The most powerful word in the world

I love words. I tried to read the dictionary when I was 9 (yes, I was a big geek then too. I made it through the B’s.). My favorite board game, the only board game I will ever play, is Scrabble. I love how the right words strung together sounds like shimmering, cascading rhythms. And when those words move people to think or act? As MasterCard would say, Priceless!

So you can imagine that choosing the one, most powerful word was a challenging task indeed. It’s not “no.” It’s not “think,” or “me,” or “butt” as my kids had hoped. The most powerful word in the world is… Continue reading “The most powerful word in the world”

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Want to be more creative? Be a failure!

My eight-year-old daughter has a pet cantaloupe. The errant melon appeared in our truck after a party last weekend; she discovered it in on the floor in the back seat as we were getting ready to leave. Was it a practical joke? Was it a case of mistaken vehicle? We’ll never know. But instantly, my daughter decided it would make a great pet. She named it Bob. He looks quite nice in her visor, don’t you think?

I am telling you this because taking chances–in your creative work, in your life, in business–is a tricky business, unless you are eight years old and don’t realize that no one has a pet cantaloupe or you have heaps of self-esteem and could give a hoot what people think of you. Since the only eight-year-old who reads–ok, glances at–my blog is my daughter, I’m guessing you are somewhere in between that rock and hard place.

Think about it: when was the last time you did something silly, something really out there, without needing 5-10 adult beverages first? No one likes to say, “I failed,” or

Continue reading “Want to be more creative? Be a failure!”

Would your life be easier if you weren’t creative?

My ten-year-old son has always had what I call “big feelings.” It’s more than being sensitive–he feels things more intensely and deeply than others do. It’s a blessing and a curse: while his “big feelings” makes him the sweet, loyal and creative person that he is, this intensity also makes it hard for him to shake off things that others don’t think twice about.

Recently, a really smart person explained to him that people who have such deep feelings are special because they experience the world in a way that some people never do–but if you’re not careful, if you don’t find a way to manage those deep feelings, they can overwhelm you.

And it hit me: this is what it’s like to be creative. Continue reading “Would your life be easier if you weren’t creative?”

7 signs of a creative mind

After working and hanging out with painters, musicians, writers, actors, designers, photographers and creative folks of all kind for years, I’ve noticed seven qualities that creative minds share:

1. Curious. You ask lots of questions, pose dilemmas and create alternative scenarios. You’re always wondering about things, what happened and why. This makes sense, because creativity is all about adventure and trying new things: what will happen if I kill this character here? What if I add more green there? A favorite phrase is, “What if?” Creative minds are always open to new possibilities.

2. Observant. You hear things that others don’t. It’s a listening between the lines for echos of desire, whispers of regret, wisps of anger. You see Continue reading “7 signs of a creative mind”

What does an MFA get you? You might be surprised.

When I first announced to family and friends in 1996 that I was going to graduate school to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, reactions were mixed. OK, people thought I was nuts. They said things like, “But isn’t writing something you either know how to do or you don’t?” and “What does creative writing have to do with marketing?” and my personal favorite, “What the hell will that get you?”

I didn’t care. I was going to immerse myself in learning my craft. I wanted to be a better creative writer for my fiction and a better marketing copywriter. I wanted to train like Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill” and be a kick-ass warrior writer who could whip out a shiny pen and people would step back in awe and respect.

Truth? I’m no Uma Thurman. But going to grad school for my MFA was the best six and a half years of my life. I focused exclusively on Continue reading “What does an MFA get you? You might be surprised.”

Need a creative spark? Make a change.

Change is in the air. Actually, change is stalking me. It began with a colleague at work denouncing proposed changes to a project with a rant that ended with the declaration: “Change is not good!” A few days later, one of my LinkedIn professional groups came out with this topic: “Why do you think people resist change and what steps would you recommend to reduce this resistance?” On the heels of that, Hubby’ called: “I’ve been reorganized. The good news is, I still have a job.” And as if all that talk about change wasn’t enough, there was this excellent blog post by Fast Company: Make Change Work for You.

OK, universe. I hear you.

Let’s face it, we’ve all seen our share of change these past two years: economic, housing, employment, financial, healthcare. That’s why Fast Company’s post resonated with me, especially the very first line: “One of the chief reasons that so many people are uncomfortable with change is because it happens to them not for them.”

Knowing that change is inevitable, how can you better handle change and make it happen for you rather than to you? Continue reading “Need a creative spark? Make a change.”

The creative power of red fuzzy dice

The other day my ten-year-old son came home from a trip to the arcade with a pair of red fuzzy dice. You know, the kind you hang on your rearview mirror, if you happen to be a fuzzy dice kind of person, which…I am not. He hands them to me with a big grin.

“Here Mom! I got these for you. I won enough tickets to get something for me and for our family.”  His face is beaming with a degree of happiness that I see less and less as he grows older and “cooler.”

I hold the dice in my hands. They are very fuzzy. Very huge. Very red. Very noticeable. This was not going to be like wearing the bracelet made out of macaroni. This would be more like wearing the brown paper bag hat decorated with stick figure puppies and “Mom” all over it. In public.

Now, don’t get me wrong–it’s not like I’m too sophisticated for fuzzy dice. One of my favorite Continue reading “The creative power of red fuzzy dice”