Creativity Articles

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.”

How I Create: Q&A With Author Barbara Abercrombie

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A With Author Barbara AbercrombieBarbara Abercrombie is the author of one of my favorite books: A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement.

It’s a tome of insight. This is the book you keep within arm’s length as you’re writing. The book you turn to when your brain feels empty, and you don’t think you’ll compose anything coherent, let alone helpful, ever again. It’s the book you grab for support, kinship and wisdom into the writing process.

This month I’m honored to feature Abercrombie in our series on creativity. Below, she reveals her inspirations and favorite resources; how she navigates potential obstacles to her creative process; her advice to readers; and much more.

5 Creative Cures for Writer’s Block

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

5 Creative Cures for Writer's Block It’s stressful when the words don’t come, when you’re sitting at your desk staring at the blinking cursor or the barren page. Minutes feel like hours. Hours feel like days.

Deadlines loom, and you’re still stuck and staring. A kind of dread begins building in your stomach and travels to your throat, and then peaks between your temples. It’s reminiscent of firecrackers exploding.

“Writer’s block, or any creative block, is really about fear,” according to Miranda Hersey, a writer, editor and creativity coach. The fear of not knowing where to start or we’re headed. The fear that we’re not good enough.

Blocks are tough. They can feel big and intimidating and impossible. But where there’s a block, there’s also a way out. Here are five ways to break through writer’s block.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?When we’re young, we may have certain visions of what our future looks like — we contemplate what we want to do, career-wise, in the years to come. Yet even if those desires change, perhaps you can retain your childhood dreams in other ways.

Home video footage depicts me as a young girl, running around our Brooklyn apartment, singing and dancing (apparently, Paul McCartney’s “This One” did wonders for that dancing urge).

The performing arts scene was number one on my list, and when the sixth grade yearbook asked all the 11/12 year-old graduates the classic question (“what do you want to be when you grow up?”), I had my answer.

4 Ways to Cultivate Curiosity for Creating Your Best Work

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

4 Ways to Cultivate Curiosity for Creating Your Best WorkAll great work starts with a question, according to author Todd Henry in his newest book Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day.

But in the midst of daily chores and tasks, our curiosity can dampen. We focus more on what needs to get done and less on trying new things or pursuing new projects.

And yet, as Henry writes, “…while a curious, questioning mind-set may seem insufficient when we’re under pressure to deliver quick results, it actually makes us more effective in everything we do.”

5 Lessons for Living a Creative Life

Friday, October 11th, 2013

5 Lessons for Living a Creative LifeIn her book Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life author Dani Shapiro weaves together deeply personal stories from her past and present with insights on the creative process and the trials and triumphs of being a writer.

Shapiro is the author of several memoirs and novels, including: Devotion: A Memoir, Black & White, Slow Motion and Family History: A Novel.

Here are several insights and lessons from Still Writing, which may bolster your own creative process, regardless of your tool of choice, and whether this is your profession or pastime.

How I Create: Q&A With Author & Consultant Todd Henry

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A With Author & Consultant Todd HenryI was excited to interview Todd Henry for this month’s “How I Create” series, because he knows a lot about creativity.

Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps people and teams generate brilliant ideas.

He’s also penned two books on creativity: Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day and The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant At A Moment’s Notice.

In The Accidental Creative Henry gives readers practical strategies for supporting your creative process, especially when you need to produce bright ideas on a regular basis (and the muse is on vacation).

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