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Showing posts with the label developing creativity

Push Against Your Limits

Creativity, like leadership, requires us to stretch. To be at our most creative we must grow. Since we are surrounded by limitations, that can cause some discomfort. Which boundaries should we cross? Which lines are mental and which are metal?

How do we create without getting hurt (or worse, hurting?)

I'm not sure. Maybe that's the wrong question. Maybe the question is -- what limits should we ignore today? What limits should we buck against and stretch?

If a limit is telling you that you are NOT creative -- ignore it.
If a limit is telling you that you cannot grow -- defy it.
If a limit is telling you that the world doesn't need your creativity -- laugh it off.

The world needs you. The world needs your creativity. The world needs you at your creative best.

The creative life pushes against limits.

Keep pushing.

-- doug smith

Are You Paying Attention?

It's easy to get distracted. Screens call out to us everywhere. Even a once peaceful wait in a reception area is now punctuated by a wide-screen TV.

Heads down, we miss opportunities. Eyes locked on a screen, we miss the people around us.

That screen might spark a little creativity in you but most of the time it might also be standing in the way. Let your mind wander. Pay attention to your surroundings. Let nature spark a little creativity in you. Flow with that creativity and give it your full attention.

Not just a second, not just a moment, but your full attention. Creative notions have a habit of dissipating if we don't focus on them, pay attention to them, keep them alive.

The creative life is not a part-time creative swipe. The creative life is rich, deep, and full AND very jealous of screen time. It would rather have you spend time being creative.

The creative life wants your full attention.

How are you doing with that?

Creative Actions

Take a walk. Leave your phone at h…

Today's Creative Affirmations

Everyone needs a little affirmation once in a while. Here are some quick creative affirmations for you.

Creativity is my middle name!When my friends think of me they no doubt think of me as being creativeI can develop my creativity in a million waysMy creativity is unlimited! -- now, go create something wonderful!
-- doug smith

Draw Something

Do you still draw?

All of us draw when we're kids. Some better than others but all with imagination and enthusiasm. My first sketches were yellow wax pencils (designed for writing on glass) on black photo-album paper. Not brilliant. Not representational. But I still remember the moment of fun and abandon.

Draw something today. Draw it with total abandon. Let your tool decide, let your hand go wild, draw something.

Drawing something with open up a part of your creativity that will serve you well wherever you need it. And, don't you need it right now?

-- doug smith

Many Imitators

Have you ever been fooled into following what you thought was your creative muse only to discover that it was an excuse for bad behavior? There's nothing about anti-social or criminal behavior -- nothing -- that makes a person creative.

It's possible to feel a sense of excitement from danger that may feel like a burst of creativity, but don't be fooled. Your true creative muse, your resident inner artist, the creator within the creator, would never do harm intentionally in the name of artistic license or creative freedom.

We are all creative, we are all valuable, we must all take care to take care of each other.  Thrills, selfish inclinations, and power seeking sinfulness can all mask as a creative impulse but they are poor imitators indeed.

Artists can easily differentiate these imitators from their real muse when they take the time to assess, and then apply, and then live by a set of noble values. The creative muse in not a thing, or an impulse, or even a spirit. The cre…

Stay Positive, Curious, and Pro-active

Creativity gives you a lot and needs a little from you in return. It's not completely free. It needs creative people to stay positive, curious, and pro-active. See the possibilities. Wonder what would happen if...or when...or how...and then experiment. Play! Take action. Move things. Mix things up.

Staying positive helps you to deal with the inevitable challenges you will face to your own creativity. Staying curious helps you to look for the nugget of gold in a sea of sand; to seek the fascinating detail in a swarm of noise and to act on that curiosity while being pro-active and innovating -- to put your hands to work at creating.

Creativity is worth the effort. What will you be positive, curious, and pro-active about today?

-- doug smith

Dance With The Creative Muse

Do you like to dance?

Do you skillfully combine the carefully practiced steps that let your partner know where you are going and let you flow effortlessly with other dancers?

Do you respond to dancing nuances, new leads, new ideas for leads? It takes more than a life time to master and yet your ability to execute on the physical requirements of the skill and knowledge you acquired diminishes as you age. Is that the end of your dancing?

The creative muse can keep its distance, like a stranger dancing with you for the first time, scoping you out. In the more than a life time that it takes to fully actualize your creative muse your physical (and perhaps mental) abilities may slow and degrade but the dance is most decidedly not over. The true dance has just begun.

Flow with the one who brought you, go as far as you can with what you still hold and then dig, dig, dig, until you've dug a new way, a new dream, a new way to dance.

Build more time, energy, skills, knowledge, dreams, and da…

The Creative Muse Is Like A Muscle

Are you in good physical shape?

Do you know how it feels when your muscles are strong, exercised, and flexible? Have you felt that way today?

You play the major role in determining the fitness of your muscles. Left ignored and under-utilized, the muscles become less effective. Neglected long enough, they can even atrophy.

The creative muse likes activity. It conditions, like a muscle, under exercise and nutrition. It responds with ever greater efficiency and effectiveness the more that it is exercised.

Have you exercised your creative muscles today?

-- doug smith

Keep On

Keep writing. Keep painting. Keep drawing those wonderful sketches. Keep dancing. Sing every day with your heart ablaze. Keep stoking the fires of your dreams until the light is so bright that you warm others with its glow. Keep on creating, because creativity changes everything.

-- doug smith

Creative Affirmations and Your Power

Your creative power is amazing! Try these creative affirmations to reinforce that power:

I am a creative and powerful force of energy and creativityThere is great music inside me to shareI am filled with creative stories worth sharing!I create success through artistic play!I open the creative doors that others want to walk thru!My work inspires and sustains the positive power of creativity

Now -- go create something wonderful!
-- doug smith

Look For Your Creative Muse When You Least Expect It

Where do you look for your own creative muse? It may be there. It may sometimes hit you exactly as you expect or precisely as it has before.

It may also surprise you by hiding out in the least likely places -- in your own back yard, at a volunteer community service project, at the local fire station, in your public library, in your local hardware store, on a farm, anywhere and everywhere you can think -- and catch a new spark, a new connection. You can find the creative muse communing with the unexpected.

Are you ready?

-- doug smith

Today's Creative Affirmations

Cheer yourself up! Spark your own creativity! Try these creative affirmations on for size.
The more you create, the better you create.You can create something truly wonderful today.Everything you've ever done can feed your creativity now.Creativity extinguishes doubt.You care fabulously creative!

Now -- go create something wonderful!
-- doug smith

Creative Affirmations to Ponder

Be good to yourself. Say nice things. Things like...

Creativity is good for me, and I am good for creativityThe world gets better when my creativity growsMy creativity is under my control and today I will ramp it up!I feel creative!Wherever I need to go, my own creativity will help me

Have a great and creative day!
-- doug smith


Let the imperfections of the world spark your creativity.
-- doug smith


"Skill to do comes of doing."
 -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whether or not it's fun, we do need to practice. To gain some momentum, to grow considerable skill, to develop creativity we must work thru our mistakes, discover even more mistakes, and keep going and doing. To stretch one's self requires motion.

When I toured with Child's Play Touring Theatre we worked so much, practiced our craft so consistently, that we came to believe that we could do anything on stage. As a result we would try anything and if we would sometimes make noble and glorious mistakes it was just one take out of dozens, one sketch out of hundreds, one turn out of thousands (and nothing in this sentence is hyperbole) it was one of many.

Relentlessly in motion we learned, expanded, stretched, adjusted, grew Action propelled us forward. Every day our practice was to practice in earnest. And then we would practice some more.

I say it to myself as much as to anyone else: be a doer. Act. Practice. Put…

Creativity Transforms

Collage: 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: pa…

Creativity Changes Everything

What is your most powerful tool for change?

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 smi…

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.

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?

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?