Keeping the Crayons Sharp


Adult coloring books are such a ginormous hit these days. Ironic isn’t it? That we spent most of our lives  rebelling against the lines,  determined to not be limited by the lines, coloring outside the lines, driving outside the lines . . . OH wait,  that was just me.

The following are a few LINES that  my new bullet journal allow me to color outside of. I swear, I am having an OCD overdose.  I may have to send Ryder over at Bulletjournal.com some manly roses or a plant or something. You can all thank my friend Dana from Satin Sheets Diva for the continued bullet journaling posts.

I know there are all sorts of creative people on youtube sharing about their artsy fartsy journals,  for now I am happy that I  have one journal not five for various functions. (By the way, not making fun of those –  they are brilliant.  I’m just not there yet. They give me something to shoot for!)

Where was I?  OH yes . . . the lines that I am coloring outside of:

  1. In submission guidelines in a 1980 magazine, the submission was required that your sentences in the manuscript read from left to right, top to bottom, the exception being only for poetry. HA! HAHAHAHA! I Laugh in the face of proper ordered wordage. I can write down the side of my page, I can write diagonally across the page, I can even write from top to botom if I choose to do so because it’s mine, Mine, MINE! In celebrating this newfound freedom, yesterday’s journal reads like this:  2016-02-04 11.20.22
  2. Same submission guidelines (Yeah, I found an old Writer’s Digest while cleaning out my basement.) A good way to break into freelance includes editing grammatically weak tattoos and ghostwriting hate letters to the telephone company. WHAT????  What does that even mean? By today’s translation does that mean that I should go get a grammatically incorrect tattoo in protest of  one of the phone companies?  Sprant with a circle and strike through? Or maybe I should go retro and get a bell with a circle and strike through.  I *heart* Hal – on a tee maybe. That may be way before many people’s time, maybe not. I dunno,  I’ll have to think aobut this one.  This one may be rebellion fodder for another day.
  3. Do not bind the pages together of your manuscript s together with C-clamps.  I had to laugh. Of course the  innner child finds the humor of this irresistible. My solution –  not a C-clamp, but these things are so handy! Since this is my first go at this venture,  I’m not really worried about anything super cool. Come on,  the notebook was 33 cents! 2016-02-04 11.17.18
  4. The placing of smiley face stickers on or about your manuscript does not measurably enhance its appeal.  Get thee behind me Satan!  Of course it does! Smiley faces are the bomb. It lets you know of your happiness  level on those days that you feel like the storm clouds of life are following you around. Smiley faces are a necessary addition to any  journal or calendar or notebook or  anything. (See image above with smiley face addition.)
  5. To sell inspirational pieces and lovely poetry you must have a three part name and  credentials behind your name. Ms. Ellie Mack the Divine! How’s that?  That’s five parts. Why aren’t you laughing? I will come over there and “inspire you” to laugh one way or the other buster. Let me tell you my lovely poetry.  There once was a lady from Mitts who had  these really big . . . . .  moving on. I’m not sharing my poetry. I am not a poet. I have notes. Notes that are mine not anyone elses and are for my eyes only.   I have quotes. Quotes that are meaningful to me because it’s MINE and it’s for me.  YES,  I am being a selfish bitch! I’m over 50, it’s allowed.
  6. Dont seal the SASE. BWAHAHAHAHA! Billiant.  I would have never thought of that on my own.  Now If I can just come up with some place I need to send SASE to. . . (For you younguns that don’t know what SASE is –  Self Addressed Stamped Envelope)
  7. Use top quality ink, never handwritten in pencil. Seriously? First off, who would submit  their work even in 1980 handwritten?   If it were back in the 1800’s maybe but 1980?  I mean we had these huge typewriters that weighed as much as a grown man.  By 1985 we had dot matrix printers available, granted typed was better than that, but still. So, . . . just to be  kitschy, I am dedicating tomorrow’s journal entry to crayons. Do they still come in the big ultra pack with the sharpener built in? I may need to run to the store tonight and buy me a box. OOH! Then I can make a rainbow bridge with my favorite colors and add gold glitz and silver around the edges. I may have to make my own coloring page. I haven’t actually used crayons in a long time.  I think I need some.

The deal is this is MY journal.  You do what you want in yours, I will do what I want in mine.  It’s for my eyes,  for me to keep my daily grind from grinding me down to nothing. It’s to keep on track and not miss apoointments and have a bit of reflection for successes and failures.  It’s a way for me to track my blog posts and hit my goals.

Nex time (bullet journal blogpost) I’ll share a little about my layout and what I’ve already tweaked.  This is the main reason why I love this system – I can personalize it in whatever fashion that I want to, or not. If I don’t want to write a bunch of stuff that day,  I don’t.  If all I want to do is write down my todo list that’s fine.  If I am feeling particularly long winded then I can write like the wind.

Live it OWN IT Love it!

(Words borrowed from one of my mentors!)

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

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Passionate Pursuits


 

heart flame

 

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

–          Winston Churchill

 

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.

–          Mark Twain

 

I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.

–          George Burns

 

Listen to any motivational speaker and they will eventually touch on passion. Kurt Warner believed with a driven passion that one day he’d succeed as a football player.  That passion drove him to push himself every day.

 

Passion is a key element to success but until you apply some action to the passion, it will remain nothing more than a pipe dream if action isn’t applied.  I can passionately desire to be a writer but until I plant my behind firmly in the chair and set my fingers to work typing or firmly grasping my pen I will never achieve that desire.

 

You can want it with your whole heart but until you are willing to DO what needs to be done, it’s not much more than a daydream fantasy.

 

This of course brings me to my final part of my creative series, matters of the heart. The part that passion plays in the creative’s life.  All creatives have more than a little passion.  They often exude it in everything they do. They have a passion for life, a passion for food, a passion for sports – whatever they are into they are passionate about it.

These are not fence riders, these are face painters. They are hot or cold on any given topic.  The thing that undoes a lot of the creatives though is the action. Some remain dreamers because they are afraid to act on their passion, or make excuses for why they aren’t  pursuing their dreams.

  1. They follow their true passion. Creative people tend to be internally motivated. External rewards, recognition, prizes, medals are not what motivate this group.  These are the children that those child psychologist’s suggestions don’t work on. They often embrace a challenge, if they are interested. Find an activity in something they like (remember a creative is either hot or cold, and if they like it they will be totally into it) their own internal drive will then provide them reason to engage in an activity or not. When they have the internal drive, they will perform the activity on a high level.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,” write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

  1. They surround themselves with beauty. Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty. Tastes vary, but a creative’s home will not be austere, will not look institutional or dull.  You can count on vivid colors, tasteful art, eclectic items collected that hold significant meaning to them.

We sometimes attend auctions and estate sales.  You can get some great bargains and I happen to like antiques.  Last summer we attended two particular auctions. One was an estate of a woman that  was a collector of little figurines.  There were hundreds of them, most still in the boxes and the ones that she had on display still had the boxes and bubble wrap carefully stashed in a plastic tote. We weren’t there to bid on figurines, but the auctioneers spent a long time because there was so many of them.  A month later we attended another auction, same auctioneers. This woman also had the same figurines, but not even half as many as the first.  She had a journal that she kept in which she wrote about each figurine that she selected. Each one had a story, either about a person in her life or an event.  I know about the journal because I bid on the box of books that had a first edition copy of Tom Sawyer in  it.  I wasn’t interested in the other books, although there were 3 more first edition copies in that box along with  3 composition type journals. Ironically, I found the journals far more interesting than the rest of the books.

The first woman had a collection. The second collected deliberately with an inner passion.  Each one meant something to her personally.

  1. They follow their hearts.  They will follow their heart, even when their mind tells them otherwise.  Creative people are less likely to worry about problems and more likely to take risks. This can lead to a thousand fails, but a million satisfactions.

 

  1. They fall in love with their work/ they hate their work.  NO, they are not bipolar. Well, I suppose they can be. They fall in love with their pieces of work, and work diligently on them. Then a day later they will vehemently hate it.  You can call it being fickle, but it’s a common trait in the creative mind.

 

  1.  They are humble and proud at the same time. One thing I’ve noticed is that  they are always eager to learn new things, to improve themselves. Humble in their hunger to better themselves. Yet when it comes to their creations, they are extremely proud and confident.

 

  1. They love.  They love, They love. Everything. They love life, they love people, they love emotions, they love animals, they love pizza, coffee, chocolate, they love beauty. No one will ever love you more passionately than a creative. Likewise, no one will feel as deeply hurt as a creative. They take it personal because everything affects them. They can sit silently watching the most beautiful sunset they’ve ever seen or bounce exuberantly for the next big art exhibit in town. They are infectious, their love for life is contagious. If you have some friends like this, stick with them, your life will be richer for knowing them.  Their passion burns brightly. It lights the paths of those around them.

 

 

For every successful creative, there are twenty more that never cross the finish line.  Twenty that let the cares of life keep them inhibited. Ten more that hide their light, another ten that conform to the practical parts of their brain.

All in all, if you know a creative you should be encouraging them because they truly are a precious commodity in our hectic rushed world.  They should be encouraged to pursue their passion because that passion may just spill into your life and add some beauty there.

Would you rather live in a world where the Systene chapel is whitewashed plaster,  or the magnificent masterpiece that it is?  You can thank a creative for that.

LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH and give a creative a hug today!  They may just need the encouragement.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Expressions


Quotidiandose does not own the rights to this image. All rights reserved to original artist.

Quotidiandose does not own the rights to this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

 

I’ve made 3 posts so far in this series.  If you wish to catch up, here they are:

1. The Creative Mind  (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/)

  1. A Mentalist (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/)

3. Time Bandits (https://quotidiandose.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/)

 

In this category of creatives, we get into the outward signs of the creative mind.  This is the evidence of  the storm that  is raging within.

You can have 20 people walk by a park setting and never notice it.  It’s part of the path they walk, it’s on their way to the office.  It’s  a small little area that they may occasionally sit to eat their lunch when weather permits.  Then there’s the creative – they don’t merely walk past it or think of it as part of the path. As they pass by the serene little  setting their mind is set into motion.  Why is this park here at this location?  Who decided that this spot is the right spot, why not that spot over there?  Who else has sat here?  Is it historically significant?   OOOh, what if someone was killed here, someone important.  What if . . .

While they are in the office  working away at whatever it is they are doing,  their mind hasn’t left that small area.   The gears are working on it  on a back burner, asking a million questions, calculating how they are going to process the data.

The form in which this data is  molded into is their unique expression.  Whether it’s a sculpture, painting, sketch, story, novel, song, or poetry, the creative feels compelled to express themselves. In their art, they show the world their unique perspective.

Following are some common expressions of the creative.

a)      They are constantly seeking new experiences – Creative people make a habit to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind — and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Scott Barry Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.” ( Quote is taken from an article in the Huffington post. )

Openness to your emotions is a hard one for many people.  It’s difficult to allow yourself to feel the gamut of emotions.  From the highest peak of elation to the lowest gut wrenching heartbreak, it’s easier for most to dull their emotions and not allow themselves to feel.  My personal thoughts on this matter are this is why many creative end up alcoholics, drug addicts, or taking some sort of prescription medications such as Xanax.  It’s difficult to go through the daily grind of a regular job when you are on the emotional rollercoaster, so in order to “get through it”  many resort to taking  some sort of meds.

b)      Self-expression – They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

The creative child is the one that asks questions in class.  They are the one that offers answers in class.  They have an inner need to be heard, to speak up, to express themselves. They will question why they have to do something, not just follow blindly.  They will speak up when they disagree with a professor.

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires, and uniqueness.” Scott Barry Kaufman.

The expression or assertion of one’s own personality, as in conversation, behavior, poetry, or painting.  Creatives find a way, an outlet of some sort to make certain they are heard, seen, and noticed.

“You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” 

― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.”
― Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment

“Never dull your shine for somebody else.”
― Tyra Banks

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
― Sigmund Freud

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
― Ansel Adams

“I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.”
― Mahatma GandhiThe Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas

c)      Easily bored – sometimes called ADHD. They need to stay stimulated in order to stay active. They often have several irons in the fire at one time, working on their “pet” project while that iron is hot.

They won’t focus on something they don’t like. Working a factory job that is repetitious actions all day long is mind numbing and boring for most people and absolutely a brain drain for the creative.

Analytically minded persons will diligently work on Project A through completion, taking a systematic approach. Creative minded persons look at Project A, see what their part is, look at what needs to be done and promptly drop their head on the desk. Ugh!  With a sigh they begin the task, organizing – whether in their mind or on a sticky note (yes, most creative have a thing for sticky notes) – a to-do list in order to complete the project.  They mark their calendar with the most important data – the deadline.  OOH – shiny! Did you know that on the internet you can find a virtual candy store of information?  Did you?  You can find facts, figures, statistics, trivia, images of your favorite stars, videos on YouTube – OH wait, I need to focus the deadline is in 2 days!

When it comes time for the presentation, the creative has finished Project A, and bound it together in a  visually appealing format that is eye-catching, attention-getting and will more than likely piss off the analytically minded coworker that has not spent hours on YouTube, or taken twenty trips to the bathroom because they are addicted to coffee because they are sleep deprived because they work on their art at night when normal people are in bed asleep.

Call them ADHD or whatever you like, this is just part of their genius.

e)     Always looking for new ways to express themselves.  Whether you do it as a job or as a hobby or are just a creative person, you know there isn’t just one way to express creativity. If you are a photographer you’ll probably love to create in other ways. The same applies to painters, art directors, writers and every creative person in general.

A writer will try different genres.  An artist will try different mediums. A musician will try a different style of music.

 f)       Make new experiences  The part of the creative mind that is easily bored is the same part that needs to be stimulated in order to stay creative.  Is there a better way to escape the doldrums than trying something new? Creatives are also the thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies of the world. Some of us, however, draw the limits at jumping out of an airplane or base jumping.

Do you relate to any of these characteristics? Do you have examples that you wish to share?  Feel free to leave a comment sharing your experiences.

Write on my friends, write on!

Time Bandits


 

Quotidiandose does not own copyrights to this image. All rights reserved to artist.

Quotidiandose does not own copyrights to this image. All rights reserved to the artist.

Ah speaking of – they came and stole a good portion of my time this week so my post was delayed. Demands of the paying gig always come first. I’m at that point of weighing whether the additional time required to do the job are worth the pay or if it’s time to look for a different job. It’s a fine line at the moment.

If you’ve missed the first two installments of my mini-series, you can find them here:

1. The Creative Mind

2. A Mentalist

Now that you are caught up, onto the topic at hand – time bandits. Being a creative does not give license to waste time but I know several creatives that have taken time-wasting to a near art form in and of itself. It seems a shame when you see a very talented person goofing off playing video games, but then again Pewdiepie makes a good living playing video games.

The following characteristics I’ve grouped into this category because they all involve time management or the lack of.
I’ve often been accused of living on a Bohemian time schedule. I often misjudge the amount of time it will take to do a task, and when you are waist deep in your inspired work it’s hard to just stop. Go find a stream and wade out to where you are waist deep. In order to get back to the bank of that stream, it takes a concerted effort. First of all, you want to make it worth your while of getting soaking wet and fighting the current and the c old water temperatures so you want to make the most of your time in that stream. After reaching a point where you are satisfied or your teeth are chattering and lips are blue, whichever comes first you make your way to the bank.

There isn’t a crane with a hoist that just lifts you from the center and plants your feet on the terra firma. You have to step carefully keeping your balance because the current of the flowing water could easily take you under if you aren’t paying attention. Inspiration is like that – and if you don’t pay attention to it, it will knock you over in the water and flow downstream to the next victim – I mean creative in its path.

NO, you don’t want inspiration to leave you and bless the next guy – we are a greedy bunch – we want it for ourselves so we wade out there – waist deep – letting it flow through us, letting it affect our bodies, our minds until nothing else matters but the rush of creation!

Then someone is yelling waving hands on the bank demanding you get out of the river because there are dangers or they want to leave or whatever their demands are. It’s almost a drugged state – a euphoric rush of creative juices that affects your entire being.
Slowly their words begin to register and we make our way to their dry location. ( NO pun intended – honestly!) After leaving the “ rush” of those waters – we are left cold, shivering, our fingers may even prune, but our minds are still on the thrill of that rushing water.

OK, so now that I went into that whole little diatribe trying to convey what it’s like and why time is irrelevant for a creative mind, let’s move onto the characteristics.

1.  Creatives work the hours that work for them. Frank Lloyd Wright rose at 4 am to work on his projects. It was when he felt the most creative. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds are in “the zone”, and structure their days accordingly.

This is an area that I have difficulty with because the logical minded persons in my household believe that everyone should function on the day shift schedule. My mind usually doesn’t even approach the zone till 7 pm. I always have my notebook handy, but it causes conflicts when I stay up till 2 am.

Having said that I will counter by adding – I can adapt. My marriage and family are worth more to me than getting my way about when I write. Besides, most of the world operates around day shift. I will adapt, overcome, and improvise!

2.  They lose track of time. See the allegory of the stream above. Yes, we lose track of time. There is a multiplicity of factors that contribute to this.
Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in whatever way they choose, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a “flow state”, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought,  reaching a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. ( Try that Zen garden on for size!) When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.
When they are creating they get lost in time and space.  They can forget to eat, to drink and even to sleep. When words, colors or ideas start to flow out of their mind there’s nothing else that really matters to them.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

So here are some reasons why we lose track of time:

  • Inspiration hits when inspiration decides to hit
  • under- estimating how long things will take
  • hitting the flow state, or your groove, or the zone and you don’t want to stop
  • the persistent nagging that you can’t stop until you reach a point that only you know what it is
  • schedules are more like guidelines

3.  They get inspired at the least expected moment. Nobody can control when they are inspired. NOBODY! Here are just a few instances of inspiration:

  • on the same stretch of highway, I drive nearly daily as a coyote runs across the road in front of me
  • while my daughter is complaining because daddy didn’t see her point of view.
  • At the gym while pleading for the clock to tick faster
  • In a church service
  • at the movie theater between trailers
  • in the shower
  • on the toilet
  • laying on the floor curled into a ball shaking from dehydration and heat exhaustion
  • on the Dr’s table with my legs in stirrups – what? You don’t think I’m laying there anxious for the exam do you?

Just a few places. I’m sure as creatives, we all have interesting tales of an odd time that inspiration has struck.

4.  Often told to get a real job. I can’t tell you how much this one infuriates me. I have worked full-time in the private sector. I’ve worked full-time in government employ. I’ve worked full-time in numerous jobs. It’s not a lack of work ethic – I have a great work ethic. I quit working with the DOD to be a stay at home mom and raise my kids. I didn’t want them to be raised by daycare staff. I have issues – let’s leave it there.

My point is, I didn’t quit that very well paying job to live a life of leisure eating bonbons and getting mani-pedis. Raising children is hard work. It’s a 24/7 job! Talk about demanding? Stress on the job? This is the reason most men WANT to go to work to flee the screaming crying babies, the stinky diapers, the screaming toddlers, the preteen angst and the teenage drama.

Oh sure, they say they want to provide for their family but there is a part of them that is terrified of these small creatures that have invaded their homes and seem to siphon adult energy like a backwoods thief siphoning gas out of your car in the moonlight.

I have a job, and the paycheck to prove it. ( Granted it isn’t as much as I’d like for the time invested but that’s a different matter) Then you add in the parenting, the wife, the occasional teaching gig, the occasional public speaking gig, the – am I making my point yet?

WE are not slackers! I often think it’s not really that the people who tell us “get a real job” are thinking we don’t work – but that we haven’t given up on our childhood dreams and on some level we make them feel bad because they can’t muster their strength to chase their own. But maybe that’s just me.

5.  Creatives Procrastinate. I have indeed mastered the art of procrastination, yet I still can’t hold a candle to the king! Long may he reign and hopefully I will break these bad habits soon.I will start on that tomorrow.

Just a sample of potential procrastination techniques:

  • workspace rearrangement
  • pre-writing rituals (everything has to be in its proper place and collected within arms reach)
  • stationary choices ( what do you mean it’s all digital? What does that have to do with anything?)
  • waiting for inspiration ( ah! And here’s the rub of stopping the flow – we have to wait for it to return)
  • snacks and beverages ( coffee is mandatory, so is the sacrificial offering of chocolate to the great gods of writing that be)
  • selecting the perfect font – because Times new roman looks old and worn out.
  • Workspace re- rearrangement ( after a session involving the snacks and beverages it is necessary to tidy up and by that time there are at least 2 dozen stickies, and . . . )
  • utilizing social media ( Facebook black hole of death)
  • pauses, tea breaks, naps, interruptions, getting back in the zone after interruptions
  • advanced workspace rearrangement

You get the idea! This doesn’t even include YouTube, checking email, or bathroom breaks.

Give a creative a deadline and they will comply, but you can be absolutely certain they will do 90% of the work the night before that deadline.

6.  Do It all over again! No matter how far a creative has come with their last creation, if at a given point they don’t like it, they won’t think twice and will trash it just to start all over again. And again. And again.

Regardless of the amount of work, that has already gone into the scrapped project. There is never a “close enough”, it has to be dead on target or it gets scrapped. Hence, the amount of time many will spend on getting their projects, their babies to their point of satisfaction to present to the world, and thusly expect the world to appreciate their genius!  ( And this is the point when the ” flow” is leaving, the sense of satisfaction is  having those last-minute tingles throughout their bodies, soon to be left with an emptiness where we become super sensitive wanting praise, recognition, something – just throw us a bone at least!

Time is a limited commodity, but creatives tend not to be clock watchers. Night and day really mean little when they are in the zone. In fact, everything fades into the background when they are focused on their creation. Yes, we have a sort of godlike creationist neurosis thing going on, a chameleonic personality disorder that alternates between master wizard/ minor deity. We determine in our worlds, “Let there be light” and BAM there is light. Writing, painting, singing, sculpting – is the art of creation. And if it isn’t right, we tear it down and start over. We are the masters of our universe, the  puppet master of our characters. We hold life and death in the palm of our hands snuffing one while lifting up another. BWAHAHAHA!

Do any of these traits ring true with you? My personal examples may not click with you and that’s fine. What are your experiences? What’s the strangest time inspiration has struck you?

Write on my friends! Or paint, draw, dance, sing – however, you express that creative bent! Do it with passion!

The Creative Mind


Quotidiandose does not own copyrights to this image, all rights reserved to dreamlifecreation.com

Quotidiandose does not own copyrights to this image, all rights reserved to dreamlifecreation.com

Creativity is a fascinating mental playground that eludes the analytical thinker. Logic and reason are first and foremost in the minds of most adults. The traditional job force embraces and encourages the analytical, mechanical, scientific, and non-thinking modes. My coach recently argued her point that there have always been creatives, although it has recently changed from being called creative thinkers to being a creative.

Yes, there has always been creatives in the workforce but we weren’t appreciated. I was encouraged to stay inside the guidelines, do the job, don’t think outside the box, stick to the status quo and produce widgets. My creative side was stifled by 200 pages or more manuals of standard operating procedures. I was sent to sensitivity training. I was sent to a procedures and protocol class. In other words, they tried their best to get me to conform. (You should be getting a visual of that 1927 Fritz Lang classic movie – Metropolis.)

There have always been the creative among us, but they are often ridiculed, called dreamers and told to get a real job. Many artists never profited from their work. It was only after their deaths that some of the greatest creatives were even recognized. Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”. Do you think his theory of a heliocentric universe was received by the church? NOT A CHANCE!

The traditional workforce is diminishing. The traditional manual labor jobs are going overseas as well as the technology jobs. There is no better time to embrace your creative tendencies than now! Creatives can think outside the box. As Gunnery Sergent Highway stated in Heartbreak Ridge, “You’re Marines now. You adapt. You overcome. You improvise. Let’s move!” Only in our world we will substitute creative for marine unless you are both in which case – I want to be on your team.

Creativity works in sometimes what is considered mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Their thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we need them most. Creative thinking requires complex cognitive skills yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. Scientists now understand that creativity is far more complex than the right/left brain distinction would have us think. This being the theory that left brain thinkers are rational and analytical, and right brain thinkers are creative and emotional. Creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways, and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” states Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

So when a creative person tells you it’s about to get a little messy you best believe them.
While a creative is difficult to pin down, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors that are common.

Do not confuse these traits with any excuse for laziness or slothfulness. Most creative types do end up in the traditional workforce at some point because, well we get tired of eating peanut butter and living in bad neighborhoods. In fact, many creatives that I know work a traditional job while pursuing their artistic dreams on the side, or in their spare time often forgoing meals or sleep.

What are these traits? You’ll have to tune in next week to find out. I intend to make a whole series on this topic, because I myself am tired of the stereotype, of being called lazy, tired of being told to get a real job. Hello? I have a “real job” plus a side job, plus the parenting – which is a 24/7 job.

If you see something that grabs your attention leave a comment. If you want to contribute to some of my upcoming posts, contact me.

Write on my friends, never underestimate the creative “force” within you!

Inspiration: One Brilliant Flash of Lightning


What inspires a writer?  The simple answer is it depends.  A more complete answer is everything.  Anything and everything can prompt a writer, but not everything inspires.  Prompted writing can be good, but inspired writing has passion.  Passion produces the WOW factor.  It’s that passion that ignites the inner fires and allows the writer to create his or her masterpiece.

An off-hand remark about a person having a “dragon complex” sparked my current work Kiss of the Dragon.   A “dragon complex” refers to the belief that dragons hoard gold. Smaug, the dragon in The Hobbit is an example of this belief.  The person that was being referred to has a tendency to be quite stingy and hoard their money.  What do you suppose would happen if a person who has the “dragon complex” had the tendency to attract gold, is attracted to the gold themselves like a drug and was a dragon able to shift into human form?  In a span of ten seconds I had my concept, my basic plot, and a cast of characters for my book.  I went immediately to pen and paper and wrote 17 pages of handwritten notes on scratch paper.  Granted, it was mostly illegible to anyone who didn’t know what the words were.  My daughter looked at it, then looked at me as if I were crazy to think she could read it.  Yeah, my handwriting at blazing speed is illegible. Deciphering my scribblings are iffy on a good day, much less when it is scrawled out during a brain gush.

Have you ever observed an artist when they are in this mode?  Driven would be the best word to describe it. The creative burst must be carried out to completion.  Sleeping, eating, and human interaction are all but forgotten. The story unfolding inside my mind overwhelmed my senses.  My characters carried on conversations in my dreams, during waking hours, pushing me deeper into their world. I was vaguely aware of movements around me, an occasional voice directed towards me that momentarily pulled me from my fantasy world.

One ‘what if’ led to more ‘what ifs’, which led to an idea that almost made me giddy.  The headiness of inspiration is addictive stuff.  It penetrates the cerebral cortex stimulating the synapses to fire into the right-brained creativity which then leads to an intoxicating level of neurotransmitters releasing endorphins surging through the creative’s body.  It is indeed a rush!  After the initial brain gush, I had a little time to think things through and discover the complete story, subplots, and character quirks.  During NaNoWriMo, I wrote a sum total of 98,000 words.  I kept a good 70,000, and put the rest in a different folder.  As it played out over a month, eventually I managed to get in some sleep and interaction with my family.

Instead of feeling drained and exhausted, I was exhilarated, charged for more and ready to undertake anything.  Shortly thereafter though the bottom fell out and the doubts took over.  Doubting that any of it was worth the digital paper where it was written, doubting that anyone would ever want to read it, and doubting that my sanity could weave a tale that actually made sense.  Was I after all just a ‘pie in the sky’ dreamer?  Was I chemically unbalanced, destined to end up in a psych ward somewhere talking to my dragons?

You may laugh, but when the let down happened those fears were more real than the sofa I found myself sitting on or the Haagen Das container I had emptied.

Eventually, the rollercoaster leveled off and I began editing.  As I am working through it, I find myself surprised at the cohesiveness within the story.  There are complex subplots working simultaneously, and fantasy elements thrown in. Well, of course there are! I’m talking about shape shifting dragons that walk amongst us appearing as regular humans.

I feel I am the toughest critic on my own work, which is why it’s usually filed.  Saved on my laptop, safely buried in three layers of folders so that no one can accidentally read it and tell me what a hack I am.  There are multiple spiral notebooks with partially completed projects stuffed in a file cabinet in the depths of my basement for the same reason.

The fear of rejection is an issue that every writer must eventually face.  I made the decision to complete my project during NaNoWriMo.  I attained that goal, but it was crude like mined ore sitting in a railroad car.  I’ve been working on it since then reviewing, editing, refining, tweaking. This baby is full term, and it’s time to cut the umbilical cord.  I think it’s good.  I’m hard to impress, especially when it’s my own.

Have you ever had a similar inspirational spark?  Something that stirred your passion and caused the creativity to flow in a way that pushed you forward, drove you to completion?  There’s nothing quite like being in the zone.  The creative spark is intoxicating and highly addictive. I need it, crave it, I spend numerous hours pursuing it. Spark juice, I wish it could be bottled!

Write On my friends, write on!