Creativity Articles

Connecting with Others Through Music

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Connecting with Others Through MusicIt’s probably not too difficult to fathom how certain music may mirror your own thoughts and feelings. Lyrics or melodies can potentially communicate the message that you want to convey. Songs can capture an emotional state or personal situation in the best way possible.

I love words, and I consider myself to be a pretty expressive individual. Sometimes, these classic quotes resonate: “Music exists to speak the words we can’t express,” and “When words fail music speaks.”

5 Ways to Get Unstuck from a Creative Block

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

5 Ways to Get Unstuck from a Creative BlockI’ve always been curious about how others work — other writers, researchers, artists. I wonder what inspires them. I wonder about the particulars of their process. I wonder how they overcome self-doubt and fears of failure.

These questions have been at the forefront of my mind even more, now that I’m working on my own book about creativity.

How Writing Helped Me Conquer Real-Life Anxiety

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

How the Written Word Helped Me Conquer Real-Life Anxiety Anxiety, or mental unease, can be seen as the crying out of the internal artist: Let me out! Let me speak!
~ Frances Krsinich

My path toward healing from anxiety has not been easy or straightforward. I tried many different avenues, from traditional therapy and medication to acupuncture and herbs. But it wasn’t until I turned to the written word that I was finally able to conquer the everyday angst of ongoing anxiety.

The healing first started by simply reading about it. I devoured many self-help books on the subject, including Lucinda Bassett’s From Panic to Power, finally understanding that I wasn’t the only person leading a normal life while fighting the undertow of fear. This fact alone helped me become more hopeful and empowered. I realized that if people with thoughts just as scary — if not more so —than mine could climb out of their anxiety, then I could too.

Still, my mind remained uneasy, quite ready to spin another tale of worry into a sleepless night of fear.

Deconstructing the Fear of Rejection: What Are We Really Afraid Of?

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Deconstructing the Fear of Rejection: What Are We Really Afraid Of?The fear of rejection is one of our deepest human fears. Biologically wired with a longing to belong, we fear being seen in a critical way. We’re anxious about the prospect of being cut off, demeaned, or isolated. We fear being alone. We dread change.

The depth and flavor of fear varies for each individual, although there are common elements at play. If we’re willing to look, what is our actual felt experience of rejection? What are we really afraid of?

An Alternative to To-Do Lists for Getting Tasks Done

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

An Alternative to To-Do Lists for Getting Tasks DoneMost of us use some kind of to-do list, whether it’s tasks scribbled on a sticky note (like me), projects typed into a computer or an app on your phone, or a snapshot of your day written into a planner.

Author Sam Bennett finds to-do lists to be “too dictatorial.” It makes her feel like a high schooler who’s being told to do her homework.

Instead, she prefers creating a could-do list.

These very words, “could do,” remind her that she has a choice about the tasks she works on.

Answering the Question: ‘What Should I Do With My Life?’

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Answering the Question: 'What Should I Do With My Life?'What’s the first question exchanged when we meet someone new? You guessed it: “So… What do you do?”

In our culture, what you do for a living is inextricably tied to society’s perception of your worth. A stable job with a good salary is highly regarded, but we often look less lovingly upon the self-trained artist or entrepreneur who gives blood, sweat, and tears to make their vision possible.

Why is this? Is the number on your paycheck the true meaning of success?

How I Create: Q&A with Coach & Author Jennifer Lee

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

How I Create: Q&A with Coach & Author Jennifer LeeIn our monthly series, a variety of individuals — from authors to artists to creativity coaches to photographers — give us a glimpse into their creative process.

This month I’m pleased to share our interview with Jennifer Lee, a certified coach, author and artist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

After spending 10 years in the corporate world, working for companies such as Gap and Accenture, Lee left her position to found Artizen Coaching. She helps others pursue their passions and grow their businesses, authentically and creatively.

Become An Idea Sleuth: 12 Creative Tips for Generating Great Ideas

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Become An Idea Sleuth: 12 Creative Tips for Generating Great IdeasSome days the ideas simply don’t come. Your brain is bare and closed for a break. But that’s not very helpful when you have an article to write, a meeting with your boss, a looming presentation or any other project that requires new ideas and insights.

As Jack London famously said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

So it helps to have an arsenal of tools you can turn to, and a system you can use every day to keep your tank full.

Here are 12 tips and exercises for finding and generating great ideas, whether you’re penning a blog post or novel, painting your next piece, starting a new project at work or need a fun activity to do with your kids.

From Faking It to Making It

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

From Faking It to Making ItThe moment takes you by surprise. You never know exactly when it will happen. But one day you recognize that you have crossed the line from ‘faking’ it to ‘making’ it.

And when that day arrives, you feel fantastic.

Perhaps it’s a skill you’ve been wanting to improve. Maybe it’s writing. Instead of droning on with long, boring sentences, you notice that your words snap into place. Your characters sparkle. Your plot takes meandering curves that keeps readers coming back for more.

Perhaps it’s a character trait that you never thought you’d own. Like courage. Or self-confidence. These traits can’t be developed. Or can they?

Letter to a Loved One When Depressed

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Letter to a Loved One When DepressedDepression is a terrible thing to experience. It robs us of so many things which the human spirit needs to thrive, grow and be happy. It can rob us of the ability to think clearly, to make decisions, to feel love and above all it can rob us of hope.

One thing I’m often asked is, “how do I tell my wife/husband/partner about how I feel when I don’t even know how I feel myself?” The answer is always difficult because we all experience depression in our own way, even if the themes are similar.

Something that I think helps is to give a written letter to the person to whom you wish to communicate. If nothing else it lets them have a small insight into how you feel and it also conveys the seriousness of your situation. Also a letter is a special thing that we don’t often handwrite anymore, which gives it extra meaning.

How I Create: Q&A With Authors Dan Millman & Sierra Prasada

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A With Authors Dan Millman & Sierra PrasadaI’m honored to feature both Dan Millman and Sierra Prasada for this month’s “How I Create” series. Millman and Prasada are the authors of the new book The Creative Compass: Writing Your Way From Inspiration to Publication.

In it, they feature five stages of creativity and combine their personal stories with sage insights from other writers and artists. (I shared their wise advice in my piece on creative cures for writer’s block.)

Below, they share a glimpse into their creative process along with surprising insights on cultivating creativity.

Creativity & Play: Artists & Authors Share Their Favorite Ways to Play

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Creativity & Play: Artists & Authors Share Their Favorite Ways to PlayPlay isn’t just inherently fun — it’s also a powerful way to connect to our creativity, loosen routine and rigidity and spark new insights.

According to creativity coach Gail McMeekin, “Play brings us back to childhood when we were free to play with abandon and we were not afraid of being judged or criticized.”

When we’re able to reconnect to that blissful time, it helps us tinker with new ideas and make novel connections, she said.

Michelle Ward, a creative career coach, also views play as a window into our smaller selves. “Kids are the ultimate creativity cultivators, and we can really only tap into that as adults by playing.”

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