Creativity Articles

Mindy Kaling’s Rules for Creative Writing (& Happiness)

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Mindy Kaling's Rules for Creative Writing (& Happiness)Like millions of others, I’m a huge fan of Mindy Kaling. She is one of the geniuses behind one of my very favorite TV shows, The Office (and also played the great character, Kelly Kapoor).

I also love her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). And I’m looking forward to binge-watching her newish TV show, The Mindy Project.

Mindy Kaling also gave one of my favorite happiness interviews here. One great passage is inside…

10 Tips to Cultivate Your Creativity

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

10 Tips to Cultivate Your CreativityFor the past 30 years creativity coach Eric Maisel, Ph.D, has worked with a variety of individuals, everyone from artists to authors to musicians to scientists to lawyers. He’s also written numerous books on creativity. So it’s safe to say he knows a few things about the creative process.

In his latest book on creativity, Making Your Creative Mark, he reveals the nine keys to achieving your artistic goals. These include: thinking thoughts that serve you; building confidence; developing your passion; using freedom to support a successful creative life; dealing effectively with stress; cultivating empathy; navigating relationships; strengthening your identity; and exploring how society affects you and choosing your role in society.

Here are 10 illuminating tips from his book on cultivating creativity.

How I Create: Q&A With Novelist & Writer Justine Musk

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A With Novelist & Writer Justine MuskThere are some people whose work you’re instantly drawn to. You’re curious about everything from their take on the world to their tips on improving your craft.

And when you read them, you’re itching to create. You want to pick up a pen, a paintbrush, a camera or whatever your tool of choice, and make something. They inspire you to raise your hand, and speak up, to contribute your voice to the conversation. And they remind you just how important expressing yourself really is.

For me, Justine Musk is one of those people.

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules for Writing Fiction

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules for Writing FictionI’ve recently become a fan of reading collections of letters (a form which is disappearing, now that we don’t write letters much anymore), and I read a recommendation somewhere to read Kurt Vonnegut’s letters.

From there, I was drawn to a collection of his short fiction, named — paradoxically — Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction.

In the Introduction of the book, Vonnegut provides his rules for creative writing. Curious?

A Surprising Technique for Sparking Your Creativity

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

A Surprising Technique for Sparking Your CreativityWhenever you’re in the muck of a creativity block, your first instinct might be to run to your favorite books for rescue. To bathe in their wisdom. To let their words stir you and rouse you to create.

Whenever I’m stuck, I always turn to the books I trust most to nourish my brain when it seems barren.

Go read is wise advice to follow when you’re feeling creatively blocked or lost in life. That’s the advice you’ve probably heard from numerous teachers, mentors and countless renowned writers and artists.

How I Create: Q&A With Playwright & Creativity Coach Zohar Tirosh-Polk

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A With Playwright & Creativity Coach Zohar Tirosh-PolkEvery month we chat with a different person about their creative process, hopefully gleaning an insight or two about creativity. Specifically, we delve into the activities that spark their imagination and how they overcome creativity-crushing obstacles. We also ask for their advice on how readers can cultivate their creativity.

This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Zohar Tirosh-Polk, an award-winning playwright and creativity coach. Through her company, Grow Creative Coaching, Tirosh-Polk supports creative women and moms on their artistic journeys.

What’s her creative process, her inspirations, and how does she get over those creativity distractions?

Can Music Tame Your Inner Beast? Music Therapy for Mental Health

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Can Music Tame Your Inner Beast? Music Therapy for Mental HealthMusic can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings and behavior and has been shown to assist with managing stress, expressing emotion and improving communication.

Music therapy — the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals — helps people with understanding and developing self-identity, promoting quality of life and maintaining well-being.

So how does music therapy work to help someone with their mental health concerns?

Pay Attention! 3 Tips For Finding Focus Every Day

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Pay Attention! 3 Tips For Finding Focus Every DayInformation opens up new worlds. It helps us make new connections. And it certainly sparks ideas. But too much information also eats up our attention.

In 1971, social scientist Herbert Simon noted: “What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

And that’s the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to give your ideas life. The ability to pay attention is a vital asset in helping us produce meaningful work. It gives us a competitive edge in today’s distraction-driven world.

In Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei, a group of authors and thought leaders share their strategies for creating amid a busy, buzzing world. Below are several tips from this valuable book.

The Daily Rituals of Creative Minds

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

The Daily Rituals of Creative MindsI love learning about the creative processes and daily habits of people who’ve given us great gifts, everything from powerful writing to awe-inspiring art to beautiful symphonies.

So I was excited to pick up a copy of Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. In it, Currey shares the everyday routines of writers, composers, painters, playwrights, poets, philosophers, filmmakers, scientists and other artists — 161 in total.

In his introduction, he notes that Daily Rituals is “about the circumstances of creative activity, not the product; it deals with manufacturing rather than meaning.” His goal, he says, is “…to show how grand creative visions translate to small daily increments; how one’s working habits influence the work itself, and vice versa.”

Daily Rituals is a fascinating glimpse into some of the greatest minds, and the habits and practices that are integral to their creative process.

Introspection Overload? The Value of Journaling

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Introspection Overload? The Value of JournalingTo my fellow over-thinkers, ruminators, and introspective-dwellers: I know what it’s like to feel “stuck in your head.

It’s those moments when your mind starts to wander, and all your reflections and ponderings (whether they may be trivial or significant) begin to simulate a mountain that’s too exhausting to climb. I like to refer to this as ‘introspection overload’ — thinking that decides to examine a subject matter intricately and closely, inviting further thoughts to join the party, even though you reason that it’s probably time to take a few steps back.

This is one of the reasons why I love journaling. I have drawers devoted to several years of journal-keeping (including a precious gem from my second-grade self).

On Innovating & Creating: Leaning Into Stupid Ideas

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

On Innovating & Creating: Leaning Into Stupid IdeasMany ideas that were once thought of as stupid actually turned out to be huge successes. In fact, most of these inventions we can’t live without today.

Take the telephone, for instance. Originally, in 1876, Western Union rejected it, explaining in an internal memo: “The device is inherently of no value to us.”

The automobile was met with similar reservations. The president of Michigan Savings Bank told Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, because: “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”

Satellites didn’t seem that useful either. T. Craven, the FCC commissioner, had this to say in 1961: “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television or radio service inside the United States.”

How I Create: Q&A with Creativity Coach Miranda Hersey

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A with Creativity Coach Miranda Hersey In our monthly series, we take a sneak peek into the creative processes of everyone from photographers to authors to artists to creativity coaches.

This month I’m excited to share my interview with Miranda Hersey. Hersey wears many creative hats. She’s a writer and editor, creativity coach, and host of the blog Studio Mothers. And she’s a mom of five!

I’ve already interviewed Hersey for several creativity pieces, and I love her interesting insights and valuable tips. Her e-book on creativity and motherhood is excellent. (I shared a few of her tips here.)

And her mission is powerful: to help others live deeply satisfying, creative lives.

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