Posted by crocodesigns Mar 18 2010, 4:27 am in Aunty Cindy explains it all for you, Creativity
posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy
No doubt about it, we are a creative bunch here in the Lair!
You would think that statement would be a no-brainer with a bunch of writers, but actually, creativity takes a lot of different forms. Just off the top of my head here are some of the Banditas’ other creative endeavors:
- Donna MacMeans paints in oils
- Tawny Webber does scrap-booking
- Cassondra Murray is a musician and songwriter
- Joan Kayse is an award-winning baker
- several of us (myself included) do various kinds of needlework
Not a thorough list, by any means, and I won’t even attempt to mention all of the creative endeavors of our Bandita Buddies, or this post would run on forever! Creative people always seem to find ways to channel their energies into artistic feats.
I’ve been thinking about this diversity of creativity a lot since a couple of weekends ago when the DH took me to the college where he works to see some of the student art work (and some of his latest efforts too). I’m always amazed at the many and varied directions artists take in creating a work. My DH’s first choice is sculpting and he’s worked in many different media including metal, wood, and ceramic.
Back in the days when I still had my Dreaded Day Job, I had to travel all over the state for meetings, and sometimes the DH would accompany me. On one such trip to Los Angeles, after my meetings were done, the DH insisted we go to see the Watts Towers. Since these incredible works of art are not in the world’s best neighborhood, I was a bit hesitant, but DH talked me into it and I’m so glad he did!
These incredible structures are over 90 feet (30 meters) high and were built over a period of thirty years by one man, Simon Rodia in his back yard. Basically made of scrap metal and concrete, they are inlaid with an amazing mosaic of broken plates, bottles, and seashells. Quite a creative undertaking by an Italian immigrant and one-time tile setter, who built and decorated all this in his spare time!
What about you? What kind of creative things do you like to do in your spare time? Ever seen any unusual artwork or other creative stuff you can share with us?
Posted by Nancy Northcott Jan 21 2010, 6:03 am in Creativity, Mary Buckham
posted by Nancy
Today we welcome author, instructor, real human being Mary Buckham as she discusses empowering your creativity. Even if you don’t feel creative, or never thought of yourself as creative, you may learn that you really are and how to enhance your latent abilities. I loved Mary’s Silhouette books, Invisible Recruit and The Makeover Mission. They have great plots, plenty of boom, and strong heroes and heroines. Taking the Break Into Fiction workshop was a mind-blowing experience (in a good way, no actual boom involved, except the bombardment of ideas), and I’m excited to have her join us today. Welcome, Mary!
I love January, not for the post hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but as a season of reflection, of slowing down and taking stock prior to making New Year’s goals that stick. I usually give myself all of January to decided and clarify. Lately I’ve been reading a book by John C Maxwell: Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work. With lots of quotes, anecdotes and insightful questions Maxwell opens avenue of thought I found helpful to writers or anyone really, in particular a chapter on Creativity. Because being creative and living our creativity is at the heart of every writer. I’d like to share what I learned from Maxwell as well as my own experiences as an author, an instructor and a human being.
“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.
Were you aware that 90% of five-year olds see themselves as highly creative? That in itself is not amazing, but wrap your minds around the concept that by the age of seven, 80% of us who saw ourselves as creative no longer believe we are. That means only 10% of seven-year olds believe they are creative. By the time we reach our teens that number drops to 2% and remains fairly constant throughout our adult lives.
So if you are a writer, or a painter, or sculptor, etc., count yourself among the few who have never, ever given up on a gift given to many, but realized by few.
To savor and honor that gift here are seven steps to continue to empower your own creativity.
Step 1) Remove Creativity Killers. Sometimes the words are said by others, sometimes from within, so if you catch others, or yourself saying any of the following then you’ve run into a Creativity Killer. Follow the Rules. Don’t Ask Questions. It’s Hard. Be Practical. Be Serious. Think of [fill in the blank]. You Can’t Afford [fill in the blank]. Yes, But ….. You Don’t Have the Time. You Don’t Have the Money. Don’t Be Foolish. The list goes on and on but you don’t have to buy into the Creativity Killers.
Step 2) Develop a Creative Environment. You know best what spurs ideas, fuels your passion, creates energy. Is it color? Certain objects? A wide horizon? A secluded space? Honor your sacred creative space, whether it’s a desk top, a room or something else, and it will honor you. So take a good look at your working environment. Does it foster your creativity? If it doesn’t, how can you change it?
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow” – Charlie Bower
Step 3) Surround yourself by people who support you and challenge you to be the best at what you want to accomplish or do, not what they want you to accomplish or do. The more time you spend with creative people engaging in creative activities, the more creative you will become. Conversely, the more time you spend with nay-sayers or limited thinkers, the more time . . . you can fill in this answer. Who are you surrounding yourself with?
“Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance requires change, and change feels awkward, but, take comfort in the knowledge that if a change doesn’t feel uncomfortable, then it’s probably not really a change.” John C Maxwell.
Step 4) Challenge yourself constantly and be willing to feel uncomfortable. Delight in exploring something new, something different for you. What have you done lately to push your comfort levels? To challenge yourself? When have you broken your routine? Driven a different route home or read in a genre different than the ones you usually read? When have you tasted a new cuisine? Explored a new location? Daily we’re given opportunities to push our limits, so what’s holding you back?
Step 5) Creative thinkers don’t fear failure. Why? Because they hold a different expectation of what failure means. Didn’t achieve what you had hoped for? For many this is considered a failure, but what if it meant something different? Any situation holds the seeds of new knowledge, self-awareness and new direction.
“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C Maxwell
Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid. It means getting out on a limb, knowing that the limb often breaks! And if it does, take that opportunity to spread your wings and fly!
So what about you? What does creativity mean to you? How have you faced the highs and the not-so-highs of being creative or wanting to feel creative?
Feel free to comment and out of those who do comment one name will be drawn for a copy of BREAK INTO FICTION™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells or a Fiction book of your choice depending on the genre you love.
Mary Buckham is an award-winning fiction writer, co-author with Dianna Love of BREAK INTO FICTION: ™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells from Adams Media [June 2009], co-founder of www.WriterUniv.com and a highly sought after instructor both on-line and at live workshops around the country. To find out more about Mary, her Synopsis and Query help, her Lecture Packets, Workshops and Writing projects visit www.MaryBuckham.com
Posted by Tawny Weber Aug 14 2009, 5:36 am in crafts, Creativity, Feels Like the First Time, Tawny Weber
I’ve spent most of my life a creative soul looking for an outlet. I don’t have the skill to be an artist, although I come from a family of them. So until I found writing, I turned to crafts. Ceramics (my aunt is a gifted potter), painting (my mother paints in oils and watercolor), loom knitting (my grandma despairs of ever teaching me to hold the tension right), beading (my grampa created gorgeous lapidary jewelry) and the list goes on. The only thing I’ve never attempted was drawing – and that was because it was always faster and easier to nudge my brother into drawing anything I wanted.
After my youngest daughter was born, I discovered scrapbooking and love it. Its probably the only crafty type thing I’ve stuck with, because its practical purpose outweighs any issues I might have with the imperfection of the final product. I’m making things my family will treasure forever. And that, I discovered, was the key. Since I couldn’t create art, and my family and friends were definitely tired of the never ending flow of dust catchers, scrapbooking became my perfect outlet.
I also discovered faux painting. I love color on the walls. Love intricate patterns and textures in color even more. When we put our house up for sale in June, I had to paint most of the walls a neutral white (sob) and I’ll tell you, that was one of the most uncreative months of my life. I can’t write with white walls. I actually refused to paint the family room, since that was the room I wrote in, because I was on deadline and couldn’t deal with the lack of color. Luckily, the house sold before my book was due, so I never did have to watch the gorgeous shades of sage greens turn neutral.
I really do believe- for me -that color is a creative inspiration. Its like a key that opens the Muse’s cage. But my brother, a gifted artist who makes his living off his drawings, lives in pure black and white. So for him, obviously, color impedes his creativity.
I need greens, purples, reds. Strong, intense color. Pastels won’t work and neither will blue.
How about you? I’m on the road today, but I’ll check in as soon as I find an internet connection! In the meantime, please share your creative outlets and what color inspires you!!! I’ll pick one random commenter to win their choice of any of my backlist books!!
Posted by Donna MacMeans Aug 23 2007, 4:33 am in Creativity, Donna's posts, Inspiration
by Donna MacMeans
Several years ago, when RWA’s annual conference was held in New Orleans, I heard a workshop on creativity presented by Felicia Mason. She maintained that as writers, we experience life in a whole different manner than non-writers. We see possibilities, when others see scenery. We hear sounds and instantly create metaphors to describe the sound while others dismiss it as white noise. In that workshop, Felicia challenged the group to think of the one thing they were meant to see in New Orleans. That one thing that we saw through our writer’s eye that we could use in a story.
Growing up, I was the oldest girl with two older brothers. That has translated into a constant drive to “prove” that I’m as good as them. I face any challenge with a determination to win – which explains why four of my stories resulted from someone issuing me a challenge.
So I took Felicia’s challenge and mentally reviewed all that I had seen in New Orleans and discovered the one thing that spoke to me, but didn’t seem to resonate with anyone else – the Charm Gates at the Court of Two Sisters restaurant. I eventually developed a time travel built around the Charm Gates. One of these days it may even see publication.
So now I’m challenging you. What have you experienced recently that singled you out and spoke to your writer’s soul? Was there anything in Dallas at the recent convention? I know I stayed on the twentieth floor and thought about those small open areas by the elevators that dropped down to the restaurant area, nineteen floors below. I mean you could drop a body easily down one of those chutes. It’s a shame I don’t write contemporary (smile). What about a vacation? Was there something that inspired you? Could you create a story around it? Let me know, and I’ll send the person with the best inspirational experience an autographed copy of Elizabeth Bevarly’s book, The Ring on Her Finger.