Weather and Creativity

For me, I know my mood can be influenced by the weather. Sometimes I wonder if I let it, if my creativity could be too.

By “if I let it,” I mean that since I have decided to prioritize my creativity, I work on it every day. I intentionally do something creative – usually writing. When I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge (a challenge to blog daily throughout October, if you’re not participating and wondering what I’m talking about), I sat down and brainstormed a list of posts for the entire month. Some of those have changed, but I’ve mostly gone by the list. That’s why today is about weather and creativity.

The thing of it is, I would be almost as productive if I did rely on a connection between weather and creativity because there is something inspiring in just about all weather. If it’s bright and sunny, I want to make/write something. If it’s rainy or cloudy, I want to make/write something. If it’s storming? Well… That depends on the storm. If it’s severe, I want to hide. If it’s just a regular thunderstorm, I want to make/create something.

If it’s snowy/icy, I want to hibernate. That’s my only real exception.

What do you think? Is there a connection between writing and your creativity? I don’t mean in general. This is on a personal level.

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Do You Have Creative Clutter?

Crayons scattered on white paperSaturday, I gave a talk at the Ada Writers’ Group. We talked about creativity, some tips, ways to jump-start your creativity, some creativity exercises, and more. We even talked a little bit about clutter. If you know me and my attitudes about housecleaning and clutter, this is at least mildly amusing.

I was talking about clutter. As in getting rid of it.

Here is the gist of what was said.

  1. I used to say I had creative clutter.
  2. When I was sick (long-term, a period of two years), I would toss something in my office and say “I’ll take care of it later.”

First, let me just say I was fooling myself with the creative clutter comment. I think we lie to ourselves far too much when it comes to clutter and our creativity (in general, not necessarily related to clutter).

Second, the clutter wasn’t creative. It was constraining. I couldn’t really think. I couldn’t really create in my office. In my self-described studio. There was … too much … stuff. It was everywhere. “Later” had finally arrived.

Let me just say that it’s not perfect. There are still some things that need to be done. Now, however, I have designated spaces for jewelry-making, product photography, writing, knitting/crochet, and videos. (For the record, the first two are in my kitchen, not in my office. My space isn’t quite that big.) It is a lot better. There isn’t near as much clutter and what there is will be easily managed.

What is the biggest difference I have noticed?

Other than being able to walk across the floor without knocking piles over, I have room to think! I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. I feel like I need to repeat it.

I have room to think!

The first time I came in the office to sit at my desk felt different. I sat down and mentally went “ahhhhh!” because it felt good. I turned to my computer and was able to do some work without feeling stressed or cramped.

All because I got rid of (most of) the clutter.

It makes a difference.

Stop telling yourself you have “creative clutter” or “creative organization.” It’s not. You don’t. It’s just junk. It’s clutter. There might be important things you want to keep — maybe even things you need and have been looking for — under the piles of stuff. But that’s not an organizational system.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Think about cleaning it up. I mean seriously think about it. And do it. It will be worth it.

What are some of your experiences with cleaning up the clutter in your creative spaces? Leave a comment and I might use it in a future episode of the podcast.

Picture Day

I’ve been struggling with what to post. Do I share another experience? A video? A look into my life? What?

How about a photo?

OK. I can do a photo. Here you go.

This was taken at Robber’s Cave State Park in Wilburton, Oklahoma. It’s the stairs at the dam on Lake Carlton. With water rushing over the dam and the stairs,I liked how it looked. You can see how the water landed on the stairs and started cascading down them, too.

Stairs at Lake Carlton dam at Robber’s Cave State Park

Goose on Water

gooseonwater

I decided I wanted to do a photo post today.

This picture was taken at Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. We had some cousins who were vacationing on a houseboat. We spent the day with them. As we were leaving, we noticed a flock of geese near shore. We stopped and I took a few pictures. This was one of the best.

I had this photo printed on a mouse pad that I still use and on a canvas print for my dad for Father’s Day a couple years ago.

Planner Up!

bujoI know I need a routine. It gives my day some structure so I don’t just fluff off a whole day. I’ve done that before. More than once. It’s not a good feeling to realize it’s 10:30 at night, time for bed, and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.

That’s what not having a steady, full-time (or even part-time) job can do to you. Er…. To me.

To help establish and maintain a routine, I need some kind of planner system.

I’ve tried the DayPlanner system that you can buy at office supply stores. I use it for a while, then stop because it doesn’t really work for me. It’s not flexible. I can’t add things to it.

Then I tried coming up with my own system.  I called it the KNOWS – Keep a Notebook Organizational Working (or Writing) System.It worked, to an extent. I could only use it for one project at a time, though.

I needed something I could customize. Something flexible. Something that I could use for more than one project at a time. That’s how I work. More than one project at a time. I typically have one big project — a novel, perhaps — and several smaller ones — articles, blog posts, etc.

Someone online mentioned this thing called the Bullet Journal. I watched the video by Ryder Carroll and I knew it was exactly what I was looking for — and trying to create myself. Someone had already developed the system, tested it, put it in place, and knew it worked.

After I watched the video, I went to the website and read everything I could to learn how to set it up. Then, in January, I started it. I used it for a while, but since nothing was really happening, I let it slide. Now, since I’m getting back into a routine, my Bullet Journal (aka BuJo) is back. And I’m making things happen. Which is really how it should have been in the first place.

If you decide the Bullet Journal system is for you, I’ve been collecting resources and have run across some great ones. My Bullet Journal is evolving from a plain vanilla notebook that I’m not all that inspired by to something decorated and showcasing me and my life on the page. I like that. I’ll be glad to share my resources with you. And even tell you how it works for me.

But for now, I figure we’re good to go.

Oh, and what kind of notebook do you use? Whatever kind you want! The one in the picture above is my current personal BuJo. I’m working in a larger black one (that I will soon decorate on the outside as well) for my work life (writing, editing, photography, speaking, etc.). It’s so customizable, there is really no wrong way to do it. And that makes it fun.

Until later.