Make A Creative Leap


Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.

—Ray Bradbury

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Visual Inspiration—Photo Prompt #74

Let this image engage your muse. Write a paragraph, a short story, a poem, a memory, a journal entry … or whatever you feel inspired to create. And share your creations in the comments if you’d like!

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Blast Through Writers Block: Create a Sensory Collage


Here’s a good exercise to try if you’re stuck, blocked or ready to start a new piece but don’t know what to write:

Take a walk, and bring a notebook. Jot down things you see, hear, smell, feel, touch and experience. Use all your senses.

Include everything:

  • bits of conversation—not just the words but also the tone of the language and the postures of the speakers
  • neighborhood signs—their messages and their visual style
  • changing cloud formations and the things they bring to mind for you
  • the exact color of the sky
  • a crying or laughing baby—how it sounds and how it makes you feel
  • the scent, texture and color of blooming flowers
  • dogs checking each other out or chasing squirrels
  • traffic—the sound, smell and look of it
  • the sights, sounds and smells of trees you encounter
  • the color and texture of the hair of anyone you pass
  • the items people are holding or carrying

These are just a few ideas—be sure to include everything that catches your attention. And pay attention to everything around you as you walk.

Then find a place to sit such as a park bench, cafe, picnic table, the ground, your car … whatever works for you.

Now combine several of the sensory images you’ve gathered and use them to create a story, essay, poem or any other piece of writing. Play around with the images and try different things, just as you would if you were making a collage. If one combination doesn’t work, try something else. Write something silly or dark or absurd or uncharacteristic of you. Have fun as you fit the puzzle pieces together in different ways.

I like this exercise because it combines the physical activity of walking with the mental and emotional experience of collecting bits of what you experience. It gets you away from staring at a blank piece of paper. And combining things in new ways always engages the muse.

Let me know how you like this exercise, or share your creations!

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

Get Whimsical! Or Reflective…

I was looking through my blog posts, and I found this one I posted in 2010. I think it’s a fun one to do periodically, changing the tone depending on your mood. I hope you enjoy…

One of the regular readers of this blog pointed me toward the journaling exercise below (thanks, Kablooey!).

I can see many uses for these prompts:

* to use as a journal and reflect on your life…

* to go inside the head of a character in your current novel or story and gain some insight into his or her world…

* to have some fun with creative whimsy (my choice for today)…

* to use creatively in whatever way resonates with you…

As always, I’d love to see any responses you want to share in the comments!

FOR TODAY
Outside my window… the fog has turned into 20 dancing giraffes who are putting on a Broadway show for me.
I am thinking… about whether I’d rather have wings or wheels.
I am thankful for… aardvarks.
From the kitchen… the cinnamon and the butter are having a passionate affair.
I am wearing… my brain on my sleeve.
I am creating… a guest house in my mind out of gorgeous, unrealistic ideas.
I am going… to dance on the beach until the waves applaud me.
I am reading… the extravagant body language of the bent fork that’s trying to seduce one of my spoons.
I am hoping… my new wings don’t fall off when I fly into my dreams tonight.
I am hearing… ideas chattering outside my door like excited giraffes auditioning for a play.
Around the house… I have folded scientific evidence and foggy memories into every drawer.
One of my favorite things… curious elephants peeking into my windows on Sunday mornings.
A few plans for the rest of the week: thinking about giraffes, wrestling with foggy memories, waving at stars, dancing with my brain, breathing…

(journaling exercise from The Simple Woman’s Daybook via Creating Balance: My Rich Life)

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

Visual Inspiration—Photo Prompt #73

Let this image engage your muse. Write a paragraph, a short story, a poem, a memory, a journal entry … or whatever you feel inspired to create. And share your creations in the comments if you’d like!

beach reflection

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)

Who Is Your Muse?

I love this exercise, which I’ve posted here in the past. I like to go back to it occasionally and keep answering the question in my journal. And I’d love to hear from you: Who is your muse?

Here’s the challenge:

Write “My muse is…” and quickly finish the thought with the first thing that comes to your mind. Continue writing “My muse is…” and completing the sentence at least 15 or 20 times. Keep your pen moving. Don’t pause; don’t think too much about it; don’t censor yourself! Allow yourself to write things that are silly, stupid, profound, nonsensical … just keep going and see what you come up with. Most of all, have fun with this!

Then post your favorites in the comments below — I love it when you share your creativity!

Here are some of mine:

My muse is an anteater sniffing around to find the perfect anthill full of crunchy little creative ideas.

My muse is a banana peel waiting for someone to slip on it.

My muse is a ballerina with three legs, creating new dances that only she can dance.

My muse is a little girl with tights that won’t stay up and a pencil box full of stars.

My muse is a guitar made out of cardboard and rubber bands.

My muse is a crumpled piece of paper with the formula for happiness written on it in hieroglyphics.

My muse is a conversation between two people who don’t yet know their hearts have begun to intertwine.

My muse is a moonbeam grinning down at me from the dark night sky.


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)

Push the Creativity Reset Button Every Day

I’m rerunning one of my most popular posts today (originally published August 16, 2012):

Has this ever happened to you? You’re determined to start writing or painting or pursuing another creative passion on a regular basis. So you sit down to treaty negotiations with your Muse, and the two of you draw up a plan: Your Muse agrees to visit you for half an hour before work every day to provide inspiration, and you agree to show up with paper and pen or paints.

The two of you sign and notarize the document, your Muse flits off to study the funky aardvark dance that’s sweeping Madagascar, and you give yourself a celebratory high-five in the mirror before going to bed feeling great.

Things work wonderfully for the first week. You set your alarm early, get up, and write or paint your heart out.

The next Sunday night, your cat has a hairball emergency requiring your middle-of-the-night supervision. Obviously, after all the midnight drama, you’re way too tired to get up the next morning and be creative. But that’s okay. You decide to write or paint for a full hour the next day.

On Monday night, however, after a late-night salami pizza with extra garlic and anchovies, you keep waking throughout the wee hours between disturbing dreams of monkeys juggling hamsters, and pigs in tuxedos giving speeches at state dinners.

Too exhausted to get up early Tuesday morning, you tell yourself you’ll just write or paint for an hour for the next TWO days. No problem. But the next morning, you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Really, can anyone be expected to get up at this ungodly hour? You see your Muse standing next to your bed, tapping her foot and looking put out, but you ignore her. For two mornings in a row.

The next day is Friday, and you really deserve a break – it’s been a tough week, what with all the hairballs and talking pigs. Not to mention the terrified hamsters. You’ll double down next week and catch up on all the creative time you missed.

Once Monday morning rolls around again, the amount of work you need to do to catch up seems so daunting that you bury your head under your pillow while your Muse screams into your ear. Finally, she gives up and flies away with a pout.

You’ve broken your Creativity Treaty. Your Muse is drowning her sorrows at the Muse Pub, and beginning to flirt with an artist who speaks in haiku while turning napkins into abstract art.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck under the covers. You wonder if you are even meant to be a writer/artist/musician. What were you thinking? You’re way too busy. The world seems set against you pursuing your creativity. You’re not really even a very good writer/artist/musician anyway.

This is when you need to push the Reset Button.

It’s time to text your Muse and ask her to come back and renegotiate. This time, include this clause in your treaty: “Every Day is a Restart.”

If you miss a day, you start fresh the next day. Do the already-planned 30 minutes that morning, not 15-and-a-half hours because you’re so far behind.

Because the thing is: You won’t do 15-and-a-half hours. And feeling that you should just adds creativity-killing pressure.

Creativity-killing pressure has been known to cause people to curl up into tense little balls while their Inner Critics hurl horrific insults at their tender insides. And creativity-killing pressure always frightens muses away.

But if you can treat every day as the first day of a new treaty, you lower the pressure on yourself and put a smile on your Muse’s face.

Muses love daily restarts. Because muses exist in the Now. Creativity exists in the Now. Every day is a fresh start. Every moment is a fresh moment.

So, hit the reset button, pick up your pen or brush, and start. Now.

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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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