and makes art, she feels more deeply connected to her true self.

Her life’s mission is to create, connect with and enliven joy, personal growth and the unlimited potential in herself and in others.

She is also a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher through the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, and completed their Kriology program. She’s participated in Eric Maisel’s Creativity Coaching program and the Holistic Life Coaching program through the Spencer Institute. She has years of experience teaching and facilitating individuals and groups in creative exploration and mindful living. She loves all art forms, especially fiber, intuitive painting and art journaling. She considers herself a student of life.

You can find her online at Free Spirit Knits.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity to me means living in the present moment. It’s playing with my son, it’s making messes, it’s getting lost in paint, it’s thinking a new thought. I believe a big part of creativity is embracing our authenticity and letting it shine.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Everyday Creative: Being Human

While last month I was just embarking on my everyday creative challenge, this month I am proud to report that I am finishing up my second month. It always amazes me how quickly time flies. But really, I am getting ready to start my third month of this journey? Anyway, I digress into my own humanness, which is ok I learned, because this month was about being human.

To begin the month I was asked to forgive myself and forgive myself for all my previous failures. I think in the last 10 years or so, I have been able to do this and so pretty much breezed past this section. Although, I did complete the exercise at the end of the first week, because I thought it seemed pretty cathartic:

Take a pencil and mark on a piece of paper a line for each of your failures throughout your life (perceived or real). One by one erase the lines while forgiving yourself for each one. As you do this, admit that maybe this one was a failure and let yourself move on from it. Learn and grow from your failures.
The next several weeks were filled with more forgiveness. Forgiving myself completely then forgiving others. By the third week I was ready to wrestle all my demons for one final time. It was here that the mission of the book and my creative journey all made sense. The way to being an everyday creative isn’t bound by learning artistic techniques and skills but rather by manifesting your potential as a creator. Just this slight difference made all the sense to me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Creativity is…{Fill in the Blank}

A few weeks ago an idea for a blog post popped into my mind. It was about how creativity is a leap that you take. When I thought more about the idea, I remembered I had recently done a post on how creativity is about perspective, using an idea from my own experience to highlight how it was similar to creativity. I also remembered another post I’d written awhile ago on how creativity is about persistence.

And in that moment, a blog series was created. Creativity is… asks the question what is creativity like and what does it mean to you. So, I took to my twitter account to test the waters and see what other people think creativity is. The responses I received were varied and included:

...a lifestyle choice of curiosity & adventure from @bcre8uv
...imagination in action! from @creativityassoc what soothes my soul from @DeBelle77

Soon, I’ll return to that initial idea that creativity is…a leap to share the exciting things that are going on in my life that made me link the two in the first place!
  • In the meantime, creativity is…{fill in the blank with your answer}

Monday, March 22, 2010

Calling All Creatives: TEDxCLE

For the latest installment of Calling All Creatives, I had to overcome some obstacles before I could write this post: a possible closed event and a snowstorm. TEDxCLE is an independently sponsored TED event which promised to bring together some of the most creative thinkers in the Cleveland-area on a late February day during a notoriously snowy winter here in Ohio.

When I first heard about the event, from where exactly I can’t remember, I knew wanted to write about it for Calling All Creatives. Well, that was the easy part. I then had the difficult task of getting a ticket to an event that was taking applications for attendees. Yes, you read that right. There was an online application form that needed to be filled out to see if you qualified for a ticket first. This puzzled me for months, because it did not include the time and/or price. Would I want to be accepted to something I could not attend nor afford?

Luckily, about a month before the event, I started following TEDxCLE on Twitter, where it was revealed that tickets would be going on sale to the general public. And guess what? The price was extremely reasonable and the time fit into my schedule.

Immediately after the announced ticket sale date and time, I bought my ticket. Lucky for me that I did, because the next day or so the event sold out. So with ticket in hand, I was ready for my TED experience.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Karen Gielen

I am happy to introduce Karen Gielen this month, as she answers Five {5} Creative Questions.

Karen is a mother, artist, writer, and graphic designer. At 69% right and 31% left, she is considered an extremely right brain dominant thinker. Her interests include portrait illustration, advertising and marketing, graphic design, painting, singing, writing poetry and children’s stories, knitwear designing, photography, and numerous arts and crafts. Her repertoire of creative interests is constantly changing and she is learning that she needs to allow her creativity to flow where it wants to flow. Some days it wants to come out in her writing and some days only a pencil or paint brush will do.

Find Karen online blogging or tweeting under the handle cre8tivkj.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
I believe creativity is something everyone is born with. It is taking our thoughts, emotions, and experiences and turning them into something others can touch, see, or hear. As human beings we are all meant to be creative. It pains me when I hear people say they do not have or they are not very creative.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Everyday Creative: The First Month

Last month I wrote about why I was starting this challenge and this month I want to give you a status update on how I am doing. Going into this, I realized I wouldn’t be perfect, because humans like creativity can be messy and inspiration can often follow a non-linear route. Nonetheless, I am proud to say that I stuck with it (ok, most of it anyway) this first month.

The first week began by making creativity my religion. It doesn’t matter if you already have a religion because this is an addition to your current religion. Like religion, creativity is a way of life that also has rituals and ceremonies. Actually, one of the first exercises is to craft your own rituals for creating. I settled on starting my creative work with a positive invocation and affirmation statement and also working on small sketchbook collages to rev up my creative energy before tackling a big project.

The next few weeks were a little bit more challenging for me. They focused on not only finding a time and place to create but also embracing the mystery of creating. Time is such a complicated issue for me. I’ve yet to a find a balance between work, family and creating. This one is going to require some extra work on my part. So is the space issue. Right now I am working from my home office aka the dining room table and my art supplies are in various bins in a spare bedroom. Not an ideal situation and again something that I need to work on for the rest of the year.

The concept of creativity being a mystery I get. I’ve always felt that creating is a spiritual exercise and have been surprised by the mysterious nature that ideas pop into my brain. I’d like to control that better and understand more fully where those ideas are coming from and how I can increase them. The exercise for the mystery section really didn’t sit well with me because you had to create poetry for 3 days straight. Ok, confession time here, I hate poetry. I have no idea why, but I just do. So I skipped that exercise.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plan Your Own Creative Retreat

Have you ever dreamed of going on a creative retreat but didn’t have the time or money to take one? Why not plan your own? That’s what I did last weekend, and it was so worth it. The winter had been taking its toll on me and with my birthday just around the corner next week, I thought it was a perfect time for a little rest, reflection and creativity.

So I devoted an entire day, when I knew I didn’t have any obligations, turned off the phone and computer and enjoyed the silence. I spent a lot of the day musing, reading, creating, and planning. I now have a clear vision of where I am going and all it took was about 12 hours of my time.

If you don’t have the time to spend an entire day for your retreat, I would suggest taking a morning or afternoon and finding someplace quiet where you can think without being disturbed.

Here are some more tips on planning your own creative retreat:

1. Start out with an opening ceremony to get you focused on creating. Try lighting a candle or even reciting a creative mantra. I took mine from the Rituals: Light for the Soul Kit:

I look upon an empty canvas
And see there an unformed opportunity
To express my life
And how it could be
I begin

2. Reflect on the questions I created for a bi-annual Creative Check-In to determine not only goals for the upcoming year but also celebrate achievements from the last 6 months.

3. Look for images to reinforce those 6 month and 1 year goals. Create a visioning collage to inspire next years' successes. For mine, I used images that I cut out of my favorite magazines.

4. Work on your creative project. Once your goals are established and you have a visual plan for them, then have some fun by creating. I completed a few small sketchbook collages, with no particular goal in mind.

5. At the end of the day, blow out the candle and take a moment to reflect on your creative achievements and future goals.
  • What would you include in your creative retreat?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Five {5} Creative Questions with Andrea Schroeder

This month we feature the inspirational Andrea Schroeder. You may know her better online as the author of ABCcreativity. But above all else, Andrea is a creative being and believer in possibilty. Andrea takes this sense of possibility, blends it with sparkles and secret messages about the magic and wonder of life, and uses it in all of her creative work, infusing it with flashes of inspiration and reminders of what an incredible being you are.

After graduating from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada with a bachelor of applied arts in fashion design, Andrea explored many different avenues of art and design including costume design, textile design, textile art, knitting, cloth dollmaking and interior design.

Andrea has also spent years studying new thought and other spiritual and philosophical teachings and is currently an accredited new thought healing practitioner at the Centre for Conscious Living in Winnipeg, Canada. Andrea describes this as ”a believer in possibility, a creator of dreams come true and a mentor for others in creating their happily ever afters.” Andrea blends spiritual and artistic creativity in all of her creative work, which is filled with maps that will guide you on your path in creating your own “happily ever after”.

1. What does creativity mean to you?
i see myself above all as a creative being in a creative universe. my inspiration, intuition, uniqueness and gift flow through my creativity out into all parts of my life. creativity is life for me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Calling All Creatives: Social Entrepreneurs and Social Innovation

In my last post, I explored the concept of using creativity as an agent of social change and highlighted a program in Cleveland that was doing just that. I also asked readers to share their own examples of creativity and community building.

One reader, Isobel, left a comment praising the organization Ashoka and the partnership between IDEO and the Gates Foundation. I decided to check out her suggestions and was thoroughly impressed.

Ashoka is a leader in the social entrepreneur movement supporting some 2,000 fellows in 60 different countries with projects ranging from sanitation to establishing schools. Ashoka has created a global network of innovation and creativity empowering regular citizens to become change makers.

Similarly, IDEO, not only has an alliance with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support projects on health but with several other well-known global foundations. At IDEO, it is not just about innovation but social innovation as defined by using design-thinking principles to better serve underprivileged areas and communities. Recent examples of projects have included the Human Centered Design Project providing a tool kit for innovation and the universal ear, an affordable hearing aid both created for developing nations.