Why I Write: Find or Reignite Your Creative Fire

creativityThis is for anyone who creates, used to create, wants to be more creative, or wants to start creating something new or different. We all create things. Some of us make art, new recipes, or clothing. Some of us build businesses. Raise children. Creativity takes many forms. But life and time takes its toll. Our creative pursuits often fall to the wayside or we get burnt out, especially if we have to be creative for a living.

I once worked with a group of senior citizens in an assisted living center as a volunteer to help them write their stories. In the first session, there was a lot of silence until one woman finally said, the only thing I’ve ever written is a grocery list! The others laughed. I said – that counts! Because it does. (And yes, we got to their stories.) The ways we share our words and stories may have changed with social media. But any effort to capture our ideas, thoughts, plans and vision matter. That’s why we should do everything we can to make time to create and stay fired up about our creative passions.

One way to do this is Continue reading “Why I Write: Find or Reignite Your Creative Fire”

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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”

10 painless ways to find time to write

You’re too busy to get to your creative work? Yeah, don’t even go there, I’ve heard it all before. From myself! That’s why I’ve come up with 10 relatively painless ways to make time for your creative work:

1. Give up 1 hour of TV. I know it’s hard; that’s why I didn’t say “Give up 1 hour of TV every day.” Just try one hour today–turn off the TV, go to your creative space and work. See how you feel afterwards. You might even work longer than an hour. Now try it again tomorrow.

2. Sit in your creative work space. Yep, just go there and sit. Don’t pay bills there. Don’t wrap gifts there. Whether your space is in a closet or the spare bedroom or your dining room table, go there and sit with your creative tools–notebook, pens, paints, whatever you need. You don’t have to write. But you will. Sit there for 30 minutes. Eventually you’ll get bored and write.

3. Listen to music that moves you. Just like actors need prompts to help them get into the right mood for a scene, writers need that too. Let Continue reading “10 painless ways to find time to write”

The upside of insomnia: creative time in disguise

It started at 2am, when I bolted awake, heart racing and pounding like a man on fire inside my chest. I immediately took action, launching into my trusty Insomnia Routine, which consists of a series of mind games I use to try and trick myself into feeling very very sleepy:

2:09am: I am on a beach. Hear the waves. Feel the hot sand. Smell the coconut tanning oil. Hear the sea gulls cawing in lazy circles in blue sky. Caw caw. My running to-do list from work runs across the beach.

2:17am I am submerged in quick sand. Each part of my body floats down, down, down. I am melting into the quick sand. My arms, shoulders, neck, even my hair. That reminds me, my daughter needs a haircut, my client didn’t seem thrilled with my pitch, and I have no idea how to find my way in to that video project, let alone get it done in time.

2:34am I contemplate counting sheep. Dogs. Cats. Cigars. I have to pee. I’m hot. Hubby starts snoring. The dog (who is more like a horse at 70 pounds  and has no business being in my bed) is kicking me in the kidneys.

2:51am: I get up, grab my journal, and head for my office.

This used to go on for two or three hours, so I’ve made progress. I’ve had insomnia off and on since I was a child, so I’ve had time to fine tune. (I once went for a week without sleeping. I was afraid of me that week.) I used to squeeze my eyes shut tight and will myself to sleep, anything to stop watching the clock, counting down the minutes until my alarm went off and my day started, a day that I anticipated to be long, excruciating and exhausting. which made me angry so I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter and clenched my jaws too. SLEEP DAMMIT!

But I’m older now. Not necessarily wiser, but definitely mellower. Have you ever heard of found time? I don’t recall where I first heard of the concept, but it’s the perspective that any unexpected down time, such as waiting in a long line at the grocery store or post office, is extra time you can use however you wish. Warning: too much found time can make you just as angry as not being able to sleep (I am thinking of several long flight delays), but I usually carry a book, notebook, even my laptop wherever I go because you never know when a pocket of found time will pop up. You have to seize it when it pops.

Right now I’m sitting on my couch wrapped in a white blanket and black night and delicious silence with the freedom to write and work for as long as I am awake. No phone, no email, no interruptions. I can actually do and think about one thing at a time, rather than worry about 17 things at once while simultaneously helping one kid with fractions homework (ugh) and helping the other kid make his lunch while simultaneously feeding the dogs, paying bills and putting laundry away while simultaneously ordering a pizza and having a complete mental block when the girl asks for my phone number. (Sorry Mom for making fun of you when you used to say five other names–including the dog’s–before finally spitting out mine back in the day.)

No wonder I can’t sleep.

But multi-tasking challenges aside, I like to look at my insomnia as my pocket of uninterrupted, found reflective time in the middle of the night for writing, journaling, thinking, reading. It’s like a creative trigger, popping up when life is too busy and crazy and the world feels out of control, reminding me–forcing me–to take my little slice of creative time wherever I can get it.

Get Creative: Make found time in your day today for your creative project.