Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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Find Yourself a Creative Project

Piles of coloured crayons

In my last post I mentioned exercising your Creativity on a regular basis. The best way to get into a regular Creativity exercising routine is to start a project. Why?

Imagine this scenario. You’ve worked hard all morning and most of the afternoon.  Now you have half an hour to yourself. Your time. Special time. What will you do?

You feel this inexorable tug. The call of the television pulls you toward the couch. But wait! What was that about exercising your Creativity? Wouldn’t this be an excellent time? Yes! But how? You’re tired. Your head’s a jumble. You have no idea where you should start. In your moment of indecision, the TV wins.

Yup, TV wins just about every time barring extreme determination on your part or power blackout. But, there is one way to beat the TV! Would you like to know how?

The winning tactic is: Choose your Creative Project beforehand.

It really can be that simple. If you have your Creative Project chosen, and the next step in your project planned, your chance of breaking away from the TV’s dastardly grasp is that much greater.

What to Choose

Your choice of project is very personal. I can’t tell you what to choose. That’s between you and your Creativity. However, I can offer some suggestions – starting points for ideas. You and your Creativity need to take it from there. Choose something you’re both interested in, because it’s your interest and excitement that will drive the project.

Now, when you think of creativity (the act of being creative rather than the character in your head), it’s easy to think of it in the context of art, literature or something similar. While this at times is a logical place to start, these subjects are not the end all and be all of creative projects. And here I let you in on a little secret. Lean closer to your monitor and I’ll tell you.

We Creativities love influencing every aspect of your life. Once we get going, we usually can’t stop at the odd poem or doodle. We want to keep going, keep creating, keep exploring. And so, some of the suggestions on this list may be a little unexpected – more ‘practical’ than you might first choose. But take the time to roll each one around in your head. You may be surprised at where interest and inspiration strike you.

My Sample List

So, here’s a list of suggestions, from the ‘most obvious’ down to the more unexpected. As you read, look for options that spark ideas in your mind, pinch your gut with excitement, and/or touch off your interest.

  • Writing – You don’t have to be an aspiring author to pick this kind of project. Keeping a journal can be very therapeutic. Poetry is good for the soul. Recording memoirs is a beautiful legacy to leave for future generations. Write something that makes you smile, something that makes others laugh, or something that helps you cry. Buy a beautiful notebook or journal; pick one that inspires you and makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you see it.
  • Painting or Drawing – Once again, you don’t have to be a budding Da Vinci to pick this one. Doodle. Experiment. Get dirty. Paint a canvas. Paint a pot. Paint a house. Use watercolours, oils, charcoal, pencils, crayons, pens, dies, vegetables, tyres, flowers. Anything that leaves a smudge. If you feel an affinity to the brush, pick it up and wield it proudly. And remember, you never have to show anyone if you don’t want to.
  • Craft – What about folk art? Pottery? Knitting? Woodwork? Making jewelry? There are many different kinds of crafts to learn, all with beautiful results. Have you ever considered making lace? Resurrect dying arts and traditions. What about spinning wool? If you’re interested in something, or have always wondered how it’s made, investigate. The answer may be delightfully engaging.
  • Sewing – Alas, it seems the simple act of sewing is one of the dying arts. Remember the good old days when clothes were homemade and all embroidery was done by hand? Remember when you could pick exactly what design, colour, buttons and ribbons you wanted? Recapture the excitement of a new pattern, the wonders of fabric, and the satisfying feeling of having made something yourself.
  • Cooking – Be brave. Experiment. Discover why beetroot and chocolate make great muffins. Discover 23 different recipes for egg whites. Cook every recipe in the entree section of your cookbook, or in the whole cookbook! Find the least used spice in your cupboard and discover its perfect use. Find the dish you are most afraid of cooking and give it a go. Try yeast cooking, and enjoy that lovely smell of freshly baked bread.
  • Music and Singing – Learn a new instrument, or practice one you already know how to play. Learn a new song. Learn a new technique. Play with songs you already know. Play them faster, slower, higher, lower, softer…you get the idea. Experiment with the feeling of the song. Create your own medley. Compose your own song. It’s not as hard as it first sounds. Tinker. Throw caution to the wind and just play; really play, not just in the sense of performing music but in the sense of having fun. Sing, when you’re in the shower, when you’re in your car, when you’re walking, cleaning – anywhere anytime. Look up the lyrics for a song you’ve always mumbled your way through. Replace lyrics of songs. Change the subject, the tense – change one thing, change everything.
  • Language – Learn a new language. Use creative mnemonics to remember words. Discover new idioms. Embrace new cultures. What if you don’t want to start a new language? Why not continue studying the deeper meanings of your mother tongue? Learn new words, or check the nuances of words you already know. Buy yourself a Dictionary of Word Origins and unearth the ancient meanings of the words you use every day. Explore the wonders of the language you take for granted.
  • Viewpoint – Try looking at your life, or a situation in a different way. Change your viewpoint. I’m not just talking about changing a negative to a positive. I’m talking change a blue to a yellow, a discovery to a journey, a criticism to a gem. Take the things that annoy you, frustrate you, bore you, inhibit you, and explore different ways of envisioning them. Build mental pictures of these things. Illustrate the concepts. Find new ways of coping, and enjoying, these situations.

And that’s just a beginning. Did anything stand out to you? Interest you? Intrigue you? Use these points as stepping stones, or launching pads for your own Creative Project.

In the coming months we will explore some of these points in more detail. With that in mind, I present a new category on this blog: Practical Creativity. In this category we’ll consider how your Creativity can benefit you in practical ways. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, do you have any ideas for your Creative Project? If so, let us know. 🙂

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art


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Work That Creative Flab

I’m Jessica’s Creativity (you can tell from my purple text) and I’m here today to talk about exercise – the kind of exercise you can do while sitting down…and eating chocolate. Interested?

“OkWoman stretching before exerciseay,” you say. “I read the post about trusting Creativity, but I’ve got news for you. My Creativity is no MacGyver or Indiana Jones. I don’t think he/she can go the distance, whether I trust her/him or not.”

A valid point. Before you can trust someone, you need to believe in their trustworthiness. You cannot demand trust with no basis. You need proof, and your Creativity needs practice.

The answer? Exercise!

You cannot accomplish rain forest conquering feats if you have not first walked around the block a couple of times. Couch potatoes tend to do badly during death marches in the tropics, or death marches anywhere come to think of it.

The trick is to exercise yourself into condition, develop experience and accumulate gadgets. Let’s discuss these in a little more detail.

Get Yourself Into Condition

Okay, you’ve just been informed that in a month’s time you and the hero of your choice will be dashing off into the rain forest for an adventure. What do you do? After you ring your best friend babble for an hour and a half about how totally awesome this is going to be, what do you do?

Presumably you look at the less than ideal waistline and think about getting into shape. There are two ways to do this:

  • Rush down to the beach now and start doing laps!
  • Plan a consistent and reasonable exercise routine.

Yeah, I’m all for the do-laps, exhaust-self, swear-never-to-exercise-until-next-year kind decision initially, but time has shown me the benefits of routine. In fact, a consistent and reasonable routine gets you fitter quicker and keeps you there for longer. Why? It’s easier to maintain because you form a habit.

The same can be said for a creative routine. You want to form a habit – the habit of turning up, sitting down and allowing your Creativity to flow.

You can do it in killer clumps of inspiration. At times it’s the only way you can get the mass if ideas out of your head. (It tends to get crowded when too many ideas appear at once. That’s when you need to get them out of your Creativity’s way and down on paper!) However, if you want to be continually and consistently creative, you need to get yourself and your Creativity into a routine.

You’re possibly thinking that routine takes all the spark out of Creativity, and you kill random as soon as you put a schedule to it. To clarify, I am not saying you set yourself a time of day and only let your Creativity come out to play between 8 and 9 in the morning. Spontaneity is a huge part of the creative process. However, regular practice sessions with your Creativity will eventually lead to more spontaneity and creativeness. Counter intuitive perhaps, but don’t knock it till you try it.

Develop Experience

As you develop your daily walking routine, you’ll begin to accumulate experience. By the third day you’ll realise a water bottle is essential. By the fifth day you’ll realise that the first five minutes are always the hardest (or the second five minutes, or the seventh five minutes). By the seventh day you’ll realise walking at 7:45 every morning is a bad idea because Walter walks Caesar the Alsatian along the same path at the same time, and Caesar takes violent exception to your squeaky shoes.

Your creative routine will be the same. You’ll begin to realise when you need that cup of tea/coffee. Is it when you sit down, half an hour in or as a reward when you finish? If you’re writing, you’ll know that the first hundred words are the hardest, followed by the next hundred words which are also the hardest, and then there’s the hundred after that… You’ll begin to learn what to do when you hit the wall. Tough it out, concentrate on something different or reward yourself? You may even learn when you should stop; identify when your Creativity sponge is all squeezed out.

The more experience you have, the better you’ll understand yourself and your Creativity. This knowledge helps you trust your Creativity and know what she needs.

Accumulate Gadgets

Jessica finds exercise much more exciting when she has something to listen to, which is why she walks with an mp3 player (or a family member, although they don’t clip onto the belt quite so comfortably). Other people walk with pedometers so they know exactly how many steps they’ve taken. Still others find walking with a big stick or pole makes them feel more comfortable – presumably Moses was one of these people.

When you and your Creativity are working together, what sort of things do you need? Music? Inspiring knickknacks? A word counter? Find the gadgets that work for you.

Once you have your routine, experience and useful gadgets, you’ll find yourself trusting in Creativity and the creative process that much more. You’ll know where to go and what do to when you need that inspiration.

But when will you have opportunity to do all these things? Stay tuned for a future post about how you can start your own Creative Project.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art