Are You Feeding Your Creative Self What It Needs?

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Our modern world can be pretty brutal to creative types. Rarely do we find a benefactor who nurtures our souls and pocket books like the Medici Family did for De Vinci. We must be our own patron of the arts/ creative coach/ cheerleader. It can be draining for tender souls who just want to create beauty. Proper care and feeding of your creative self is essential.

Tips and Tricks to fuel your creative energy:

  • Reduce time spent in the negative. While it’s important to stay current on what’s happening in the world, spending too much time taking in negative news or social media rants will stimulate anger rather than positive creative energy
  • Experience someone else’s art. Visit a museum or see a play. Creativity inspires creativity
  • Nature is the ultimate energizer. Take a long walk in the countryside. Bike the mountains. Wade in a cool stream. Being in nature takes you out of your own head and feeds the creative soul
  • Spend time with yourself. Be still and quiet for a dedicated time each day. Meditation is an excellent way to recharge. Quiet time with a good cup of coffee works too
Close-up of the hands of a man wearing business formal suit, with white shirt and tie, while holding two joined jigsaw puzzle pieces with the inspirational message and urge to never give up.

Licensed use. Adobe Stock.

We’ve come to the end of the “Love and Honor Your Creative Self” series. Remember: The best way to honor your creative self is to DO YOUR ART! The world needs what you have to offer.

 

 

Are You Using Your Creativity to Inspire?

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Creative Leadership isn’t just a buzz phrase. It’s a way of life. Finding innovative solutions to old problems. Defining new processes no one has even considered. You – creative person – could change the course of an organization for the better!

Yeah right. I’m not in upper management in my company or on the board of my special interest organization. They won’t listen to me.

As in any situation, there’s a right way and a wrong way to present an idea. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Not everyone can see what you see. You’d be surprised how many folks out there have let their imaginations dwindle due to lack of use. The “We’ve always done it this way” mentality is easier. It’s safer. Most people hate change. It scares the hell out of them.

Umbrella in mass of black umbrellas.

Umbrella in mass of black umbrellas. Adobe Stock

Here are some tips when presenting an idea to the skittish establishment:

  • Present your idea along with the benefits (what’s in it for them: time saved, money saved, etc.) to the company or organization
  • Show the research you’ve done to prove it is a feasible idea
  • Help them to see what you’re talking about by including Powerpoint presentations or other visual aids
  • Be patient if they aren’t immediately “wowed” by your idea. You must build trust first.
  • Stick with it! Large organizations don’t change quickly. It takes time to turn a huge ship.

Final thoughts: Coffee shop conversations are littered with “I just want to write books, play my music, do my art, etc.” I know I’ve said it too when I’m frustrated. However, we are more than our art. We have the power to inspire change and hope (desperately needed in these times). My challenge to you – Look around you in the day job or organization. Do you see any way you can help to inspire change? Is there an opportunity to encourage growth and bring a little positive light into the situation? If your answer’s “No”, then you are in the wrong job! Go find a place where you can make a difference. The world needs your gift.

Are You Honoring Your Creative Self?

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In all the world, there is nobody else exactly like you. Dreamer. Beautiful Soul. Creative Person.  You have a unique voice with something special to share. The story, painting, song or other art form is anxious to burst from your creative brain and out into the world. It was given exclusively to your creative self. Honor it and your talent.

DO respect your talent by staying true to the story or piece

DON’T completely alter the piece based solely on someone else’s bias

DO listen to your creative instincts

DON’T be swayed by the whims of the fickle market

DO be kind to your Creative Self when inspiration doesn’t immediately come

DON’T take yourself too seriously. Nobody’s perfect

DO be patient. True art takes time and a large amount of effort

DON’T quit when things get hard. Your art is worth the trouble

Finished! Not Quite Yet

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Congratulations! You’ve typed “The End” on your book. Listed “Fin” on that indie film. Played the last note of your glorious symphony. You’ve earned that great sense of accomplishment. Excellent job!

Hang on! You’re not quite done yet. Things to think about before you shut down your creative projects:

  • Putting Artifacts in a Safe Place – You worked hard to gather your research. Who knows when you may need it again?
  • Tying Up Loose Ends – Have you handled all the legal (or other) requirements associated with your project such as copyright or obtaining permission to use illustrations, etc.
  • Planning a Method to Evaluate Your Project – Are you planning to monitor social media or purchases, etc. to determine the performance of your product? Do you have a strategy to improve performance?
  • Improving Your Processes – Have you gathered lessons learned to improve your next project and avoid the same mistakes? See my post “What Can You Learn from Your Last Creative Project?”

Don’t forget the most important step. Celebrate your success!

Keeping Your Momentum

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Life is beautiful when your creative project is humming along. Ideas easily fall into place. You are the engineer on your “positive energy powered” locomotive. Work is actually fun for a change. Weeks fly by as you pursue your goal. You toot the whistle of your happy train with all you’ve got.

Then the tracks take an incline. The train starts to struggle a bit. Progress to the mountain peak slows. Your train is running a little low on positive energy. Maybe you’ve come across a difficult task or problem? Or you’re not feeling well. Sometimes unpredictable circumstances can put a damper on things.

I love my epic fantasy series – The Heart of The Warrior. The series spans five books, so my journey will take years. I won’t stop writing this story until I scribe the last “The End” on the last page of the last book. Currently, I’m working on edits for Book Two. It’s slow going. Why? Editing is the hardest part of writing the novel (in my opinion). I’m antsy to move on to the next book, BUT I can’t until I make sure the WIP is polished and accurate. Editing is a slow process. My happy train has dropped from 90mph to about 10. It’s hard to keep the momentum going.

Here are a few tips I use to keep my train chugging along (even if the pace has slowed to a crawl):

  • I take it one chapter at a time. If that’s too much to handle, I split the chapters into sections and do at least one section per day. The train doesn’t move very far, but at least it’s still moving.
  • I become my most enthusiastic cheerleader. Sometimes I’ll read sections out of my published novels to remind me that I can do this, because I’ve done it before.
  • I take time to find positive encouragers to motivate me. Online, feature stories on the news, positive songs, upbeat quotes. If you look for them, you’ll find the one you need to hear.

Remember: Any positive movement forward is better than standing still. Your funk will pass. I promise. Keep the momentum going!

 

Avoiding Frustration when You Hit a Road Block

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Creative projects – by their very nature – should be fun. We race down the path, full of energy and excitement. It’s easy. The ideas flow and don’t stop (at first). Then you hit your first road block. Maybe you’re stuck on a problem or run out of cash to complete your project? Boom. You’re just entered Frustration Town.

If you caught my blog series, Planning Your Dreams into Reality, then you’ve made a project plan. It has the tasks you must accomplish to complete your creative project. Maybe you’ve even created a schedule (look at you go!). So what gives? How did you end up staring at your personal road block?

It could be any number of things. You may have forgotten a step. Perhaps the research you did was incomplete or inaccurate in some way? Or maybe the Universe just hates you! Kidding. Sometimes road blocks happen. It’s how you handle them that determines whether you’re going to succeed or fail.

Try taking a step back. Rather than looking at the Ultimate project goal, try coming up with a short-term goal. Don’t get me wrong. You should always keep the end goal in mind. However, smaller short-term goals make up the big project. Taking them one at a time can reduce stress and help you avoid frustration. Keep slamming out the little goals and before you know it, the big project is much closer to being complete.

 

Are You Ready to Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get Busy?

I started this blog post about five times with five different calls to action. “Stay Strong and Do Your Art!”, “Fear Limits Your Ability to Function”, “Are You Being Manipulated? Social Media Communities Are Try to Sell You Something by Using Your Fear or Anger or Empathy.”

Then I dialed into my first meeting on my first day back from vacation. My team, just like anyone else, is facing uncertainty. How will the new Administration impact our jobs? What does it mean for the individual as well as the team?

I can’t answer these questions. What I can do and what I must do as a leader is to keep us focused on the job at hand. I don’t know what waits ahead for us. All I know is what we’ve committed to do now, today. That is what we’re going to focus on. And we’re going to perform at our best.

What about you? Will you swim in your fear and anger? Or are you going to roll up your sleeves and get busy making the world a better place with your art, million-dollar idea or avocation?

Still feeling a bit mired in the muck? I hear ya. Been there. Put your imagination hat on. You are now Mysterio the Great and you’ve just had a vision:

Six months in the future all hell breaks loose. You lose your job, benefits, bank account and your freedom to use the internet. What are the top three things you would do anything to preserve?

Don’t think about it. These should pop into your head immediately. I’ll share mine:

Number 1 – Protect my little family

Number 2 – Pursue my life’s work – my writing

Number 3 – Preserve the Colorado Wilderness, national and state parks that I spend so much time enjoying

Trying to protect or change the entire world can be overwhelming (unless you really are Mysterio the Great). Focus on what’s important to you. Dedicate positive energy and your time to making those things happen. It will help your little corner of the planet and keep you sane.