Sunday, July 22, 2018

Your Masterpiece

Do you have a secret creative project lounging around in your imagination?

I always have at least five projects floating around, just waiting to begin. We get busy and put those projects off though, don't we?

What if you didn't put it off? What if you got started on the biggest of big projects? What if you launched the project to complete your masterpiece? You aren't limited to just one creative masterpiece, but your next masterpiece is there, ready and waiting for you to begin. Get creative. Get motivated. Get busy.

What if you started now?

-- doug smith

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Creativity Transforms

Improv Affirmations

Affirmations are a useful development tool in many fields. Positive phrases that affirm your instant ability to be who you want to be and to do what you want to do contribute to building your success by framing your expectations, boosting your confidence, and lighting up parts of your brain that bring about the very success you are picturing.

Here are some improv affirmations to help you develop your improvisation skills, creativity, and sense of artistic play:

  • I am instantly ready to create
  • I take all offers and make them magnificent
  • I play with adventure and creativity
  • I am completely tuned in to the people I perform with
  • Every moment sends opportunities for creative play
  • I connect in meaningful ways with other artists
  • I bring instant insights to the people I play with
  • I can work hard and play both simultaneously and instantly
  • I see the drama in every circumstance
  • I thrive on the ideas of others
  • I offer everyone great ideas of my own
Trying a few affirmations each day is like stretching your body before exercising, or tuning your instrument before performing. It is a great and useful warm-up that enhances your performance and attitude. Go ahead, you can do it!

-- doug smith

Collage: It's In The Water

It's In The Water - collage by douglas brent smith, (c) 2006
It's In The Water

One of my favorite creative outlets is making collages. I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. Most of them are done on 8 1/2 by 11" notebook paper, frequently as a page in a journal. This one, for instance, is page 199 of my journal #39, Creative Play (2006-2007).

You can spark your own creativity by making a collage. All you need is a healthy supply of magazines, paper, and your favorite glue (I use good old-fashioned white Elmer's glue.)

Allow plenty of time -- it's not unusual for me to take all day on one collage.

I find it meditative, relaxing, and inspiring. Many ideas float to the surface once you've smoothed the waters in a calm search for interesting combinations of images. Give it try.

-- doug smith

Your Creativity Is In Your Hands

Are you in charge of your creativity?

Do you play with new ideas, new textures, new techniques? Your creativity is yours to manage and it's also in your hands, literally. From another angle: your hands create.

Think about a sculptor at work, her hands carefully forming her art. Her mind is completely engaged, maybe even in a flow, and her hands instinctively, creatively, know what to do. That only comes after hours of practice.

Think about a concert pianist: the mind is involved, the heart is involved, and the hands are doing far more than running thru the paces of mechanical memory. The hands are creating tone, inflection, articulation, emphasis, texture, stylization, and yes even emotion. The hands add what the brain hasn't even imagined until it hears it coming straight from the hands. That level of synthesis only comes after many hours of practice.

Name the format and the hands are there -- not just as a set of useful tools but also as generators of inspired creativity: painting, sketching, sewing, quilting, crafting - the hands are at the heart of creativity. Hands design, they deliver, and when necessary they destroy -- all in the spirit of creativity.

Yes, you are in charge of your creativity. And if you are blessed with two strong hands you are truly blessed indeed because within your hands are entire worlds of creativity.

-- doug smith

Creative Actions

  1. Fold a piece of paper into a shape you haven't considered or tried before. Let your hands guide the action and make the changes. Leave it up to your hands.
  2. Feel hands-full of beach sand. Hold it, fold it, let it touch your hands back. Do that for a few minutes. What ideas do you have for something to create?
  3. Put your hands in your shoes for a moment. How does that feel? Consider walking somewhere without your shoes - barefoot if possible. Let your feet enjoy the creative freedom of touching the earth.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Creativity Changes Everything

What is your most powerful tool for change?

developing creativity - "Planet Energy 6"  image by doug smith
Planet Energy 6

How do you break the constraints that stand in your way when you're looking for improvement? Creativity, your power to "bring into existence" (Merriam Webster online) is your own personal engine of growth. Movement in the direction of something new, expansion, birth, novelty, change -- are all variations of your ability to create and are all critical to the optimal state of balance and health.

Got a problem? Use creative thinking to explore possible solutions.

Launching a business? Discover creative ways to reach markets and satisfy customers.

Getting in shape? Keep it interesting and customized to your individual needs creatively. Make it new, make it fresh, make it cool.

Starting a relationship? Crete ways to interest the other person and listen and watch for what is distinctive and creative about the other person. Try new things, go new places, eat new foods, create new connections.

Creativity changes everything.

-- doug smith

The Creative Muse: An Expanding View

Expand your view. Let go of preconceptions. Wiggle loose your perceptions long enough to visualize more, ever more, possibilities.

Are you locked into your thinking? Is your mind made up on certain concepts, designs, beliefs? It's easy to slip into a comfortable certainty about what we believe and to then accept that as absolute truth.

The Creative Muse: An expanding view - doug smith training

How would we even know if absolute truth was absolute?

What if we tested our beliefs? What if we did learn about opposite points of view? What if we did explore ideas that were radically different than our own?

developing creativity

If our own truths are truly absolute, couldn't they withstand the most probing scrutiny and the most rigorous doubts? And if our beliefs are valid beyond doubting then couldn't they emerge confident after wandering through some divergent paths?

What if we let down our guard and listed openly to a new idea? What if our version of the truth is incomplete and could benefit from cranking open the windows and breathing some fresh air?

Creative actions:

  1. Explore a writer you've never read before, especially one you've consciously avoided. Read with a sense of curiosity.
  2. Create a list of ten things that you believe to be absolutely true. Reflect on the list. How did you form each of these beliefs? How much of each idea is yours and how much was provided to you by someone else?
  3. Refer back to your list and create a list of ten opposite views. What makes these views flawed? Are any of these flaws in YOUR views as well?
  4. Think about an idea or concept you have tried in the past to convince someone else was true. What if you didn't have to prove it -- what would it look like? What if proving it resulted in also proving something unexpected -- what would that be?
  5. Draw a picture to illustrate a concept that you've always thought couldn't be true (such as a flying pig.) Reflect on your picture. What is now true that was not true before?
  6. Pick any three notes from a piano or other instrument (this works best if you pick notes within your vocal range.) Play those notes over and over several times until they nestle into your memory. Hum these notes. Sing these notes. Put some words to these notes (for example, "truth can grow" or "there is more" or "truth has wings..." You decide.)
  7. Still singing your new three-note song, create an improvised dance to it. Feel free to expand your song as your dance emerges. If it feels right, clap your hands along or snap your fingers. Smile. Raise your voice, tap your feet, sing and dance.
from Creative Play by Douglas Brent Smith, p. 79-80 (c) 2006