Category Archives: Creativity

Opening up, learning, expressing & enjoying your creative self

Life and Blogging are Like a Camera

life is like a cameraI came across this quote picture on Facebook, posted by a friend, but created by Jack Canfield. I do love social media, even though it can be a time quicksand.

So now I have all the acknowledgements taken care of, I find it has inspired me to revisit the purpose of this blog.

It started with an idea to attract people to our new software product, as well as the wellness products with my longtime Shaklee business (still gotta have a plug for the best natural products around). Then, as the software concept imploded and the desire to find our way back to our deepest dreams emerged, it became a way to recreate our financial and creative lives.

  • First, by inspiring us to recommit to our passion for writing and creativity.
  • Second by building this blog to support others like us who were ready to delve into their true talents and become financially independent entrepreneurs. Creative entrepreneurs, that is.

As often happens with life, both our lives and this blog developed into something I never imagined as we struggled to find a path beyond our start-up partnership. Now that that dream has disappeared, this new vision seems much more coherent and valid. It addresses our core dreams and talents. As well as the ongoing desire to help others live better, healthier and more congruent lives.

All this may sound too philosophical for some of you…like, where is the meat? Yet I know there are many who have already embraced the desire to put their talents to work, their dreams into action and their finances in their own hands. And many who are entering their ‘third trimester of life’ who are ready to recapture their true essence, while creating a new stream of income… a necessity for so many of us. Continue reading

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Food Mashups! My 7 Creativity Take-Aways from a Quirky Trend

Bruxie waffle mashupAs a creative person, I love messing with recipes almost as much as words and images. Add a little of this, use this instead of that, reduce the sugar, salt or whatnot.  It’s fun and after years of cooking, it comes naturally.

But I have to say, the new trend of food mashups is way beyond anything I’ve come up with… like waffle burgers, oreos baked inside of cookie dough or tostado lasagna.  All this may have started in home kitchens trying to figure out what’s for dinner when the refrigerator/pantry was just a leftover hodgepodge.  And 30 years ago, who would have thought of Thai Chicken Pizza or Cronuts, which now seem a bit tame.

Thinking about food mashups not only made me hungry, but it also inspired some thoughts about applying this creativity to our writing, photography or music to come up with new forms that people don’t even know they want.

Kind of like, who would have thought writing 140-character messages would be of interest to ANYONE?  Enter Twitter and another revolution began. (Speaking of Twitter:  Would you like to follow Getting Traction?)

So, here are my take-aways from the culinary mashup trend: Continue reading

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7 Clues That You’ve Found IT: Passion

Loving your life

For many years I couldn’t identify the IT factor.

That’s the one thing people talk about that you can’t live without and for which you’ll do anything to be successful.

I had a lot of interests and modest talents, but no one focus I obsessed about, let alone believed would allow me to create income.

Teachers and family had told me since 2nd grade that I was an exceptional writer.  I just didn’t have the confidence to imagine becoming an author, as in PAID author.

Instead, I applied my talents to my jobs and eventual business, but never allowed myself to imagine developing my them to sell directly.

And, I relegated my time to other priorities and left my discretionary time for writing and design projects.  In other words, ‘just a hobby’ status.

Maybe you can relate?

Three things changed all that.

  • First, I joined a writing group and began exposing myself to other people’s criticism and feedback.  I committed to learning how to be a better writer, took writing classes, and then began exploring how I could offer a writing product someone would buy.
  • Second, the internet.  Specifically e-books and online publishing, including blogs, Amazon books and the many freelance writing opportunities they provided.  Kaboom… in 5 short years the world transformed for creatives.
  • Third, I started this blog because I believed there were many more creative people like me, especially Baby Boomers, who had spent their lives NOT doing what their native talent and potential passion could have inspired them to do.

So, if you’re wondering what talents you might have left on the sideline with the subtitle

‘Someday I’ll do …..” I offer some clues to help you discover, nourish and develop them into

an entrepreneurial adventure to love.

  1. Time, it flies!  You sat down to write a short letter or blog post, or maybe editing your photos or making a few sketches. Before you know it, 2 p.m. has passed and you missed lunch.  So what!
  2. Pleasure.  That sense of being in the right place, doing the right thing at a particular moment.  The nagging to-do list might try to invade your mind, but the drug of pleasure keeps you on course just a little bit longer… or maybe all day?  Imagine feeling like this every day.
  3. Peace. Stresses melt away, doubt takes a long trip without you and you are in a zone where nothing can spoil your moment.  You own yourself, your mission and your goals without strife.
  4. Perfecting is Fun.  Editing, tweaking, researching, clarifying…it’s all a game that fills you with enthusiasm. Learning to be better is the highlight of your week. Seriously…you’ll know it when you feel it.
  5. Energy Explosion! Who needs caffeine? Your energy builds as the project develops. You could work through dinner if it weren’t for your bum needing a break.  Or the house getting dark around you.
  6. Idea Frenzy.  It happens. You’ve found a great project idea, which spawns a dozen more ideas and next thing you know, you’re chasing rabbits and catching none.  Write those things down and come back another day (more on this later).
  7. Tribe Magnetism.  As a creative person without a purpose I often felt like an outsider, alone in my unique perception of the world.  What happened when I made a commitment to my talents, began exposing them to scrutiny and supporting other ‘creatives’? I started finding my tribe and that began a swell of energy and a sigh of relief that I am still unique, but not alone. Creating is a solitary process, yet we need people to share our ideas and energy, people who understand the drive to create as well as the frustration of obstacles and distractions.  I found the more I embraced myself as a ‘writer’ the easier it was to find people who wanted to support me.

If you found one or more activities that fit with a few of these clues, I invite you to explore further to see just how far and what direction would be right for you now.  The mystery of how to be yourself, embrace your talents and ‘make your mark’ on the world could be lurking closer than you think.

Next post:  Finding a purpose for your passion

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How To Be Creative In Spite of the Detours – Part 1 – 7 Tips

How to be creative

Did I mention ‘taking a nap”?

 

Needing some off-road survival tips to get you one track?

Read on…

Plans get postponed or land in your lap like a pile of trash. 

Potholes send you off road without 4-wheel drive.

That’s what often passes for my highway to success.  I find myself there on a regular basis!

How about you?

I want to write and create content, articles and books that entertain, inform and you to commit to the life they want and have the tools to do it.  I want to be a better photographer and create more interesting images for my blog posts.  I want to spend every day being the ME I’ve postponed for 60 years.

How to be creative, even when it seems the world and your own fears and deficiencies conspire against you, is my question these days.  This is the topic I woke up with and can’t avoid writing about.  Just getting the words on the page is having a beneficial effect already (Tip #1 perhaps?), so let’s dive in with some suggestions.

Getting creative in spite of it all:

      • Tip #1 – “Morning Pages” – early morning peace, blank paper, cup of coffee, cozy sweater and ‘fur’ lined slippers, great pen – now write!  Write about all the crap that keeps landing in your path, write about the people that really bug you and disrupt your days (suggestion – be sure you have a secure hiding place for that notebook!), vent, rant and generally make a mess of at least 3 pages!  Phew…that’s better!
      • Tip #2 – WALK – there’s nothing like a good, solitary walk.  Deep breathing, birds in the trees or glistening city sidewalks (or maybe the trash along the sidewalk gives you a different sort of inspiration) or just the opportunity for your eyes to focus on something other than a computer screen.  Walking has been proven to do all sorts of great things for your body and brain, inspiring creativity via the simplicity of oxygen, happy hormones like serotonin that lead to that niggling craving for some paper to write down the ideas that pop into your head.  Bring along a moleskin in your pocket or perhaps a digital recorder.  No phones though…I find they disrupt my energy flow as I keep thinking of all the people I SHOULD be calling…not on my walk, mister. Best of all, you get away from the dishes, laundry or pile of paperwork that keep calling to you.
      • Tip #4 – Cry – No, don’t watch the news. I mean cry in a way that connects you with the human race and moves you to be a better, more inspiring writer or artist.  If it touches you, then that often inspires you to create something that touches others. Create your go-to bookshelf, video playlist or memory/photo album handy for this one.
      • Tip #5 – Connect – I sometimes force myself to sit in my desk chair until I complete a planned project.  My bum starts aching. Until I realize talking with someone I love, respect or just enjoy talking to is what I need.  Why do you think Starbucks is so popular for the work-from-home-set? Just the buzz of other people talking can be enough…sometimes. But if you have a solitary creative process, setting a goal to meet someone for lunch or coffee at least 2 times a week can be the change that does you the most good.  What’s your favorite connecting spot? Gym, meetup groups, adult classes, community events? Find one because you’ll never get everything done, if that’s what you’re waiting for.
      • Tip #6 – Disconnect – Some days I need to go someplace where nobody knows my name, phone number or email address.  Like a patio restaurant, favorite beach, park bench or maybe that dark, artsy coffee bar in a different part of town.  Unfamiliar surroundings, eavesdropping on conversations, even reading a free magazine you find along the way can jump start an idea I’d totally forgotten. Ideas bombard me every minute.  The trick is to pick one and take action.  New surroundings can be the inspiration you need.  Bonus idea:  If you never take the bus, take the bus alone.  Try something new, all by yourself.
      • Tip #7 – Kids, dogs & cats, oh my! – Don’t have any handy? Borrow one.  There is nothing like the spontaneous energy, virgin enthusiasm and unspoiled wonder of children and animals.  Every day is an adventure. How dare we be bored, whiny, unproductive adults?  Shame on us.  Got more time? Visit a zoo or nature preserve or volunteer someplace where you can get your ‘fix’ on a regular basis.  Extra bonus: If you work it right, you can get the” laugh, cry, connect” tips all in this tip right here!

Some of these seem contradictory.  That’s how life is.  That’s also how people are. We need different solutions on any given day.  That’s why you’re so fascinating, too.

And that’s why we want 7 tips instead of just 1!

That’s it for now. More ideas are popping into my head, but I’m curious to hear what you peeps out there do to jump start your creativity when life gives you lemons or leftovers.

For more posts on Creativity on Getting Traction:

Food Mashups!  My Creativity Take-aways

 

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Ready to ‘Be All In’? 5 Action Steps to Get You Started

Involvement or commitment?What does ‘be all in’ mean to you?

In the dictionary “all in” refers to being drained, exhausted or done in for the day.

Not quite right!

In poker, it has a slightly different meaning…done for the night, or all your chips in on the last hand?

Closer?

I didn’t find a meaning that fit my idea until I came across a financial investor site.

Aha…

Definition from Investorwords.com:

“The process of putting everything or all of a specific item into something. Items that can literally or figuratively be put all in to something include time, money, energy, or other resources.”

This is what I’m talking about!

This is what I’m learning to do with my creativity, too.

My life as a creative person involved seeing my talents as hobbies for fun or gifting, or a skill to be used for other business needs. Writing, designing, researching can be incorporated into many aspects of business and that’s what I did for decades, while I wrote poetry that no one ever saw. Crafts… well, they made great decor and gift items.

About 15 years ago I began sharing my writing with a writing group I joined, then with my partner and finally in the last few years with family and friends.

Still…it was something I was good at, but couldn’t conceive I was good enough that people would actually BUY it.

It was only recently that I began to develop the confidence that I could create a business that would market these talents, instead of some other product.

When we perceive a talent or skill as a hobby (i.e. not valued by society as a source of income) we tend to relegate it to spare time rather than prime time.

We tend to put it at the bottom of the priority list. Not dedicate time to producing or developing our craft. Or we avoid it altogether by watching other people live their dreams on TV.

What stops us from committing our time, energy and money to focus on what we love? Perhaps even creating a lucrative career from them?

I don’t believe it’s really all the excuses we’ve come up with over the years. I believe it’s based on our FEARS.

FEAR of:

Not being good enough to…

Being ridiculed or ostracized by …

Failing at …

Wasting our time on…

Living on the streets like the poor artists/writers we’ve heard about!

The list goes on and yours is unique to you, but we all have one.

In order to ‘be all in’, we need to start by liberating ourselves from these limiting fears, then delving into what really gives us pleasure. We’ll explore the rest of the process soon, but first let’s deal with those hidden fears.

Action Steps:

  • 1. Write down 5 or more consequences you are afraid of if you focus on your creative talents.
  • 2. Examine each of them. Are they based on your experience, others’ experience or things you’ve learned from family, friends or society? Or perhaps they’re simply based on your own lack of confidence.
  • 3. Write down at least one strategy to help you overcome each fear. e.g. read a book or watch a movie that inspires you; research people who write, create music or art; take a class to help you develop your talents and asses your potential, etc.
  • 4. Set aside a segment of time each day/week to enjoy your talents without guilt and begin to create a plan for building on your talents and monetizing them. Turn off the TV, get up early or reserve part of your weekend for your own personal ‘artist’s day’.
  • 5. Find a mentor. It could be a fellow artist/writer/musician, a friend you trust, a teacher or family member. Confide your dream and ask for support and honest feedback. If you like social media, look for groups with similar interests. Google+ is a good place to start. If you like meeting in person, look for meetup.com groups in your area.

For some of us, this last step may be the hardest and you might not find the right person on the first try.

It’s an ongoing process, but the first step is to begin.

If you already have a mentor or artist tribe, it may seem like a no-brainer. Perhaps you are the ones who can reach out and support the budding artists in your community.

I didn’t find my writer tribe until I was in my 50’s…but that was mostly because I never had the courage to ask. Don’t be that person. There are so many people, both young and old, with dreams of a life focused on what they love to do. People like you, perhaps, who also need a mentor.

For fun, watch Eat that Frog to inspire you to get started.

Then, take a big gulp and join us, subscribe or comment to let us know your thoughts.

Next Post: Finding your passion, pleasure & peace

 

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