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!