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.

Advertisements

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.)

Fatigue and Creating

black and white photo of a porch light ona rock wallI have been talking a lot about making your creativity a priority and planning for it and so on. But…

Do you create when you’re tired? How?

That depends.

It depends on you and what you can handle.

And, to be honest, it will vary. There will be times when you can create while you’re exhausted and there will be times when you just can’t. There are times when I can create when I’m overly tired and times when I can’t.

Here’s the key: Listen to yourself.

You will know when you can keep going and when you need to rest. If you find yourself trying to write and you’re just watching the cursor blink, shut it down and get some sleep. If you keep making mistakes on basic knitting or crochet stitches/patterns, it’s time to put it down and take care of yourself.

Here’s the thing…

It might not even be physical fatigue that is interfering with your ability to create. It might be mental or emotional. It’s still an indicator that you MUST take care of yourself. Maybe even more than physical.

I can’t — and won’t try — to tell you how to take care of yourself. Everyone has somewhat different self-care methods. I like to get my nails done or just veg and watch TV or YouTube videos. If my issue is related to writing, I may knit or crochet or play with stamps or alcohol inks. I also like to have a cup of hot tea when the weather is chilly.

Your favorite ways might be different. Find out what they are. Remember them. Use them when you feel “off” or when you feel any kind of fatigue.

In the meantime, happy creating!

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.

A Planner for Creatives

After I published Create Your Own DIY Planner, I had someone ask me if I were going to make an actual planner. At the time, I said no. But then I started thinking about it.

Well…

I’ve been working on “the planner for creatives” for a while. It has elements that I want in a planner – a submissions log, project planning pages, a master project list, and a content idea log.

Right now, I just need a cover and a better title than “Planner for Creatives.” That’s where you come in. Help me launch this planner in October! Send me your title ideas. If I use yours, you will get a free copy of the planner, estimated at a $20 value.

Send me your ideas ASAP! Deadline is September 29, 2017.

Two Links

I’m going to do something I don’t usually do. I’m going to send you to other sites to read/listen to what I want to talk about. These links will open in a new tab or window, depending on how you have your browser set.

First, I have a guest blog up on Tierra Wilson’s Busy & Chic blog. It’s Why Entrepreneurs Should Start a Writing Practice.

Second, I mentioned I’ve started a podcast. It’s Wandering on the Creative Path and it’s on SoundCloud. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s going to stay on SoundCloud, so if you have any free podcast hosting suggestions, send them my way. Anyway, episodes 0 (the introduction) through 3 have been uploaded.

Remember Your Audience 

This is equally important in person and while writing. Actually, it’s probably more important. 

Last week, I spent some time at Robber’s Cave State Park in Wilburton, Oklahoma. It was my mom, sister-in-law, nephew, one of my nieces, and three cousins. 

That night at the campfire, my nephew wanted everyone to tell ghost stories. Now, that day also happened to be the anniversary of a very traumatic event for two of the cousins who were with us.

I knew that. I forgot that. When my turn came to tell a story, I started telling one I had heard during the ghost tour at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs about a little girl.

That past event never crossed my mind. I started telling the story. One cousin said, “No ghost stories about children, please.”

That had the effect of a bucket of cold water. I could not believe I didn’t think about that. I still can’t. I felt like an inconsiderate dolt.

Learn from my mistake. Always, always keep your audience in mind, whether in writing or oral storytelling.