Archive for the 'Top Ten / Top Five Lists' Category

10 Ways to Woo Your Muse

metal sculpture

Rerunning one of my most popular posts:

  1. Do something you haven’t done since you were a child. Slide down a slide. Eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Play in a sprinkler. Sing a song you liked when you were a kid.
  2. Keep a notebook next to your bed, and write about whatever wakes you up.
  3. Take a little time to stop “doing” and just “be” for a while. Meditate. Walk. Stare at the wall. Soak in a bubble bath.
  4. Spend some time doing anything you consider fun, even if it seems frivolous. Especially if it seems frivolous.
  5. Go for a walk and look at everything in your path as if you’re seeing it for the first time.
  6. Enjoy some childlike creativity. Color. Dance. Play with Play-Doh.
  7. Pay attention to your dreams—both the night kind and the day kind.
  8. Rip up your To Do list for the day or for the afternoon or for half an hour and do whatever you feel like doing.
  9. Go outside at night and count the stars. Or waltz in the rain. Or share your secrets with the moon.
  10. Do something silly. Talk in a funny voice. Walk down the street backwards. See if you can balance a spoon on your nose.

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Want More Creativity? Turn Your Day Upside Down


If you’re worried you’re not living up to your creative potential, it’s easy to find articles and books on managing your time, setting goals and being more productive. But so much of this helpful advice just doesn’t work when it comes to creativity. It can make you feel tight and uncompromising. It can make your muse pack up her bags and fly away until you allow her more space.

So here’s my advice for turning some of the common productivity wisdom on its head. Try it and see if it makes your muse smile:

  • Write a Not To Do List. Include items like “Don’t check e-mail before I start writing,” “Don’t vacuum until I’ve spent half an hour painting” and “Don’t listen to that voice inside my head telling me I’m being selfish for creating instead of _______.”
  • Let Time Manage You. Instead of making a schedule with blocks of time for each of your day’s activities, simply let the day unfold. This can be difficult if you feel like time is a beast to be tamed and molded to your will. (Believe me, I know. I struggle with this one.) But if you can let go of your schedule even for a little while, you may be amazed at the results. Yes, there are certain scheduled things you must attend to, like going to work and picking up your kid from soccer. But you can findor makesome unscheduled moments in your days and weeks if you really look for them. Make a point of letting go of unessential activities and letting yourself do whatever feels right in the moment at those times.
  • Be Unproductive. Forget about producing a finished story or song or painting. Think of your creativity as play instead of goal-oriented work. Toss unexpected words together. Combine notes in ways that don’t make sense. Paint something silly. Surprise yourself. If it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something about what doesn’t work. It if does work, you may have just produced a masterpiece.
  • Don’t Create a Perfect Space for Doing Your Artistic Work. This one goes against advice I constantly see for writers and other creative people. There’s nothing wrong with having a nice place to write/compose/sculpt/sketch. But you shouldn’t be wedded to that spot. You should be able to pick up a crayon and scrap of paper wherever you are and create something new. Paint at a park. Write while sitting in a waiting room. Compose a song in your head during your commute. Having only one spot where you can create places a severe and unnecessary limitation on your muse (who really just wants to create everywhere, all the time).
  • Watch TV. Another perennial piece of wisdom from both time management gurus and creativity proponents is to completely cut out watching television. It’s a time suck, it stifles creativity and it’s just bad, according to these  people. Yes, if you plop down in front of the TV for four hours every night and turn into a mental zombie, that’s not very healthy. If you only watch uninspiring sitcoms and formulaic movies, you’re not helping your creativity. But blanket comments condemning TV really rub me the wrong way.  I’ve found so much inspiration on television over the years. From documentaries that introduced me to other worlds and ideas. From movies that grabbed my emotions and made me think about things or events in a new way. And yes, even from cleverly written sitcoms that included characters or situations that jumpstarted my creativity. People who believe TV = bad just aren’t thinking creatively enough. And, like the Internet, social networks, video games and anything else that can turn into an addictive pursuit, you need to use it in a way that enhances your life and your creativity rather than as a crutch to avoid life.

Do you have any creative techniques you use that turn conventional wisdom on its head? I’d love to hear about them and add them to this list.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Resolutions for a Creative New Year


I’ve posted this before, but these are still my creativity resolutions, for this and every year. I hope some—or all—of them resonate with you! What are your creativity resolutions for this year?

  1. Do something creatively inspiring every day, even if only for 5 minutes.
  2. Forgive yourself if you miss a day—and then get right back on the creativity horse.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of play when you’re writing, painting, singing or creating in any way.
  4. Let go of your inner perfectionist.
  5. Don’t blow off your muse, even if he/she starts tugging on your arm at an inopportune time.
  6. Share your creativity with people who appreciate it.
  7. Don’t listen to people who discourage you (including your inner critic).
  8. Believe you deserve to take time for your creativity, in spite of all the demands in your life.
  9. Enjoy the creative journey instead of focusing only on the destination.
  10. Realize that every time you make space in your life for creativity—even if it’s just a sliver of space—you’re making yourself a better person and the world a better place.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Ways for Writers to Stay Creative During the Busy Holiday Season

  1. Redefine your idea of creativity. If you don’t have time to write for half an hour, spend that time making up stories with a child in your life while buying or wrapping presents.
  2. Use a tape recorder to write bits of dialogue and scenes while driving to and from errands.
  3. Write in the shower.
  4. If you’re working on a larger project — a novel, a screenplay or even a short story — take five or 10 minutes before bed every night to write the next paragraph or just the next sentence.  You’ll keep your momentum going even when you don’t have much time.
  5. Carry a few index cards with you wherever you go and make the commitment to fill one with something creative every day when you can find a few minutes.
  6. Write a prompt on an index card for each day you expect to be busy, and commit to freewriting for 10 minutes using that prompt.
  7. Enjoy some non-writing creativity. Make interesting holiday decorations, cards and presents. It all stimulates the muse!
  8. Schedule a writing appointment or two for yourself during the holidays. Put it on your calendar like any other appointment. Then go somewhere away from the madness of your life and keep that date.
  9. Turn your holiday stress into a character and write about him/her. You can find an example here.
  10. If all else fails, escape to the bathroom and write for a few minutes!

And the last word: don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write as much as you planned. Enjoy your holidays and start fresh in the new year.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Inspiring TED Talks on Creativity

creative sparks

Quick post today to direct you to this wonderful collection of talks on creativity: TED’s Creative Spark Playlist.

I haven’t watched all of these, but the ones I’ve seen have been fantastic. The 10 included talks are:

  • Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
  • David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence
  • Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously
  • Stefon Harris: There are no mistakes on the bandstand
  • Tim Brown: Tales of creativity and play
  • Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?
  • Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
  • Isaac Mizrahi on fashion and creativity
  • John Bohannon: Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal
  • Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the remix

So, if you need a little inspiration, check out one (or all) of these wildly creative thinkers as they share their perspectives on creativity.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Resolutions for a Creative New Year

  1. Do something creatively inspiring every day, even if only for 5 minutes.
  2. Forgive yourself if you miss a day—and then get right back on the creativity horse.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of play when you’re writing, painting, singing or creating in any way.
  4. Let go of your inner perfectionist.
  5. Don’t blow off your muse, even if he/she starts tugging on your arm at an inopportune time.
  6. Share your creativity with people who appreciate it.
  7. Don’t listen to people who discourage you (including your inner critic).
  8. Believe you deserve to take time for your creativity, in spite of all the demands in your life.
  9. Enjoy the creative journey instead of focusing only on the destination.
  10. Realize that every time you make space in your life for creativity—even if it’s just a sliver of space—you’re making yourself a better person and the world a better place.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Ways for Writers to Stay Creative During the Busy Holiday Season

  1. Redefine your idea of creativity. If you don’t have time to write for half an hour, spend that time making up stories with a child in your life while buying or wrapping presents.
  2. Use a tape recorder to write bits of dialogue and scenes while driving to and from errands.
  3. Write in the shower.
  4. If you’re working on a larger project — a novel, a screenplay or even a short story — take five or 10 minutes before bed every night to write the next paragraph or just the next sentence.  You’ll keep your momentum going even when you don’t have much time.
  5. Carry a few index cards with you wherever you go and make the commitment to fill one with something creative every day when you can find a few minutes.
  6. Write a prompt on an index card for each day you expect to be busy, and commit to freewriting for 10 minutes using that prompt.
  7. Enjoy some non-writing creativity. Make interesting holiday decorations, cards and presents. It all stimulates the muse!
  8. Schedule a writing appointment or two for yourself during the holidays. Put it on your calendar like any other appointment. Then go somewhere away from the madness of your life and keep that date.
  9. Turn your holiday stress into a character and write about him/her. You can find an example here.
  10. If all else fails, escape to the bathroom and write for a few minutes!

And the last word: don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write as much as you planned. Enjoy your holidays and start fresh in the new year.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)


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About Sandy Ackers

Sandy

Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

To learn more about Sandy, click here: About Sandy

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Click here to read the post discussing my relationship with my somewhat pesky male muse.

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