A Dream Full of Creators

A few nights ago, I had an odd dream. I’ve sat on this a while, because in telling the dream, it will sound like a lot of name-dropping. But be that as it may, here it is.

I was living back in our house in McAlester (Oklahoma). The Sherwin Williams parking lot behind the house had been turned into a skate park. The gate was gone off of the fence around our backyard so people were lounging around and watching the skateboarders across the alley.

I opened the blinds on the living room window to check out what all the noise was. Casey Neistat had his camera sitting on the window ledge, doing part of his vlog in my backyard. Peter McKinnon just got there with his skateboard (I don’t remember if it was his boosted board or a regular skateboard – it’s been a few days since I had this dream.) Roberto Blake was there, but not skating. Some others were there, too, some skating, some not. I didn’t recognize all of them well enough to name them.

When I opened the blinds, Casey looked surprised then waved. The doorbell rang. It was a couple more people trying to get to the skate park. Instead of going around the block, they asked if they could just go through the house. I let them.

Someone invited me to go out to the skate park. I said, “I don’t know how to skate.”

They said, “It doesn’t matter. Just come hang out.”

So I did.

What does all this mean? My personal interpretation, with everything I have going on, is that I’m in a good place right now, creatively speaking. My YouTube channel may currently be suffering (that will be changing soon), but I’m in with good people and can learn a lot just by watching their videos and participating in the ongoing discussions.

Whether that’s what this would actually mean or not is kind of irrelevant at this point. I’ve never really been into dream interp, so that’s what I’m taking from it.

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Nature

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

I need to get out and walk more. I know it. My weight proves it to me on a daily basis. Lately, the way my jeans fit proves it to me even more.

If I don’t get out enough, my mood takes a direct hit. The best way to be sure I get out more is to incorporate nature walks into my exercise regimen. (I have to laugh. At this point, I don’t really have an exercise regimen, though I keep planning on it. Does that count?)

When you read about writers, artists, poets, composers, etc., you see almost all of them mention regular walks. Some of them are short, just for exercise, but others are long, intended for musing and working through problems posed by their work.

In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron mentions going for walks on a frequent basis. She has said there is a reason our compiled progress is called a body of work. It lives inside of us, takes up residence inside our body. It requires movement, so we must move.

For some reason, I tend to forget that part, though.

All of the creatives you see talking about walking never say they walk inside, on a track. It’s all outside, to get the benefit of nature. There we can witness creativity in its most natural form. I know the birds and wildlife and trees and flowers don’t communicate directly with us and would not call it creativity if they could. That’s what it is, though. They’re creating life.

I think we could all learn something from that. I know I could.

(On a side note, this is post #100 for this blog!)

Do Animals Influence Your Creativity?

Here’s another one from that brainstormed list I mentioned yesterday.

Do animals influence your creativity?

On a purely story-telling level, I say yes. They always provide something for you to tell – or write – a story about. With the way our two dogs play and interact, there is always something to tell that they’ve done.

On an inspirational level, I say … sometimes. If Gabby (she’s a shih tzu) comes in when I’m in the middle of something, it’s usually because she wants attention. That’s not necessarily a useful thing. I am always aware of when she comes in. Sometimes she will beg for attention. Other times, she will settle down and lie in the floor by my chair.

On a psychological level, I say yes. Both of our dogs are always mood-lifters. Gabby knows when I don’t feel well and she stays very close by at those times. Zack (he’s a schnauzer) knows, too, but he’s more apt to keep his distance. When I’m in the living room, for example, and not working on anything, he’ll sit on my foot and lean against my leg so I know he’s there. If it’s a particularly bad time, he’ll force his nose under my hand so I have no choice but to pet him. My life is definitely better because of these two critters.

So to answer this question, I have two definite yeses and a sometimes. Ultimately, I think that means, for me, that animals do influence my creativity. They definitely influence my feelings of well-being, which is the real influence on creativity.

What about the animals in your life, past or present?

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.

Is It Better to Work in Silence or With Background Noise?

There was a time that I would say it is better to work with some background noise. Hands-down. I thought I got more done and it felt kind of more like an office-with-coworkers environment. I typically had the TV on Food Network. It wasn’t ever up loud, but enough that I knew there was something going on.

Sometimes I would work with music and often found myself singing along. Obviously that wasn’t very conducive to getting anything done.

Then the cable company made some changes and we could no longer get cable through just the TV connection and had to have a box. When we moved here, I misplaced my box, so I was basically forced to work in silence. (I have since found the cable box but still have not yet hooked it up.)

I was surprised at how much more I got done. I was surprised to notice that my creativity had apparently been dulled by the background noise. I had effectively made it where I couldn’t hear myself.

That’s not a good position to be in.

I’m torn. I don’t know if I want to connect the cable box or not. I’m afraid it would mean reverting back to bad habits. (At the same time, though, I miss Food Network.) Now, the lack of TV does not mean I always work in silence. I’ve found Evan Carmichael on YouTube and his productivity music playlists. They’re mostly dance music with little-to-no lyrics. When I have a lot of stuff to do and I really don’t want to do it or I have a short time to work, I turn on one of those videos. (They’re about an hour and a half each.) One day, I got more done than I thought possible.

I don’t listen to the music a lot, but I have discovered it can be an effective tool for getting me in the mood/mindset to get things done.

What do you think? Do you work better in silence or with background noise?

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I thought about not doing this, but I decided I had to.

You see….

My mom is a great friend and she’s a wonderful cheerleader for me. She has encouraged my creativity all my life. I don’t remember a time when she said that I would never make any money as a writer or that I should do something different. In fact, it’s in very large part because of her that I am a writer.

When I was growing up, she was a babysitter. I helped tell stories to the kids. I told bedtime stories to my brother. Eventually, I started writing them down. I started reading Writer’s Digest and other writing magazines. In college, I was reading an issue of WD while sitting in the hallway, waiting for class to let out so I could go in for the next class. A classmate sat on the floor beside me and noticed what I was reading.

“Oh. Are you a writer?”

I hesitated. No one outside of my family knew about that. “Yes.”

“Cool.” She started reading whatever she had with her and that was the end of that conversation.

I can’t — and won’t — say I was very confident when I answered, but I was confident enough to answer. And that is thanks to my mom.

So, yeah, I just wanted to take this time here to tell her happy birthday. She’s the best!

(The picture here is one of the very few selfies I ever took. It’s my Mom and I at a Kevin Welch concert at the Goddard Center in Ardmore, Oklahoma.)

Do I Talk Too Much?

A few days ago, I seriously wondered this. I wondered if I talked about creativity too much or if people (mainly in my family and circle of friends) thought I was posting too much in general.

Then I started getting feedback on some of the posts I’ve been putting out. The consensus appears to be no, I do not talk too much. In fact, I might not be talking enough about all of this “creativity stuff.” At least, not yet. I’ll be getting there. I’ll be sharing my viewpoint and theories about creativity as well as parts of my own creative path.

(Speaking of, I’ve been doing some new things that I’m excited to share, but I’ll do that soon enough.)

The more I talk, the more I post, I have no doubt I will refine my thoughts and ideas about this particular topic. And then I’ll talk, post, and share more about that progression.

In the meantime, since it is the weekend, I’ll leave this as a short post.

Happy creating!